This Red Deer Hunt Is A Huge Bargain!


Published: October - 2001

There probably isn't another property anywhere in New Zealand that is comparable to a place called The "Run," about three hours from Christchurch on the South Island. These 1,500-hectares (just over 3,700 acres) of free-range, wild-game habitat are crawling with red deer and wild goats, plus a number of wild pigs and chamois. It is owned by Ivan Wilson and Lindsay Kearns. Wilson is one of New Zealand's pioneer deer-recovery helicopter pilots and has over 45 years experience as a commercial hunter.

Operating under the name, "Alpine Red," the two men offer guided hunts on the property. Their operation is unique in that it offers access to a truly large number of free-ranging red deer near a major population center. In New Zealand, the government has labelled wild deer pests. On public land, there is no hunting season, no limit on numbers shot and no sex or age restrictions. Survivors are by nature, wary, cunning and sparse in numbers.

The "Run" is different. It is private land, and access is limited to one road. Only legitimate clients get to visit. Domestic stock, other than a few cattle, have been removed, and the only deer shot are those selected by clients. It is not unusual to see over 40 deer in a day here, and their isolation has made them tolerant of humans.

Success on a hunt here is virtually guaranteed, with the biggest challenge being the number of eyes watching out for danger. A recent client, stalking a big stag, tells me he found himself in the middle of some 22 animals. He was pinned down and unable to get close enough to the animal he wanted. There were just too many deer, and the stag eluded him.

As for trophy quality, no one should come here expecting a world-class animal. The majority of deer you see here are hinds and yearlings. Many spike males were shot here a few years ago, and male numbers are only now beginning to build up. The average male is an eight-pointer, but late........(continued)

 
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