DANNY DE HEK Entrepreneur Decision Maker Connector Podcaster EducatorSpecial Feature: Red deer and chamois in a superb alpine setting

This sun-drenched region is synonymous with fine wines, gourmet food and relaxing holidays in the beautiful labyrinth of waterways known as the Marlborough Sounds.

High above the fertile valleys of the Wairau, Awatere and Clarence rivers are alpine herb fields where golden tussocks sway in the breeze and big game animals graze in relative peace.

Marlborough is a paradise for hunters who appreciate the beauty of nature and are willing to climb for three hours to view it. The rewards are enormous – breathtaking scenery and the thrill of stalking very cunning and elusive game. The main areas are the bush clad Richmond Range, the glorious St Arnaud Range, the rocky ramparts of the Inland and Seaward Kaikouras and the heavily bushed peninsulas of the Marlborough Sounds.

Red deer are to be found in all these locations in low to moderate numbers. Access is relatively easy to DOC land in the Pelorus and Queen Charlotte Sounds and to native and exotic forests in the Richmond Range.

Chamois have spread into much of Marlborough and currently occupy almost one third of the South Island high country. They love the rocky crags, massive scree slopes and lush alpine herb fields of the Kaikouras and St Arnaud Range, which earns them top billing on the DOC hit list.

Wild pigs are quite plentiful in the dense manuka scrub, bracken and fern-choked gully’s on the margins of the ranges. Moderate populations can be found in some of the more isolated arms of the sounds. Goats are common in the Kaikouras and the Richmond high country where access is difficult. Wild merino sheep are scattered through the hills, particularly in the Wairau and Clarence valleys and on Arapawa Island.

Mallard, grey and paradise shelducks are common in the many rivers, streams, estuaries and wetlands and there are excellent hunting opportunities for Canada geese and black swans in the Wairau Lagoons. Quail can be found scattered throughout the Awatere, Wairau and Waihopai catchments.

Guided fair chase hunts for trophy red and fallow deer, chamois, thar, wild pig, wild rams, goats and turkey on private land and also in the Southern Alps, can be arranged in Blenheim.