The popular and long-running Pureora Hunting Competition returns this year after three-year COVID-related hiatus.
The emergence of COVID-19 and the subsequent Government response meant the competition has not been held since 2019. This year, it will open on 20 March 2023.
“The Pureora Forest is a focal point for hunting in the central North Island, and the fact the DOC competition has been running for more than three decades reflects its importance to recreational hunters,” Department of Conservation (DOC) Maniapoto supervisor Kina Tweeddale said.
“After COVID-19 thwarted three consecutive years of the competition, we’re really pleased to be holding it this year and we expect hunters will be keen to participate.”
The competition has been held for more than 30 years and is open to all hunters with a valid permit for Pureora Forest Park.
The competition will culminate with a weigh-in and prizegiving — including food trucks — at the DOC Pureora Field Base (Barryville Road) on 30 April, starting at midday. Categories include Best Douglas Deer, Best Douglas Pig, Heaviest Deer, Average Weight Pig, Ugliest Deer Head, and Youth: Heaviest Possum. The Douglas scoring system will be used as required for relevant categories.
Top prizes include a heli-hunt trip voucher with Mid West Helicopters, deer head mount from Sika Country Taxidermy, $1000-plus worth of gear from Hunting and Fishing Taupō, Forgotten Highway Adventures’ Tokirima Taster Experience for four guests, a pair of Meindl Hunting Boots from Stäger Sport, and spot prizes drawn on the day.
This year’s competition is being delivered with the support of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association and the Te Kuiti Pig Hunting Club.
Luke Care, a local recreational hunter and hunting magazine editor, has participated in the Pureora Hunting Competition for many years.
“That’s home for me – I grew up in the Pureora. It’s somewhere I’m familiar with. My first deer was shot in the Pureora about 20 years ago.”
Luke said the Pureora competition’s major advantage is its accessibility to some of New Zealand’s largest population bases such as Hamilton and Auckland.
“It’s a beautiful part of the country with that podocarp forest. And come the roar, it attracts a lot of people.
“The competition is a great way to encourage participation in hunting, and for the Department of Conservation to foster recreation on public conservation land.
“It’s a great chance for people from opposite sides of the Pureora block to catch up, and see what’s been happening in the other areas.”
For more information on the Pureora Hunting Competition, including competition categories rules, sponsors, and prizes, visit doc.govt.nz.