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Concern About Hunting Reputation

02-11-2007 | webmaster

New Zealand's hunting industry is concerned about the mistaken impression that's been created by a series of recent newspaper articles.

Mike Hodder, President of the Professional Hunting Guides Association, says the repercussions of the articles were a talking point yesterday at the Association's Annual General Meeting, held at Stone Bridge, Geraldine. Thirty-seven people attended.

The Press newspaper of Christchurch recently ran a feature about local outfitter Mike Freeman of Kiwi Safaris providing hunts for well-loaded Sheiks from the United Arab Emirates. This told of a heady scene - with large groups accompanying them, high secrecy, extravagant requirements and invitations to hunt overseas.

Soon afterwards, the newspaper then ran a report about the fact that in the 2006 hunting season a sheik had killed a top stud stag previously owned by Harry Waghorn of Rangiora. However, there was a complication that had led to a court case. Apparently a condition of sale was that the contents of the stag's testicles would be returned to Waghorn after the stag was killed, but this process had not gone smoothly and Waghorn did not end up with the expected cache of valuable straws. It was a bit of a balls-up, you could say.

However, what made things worse for the industry was that in researching the piece, the Press newshound came across an old press release on the internet which describes the stag, Brusnik, as having an "eat-out-of-your-hand" personality. The four-year-old release was still on the internet earlier this week - prepared by fertiliser company Ballance Agri-nutrients, promoting the fact that its products were being used to provide good quality feed for this top stud stag.

The upshot of this media coverage, says Hodder, is that many people now have an impression that the industry is catering to the uber-wealthy who pay exorbitant prices and that they're hunting for tame deer - which is very far from typical. "When the reporter rang me the first question she asked was, ‘You must hunt in the Emirates as well?'. Of course, I don't. And she said, ‘I suppose you just rattle the bucket and they come running.' Sometimes, when we've been on the hunt for 15 days, we might wish that would happen. But in 20 years of guiding, I've never heard of that happening."

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