The Game Animal Council in collaboration with the Department of Conservation, New Zealand Deerstalkers Association, local landowners and recreational hunters successfully implemented a hunter-led deer management and research project in the Lake Sumner Recreational Hunting Area (RHA) during May 2022.

The operation, which was undertaken by experienced ground-based volunteer hunters , removed 126 breeding hinds. This has lowered the overall size of the herd and its breeding potential, limiting population growth for the next three to five years and allows time to develop a longer-term RHA management strategy.

The jaw and uterus were taken from the animals harvested and analysed to determine the condition and reproductive status of the animals. This has provided additional data on the health of the herd and helps inform future management in the RHA.

You can read the final report and analysis here.

We want to thank DOC, NZDA (particularly the North Canterbury branch), landowners, the volunteer hunters and all others who assisted in the project.

Lake Sumner RHA

The Lake Sumner RHA was gazetted in 1981 to provide additional opportunities for recreational hunters in the years of strong Wild Animal Recovery Operations (WARO) and low deer numbers. It remains a popular location for red deer hunting as it has the benefit of being relatively accessible meaning that hundreds of hunters annually fly and walk into the area to hunt for both elusive trophy stags and meat animals.