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Thread: Hunting Historical Oddities

  1. #1
    Member RichieRich's Avatar
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    Hunting Historical Oddities

    Over my short period that I’ve been hunting, the books I’ve read about the sport have outnumbered the deer I’ve seen probably 5-1, and I dare say I’ve spent more money on books than I have on hunting apparel, with the exception of my shiny new Tikka .
    I now have (and read) the top 3 on my ‘most wanted’ list:
    You’ll Learn No Harm from the Hills - Newton McConochie
    Red Stags Calling – Gordon Atkinson
    My Stalking Memories – Major R.A. Wilson

    These books are fascinating and provide new comers like me to the realm of hunting in NZ, a vivid and in-depth scene to the hardships and trials and tribulation of pre and post war stalking, exploring many regions that have never been explored before.

    There have been a number of things in these books that nowadays hunters simply can’t comprehend. Size of the deer heads, size of the deer herds, miles travelled by foot, clothing used whilst hunting and weight of packs shouldered (I use the term ‘packs’ very loosely!).
    There are however two ‘oddities’ that I have found from reading these books

    1st: from You’ll Learn No Harm from the Hills - Newton McConochie. Pg. 161-162
    Whilst Hunting in Dusky Sound for Moose and Axis Deer.

    ‘When descending a clear strip that extended well down into the bush, we saw lying 80 yards away a small animal showing characteristics distinct from the red deer. Henry to whom I had loaned my rifle for the day, fired, the bullet striking the ground under the neck. From the lying down position, the animal sprang into full stride without the momentary pause characteristic of red deer. Neither did it follow the well-worn travel track three feet away and parallel to its recumbent position. A leap across the track and a few bounds took it into a nearby gully and it was seen no more.”
    ‘On the way in that morning, we picked up a small skull which I brought home to compare with that of a pure-bred red deer. A number of differences in bone structure were evident. This, together with the very small slot and the habits of the small animal seen, convinced us that here was a mystery awaiting solution.
    After giving the matter a great deal of thought I was led to the following possibilities:
    Could an axis deer through variations of climate, feed and mineral deficiencies lose its spots?
    Could the axis cross with red and breed back with substantial characteristics of the latter yet remain axis in size?
    Could red deer on open range deteriorate in stature and isolate themselves to a restricted area?
    These questions were discussed with Thane Riney, the eminent American Biologist, who discounted them all.
    Consequent my study of Sika skins and bone structure of Sika skulls and their resemblance to those of the little mystery animal of Dusky Sounds, I have wondered if by some error it was the Sika deer and not the axis deer that was liberated there. I hope that someday the identity of this intriguing will be established.’
    This could turn NZ history on its head if Sika were accidently liberated instead of/as well as Axis deer

    2nd: from My Stalking Memories – Major R.A. Wilson Pg.116
    In chapter XII - ‘Personalities and Notes’, about Kenneth Dalrymple.

    ‘When the wapiti opened up he became a yearly applicant for a wapiti block and got some good trophies. Les Murrell was generally his guide. He made several trips after Moose and Axis deer in Fiordland He never got a moose but on his last trip obtained the only Axis stag shot.’

    With lots the emphases put on to giant Wapiti heads, massive Otago royal reds and the elusive Moose of Wet jacket arm, surely the only set of antlers secured in the New Zealand from the ill-fated Fiordland Axis herd should be thought of highly amongst hunters, yet this trophy are hardly know about.

    And just a side thought. Has anyone ever considered building a New Zealand ‘Hunting’ museum?
    NZ has a rich history with game animals and some of the world’s greatest trophies have been secured on this land, unfortunate many of them are kept hidden away in private hands and collections and it is a crime that only a chosen few can view them.
    Wouldn’t it be great if they were all exhibited in a museum so that hunters like myself can see with my own eyes what a 40x40 royal red looks like, a 200DS+ Sika, or classic sweeping tines of a high 50 inch Wapiti, or even dare I say a Fiordland Moose!
    Thoughts?
    Raging Bull likes this.

  2. #2
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    the old hunting books from days gone by make great reading. those old boys make us modern day hunters look like a bunch of soft equipment orintated pussies. have a read of joff thompsons deer hunter. hard days hard men. although nowdays we have to walk further and look harder for a feed of venison. back then they also pretty much did not have to worry about 1080. another book that springs to mind is the wanderings of a deer hunter by don kiddie. very good reading if you are a north island hunter. a wealth of knowledge worth capturing.

  3. #3
    Member Raging Bull's Avatar
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    Heres a poor photo of K Dalrymple's head. I've got photos of the Wilson collection too which I could post up if you are interested.

    K Dalrymple's head.



    Wilsons Wapiti.





    And the Mick Halberg, head of George River, 1926. DS 463.375.



