Welcome to Doctari Safaris Hunting Newsletter 2 Post 2: Autumn is Gamebird Time: May 2019 New Zealand has a strong gamebird-hunting culture. The early European pioneers wanted the aristocrat’s sport, but didn’t want the aristocrats to be the only people to enjoy it. They brought out the gamebirds, and established a society where people of all classes could hunt them. Unlike big game which lost its protection in the 1930s, game-birds are strictly protected by law, and twelve Fish and Game Councils control the season within each region of the country. Duck-hunting is a big part of rural New Zealand and the opening weekend in May is observed by hundreds of hunters. It will be May 4/5 in 2019. The Maniototo landscape where Steve and Nicky Dougherty are based is a mixture of wetland (rivers, ponds and swamps), pasture and briar covered upland cover which provides a habitat for a wide range of desirable hunting species. The licenced wetland and pasture species are grey, mallard and shoveller duck, paradise shelduck; black swan, and pukeko (similar to a coot) while the upland environment offers Californian quail. Birds not on the gamebird licence, but hunted, are Canada goose, merriam turkey, feral white geese, and rock pigeons. For the overseas hunter, the birds with the best populations in the Doctari hunting area are mallard ducks, paradise shelduck, Canada geese, turkey, and Californian quail, while the other species are essentially bonus birds. To shoot here, a visitor must have a hunting licence which costs NZ$96 a year in 2019 while weekly or daily licences are also available. A licence allows a hunter to shoot anywhere in New Zealand. Five shot semi-automatic shotguns are allowed, with steel shot only being used when shooting over water. Regulations differ slightly from province to province, but the waterfowl season is essentially May to the end of June, the upland season May to late August. A mixed duck bag may allow up to 25 birds a day, while 10 quail a day may be harvested. Doctari Safaris offers a NZ$500 a day guiding package which may be either a) guided wetland hunting using maimai/decoy equipment, or b) guided upland hunting over gundogs on Garrawaye Station. Clients hunting over a number of days may arrange to stay in the Lodge. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org Not many sleeps left.
Welcome to The Doctari Safaris Hunting Newsletter
Company owners Steve and Nicky Dougherty and hunting and fishing columnist Greg Morton have known each other for twenty years, and the following regular posts by Greg are based on his experiences hunting on Garrawaye Station over the past two decades.
Post 1: We Go Way Back: April 2019
I first meet Steve and Nicky Dougherty in 2000. I was a feature writer for The New Zealand Fishing News and was writing a Profile piece on a fairly new Central Otago Company that offered fishing and free-range hunting to clients. The Dougherty business was called Doctari Safaris, had been formed in 1997 and guides consisted of Steve and his mate Dean. Clients were mostly local, game was primarily wild pigs, wild goats, wild turkeys and nomadic red and fallow deer and hunting methods were based on ‘spot and stalk’ strategies learnt by Steve and Dean over the years. Nicky was pregnant with their first child (now 19), and in addition to guiding Steve was running the farm that doubles as part of their hunting terrain.
Though busy they had a plan.
Over two days we hunted wild pig successfully, and I gathered information for the articlewhich described at that time a fledgling company with high hopes. During that time we hit it off as hunters and blokes, I loved the Maniototo ‘big sky’ country and as the years passed both of us became more involved in the international hunting industry, him as an outfitter and me as New Zealand correspondent for the USA publication The Hunting Report. Over the years I saw the plan becoming reality and wrote articles about what I saw both nationally and internationally. Now living just down the road from the Dougherty operation I regularly visit, and am amazed at how this enterprising and enthusiastic couple have turned an idea into a thriving business. The family has grown to three children; Charlie, Tia and Billy, in addition to free-range hunting there is a hunting estate and modern Lodge, the client-base is nowmostly international, and trophy quality is high though exceptionally well priced. Bow-hunters are particularly well catered for, in terms of packages and the nature of the terrain. This first newsletter post has been written in April: an apt time, as Doctari hills will be resonating to the roar of red stags and croaking of fallow bucks. It will be going off big timein the Garrawaye valleys.