Special Feature: Localised herds of red, fallow, sambar and rusa deer
The broad Bay of Plenty basin embraces a surprising variety of seascapes, landforms, flora and fauna.
A narrow coastal farm belt separates golden summer holiday beach resorts from the impressive backdrop of the bush clad Kaimai Ranges and Te Urewera National Park. The park terrain is rugged and the hunting tracks are steep, but the close proximity to the sea and low altitude means that the climate is very mild by mountain standards.
Red deer are relatively common throughout the region, with moderate densities in the Whakatane, Waimana, Whirinaki and Rangitaiki river catchments of the Ureweras. Fallow deer are present in low numbers along the Oropi-Otawa Range inland from Te Puke. This narrow strip of forest has complex land tenures adjoining it, and is sufficiently rugged to be compass country, but persistent effort can be well rewarded.
The Rotorua lakes region is an interesting and productive hunting area. Sambar deer territory extends from Mt Tarawera to the Galatea slopes of the Ureweras. A small herd at Lake Rerewhakaitu has spread through the northern fringe of the Kaingaroa Forest as far as Mt Edgecumbe, and produces a few good trophies each year.
The rusa deer range overlaps the sambar territory in the Kaingaroa exotic pine plantations and Galatea Plains. The main concentration of rusa is in the Ikawhenua Range between the Horomanga and Waiohau rivers. The best hunting period is during the rusa roar in August.
Wild pigs are present throughout the Bay of Plenty in scattered pockets in the Kaimai, Oropi, Whirinaki and Urewera forest areas. Goats are common in most areas despite periodic attempts at extermination.
Ducks are common throughout the Bay of Plenty, particularly on the 14 Rotorua Lakes and Tauranga harbour. Pheasants, California quail and brown quail are widely spread and the production forests offer some of the best upland game hunting in New Zealand.
Guided hunting with helicopter fly-ins to the Kawekas and Ureweras is available from Murupara. Guided deerstalking and pig hunting services are based in Opotiki. Sika hunting in the Kaimanawas and Ureweras can be arranged in Rotorua and Te Puke.