National | Hunting

National goat hunt a win-win for all - hunter

A successful competition could see numbers reduced to managable levels, and freezers filled.

A “fun and challenging” event in the name of conservation will begin next month when hunters across the country attempt to bring the number of wild goats to manageable levels.

A national wild-goat hunting competition between August and November, supported by the Department of Conservation and the NZ Deerstalkers Association, will see hunters throughout the country have a chance of winning prizes in exchange for a reduced population of goats.

Deerstalkers vice-president Callum Sheridan says it’s a win-win for conservation and hunters alike.

“They do a bit of damage when they are in high densities. So it’s great to be able to bring them down to a manageable level that works with the environment.

“They eat saplings, small trees, and can trample soils.”

Wild goats are estimated to number several hundred thousand and occupy up to 15% of the country, particularly on public conservation land.

Keep it legal

“Taranaki has quite a lot, central King Country and Whanganui. In the South Island, the Southern Lakes, around the Queenstown area, up to the gorge towards Cromwell,” Sheridan said.

While the competition is open to everyone, Sheridan stressed the entries in the competition had to be culled legally.

“A lot of the thing is access and being able to get that access. So make sure you’re doing it legally, and with the landowner’s permission, whoever they may be.

“If it’s Department of Conservation land, make sure you have your permit. If it’s private land, make sure you have permission from the landowner.”

Sheridan is hopeful of a successful event as a way of showing hunter-led conservation and pest management practices can be effective.

Hunter-led management

“NZDA members last year were responsible for shooting about 17,000 goats. That was a survey we took of our members, and about 10 per cent of our members took part. We’ve got a membership of 12,000, so doing the math, about 1200 members took part in the survey, so it shows hunter-led management and conservation towards these animals is doable.”

With the rising cost of living, particularly for food, Sheridan says the competition is a way to provide meat to whānau.

“Goats are a great entry-level animal to get into hunting, they’re a great way to fill your freezer up with plenty of kai for the family and friends and to pass it around. They’re not something to be scoffed at. I’s a great opportunity to be able to have some wild free-range meat.”

Public Interest Journalism