I was brought up with firearms and learned to use and respect them from around 12 years old. My father bought me a BSA Meteor air rifle when I was still at school and he would take me out rabbit shooting with it below the Waimakariri River Gorge near Christchurch. As soon as I was 16, and old enough to own my own rifle I bought a Stirling .22 magnum which replaced the air rifle for hunting rabbits. In my 20’s and 30’s my BSA .243 rifle was always with me laying on the front seat of the car, slung over my back on a motorbike, laying on the bottom of a canoe, carried while climbing a mountain, crossing a river, or crawling on my knees through thick sub alpine scrub. My rifle was always close by in case I came across deer.
For three years in my early 20’s my only income was from what I hunted (deer, pigs, possums) and sold to local game and fur buyers, but during this period of full time hunting I unfortunately only have around a dozen photographs. Most of the hunting pictures you see here were taken later over the next 20 years when I was hunting part time and my interest in photography increased.
I know the subject and experience of hunting is very foreign to most people, as they have spent their lives living in cities far removed from the reality of real nature. I have carefully edited the hunting pictures on this page, all the pictures are more about the scenery and lifestyle, and shouldn’t cause any offence.
If you are also interested in the hunting photos with shot animals, I have a separate page for those but be warned, they will offend some people, click here
I was of two minds if I should include these photographs of my hunting years living on the West Coast of New Zealand. However I eventually decided to include these pictures as I’m sure there will many people who will be interested to see a lifestyle that still continues in New Zealand today.
Click here for hunting tips if you would like some help
Background to New Zealand Hunting
Originally New Zealand’s only inhabitants were insects, birds and lizards, there were no mammals on land, the early Maori introduced some animals beginning around 1300AD, but from around the middle of the 1800’s through to the 1900’s Europeans introduced various animals from around the world to give the country a hunting culture for locals and tourists. Game animals from many locations were introduced into New Zealand, deer from Britain, Asia, moose and wapiti from Canada, chamois from Austria, tahr from the Himalayas, also pigs, goats, wallabies, rabbits, hares, etc.
With no natural predators to keep the numbers under control, eventually the population of introduced animals caused a massive impact on the natural environment. The deer, goats etc browsed on the young lower vegetation of the heavily forested country, while the possum population chewed through the upper forest canopies. Eventually with reduced vegetation cover erosion became a problem and in some places the hills were literally slipping into the river valleys. In the 1920s the Department of Internal Affairs became responsible for controlling deer populations that were over grazing in pastoral and forested lands. In 1956 the Noxious Animals Act was passed and responsibility for introduced animal control moved to the New Zealand Forest Service.
Today the introduced animal populations are far less, and are largely kept under control by private hunters, and commercial hunters using helicopters. Because of this constant hunting, the game animals in New Zealand are very wary and know what the sight or scent of man means, so you have to work hard to find them.
A Quick West Coast Deer Hunt by Helicopter in the early 1990’s
I took this shakey video footage back in the early 1990’s with a Sony video 8 camcorder. The pilot is Dave McIlroy flying his Robinson Helicopter ZK-HOK. The footage of the deer at 1.02 is taken in the Cockeye Creek Valley, Marsden, near Greymouth, West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand.
If only I could have had my current Sony action camera FDR-X3000 back in those days, it fits in my pocket, shoots in 4k with image stabilization, and I can attach it to just about anything.