Deer heads lined up for a hunting competition
Image: Becki Moss | ©

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


The annual Pureora Forest Park Hunting Competition will return for 2021.

Date:  09 February 2021

The popular competition, managed by the Department of Conservation’s Maniapoto District staff, is traditionally held in the annual deer roar in autumn. It was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown.

Kina Campbell, DOC’s Senior Ranger Community for Maniapoto, says 2021 marks the 33rd year the event has been held.

“The competition will start on 12 March and is open to all hunters with current permits for Pureora,” she says.

“This year we would like to encourage pig hunters to get a good jaw from the forest and come along for an opportunity to win prizes and meet other hunters, sponsors and DOC staff.

“We were disappointed to have to cancel last year’s competition, but in the circumstances it was the sensible thing to do.

“We’re hopeful competitors will be particularly motivated to test their skills this year to make up for missing out in 2020,” she says.

The competition allows those involved to encounter the results of many years of collective community and public agency pest control efforts undertaken in Pureora and in surrounding areas.

Participants can also arrange for their dogs to undertake Kiwi Aversion training on the day, so the animals learn to stay clear of the native birds.

Data on various populations of native birds as well as the strong population of healthy deer in the area will be displayed in various stalls on the day, and with DOC Rangers available to answer questions. Pureora Forest Park is home to good populations of several native bird species, including kākā, kōkako and kākāriki.

Hunting is a popular activity on public conservation land, and the competition is a great way to tie that into a family-friendly event, with a free BBQ and games for the kids. It’s also an opportunity for DOC to promote responsible hunting and native species protection.

New Zealand Deer Stalkers Association (NZDA) and the Te Kuiti Pig Hunting Club will assist with Douglas scoring and discuss hunting in the area and as a recreational sport.

Sponsors have again provided some fantastic prizes over a range of categories.

Categories include:

  • Best Douglas score and ugly prize for pig jaws and red deer heads.
  • The ugliest head/jaw category- which can always do with more entries – with each head entered going into the draw for a mystery bag of prizes worth approximately $1,000.
  • A subsidised helicopter trip is up for grabs a youth prize will also be added this year for entrants who are 16 years and under.
  • Under 10 year-olds can enter the photography section, and entrants should bring a printed image to be displayed.

The hind jaws collected in the competition provide DOC with valuable information about local deer populations and forest ecosystems. More than 10 years of information indicates deer populations in the hunting area are healthy and strong – good news for those keen to compete.

The competition opens 12 March, and all heads and jaws must be entered by midday 18 April at Pureora Workshop, with prizegiving to follow. To enter, hunters are required to have a valid hunting permit for Pureora. Ensure you pre-register your head or jaw at an official site.

Terms and conditions for the competition are available on the DOC website.


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