Date: 20 March 2013
Hunters who fly into Westland’s most remote backcountry areas after being awarded a helicopter landing site in the annual tahr ballot have a great opportunity to provide valuable conservation information and could now win a prize for their efforts.
The Hooker-Landsborough and Adams Wilderness Areas are opened to controlled aerial access for a limited period over the winter months so that recreational hunters can get into the otherwise inaccessible places to hunt tahr. This year 6 more campsites in the Adams Wilderness Area have been added to the tahr ballot to give more hunters an opportunity to access such a remote area.
At the end of their trip, hunting parties are asked to return their hunting diary to DOC’s Haast office so that a clear picture can be gained of the impact the ballot process is having on tahr numbers.
“These diaries allow us to estimate how many tahr are around, and the kind of impact they're having on the alpine environment, “says DOC’s West Coast Monitoring Manager Terry Farrell. “We also want to get an idea of whether the tahr ballot is helping us control the population.”
The annual ballots for hunting blocks within the Hooker-Landsborough and Adams Wilderness Areas are drawn each year in February. This year, the season opens on 20 April and ends on 28 June.
Hunting parties are asked to return their hunting diary to DOC’s Haast office
DOC’s Haast field centre manager Carl Baker says, “Wilderness areas are usually completely off-limits to helicopter access, so the ballot is a real privilege. If it’s not having any benefit we might not be able to run the ballot in future, so hunters really need to show us the effect they’re having by sending us their hunting diaries”.
To encourage hunters to return their diaries, this year there will be a prize draw for every ground based hunting party that sends in their returns.
Prizes have been generously sponsored by Swazi and Macpac. Swazi has provided one of their new Tahr XP anoraks and Macpac have donated one of their versatile Torlesse 50 backpacks.
Hunting diaries must be received by 12 July 2013 to be eligible for the prize draw.
Cornelia Vervoorn, Programme Manager Community Relations
Franz Josef Waiau Area Office
+64 3 7520084