New Zealand – Hunting and other Fun Stuff to do

We stayed in the Chalets, lined up on the left of the photo an and ate meals in the building in the background.

Red stags were pretty easy to find. The hunting took place inside a four thousand acre enclosure. I’m not sure what the density of stags was, but there were plenty.

On my second day of hunting, I wounded this stag with my bow and arrow. I was successful with a follow-up shot from the guide’s 7 mm mag and finished him off from 200 yards. I was disappointed that I flubbed the shot, but happy to bring home the trophy. The trophy fee for this silver medal stag was $3,000. Although he may have scored in the gold metal category, the guide told me he was silver before I shot him and he stood by that fee.

Keeping price in mind, I passed up a chance at a chamois and also a fallow deer with trophy fees of $2,000 each and settled for this feral goat which cost only $500. After repairing my bow, I still hunted for this goat and stayed within my budget. I’ll have to find a chamios and fallow deer someplace else. Maybe they’ll be in my budget next year.

The paradise duck is a very common native to New Zealand. These two were resting in the sun at the pond where I fly fished for trout.

During our stay, six of us spend a week in this nearly new Queenstown home. The view of the city and surrounding area was beautiful. The weather was mild and sunny.

Left to right: Our group included Pat and Jerry Lowery, myself and my wife Linda as well as Linda and Hal Stauff. Here we ready oruselves for a jetboat ride up a small river. Linda also parasailed from a nearby mountain.

 In this case, the photo explains more than I can say about the beauty of these mountains, called the New Zealand alps.

Milford Sound is located on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island and is reachable in one day from Queenstown by small plane or bus. It’s a popular destination for tourists visiting Queenstown or other southern New Zealand resorts.

Although I caught no fish, this pond was a very nice place to fish. Linda took the photo while she observed from shore.

As we had done in Queenstown, we decided to tour the North Island by air. It was worth the cost.

These islands were located on the East Coast of the North Island in and area called The Bay of Islands. We spent a couple days at a bed and breakfast nearby.

Opening Day of Duck Season 2008

It was a slow opener at Mayberry Farms. Just didn’t have the number of ducks that usually show. Could have been due to the way we managed the club in September, but more likely it was simply due to the ducks not being in our area.

Funny how ducks move around. We try to understand why they are sometimes there and not at other times, but it’s such a dynamic system.

We shot almost all mallards, totaling 28 between five of us for two days. This is about half our normal opening weekend total. But, it’s hard to complain about a couple days in the marsh hunting ducks.

Saturday, on her second opening day, Lola got off to a slow start by not retrieving the first few ducks we shot. She did find them and keep them at bay (yes actually barking at a couple of them).

She got redemtion on Sunday. After a greenhead went down about 20 yards into a dense cattail patch, she came out with the bird in her mouth and I was satisfied that we’ll turn things around soon.

She’s hot to hunt, but shy around the dead ducks – same as last year. Who knows what goes through a dogs brain.

Ducks of Autumn

Checked the water at Mayberry Farms today. Opened the gate valve on one syphon and had to set up the vacuum pump and reprime the other pipe, but the real news was that the weather finally turned to autumn and not only that, but the ducks were flying.

With the wind gusting to over 20 mph and the temperature in the 50’s, it seemed like duck season. For the first time since we started flooding up, mallards were working our ponds, and not just a couple of ducks. They were on all the ponds – flirting here and there and finally landing.

I took Lola for a walk and she chased up a couple roosters that would have been in range… my blood pumping.

This is good news. The last couple trips over to check on the water had been a little disappointing as the ducks didn’t seem to be responding. It’s not unusual for the ducks to disappear right before the season opener as duck clubs flood up and opportunities to loaf increase.

After today I’d have to say that propects for next weekend are looking good.

Creating a Mule Deer Hunt Check List

Call it old age and memory loss or whatever you want. I cannot prepare for a lengthy deer hunt anymore without preparing a checklist. Therefore, I keep a checklist from each hunt saved on my computer. That way I can just revise it for the next hunt. Here’s a draft of my next checklist prepared in advance.


Check it out, it may help you formulate your own list. Feel free to let me know what you’d add – I’d be interested to know. I won’t necessarily take everything on this list, but I leave everything on the list and just cross off the stuff I won’t use. That way it will be on the list when I remake it for my next hunt.


Some items will be provided by the other guys on the hunt and I’ll cross them out as well. This system does a pretty good job of preventing me from leaving key items behind, but nothing is fool proof.



Nevada Rifle Mule Deer Hunt 2008


Hunting license

NV landowner tag and background info

Hunting & pack gear

Crooked-horn outfitters day pack

Inside pack

rangefinder – Leopold +spare battery

navigation equip


            topo maps


            Reading glasses

AM radio

head lamp

walkie talkie

spare flashlight & batteries

trail marking tape

small pliers

knife & sharpener

small saw

water bottle (platypus)

water bottle MSR

Water pills

large pack frame

Rifle – 7X57 + ammo

soft case

Rifle – 270 + ammo (?)

soft case (?)

