WHITETAIL DEER MOVEMENTS STUDY
MASON BAY STEWART ISLAND

This project began in the early 1990's when a couple of Southland Branch, New Zealand Deerstalkers Assn members caught a doe at Mason Bay using one of the deer traps built by Mr Tim TeAika who was the last leaseholder farmer on Stewart Island.

This doe was shot by another hunter five months later. She was only 3 - 400 metres from where she had been tagged.

With various writers claiming whitetail travel long distances we set about trying to establish if this was fact or fiction.

In 2000 with the help of helicopter pilot Steve Gamble four does were captured, three were released with radio collars and the fourth (#4) with just an eartag. Each animal captured and released has an individually coloured eartag. A number of other animals have been captured by trapping.

Radio tracking stations were established on Big SandHill and Island Hill. Radio signals were plotted by compass and the intersection of the two signals established the location of the animal.

Doe #3 lived for over twelve months in a small home range, probably less than a square kilometre, just east of Big SandPass is indicated in the yellow circle.

 

She was regularly tracked by her radio signals and although a many hunters used the old fenceline  which runs through her home range she was never reported as being sighted by hunters.

 

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In March 2002 she was shot near the old airstrip. This was the only time we know she had moved out of her home territory.

Doe #7 was fitted with a radio collar. This stopped transmitting after about 5 months. This doe has been seen a number of times by hunters and trampers up until in November 2002 around the Mason Lakes area. She then disappeared until she was had a lucky escape from a bullet in December 2007 but was shot by a Halfmoon Bay  hunter in January 2008 still in the same area..

#5 died shortly after capture. The collar was recovered and fitted to a spiker (#2) in March 2001

Doe #4 was shot in Jan 2004 about 300 metres from her capture point. No sightings were reported in over three years she lived in this area.

Buck #2  was tagged in April 2001 and was radio tracked on 4 occasions. Since May 2001 there were no signals or sightings until the buck was shot by a hunter in June 2004. When killed he was just north of Cavalier Creek about 4.9km. from his capture point. His antlers shown below are unimpressive for a buck that was at least 4 years old.




Also in March 2001 a buck fawn #6 was captured and released near Double Creek. No sightings of this animal have been reported.




Doe # 9 was captured and tagged in September 2001. There have been no reported sightings of this deer.

In November 2002 another juvenile buck #1 was tagged and released in Duck Creek.


In January he was seen further down the creek and in March 03 was shot by a hunter on the beach about 400 metres to the south.

In June 2004 (#8) a doe fawn was captured. She was shot in October the same year about 400 metres from capture point.

Clearly the conclusive evidence is that Whitetail Deer, and particularly does, do not travel very far and seem to have a home range of less than a square km.
 

 

 

1977

1987

1997

2007

2011

 

# PERMITS ISSUED

363

?

490

559

527

 

# RETURNED

 

 

108

162

121

 

# HUNTERS

958

     1092

440

626

484

 

ESTIMATED TOTAL # HUNTERS  

    958

     1092

1994

2157

2055

Permits issued x average per party

AVERAGE # HUNTERS PER PARTY

2.63

 

4.07

3.86

3.9

 

TOTAL DAYS HUNTED

 

5898

2532

3568

2973

 

AVERAGE DAYS HUNTED

 

5.4

7.75

5.7

6.16

 

ESTIMATED TOTAL DAYS HUNTED  

 

 

11270

11286

12660

estimated hunters x average days

AVERAGE LENGTH OF STAY

 

 

7.56

7.54

7.01

 

WHITETAIL SEEN

 

 

838

1135

1088

 

WHITETAIL SHOT

503

715

225

354

256

 

ESTIMATED WHITETAIL SHOT

 

 

1016

1108

1091

estimated hunters x average # shot

AVERAGE SEEN PER PARTY

 

 

7.75

8.24

8.9

 

AVERAGE SEEN PER HUNTER

 

 

1.9

2.13

2.25

 

AVERAGE SHOT PER PARTY

1.38

 

2.08

2.18

2.11

 

AVERAGE SHOT PER HUNTER

0.52

     0.65

0.51

0.56

0.53

 

RED DEER SEEN

 

 

9

34

27

 

RED DEER SHOT

 

8

3

8

10

 

CATS DESTROYED

 

72

26

40

35

 

SOURCE

NZFS

NZFS

NZDA

NZDA

RHCT

 

Notes: NZFS were enthusiastic at following up permit returns. Individual permits were issued.

