Titles Wapiti Pt 1
Wapiti Pt 1
Part 1: The Trophy Hunters
This is the story of the early years of the unique New Zealand Wapiti herd set in the wild and mysterious mountains of Fiordland. It is the story of hunters willing to pit their skills against the magnificent Wapiti and to physically tackle the unexplored and intimidating interior of Fiordland. Superb aerial footage takes the viewer into the home of the Wapiti and to the stories of those dedicated early hunters.
Wapiti (Part 1: The Trophy Hunters);Histotrical film, modern HD footage and stories of NZ premiere wild deer herd.
DVD by South Coast Productions, 60 min. www.videosouth.com
NEIL KEATING- Rural News
STRONG political overtones colour the latest offering from the hunting-heritage film-makers in the Deep South.
Dave Asher and Dave McCarlie, who gave us such gems as Good Keen Men and Classic Cattle Musters, do it again with Wapiti (The Trophy Hunters).
There’s something here for all: breathtaking aerial footage of Fiordland National Park (filmed with gear used by Peter Jackson in Lord of the Rings), yarns by greats Alan Harrison, Jack McKenzie and Jack Luttrell and many others about hunting the wapiti, pictures of the animals themselves (antler heads 121cm (48in) across were not uncommon, the record was 255cm (60in), and a record of the mismanagement and blame game that has blighted the wapiti resource for decades.
Wapiti were introduced early in the 20th century from North America, where they are known as elk. They proliferated in the Fiordland but mismanagement soon cut in.
Hunters shot them for the best trophies (heads), unrestrained by the government on which lay the onus to manage this gift to all New Zealand.
Also, the wapiti mixed and interbred with red deer, so much that hunters were commissioned to cull the cross-breeds and reds mingling with the wapiti herd. Not a very successful operation, because the shooters mostly couldn’t tell the difference over long distances.
“The problem was always there was no long-term vision for the wapiti,” says McCarlie. “So hunters and the government mismanaged them; nobody took responsibility.
“It reached its worst under Minister of Conservation Sandra Lee
“Then it got better under Chris Carter, to whom hunters owe a lot, because he told the warring parties to sit down and talk about it.”
The prize for best yarn on Wapiti goes to the man found with one spare round stowed in the stock of his Lee Enfield .303 (these rifles had a little “cupboard” for cleaning gear). Asked why he carried this single round, he replied it was there in case of kea.
But how many kea can you shoot with one round, he was asked.
His reply: “If I break a leg up here alone, nobody’s gonna find me, and I’m not gonna let the kea start on me. That round’s for me!”