Hunters can take up the chance to fly into the Tasman Wilderness Area to hunt during next autumn’s roar hunting season.
From 13 January, hunters can apply for hunting blocks in the wilderness area in the heart of Kahurangi National Park which they can access by helicopter to hunt during a 2½ week period, from Friday 23 March to Easter Monday 9 April.
The recreational hunting opportunity is timed to coincide with the roar when red deer are more vocal in the breeding season and is aimed at reducing the damage caused to native vegetation by deer and other introduced animals.
Online application for hunting blocks and more information about this will be available on the Department of Conservation website from Friday 13 January. Hunters can also contact DOC’s Motueka Area Office for an information pack and application form, phone +64 3 528 1810.
A ballot will be held to select which applicants will get each of three six-day slots for 13 hunting blocks. Applicants will be notified from 3 February whether their application was selected.
It will be the second year helicopter access has been allowed into the Tasman Wilderness Area over a short period for recreational hunting to help reduce numbers of deer and other pests.
DOC Motueka Area Manager Martin Rodd said 40 hunters flew into the wilderness area to hunt last autumn, the first time it had been allowed in the area for more than 20 years.
‘There was keen interest from hunters to take up this new hunting opportunity in wild, remote terrain. Unfortunately wet weather forced some to cancel their trips.’
Helicopter access for recreational hunting in the wilderness area for this limited period was approved in a partial review of the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan. The wilderness area will be closed to commercial helicopter hunting during this time. Helicopter access to designated wilderness areas is restricted to enable these areas to be enjoyed as remote, wild, backcountry places for recreational activities.
The Tasman Wilderness Area, encompassing 80,000 hectares, was designated in 1988. To maintain its wild, natural characteristics, there are no huts or tracks, and aircraft landings are prohibited other than for limited purposes, including pest control and search and rescue.