DOC and the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association say they’re thrilled by the strong support from communities across the country for the National Wild Goat Hunting Competition.
A total of 10,134 wild goats were shot for the competition. The competition encouraged hunters to target wild goats on either public or private land and raised awareness of the damage they cause to New Zealand’s precious native ecosystems and farmlands. There were more than $50,000 worth of prizes up for grabs, with national prize winners have been announced today on DOC’s webpage and via NZDA and DOC’s social media channels.
Nearly 700 hunters entered the competition, and many reported they would be more likely to hunt wild goats because of the competition. They also reported as well as enjoying hunting and winning prizes, that being outdoors, getting some exercise and contributing to conservation were primary motivations for entering.
Competition entrant Jesse O’Gorman says he saw a flyer in his local Hunting & Fishing store and thought it would be a good thing to give a go.
“It’s good exercise and fun to get out in the bush, while knowing what you’re doing is helping the environment. I collected 54 tails from properties around the Wellington region.”
Jesse says he dropped flyers into letterbox to ask if he could hunt on property owners’ land. This led to gaining permission to hunt wild goats on a large forestry block and QEII blocks. He also shoots hares for the forestry manager.
“I also brought my little sister out for a hunt, she loves the outdoors and hunting.”
NZDA National Vice President Callum Sheridan says: “It has been great to see hunters getting involved. Wild goat hunting terrain can be rugged and tough going – offering a great backcountry adventure.”
DOC National Programmes Director Ben Reddiex says the competition brought hunters, landowners, and the conservation sector together to collectively help raise awareness of the damage wild goats can cause to native plants and farmlands and encourage hunter participation.
“We have seen some great organised wild goat hunts, promotional events, and wild goat meat barbeques held across the country by hunters, farmers, DOC and Hunting & Fishing NZ Ltd. Television hunting show The Hunters Club also got in on the action, featuring an episode on the competition.
“Managing wild goat numbers is an ongoing challenge for New Zealand’s native ecosystems and farmlands. Even though the competition is over, wild goats breed quickly. Hunters and farmers can continue to play a role in reducing numbers to help protect the environment.”
Wayne Langford, Chair of Federated Farmers New Zealand says: “Wild goats and other pests are a huge issue right across the country. They eat pasture, spread disease, and undermine a lot of the good environmental work that’s being done in communities.”
“Being wild means these animals don’t stay in one place – and that’s the challenge. The goats roam freely across both public and private land, so we all have a shared responsibility and role to play in keeping numbers under control.
“Federated Farmers was proud to be a part of this initiative because it brought farmers, hunters, and the government together to try and do something about the problem.”
The series of recipes featuring wild goat meat, created specifically for the competition were hugely popular, highlighting the community’s interest in both conservation and resource utilisation. Dariush Lolaiy, chef and co-owner of the Auckland wild food specialist restaurant Cazador, developed these recipes.
Dariush says: “Wild goat is a versatile protein well suited to the coal grill, slow braises, and even charcuterie. Given the transport and ammunition costs associated with hunting wild goats, finding tasty ways to use the meat is important.”
Hunting and Fishing NZ Ltd was a founding sponsor and supporter of the competition.
“If we can symbiotically enjoy the outdoors, promote hunter-led conservation, and put food on the table, then everyone wins,” says Chris Sharland, Hunting & Fishing NZ Ltd’s Marketing Manager.
The value of utilising wild goat meat, getting into the outdoors, and supporting conservation initiatives is something Hunting & Fishing NZ Ltd stands behind as well, Chris says. Many of the company’s Hunting & Fishing stores were popular entry points for the competition.
DOC and NZDA thanked competition’s 2023 sponsors. The support and prizes donated by sponsors played a pivotal role in the competition’s success.
- Founding sponsor: Hunting & Fishing NZ Ltd
- Major sponsors: NZ Hunter and Huntech
- Supporting sponsors: Traeger Grills, Back Country Cuisine, Lowa Boots, InfiRay, Te Tari Pūreke Firearms Safety Authority, Tatonka, Bushnell, LEDLenser, Thorlo, and Topo4GPS.