 

1977 includes permits issued for Maori Land. After 1987 the figures do not include hunters using Rakiura Maori Land blocks (Est.800)

 

 

About 25 % of parties return permits. While we would like 100% compliance the returns especially the averages are remarkably constant.


The winner of the Ridgeline sponsored draw for hunters who submitted reports for 2015 was Murray Welsh and party from Taupo.

 

Whitetail Deer studies.

 

WHITETAIL DEER MOVEMENTS STUDY - MASON BAY STEWART ISLAND

.

AGING WHITETAIL DEER BY THEIR JAWBONES

 

 

Reports of hunter results on Stewart Island 1997 - 2017

 

Base

Predator free Stewart Island.   For information on the proposal to eradicate rats, possums and cats from the Island see Predator Free Stewart Island website:-

 

  https://www.doc.govt.nz/our-work/predator-free-rakiura/

http://predatorfreestewartisland.org.nz/ 

 

Conservation Projects : Gorse & Rat control Mason Bay by members of Southland Branch
Click HERE

 


 

 

DOC Hunting information Stewart Island.

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/hunting/what-to-hunt/deer/white-tail-deer/

 

For hunting block availablity:

 

 

Mana Charters

www.manacharters.com

 

Stewart Island Flights
https://www.stewartislandflights.co.nz/hunting-trips

 

Real Journeys  (Stewart Island Ferry)

https://www.realjourneys.co.nz/en/experiences/ferry-services/stewart-island-ferry-services/

 

Please check ferry fuel and gas restrictions and book in advance..

 

 


  

Block Maps:
Click on the names below or areas of the map further down the page.

 

 

 Note: all maps contain sections of Open Hunting Zone and some maps may overlap certain blocks.

s.i


 

 

 

   

 

Logo

Rakiura Hunter Camp Trust.

 

 

The beginning:    

During the late 1990's the Department of Conservation approached hunters, transport operators and other interested parties about the problems of site degradation and rubbish at campsites on Stewart Island.   Hunters are required to use the designated campsite and there is usually only one per block.

 Trees were being cut down to build temporary shelters and large amounts of plastic and other material were being left behind for the next party.  As most hunters brought their own equipment, surplus covers, polythene and other items left behind soon became rubbish. 

It is estimated some 3000 hunters visit Stewart Island every year.  Some of the busier blocks have over 100 people at the campsite every year.  Most parties stay at least seven days. 

  

Typical improvised shelter at a hunting camp before the establishment of  Hunter Camp Trust

 

slides 231

    Campsite at Port Pegasus in 1995 showing saplings cut to make a shelter frame and assorted rubbish left behind.

 

 

Southern hunting groups were invited to a meeting at which it was accepted that hunters should do something about the problem. NZDA members took up the challenge.

After numerous meetings,  various hut designs were evaluated.  The first huts built cost a little over $6000

  

Design:

The plan was simple.   Each hut would be the same basic design.  The logic being that when hunters went to different blocks they would know exactly what was there and not have to take unneccessary materials.  They would be fitted with 6 bunks, a 1000 litre watertank and a small meatsafe.  It was important to have a large cooking/dinning area if the problems of improvised shelters were to be overcome.  The hut was constructed with tanalised ply and a Karaka coloursteel roof.  They are stained green to blend in with the surrounding vegetation.   Each hut is 3.6m x 8m of which 2m is veranda.   All huts have to comply with the building code and must be signed off by a building inspector.

 

 

Funding:

The Department of Conservation put up $20,000.   Individuals and hunting clubs (mainly NZDA Branches) contributed $26,000).    Rakirua Hunter Camp Charitable Trust was established to facilitate finance.  The Trust arranged grants of $30,000 from Southland Community Trust and $11,000 from Lotteries Community Grants.

The current Trustees are Ray Phillips, John DeLury, Dave Howden & Kerry Butson.

