Special Feature: Red
and sika trophy herds under active volcanoes
Three striking landmarks dominate the Central North Island
skyline in the region known as the Volcanic Plateau.
Tongariro National Park embraces the active volcanoes Mounts
Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe plus the dormant and lower profile Mt
Tongariro. The lower flanks of these peaks have ancient lava
flows with dense forest cover offering a refuge for red and sika
herds. These forests are criss-crossed with a mosaic of old
logging roads, which present the hunter with good access and a
chance to bag world class trophy animals.
Principal forest areas are the Tongariro, Erua, Rangataua, Taupo
and Kaimanawa along with the very productive Mt Pihanga at the
southern end of Lake Taupo. The Kaimanawa is the largest area and
the most popular hunting location in the North Island. It has a
huge variety of terrain from grassy river flats to steep beech
forest slopes and open tussock tops.
Red deer are often found above the bush line in the Kaimanawas
and the north eastern block is gazetted as a Recreational Hunting
Area. Deer are present in moderate numbers in all the Volcanic
Plateau beech and podocarp forests and good trophies are quite
common, especially in the Pihanga-Kakaramea and Tongariro Forest
Sika deer are widespread in the Kaimanawas and rapidly
infiltrating the other forests, sometimes supplanting reds due to
their aggressive nature and heavy browsing. Red/sika hybrids are
often seen. Top trophy heads are taken from Puketitiri in the
northern Kaimanawas and also from the Kawekas.
Wild pigs are scattered through all the forests with moderate
numbers around Mt Pihanga and in the Lake Taupo western reserves
in regenerating native scrub. Goats are present in isolated stray
herds but are struggling to survive under DOCs eradication
Mallard and grey ducks, shovelers and paradise shelducks are
found in ponds, streams, lakes and marshlands in low numbers.
Pheasants and quail are present in isolated areas.
Guided hunting for red and sika deer is available in Ohakune.
Helicopter transport and guided fly-ins to huts in the Pureoras,
Kaimanawas, Kawekas and Ureweras (including private land) are
provided by several operators at Taupo Airport. Outdoor guiding
can be obtained at Taupo for wild pigs, turkeys, goats and