Tahr control is ongoing within the feral range management units with the Northern and Southern Exclusion Zones having been the focus of operations prior to July.
All areas will receive attention at some stage during July and August and while the Game Animal Council is working hard to get DoC to improve their notifications we may not know very far in advance, if at all, as to where and when the specific operations will take place. Hunters need to factor this in to their tahr hunting plans if they are intending to hunt during this period.
Note that bulls are not being targeted by operations within the feral range.
Of particular interest to hunters and something that the Game Animal Council and the NZ Tahr Foundation successfully negotiated with DoC are the production of maps showing the locations and numbers of tahr controlled, and where and in what numbers bulls have been seen.
Tahr Liaison Group Update – August 2019
By the end of August 10,000 animals will have been removed as agreed to in the operation plan. As a result of the control work, the Tahr Foundation and GAC no longer believe there are too many tahr and see it as an appropriate time to take stock of tahr numbers and the numbers harvested before consideration is given to further tahr control operations. We also want to know the potential impact on hunting interests if the current level of harvesting of a reduced herd proves to be unsustainable.
Concerns were raised about the failure to include recreational hunter contributions in the control numbers, and the restrictions placed on WARO. This is to be addressed in the September 2019 to 30 June 2020 Plan.
The Draft Control Plan for 1st September 2019 to 30th June 2020
Wild Animal Recovery Operators (WARO), can take place from 1st September 2019 to 30th April 2020. May and June are excluded to reduce conflict with trophy hunting. DOC control (including contracts and AATH) is to be limited to 1st September to 14th November 2019 and focused on exclusion zones and the periphery of management units 1 and 7. Some buffer activity for management unit 7 is to take place in unit 6 (Landsborough). The bulk of official search & control is to take place inside the national parks and again no identifiable bulls are to be targeted.
The Tahr Foundation and GAC are encouraging the official control inside national parks to be targeted toward areas that recreational hunters cannot easily reach. This would be mostly no fly zones.
This is still an interim plan and the Tahr Foundation and GAC are still focussed on having a longer term management plan for tahr and will continue to work towards that.
From what we are hearing from all the hunting sectors, and from the maps DOC is posting on their website, there are still good numbers of bulls out there. We encourage everyone to keep on hunting and contribute to tahr management.
Recreational Hunting App
An App is being developed to verify hunter’s kills and some preliminary trialling has been done to assess its capability. This is a work in progress.
In the following videos Professor Geoff Kerr describes how DoC has estimated the number of tahr.