The aims of the trust are

  • To provide a resonable standard of accomodation on hunting blocks.
  • To reduce the impacts of site degradation (stop trees being cut down)
  • The reduce the amount of rubbish being left at camp sites,
  • To reduce opportunity for conflict between hunters and trampers 

Fifteen sites were identified by hunters as being priority sites.

The first two huts were built by Stewart Island Lions at North and South Pegasus in December 2000.

The hut at North Big Glory was funded, precut and built by members of Central Otago Deerstalkers Club.

All other huts have been precut by Ray, John & Dave at Ray's Invercargill home.

 These other huts have been built by members of NZDA Branches.  Little Glory, Hapuatuna, Chew Tobacco, South West Arm (Southland)  North Tikotatahi (Southland & Western Southland),  Kellys (Gore Branch),  Abrahams Bay (Southland , Taranaki & North Taranki).

 

  The first  eight huts were built to a strict budget with no frills.  However, these huts have since been upgraded with the addition of aluminium doors and the interiors have been lined.Abrahams Bay 2 1600x1200

Abrahams Bay

This hut was funded and built by members by Taranaki  & South Taranaki NZDA (funded $5k)  & Southland Branch NZDA June 2001.  Builders  Rob McGregor, John Wells, Alex Reeves, Mike Webber, Rod Rayner, Colin Machrae, with assistance from Ray Phillips and John Bonn from Southland Branch. 

Abrahams 2018

 

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Interior of Abrahams Bay hut showing typical layout after 2016 upgrade.

 

Cavalier hut

 Cavalier

Cavalier started life as a tiny 3 x 1.5 metre shelter (to the left of the aerial pole in the photo) put in by the Forest Service in the  1980s. The covered area was progressively enlarged by hunters with makeshift tarpaulins and by the 1990s had become another shanty shack. In 1996 it was closed in a pot belly stove installed to replace the old drum fire.  The upgrade was completed by Ray Phillips, John DeLury and Neville Miller at Ray and Johns expense. . This was the spark for the involvment of hunters with campsite.   Subsequent work at Cavalier has been completed by the Trust. There are only four bunks in  this hut.

 

Christmas finished 2017 1600x1200

 Christmas Village

Christmas Village Hut was built by NZ Forest Service about 1966 as a base for hunters.  The Hut Trust took over management in 2000.  The following year a  the veranda was added and the open fire replaced with a pot belly stove. By 2017 it was agreed that the old hut had deterioated to the stage it was uneconomic to repair and a new hut to the Trusts standard design was built that November.

 

 

 Hapuatuna 2018

 Hapuatuna

This hut was funded and built by members of the Southland Branch NZDA in February 2001.  Builders:  Dave Howden, Ray Phillips, John DeLury, Nathan Dawson, David Brown & Doug Hamilton. Transport of builders and material donated Stewart Island Ferry Service.  (Foveaux Express). 

  Homestead

 Homestead

 The original hut began life as a deer quietening shed built by Tim TeAika when he held the farming lease here.   Tim used to trap deer and keep them in the paddock in which this hut sits.  The shed was roughly converted by Doc staff about 1990 and was maintained for a few years by  members of the Southland Recreational Hunting Club from Invercargill until he formation of the hut tyrust in 2000.  This hut was built by members of Southland, West Coast & South Otago branches NZDA in 2008.   Generous financial assistance provided by Community Trust of Southland. There are only four bunks in this hut.   

 

Kellys

 Kellys 

Construction was completed by members of Gore & District Branch NZ Deerstalkers Assn in 2001.  Transport of builders and material donated Stewart Island Ferry Service  (Foveaux Express).   Building funded by a grant from Lotteries Grants Commission.  

Builders Dave McFadzien, Kevin Baxter, Ivan Sellwood, Phil Sellwood, Allan Patterson, Geordie Milne, Owen Milnes, Scott Damsteegh, Steve Hogg.

  

Little Glory 1600x1200

 Little Glory

This hut was funded and built by members of the Southland Branch NZDA in February 2001.  Builders:  Dave Howden, Ray Phillips, John DeLury, Nathan Dawson, David Brown & Doug Hamilton. Transport of builders and material donated Stewart Island Ferry Service.  (Foveaux Express). 

 

 

 Martins Creek.