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  4. #4
    Member RichieRich's Avatar
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    Absolutely RB, that would be awesome
    I love the idea that these hunters could have rooms in theirs house walled with trophies that hunters these days would sell and arm and a leg for.
    I truly believe that there should be a museum built to hunting, to tell the story of game animals in this country and allow the public to see the trophies they've read about so many times in books and magazines.
    There are thousands of museums to paintings, why not trophies?

  5. #5
    Member Raging Bull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichieRich View Post
    Absolutely RB, that would be awesome
    I love the idea that these hunters could have rooms in theirs house walled with trophies that hunters these days would sell and arm and a leg for.
    I truly believe that there should be a museum built to hunting, to tell the story of game animals in this country and allow the public to see the trophies they've read about so many times in books and magazines.
    There are thousands of museums to paintings, why not trophies?
    Here you go mate.

    Author of ' My Stalking Memories'

    Major Robert A. Wilson, D.S.O, died in his sleep on 27th November, 1964, 88 years old.

    A year or two back I was invited to go and view Major R.A Wilson's D.S.O trophy heads at his family home in Bulls. *I apologize for the photography, the light wasn't in my favour and I only had a point and shoot at this stage. *

    These are some of his trophys (not including the Sambar stag). *


    Major R.A Wilson's D.S.O - First Stag













    Number 11 (first on the left) - Otago





    "One day he (Arthur Sexton) was riding on my property and his dogs got on to a big stag in the swamp. The stag came out on to the sand flat adjoining so Arthur (though the only weapon he had was a sheath-knife) galloped into the stag, and horse and stag fell in a heap. Before he could use the knife the stag was up and into the swamp again but again the dogs brought him out. Again Arthur galloped into him but this time he jumped onto the Sambur's back and when the stag got up he hamstrung him with his knife and then killed him. This stag was well known and had evaded Arthur several times previously so he was very keen not to loose his chance of getting him"

    (Wilson, 1961:134 - My stalking memories)











    Inlaid hunting related artwork in some of the furniture.





    The fine eighteen pointer Wapiti head , 52 1/2 x 48, obtained by Major R.A Wilson D.S.O in the Glaisnock in 1938.








    Raging Bull


    P.S I too would be keen for a NZ Hunting museum, similar to what that have over in Europe.
    R93 likes this.
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  6. #6
    Member GravelBen's Avatar
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    Cool stuff - I seem to remember some similarly impressive racks on the wall of the Manapouri Pub too.

  7. #7
    Pull, Bang, F$#K!!!! Bulltahr's Avatar
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    There was a hunting museum in Queenstown for a long time, downtown. Alan Harrison one of the great South Is trophy hunters ran it. He closed it down after recieving continous bad press from the hand wringing liberals that now infest that town.
    Alan's book would be one of the best on hunting in New Zealand during the period 50-70s. He was a true gentleman with the highest of ethical hunting standards.
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  8. #8
    Member RichieRich's Avatar
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    Theres always someone that has to complain isn't there!
    I reckon Nelson or St Arnauds (Red Deer Lodge) would be a good place, steeping in history and centrally located so peolpe from any part of the country wouldn't hvae to travel a huge distance to get there.
    Would be a tall order trying to gain permission from the 'hunting' families (Herrick,McConochie) to accumulate all those heads but it would be well worth it in the end

  9. #9
    R93
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    Not wanting to cause a debate but I think the Majority of NZ best heads come from the Otago herd, shot around Wanaka or the West Coast. A museum which is a great idea, should go somewhere near there. No?
    Barefoot likes this.
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  10. #10
    Member RichieRich's Avatar
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    I did think about that, also Queenstown and Te Anau could be good locations, but i think Nelson region is more accessibly to hunters from both islands.
    For someone like myself who lives in the north island, to travel to Southland would be a very expensive trip involving flights and transport, where as people would be more inclined to do a road trip down to wellington then get the ferry across. This way its within driving distance from most major centres.

  11. #11
    Village Idjit Barefoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichieRich View Post
    . . . . where as people would be more inclined to do a road trip down to wellington then get the ferry across.
    Speak for yourself, your talking about a very expensive stretch of water
    A large city with a good airport, or queenstown which seems to get flights from everywhere, would be far better choices if the aim was the domestic market.
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  12. #12
    Pull, Bang, F$#K!!!! Bulltahr's Avatar
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    Historically thinking, I would say Wanaka or Te Anau for the majority of the significant heads. Could never afford the rent of Queenstown.......
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  13. #13
    R93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulltahr View Post
    Historically thinking, I would say Wanaka or Te Anau for the majority of the significant heads. Could never afford the rent of Queenstown.......


    Queenstown would have to have one of the most invasive councils in NZ as well. Pack of perverbial self absorbed c%^ts I reckon.

    My pick for a site would have to be Haast. Cheap and is still the heart of most of the uninfluenced Red Stag tophy grounds. It also has the traffic flow to accomodate a museum. The Waiatoto still has a decent strain of the original Otago herd and feeds alot of area.
    Last edited by R93; 18-12-2012 at 06:56 PM.
    Do what ya want! Ya will anyway.

 

 

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