DANNY DE HEK Entrepreneur Decision Maker Connector Podcaster EducatorSpecial Feature: Top quality fallow trophies in Woodhill Forest

An impressive range of hunting opportunities is available within easy driving distance of our most populous city.

Within one hour you can reach a well-managed recreational fallow deer hunting area at Woodhill forest. Two hours takes in the Kaimai Ranges red deer herd and Coromandel wild pig areas. Four hours encompasses red, sika, fallow, sambar and rusa hunting areas on conservation estate in the central North Island.

The Woodhill Forest stretches for 50 km along the Tasman Sea coast from Muriwai Beach, a popular surfing, fishing and swimming area. The forest comprises large stands of radiata pine and a chain of dune lakes and wetlands in the interior. This terrain is a slice of heaven for fallow deer, which like to bask in the sun and feed on grassy flats, usually in small groups because of their gregarious nature. Under hunting pressure they retreat to the thick remnants of kanuka forest.

Woodhill is a production forest with weekday logging operations so the annual ballot provides for selected hunters to have a weekend day on a specified block (with two companions). The hunting period is June to October and permits specify the type of animal that can be shot. Typically over 40 bucks and 20 hinds are shot each season and the management committee closely monitors the herd dynamics. This is an excellent model of a carefully managed recreational hunting area.

The largest wild pig range close to Auckland is the Hunua Regional Park, which also allocates hunting blocks by permit. As in most wild pig areas, dogs are necessary to ensure hunters produce the goods. The nearby Mangatawhiri Forest also has low numbers of wild pigs, which can be hunted on a DOC permit.

The Hauraki Gulf islands have game hunting possibilities, particularly Great Barrier Island, where moderate numbers of wild pigs and a few herds of goats can be found in the regenerating kauri forests and exotic pine plantations. Kawau Island, 20 km north east of Wellsford, has small populations of fallow deer and wallabies, mainly on private land.

Mallard and grey ducks are common on ponds, lakes and rivers around Auckland and pheasants and quail can be hunted in season in Woodhill, Riverhead and Mangawhai forests and other areas.