The original Martins Creek hut was built by Stanford and Dolly Leask as a beach cottage from flotsam off the beach.  They had the Island Hill lease from 1942 until 1965 when they sold to Tim TeAika.   Dolly planted the waterlilies in the pond in the old creekbed.  To get there follow the depression from the track to the north-east.  They flower prolifically Jan/Feb.

 It is thought this hut just fell to pieces and was located somewhere near the macrocarpa tree.  

During the 1980’s a plastic shelter was built by hunters.  After a hunter was burnt by a fire a very basic hut was built by Lands & Survey Dept.   The hut was very small and cramped with an open fire inside the hut which continually smoked regardless of where the wind came from. The hut was modified by Southland Branch NZDA members by adding 1.5 metres and installing a potbelly stove 1998.

 In 2008 the present hut was built by Rakiura Hunter Camp Trust with generous financial assistance from the Community Trust of Southland. 

 Builders:  Ray Phillips, Nigel Hodge, Alex Kidd, Bill & Kathy Duncan, Doug Gordon, Steve & Sam Long.

 

Murray River

 Murray River

Constructed in February 2014 Murray River was the first hut to have a Wagner Sparky fire installed after the Yukon potbelly stoves previously used became unavailable due to the Clean Air Act. Builders:- John DeLury, Mikle DeLury, Hacky Sims, Mark Casserly, Brian Winsloe and Richard Cook. 

 

Murray 2 1600x1200

 

 

murray int1600x1200

 

 

Murray 1280x768 4

 All standard huts have a 2m x 3.6m closed veranda to allow storage and drying.

 

For more information on the hut building process see:- http://www.3news.co.nz/Stewart-Island-introduces-hunter-huts/tabid/423/articleID/335171/Default.aspx

 

 

 North Big Glory

 This hut was built in February 2001.  It was funded and built by members of Central Otago Deerstalkers Club. Builders  Peter Southee, Pieter Hopper, Hans Biemond  Ken Leckie, Eric Whipp, John Searle,  Bevan Todd. 

  

North pegasus

 North Pegasus

This hut was constructed in December 2000 by members of the Stewart Island Lions Club after being precut and organised by the Hunter Hut Trust.  

 

 

 North Tikotatahi

Built in October 2001 and funded by Southland Branch NZDA and Rakiura Hunter Hut Trust. 

 Builders, Nathan Dawson, David Brown, Brian Robinson, Southland Branch NZDA,  Maurice McCabe, Dary Shirley, CJ Sutherland from Western Southland Branch NZDA..

 

 

Port Adventure

Port Adventure  (Bosom)

Originally built by NZForest Service management of the hut was taken over by the Hut Trust in 2001.  Since that time new roof and windows have been installed.

 

DSCF0796 1600x1200

 

DSCF0797 1600x1200

 

 

DSCF0798 1600x1200

In 2015 a major renovation took place on the inside and the hut was reclad.

  

 

Smoky

Built in February 2015 this hut replaced a series of improvised bivvies at the site.  Builders:-  Mark Casserly, Ray Phillips, Hacky Sims, Mike & John DeLury. 

 

 

South Pegasus 2

 South Pegasus 

This hut was constructed in December 2000 by members of the Stewart Island Lions Club after being precut and organised by the Hunter Hut Trust. Funded by DOC.  

 

 

South West Arm

 Southwest Arm 

Construction took place in February 2004.  Builders from Southland Btanch NZDA were  Ray Phillips, Euan  & Alex Butters, David Brown,  Mike Dillon,  Noel Ryan,  John Scobie &  Roger McNaughton. 

 

 Upper Lords

October 2011.  New Hut built on the Upper Lords River Block.   This hut is located on the true right about 300 metres downstream from the falls.  The total cost of building this hut was $36,574 partly due to the large amount of helicopter time involved in ferrying material to the site.  Builders:-  John DeLury, Kerry Butson, Nigel Hodge, Neville Miller,  Southland Branch NZDA Hacky Sims and Mike DeLury from West Coast Branch. 

  IMG 1121 1600x1200

 Interior Upper Lords River hut.

