For three decades, the Sika Show Head Competition has been at the heart of New Zealand’s largest outdoor and hunting trade show.
What started off as a small, organised gathering of passionate Sika hunters, who held a local competition for the best Sika heads taken that year, has grown exponentially, with more than 165 exhibitors and just under 10,000 attendees at last year’s Sika Show.
Today, the Head Competition is still very much a part of the annual event, which celebrates and supports New Zealand’s game animals along with being a hunting and outdoor trade show.
“The competition now includes every game species in New Zealand and also features The Duke of Bedford Award (created last year) for the best Tahr head taken each year. The new award rewards age and mass instead of just the length and targets more mature bull Tahr with an age criteria of eight years or older to be eligible to enter the award category,” the organisers say.
With more than $40,000 in prizes and 32 categories, the competition caters to a diverse range of hunters. The coveted Sika Trophy is awarded to the highest Douglas Score Sika each year. But it’s not just the seasoned hunters who are honored – children have their own categories, with fun prizes, including 20x BT200 box traps donated by the Department of Conservation.
Behind the scenes, the New Zealand Deer Stalkers Association lends their expertise, providing official head scorers to measure and record each entry.
“Among the prizes is the Judge’s Choice for the best Sika head, which is determined by symmetry and aesthetics and not by the highest score or the biggest head entered in the competition,” the organisers say.
Every year, the competition attracts around 100 entries of different species, displaying the finest heads harvested over the year – a spectacle in itself for the public to view and appreciate.
“The Sika Show platform strongly advocates for good hunting practise and ethics, adaptive game animal management to keep populations balanced, healthy, in check, and at the right levels for the habitat and environment.
“We also support a multitude of conservation and education-based projects and fundraise through the event platform for many of them to try and help support our amazing organisations involved in the New Zealand hunting community.”
As the show celebrates its 30th year, it remains a testament to the rich hunting heritage of New Zealand. Sika Show takes place on 28 and 29 October 2023 at Mystery Creek Events Centre in Hamilton. All entries for the Head Competition must be received by 2pm on 28 October 2023. A $30 entry fee is applicable.
For more info about the show and the competitions, visit sikashow.co.nz.