Deer calls

Rattling horns


field glasses (2)

spotting scope #1

spotting scope #2 with car window mount


Small tri-pod

Camera gear

Cannon digital camera

Extra photo disks

Nikon 40X

Additional hunting gear

Small (blind) chair

Knife set



Camouflauge trousers lightweight cotton

camo shirt(2)(cotton)

Camo hat

Hunter orange hat


camo shirt(cotton)

hiking shorts


underwear (6)

Cold Weather Clothing

rag wool socks(6pr)

Heavy Boots (2)

face mask

Neck Gator

Wool cap – snow camo

wool gloves

Light rain jacket

Thermax under clothing

camo shirt (wool)

Heavy goretex rain jacket

Camo wool trou with suspenders

Gray wool trou

Snow camo

For Riding ATV

ATV Gas can (s)

Bungee cords

Heavy coat

Ski gloves


Additional packs

Large fanny pack (leave home)

Take-down pack frame (leave home)


bivouac sack

Down sleeping bag

Ground cloth

sleeping bag (heavy) 

Light thermo pad

Large foam pad Medium themo pad


Camo umbrella


Camp equipment

Camp table

Two chairs

7 gallon water tank

sewing kit

spare flashlight

extra batteries

alarm clock

cell phone

ziplock bags


2 burner stove

propane (?)

propane lantern (?)

7-gallon water tanks (2) (?)

Electric lantern

Jet boil + fuel

Cook kit with pots and pans

Coffee pot to perk coffee

Dish soap

Toilet paper

Paper towels

5 gallon bucket

Dish washing tub


XM Radio

Spare batteries (AA, AAA, D)

Water purification pump


dried foods for remote camping

            Mountain House Dinners

            MRE s




Powdered mile

various canned foods

Jar Peanut butter

Pack of dried peaches

dried cereal

Alum foil



Meat and potatoes

Pre made chili and beans

Lettuce for salads

Eggs (1 doz in container)

Venison sausage

Salad dressing


Garbage bags

Beer etc.

Game care

sharp knives and honing stone

game bags

strong nylon cord

Bone saw

First Aid Kit

Band aids

Anticeptic ointment

Personal meds

Tooth brush

Hair brush

Raiser blade


Other things/comments

Pocket knife

XM radio

Compaq computer with car battery connection loaded with software


Nevada Landowner Mule Deer Tag

For the first time in my life, I bought a landowner tag this year.  I’ve been involved with the sale of many mule deer tags, primarily for The Mule Deer Foundation in the form of State Fundraising tags. The fundraising tags produce money for deer programs in their respective states.

Caption: Here’s one of the bucks I decided not to pursue during the archery season.

In Nevada, landowner tags are issued to ranchers and farmers to provide them an opportunity to be compensated for loss of income from wildlife encroachment upon their crops.

My understanding is that surveys are done to determine how many deer are being supported by the feed provided (typically alfalfa). Then the landowner is issued one tag for every fifty deer using the ag fields for survival.

Why buy a tag? This tag will give me an opportunity to hunt out of state and have a chance to bag a nice mule deer  buck. It’s not guaranteed, but a very large buck could show itself. The landowner tag allowed me to hunt both archery and rifle seasons, a big factor for me. My archery hunt was also a scouting trip for rifle season. If you draw a tag in the lottery, it gives you the same rights as the landowner tag other than being able to hunt more than one season.

I’ll focus my rifle hunting on the last ten days of the season when the chance of a big buck showing are greatest. I’ve never hunted Nevada with a rifle before so it will be a new experience. I looked over several tags before I made the decision to invest. The price of these tags generally ran from $2,500 to 5,500 each with a couple ranchers holding out for very big numbers.

My guess is the average price was about $3,500. You can buy tags direct from landowners or you can contact various agents who promote the tags for a percentage of the sale. Assuming I do find a couple nice bucks to look over, I’ll have to decide when to pull the trigger. I hope it happens. We’ll find out soon.

The Goats of Mayberry


The goats are in and they’re doing their job. As many at 1,700 goats have been grazing on our duck club and they are removing much of the vegitation choking our duck ponds.


This is Walter the Peruvian goat herder. Talks about as much English as I do Spanish.


Walter says the great Pyrenees guard dogs make short work or coyotes if they bother the goats.



Here they are in action thinning down our thick stands of cattails and alkili bull rush.


Here’s one of our ponds as it is rising. Water shows much better after grazing – should attract ducks.


Not many ducks around yesterday, but a few sat on the edge of the flooded pasture to the north of us.

Climb the Mountain, Catch the Fish, Utilize the Outdoor Classroom

A couple weeks ago, I spent a week with three friends hutning deer in the Hoover Wilderness. Although my initial efforts were focused on bringing home a bragging buck, the mountain quickly humbled my attitude and in the end, my trophy buck was only a young three-point.  It was still a trophy to me.

The altitude, the steep slopes and my no-longer-young body forced me to accept reality. However, during many of the rest stops required to make it to the top of the mountain, I was continually invigorated by the spectacular landscape surrounding me.

Many times I thought about the experience, available to most, but utilized by few, and how much people miss by not entering the outdoors. Hunting and fishing is a physical and spiritual experience that feeds my spirit and lifts me to be a more fulfilled, more fit and more spiritual individual.

However, in California today, the entire hunting and fishing culture is on the verge of collapse. The end of hunting and fishing won’t be by decree, ballot measure or lack of resource, it will just sneak up on us like global warming.

However, there is a great need for the outdoor experience and it has never been more important than today. Urban and inter-city youth need the outdoors. It’s a match like kids and dogs. A partnership between youth leaders in urban areas and those who manage California’s outdoor resources could produce a pipeline to transport a new generation of outdoorsmen and women to outdoor classrooms around the state.

This has been done before by many groups on small scale. It’s time to gear up. Without hunters and fishermen, California’s outdoor resources will become underutilized and underfunded. Without the outdoors, our youth will be denied the opportunity to be the best they can be.