31st March – 2nd April 2017
At last! Work was out of the way, there was a clear weather window (well, for the first couple of days anyway...) and I was finally able to head down to the Southern Kaimanawas for a jaunt over to Thunderbolt Stream. After having to postpone this trip a couple of times, it was third time lucky and I couldn’t wait to get there.
It was the end of March now and the stags would be in hard antler and just beginning to kick into gear for the rut. Not a bad time of the..... Read More
27th – 30th January 2017
Even the best laid plans can fall though and unfortunately that is what happened with our Thunderbolt/Rangitikei trip. Due to circumstances beyond my control, our flight into the Thunderbolt Tops had to be cancelled! I was pretty gutted as it was an opportunity for Scotty and Phill to come along for a fly-in hunt.
So, back to the drawing board and after my hunt in the Back Ridge area, I decided that a return trip was in order, this time to hunt the big range that r..... Read More
4th – 7th November 2016
One of the main attractions for me when I’m chasing sika is the exploration of the country they live in, Nothing beats it. since I first began hunting sika, I have always wanted to cover as much of the Kaimanawas and Kawekas as possible and visiting every established public hut and bivvy is part of this attraction.
With our wee girl Ruby now a year old and things at home more settled, I had discussed with Amanda the possibility of writing another series on sika..... Read More
Nik reviews Savage Arms’ latest hunting rifle...
Lightweight rifles are all the rage these days – most hunters are looking at ways to reduce the amount of weight they carry. A kilo here or there can make a measurable difference to how your body copes on an extended trip, or even a day hunt.
When it comes to rifle weight this kilo can equate to around 25% of the total weight you are carrying on your body. Throughout my hunting career, my primary hunting rifles have generally been on the hea..... Read More
6th – 9th September 2015
Over the last five issues of NZG&H we have hunted and traversed some of the most iconic sika hunting areas in the Kaimanawa and Kaweka Forest Parks, including the Southern Kaimanawa Access Poled Route, Ruatea (Jap Creek) Stream, Middle Hill, Ballard & Makino Huts, Waipakihi Hut, and Oamaru, Tussock & Boyd Huts.
For me personally, hunting these different areas and challenging myself throughout the seasons, has been the most rewarding and enjoyable experi..... Read More
22nd – 25th July 2015
I have to admit to being pretty excited when the time came to head away for this trip. The Oamaru has special meaning to me, it’s where my sika-hunting career really began and each time I walk up the steps to the hut I am reminded of some of my most memorable trips.
To sweeten the deal, I decided to head further in and visit both Tussock Hut and Boyd Hut, combining areas within both the Kaimanawa and Kaweka State Forest Parks. The walk also includes a lengthy bush sta..... Read More
Rob Bedingfield tinkers with loads...
Just when I thought that all my rifles had carefully worked up loads that could not be improved on, I started to think that maybe they could be optimized just a little further. This is possibly because of my impending retirement and the thought of having nothing to do except housework.
Choosing the optimum powder is simply a matter of consulting the published reloading data. I find that my Lee manual covers most of the information I require, with the ..... Read More
Don MacDonald tells how...
With today’s rifles “out of the box” accuracy has never been better, and there are not too many that won’t shoot a 100 yard group under two inches with the right ammo. Some manufacturers like Remington claim sub MOA and some like Weatherby even prove it with a test target. Most of these rifles are mass produced, with synthetic stocks and some components of questionable quality, but offer very good value for money. The accuracy of these rifles has been achieved by us..... Read More
Mark Stone reacquaints himself with the Z-Sport, a gun that’s brought Zoli international success...
While every top gunmaker offers a selection of shotguns specifically designed for each of the various disciplines, there’s always one particular model that’ll bring them the recognition they seek, and that’s their sporters. In the hands of a competent shooter there isn’t a clay target event the sporting 12 gauge can’t take on. Any decent sporting clay layout incorporates going away birds, drive..... Read More
Don MacDonald buys a tiny .22 for his boys...
Teaching a child to hunt and shoot can be a difficult task. It’s not usually a lack of enthusiasm on the child’s part, but rather the dimensions of the equipment. Many adult shooters struggle to find a firearm that fits their shooting style, so how can you possibly teach a youngster the correct fundamentals of shooting with the same equipment?
Six year-old Ben MacDonald found the Rascal comfortable to hold and shoot, unlike full-size .22 ri..... Read More
Gerry Veugelaers tells how...