 

Rakiura Maori Land blocks

 

Between November 2004 - October 2006 the Hunter Camp Trust built 5 huts on blocks owned by Rakiura Maori Land at South Tikotatahi, Little Kuri, Big Kuri, North Lords & South Lords.  These huts are the same configeration as those built on conservation land.  Southland Branch members completed the building and were assisted at North Lords by West Coast Branch.   All labour has been voluntary.  The issues of rubbish and site degradation are the same for hunters, regardless of who owns the land.  All building costs of the five huts on Maori Land have been paid for by Rakiura Maori Land Trust.  No Hunter Camp Trust money has been spent of Maori Land huts.

 

Funding 

A levy of $30 per hunter is required to be paid when booking a
 hunting block with a Trust hut.  This money is collected by DOC and paid directly to the Hunter Camp Trust.   All hut levy fees are put towards huts and maintenance.

 

With changes to the building code and price increases the current cost of new hut and toilet has increased from about $9000 in 2000  to in excess of $34,000 in 2015.

 

This figure does not include transport or the 450 hours voluntary labour, which goes into building each hut.

 

  • Everyone wins with this project.  It is about hunters doing something positive for their sport.

  • The transport operator's benefit with hunters taking less gear to build shelters making landing's safer.

  • Hunters win by not having to build and dismantle a cooking shelter.   This allows an extra day hunting time.  A small potbelly stove allows good drying and we are noticing hunters are taking bags of coal and precut wood to huts.  The Trust encourages hunters to take their own firewood to huts.

  • Conservation wins by less site degradation and rubbish.   More hunting time also means more dead deer.

 

community trust logo

 

 

Rat/Cat/Possum Control

The Hunter Camp Trust supplies possum/cat cages at each hut and spends more than $1000 per year providing poison blocks to huts to control rats.

We have replaced the single Rat Bait Station rat with a white Bait station designed to hold four rat poison blocks which will provide a longer rat killing opportunity.   At most huts the bait stations are fixed in the verandas.   There is usually spare poison in icecream containers. Hunters can help by keeping the bait station stocked with poison blocks and notifying the Trust when the last poison block is used.  

 

 
Recognition:

In August 2004 the Rakiura Hunter Camp Charitable Trust, won the Services to Conservation with Communities Award at the 2004 Department of Conservation, Conservation Awards.   The award was a recognition of a lot of hard work by many different people.  It was really collaboration between DOC and hunters

 

This project has only been successful because of the complete buy in by hunters, many of whom have done upgrade and maintenance work on huts on behalf of the Trust. 

 

In February 2013 12 members of Southland Branch NZDA in conjunction with the Trust & DoC installed Norski toilets at the hunter camp sites at South Big Glory, Murray River, Lucky, Smoky, West Ruggedy & Little Hellfire.

 

IMG 1794 1024x768 

Toilet detail ready to go to work 

 Smoky 2 1024x768

2.1 x 1800 x 900 

Smoky 4 1024x768

 

A big thanks to Real Journeys for assitance with travel for our builders at Murray River

 cid image001 jpg01CF3149  

 

And to Rakiura Shipping for transport of hut materials. 

  

The Trust currently maintains seventeen huts around various blocks on Stewart Island. South Pegasus, North Pegasus, Upper Lords, North Tikotatahi, Kellys, Bosom, Little Glory, North Glory, Hupuatuna, Abrahams, Southwest Arm, Murray River, Christmas Village, Smoky, Homestead, Martins Creek, & Cavalier. This leaves a good mix of blocks with tramping huts at Bungaree, Yankee, Long Harry, East Ruggeday, Big Hellfire Doughboy, Rakeahua, Freds Camp, Freshwater and North Arm.  Blocks with toilet facility only are Maori Beach, Lucky, West Ruggedy and South Glory & Little Hellfire. Blocks with no facilites are Mid Glory, Rollers and Waituna.

  

You can help the Trust by:

  • Removal of any rubbish you find at the site.

  • Do not leave any food in the huts as it encourages rats.

  •  Ensuring rat bait is in the bait station.  Notifying us when all used.

  • Take your own firewood.

  • Do not cut down any trees.

  • Report any problems direct to us preferably with photographs &/or diagram & measurements.

  • Treat the hut as if it were your own.

We can be contacted at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

Phone  John 0276925338  Ray 03 2163751 

John DeLury

Chairman

 

 


A list of camps via Google Earth: