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Pureora Hunting Competition 2024: participant numbers back to pre-Covid levels

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Pureora Hunting Competition 2024: The top 5 Douglas-score deer head winners – (from left) Richard Yanko (for Adam Packer, 4th), Charlotte Amos (3rd), Charlotte Waghorn (2nd), Rebecca Rix (1st) and Liam Johnson (5th). Photo / Department of Conservation

The recent Pureora Hunting Competition has been a success with more than 200 pest animals tallied for the prizegiving.

The annual competition, run by the Department of Conservation (DoC) since 1988, is a pest control event in the Pureora Forest Park, near Lake Taupō, that targets pigs, deer, and smaller species like rats.

This year’s competition ran from March 16 to April 28 and at the prizegiving last week, DoC tallied more than 70 deer, 14 pigs, 77 goat tails, six mustelids and 39 rats.

“We couldn’t be more stoked with the turnout … This brings competition numbers back up to pre-Covid levels,” DoC said in a social media post.

“It was awesome to see the junior competitors focus on priority pests, raising awareness among rangatahi of the damage these critters can do.”

In the end, the top three spots in the deer category were taken out by women.

The prize for the top Douglas-score head went to Rebecca Rix, followed by runner-up Charlotte Waghorn, with the third place being taken out by Charlotte Amos.

The prize for the heaviest boar or barrow went to Cody Marshall, whose entry weighed a whopping 64.4kg, followed by Paul Kearins in second place for a 53kg entry and Kurt Davison on place three for his 50.9kg entry.

In the junior categories, Flynn Adams won the mustelid (ferret, stoat, weasel) draw, Lucy Waghorn won the goat tail draw and Louise Bulled won the rat draw.

“Big thanks to the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association Inc and the New Zealand Pighunting Association for giving up their time to weigh and measure the entries,” DoC said.

“Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society did an amazing job chatting to the hunters about the protection of kōkako in Pureora Forest. Finally, a shout out to staff at the 13 recording centres who volunteered to sight entries taken earlier in the competition.”

In line with the hunting competition, kiwi aversion trainer Willy Marsh had a very successful session putting at least 20 dogs through the training which was sponsored by Ōtorohanga Kiwi House.

The next competition in the Pureora Forest Park will run in March and April 2025. Details will be available from February 1.

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