REZ Roar hunter data analysis 2022 and 2023

As a part of Sika Foundation’s adaptive deer management and research programme, the Sika Foundation successfully negotiated four helicopter access and landing sites for recreational hunters to access the REZ for the 2022 Roar (28 March – 15 May) and again in 2023 (27 March – 7 May). This opportunity was granted in response to increasing reports of deer impact on beech forests in the catchment.

Hunters filled out data sheets containing wildlife observation of native species, information on hours hunted, animals contacted and shot. Hunters also removed the jaws of animals to contribute to the dataset and understanding of herd health indicators in the REZ.

In 2022, The Sika Foundation ran a prize competition on the most hinds shot, in order to incentivise hind harvest. 338 deer were removed from the REZ in 2022, This includes the 2022 REZ Roar animals and a further 290 from management operations through winter and spring of 2022.


Facilitating recreational hunter access not only removed animals contributing to the adaptive deer management and research programme but gave recreational hunters an opportunity to be a part of the journey. This has been instrumental in the social licence gained for this project, and the support from the hunting community.


The locations were strategically picked to focus hunter effort on the more seldom hunted areas. The Rangitikei River and ecology stream valley floors are difficult for hunters to access without facilitated helicopter access.

Hunter data

Due to some hunter datasheets being not handed in, and/or data not being provided, missing data has been averaged out against provided data (numbers in red).

Number in party = average of 3.
Total hours hunted = averaged @ 25 hours per hunter.
Deer seen but not shot = average of 5 per hunter


Number in partyArea/block Catchment 2022total hours huntedDeer seen but not shotStags shotJuv stags shotHinds shotJuv Hinds shot
3Upstream of Eco7515  1 
3Upstream of Eco1815  3 
3Upstream of Eco75151   
2Upstream of Eco50104   
4Upstream of Eco1122021  
3Ecology Exclosure18016 12 
3Ecology Exclosure114104 3 
2Ecology Exclosure47103   
3Eco Junction120101   
3Eco Junction701521  
3Eco Junction9252 2 
4Eco Junction502321  
4Trick Creek701021  
3Trick Creek75104 2 
2Trick Creek5010111 
5Trick Creek8036    


Number in partyArea/block Catchment 2023total hours huntedDeer seen but not shotStags shotJuv stags shotHinds shotJuv Hinds shot
2Upstream of Eco2031   
2Upstream of Eco786    
3Eco Junction30153 1 
2Eco Junction604    
4Trick Creek466  1 
4Trick Creek904    
2Trick Creek488    

Wildlife observations 22/23

During both 2022 and 2023, all four locations had consistent whio sightings. A lone kārearea in Trick Creek, and kererū sightings localised in Eco Junction.

During 2022
An Ecology Exclosure crew heard kiwi and saw fresh kiwi probings in April, and live powelliphanta were found in Trick Creek. Tomtit, fantail and bush robin scored highest in bird observations across the board, with sightings of a pair of kārearea and kākā in Upper Eco. Low numbers of possums across the board and a stoat seen in Eco Exclosure. Poor rutting activity with little singe calling were noted with several teams noting poor quality of the deer, and poor condition of understory.

During 2023
There were no teams in Eco Exclosure in 2023. A kiwi was heard in Trick Creek. More possums were seen per hunter against 2022 data. A participant in Eco Junction who was in the same location the previous year made particular note of noticeable change in the regeneration of palatable vegetation, that was still untouched. Reports around rutting activity in general was substantially more territory, with some single calling across all three sites.

Kārearea, photo: DOC


All hunters that participated in the 2022/23 opportunity covered their own costs. There was no cost on the Sika Foundation or DOC for the animals to be removed. It is worth nothing against the 2022 ground hunter operation that the cost to remove one deer is approx. $750. Removing 16 hinds would have cost the Sika Foundation and/or DOC $12,000 and with all deer removed, this would have been $40,500.

Hunting Data summary

Hunter participation4719
Deer shot486
Hunting hours total1278372
Deer contacted but not shot1 contact per 5.5 hours hunting1 contact per 8 hours hunting
Deer shot (per hours hunted)1 Deer shot per 26.6 hours hunting1 deer shot per 62 hours hunting
Deer shot VS contacted and not shot20.87%13.04%


There were substantially less hunters involved, and deer shot in 2023 (6) in comparison with 2022 (48), however data and hunter observations collected indicate fewer animals contacted with a lower percentage of animals shot VS contacts.

The increased rutting behaviour in comparison with 2022 was apparent in the reports from the datasheets for 2023. This reflects the hind focused deer management efforts in 2022. Having with fewer hinds in better condition creating competitive rutting behaviour. This model also reduces the reproductive output of the herd and associated future management needs and stress on the habitat.

The recreational hunter contribution towards the Sika Foundation’s adaptive deer management plan has been instrumental to grow and maintain the social licence from stakeholders and the hunting community for this project. Animal data, associated jaws and hunter observations all contribute to the REZ dataset and have been a key part to help further understand the changes in response to management in both animal and environment.

More information:

Adaptive Deer Management Plan 2023
Herd Health Indicators

See this video from the Clarke boys, who participated in the opportunity both years.