Military training rifles were around well before smokeless powder found its way onto the scene more than 100 years ago, and the .22 long rifle cartridge, that also started out way back then, is still ideally at home in these platforms.
TOP: CMMG 20” upper with 4x IOR M2 scope and Knight’s guards.
Bottom: Gerry’s M4 with home made barrel, modified Ciener kit, 4x ACOG optics, Magpul guards and a Gunworks Canterbury suppressor.
While most training rifle..... Read More
5-8 June 2015
I first hunted the Waipakihi in my late teens with a trip over the Urchin Track down into the valley. Although tent-bound for a couple of days due to heavy rain, during the one fine spell I managed to shoot an 8-point red stag just inside the bush edge directly opposite Thunderbolt Creek’s confluence with the river. Apart from that trip, I have only hunted the lower reaches of the Waipakihi on two other occasions.
The Waipakihi River flows through the western flank of the Kai..... Read More
22-25 March 2015
It had been a few years since I last visited the Kawekas. My last trip was a week long hunt at Mangatainoka Hut with my mate Scotty and brother-in-law John in 2012. Prior to that I had done several other trips into Ngaawapurua, Harkness and Gorge Tops.
For this trip I chose to walk a loop beginning at Makahu Road and linking up Middle Hill, Ballard and Makino Huts along the way. Taking a break from the bush stalking, the plan was spend time glassing the open country a..... Read More
Daniel Peat teaches his boys to shoot...
Ten years ago my wife announced she was pregnant. In the days following the initial hype and all the drama that goes with such an immense occasion, I began wondering, “What sort of rifle do I need for my child?”, a completely natural line of thinking, surely.
My research led me to the TC Contender, Generation Two, a single shot rifle system with a huge amount of versatility and a lightweight design that has benefits for younger shooters. Its barrels..... Read More
5-8 & 26-29 November 2014
I have hunted this area since my early teens and shot my first ever deer there, an 8-point sika stag. A fluke I admit, however a very special moment as it all happened while hunting together with my dad. I wrote an article about that hunt way back in issue #68.
Anyway, to kick this series off we head down to the Desert Road, its early spring and the Southern Kaimanawas should (yeah right...) just be beginning to see the first of the new growth.
The Southern..... Read More
Nik and Scotty head into the Northern Kaimanawas for some winter sika hunting...
The Kaipo Valley would have to rate as one of my all time favourite places to hunt sika. Upon first visiting the Oamaru Hut back in 1991 I knew instantly that this was a special area and one I would be visiting time and time again. I began writing about my trips into the Oamaru way back in issue #67, which is over twelve years and exactly 79 issues ago!
View across the Upper Kaipo towards the well known an..... Read More
Working a 28 days on 28 days off roster I get a bit of time for some leisure, but heading to work on the 25th of March is not ideal when you like hunting stags in the roar. One of the longest months in my life!
Suzi and Blair with two more sika heads for the collection.
Back from the shipyard in China and ready to go stag hunting, my wife Suzi had all the food and gear prepared, all I had to do was load it into her car ready for the morning. We travelled to Taupo and I took Suzi throug..... Read More
Don MacDonald buys a new rifle for South Island hunting...
In my last article on Weatherby rifles I talked about my dream of travelling to California, touring the Weatherby factory, shaking Ed Weatherby’s hand and purchasing a Mark V rifle. I still haven’t managed to save enough to get to the factory and shake Ed’s hand, although I do talk to him on the phone from time to time. But I have managed to purchase a wooden-stocked Mark V sporter in my favourite calibre, .300 Weatherby Magnum.
S..... Read More
Optics Editor Don MacDonald field tests a new pair of binos from the Austrian maestros...
Over the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to review and field test top of the line Swarovski gear. This includes the Z6 riflescope and the fantastic EL range of binoculars. These items are pretty much the best of the best in terms of hunting optics, so when the NZ Ammunition Co sent me a pair of new midrange SLC 10x42s I was a bit more reserved when the green box arrived. That was until I opened it...... Read More
Three magnums, three barrels, 'one gun'...
NZG&H first reviewed the Blaser R8 Professional Tracker back in issue #135. It proved to be a fine rifle with great balance and an almost shotgun type feel to it when bringing up to the shoulder.
For those familiar with the Blaser family of firearms, feel free to jump ahead a paragraph. For those who aren’t, Blaser is a German firearm manufacturer recognised here in New Zealand for its flagship R93 Straight Pull bolt-action rifles. High qualit..... Read More