Landcare Southern Kaimanawa Sika Deer Survey 2018

Landcare is surveying the Sika Herd in the Southern Kaimanawa for OSPRI as part of their TB eradication work. The Sika Foundation is working with Landcare to ensure the best results for disease management, conservation and the Recreational Hunting.

So far this season, 79 deer [67 hinds and 12 stags] have been harvested by the chopper. This is in addition to the 147 deer from last season. They have let 65 stags go this year. But there have been a few small/young stags shot by mistake, as you would expect. Sika don’t give the shooter much decision time.

The excellent support from the recreational hunters in the Waipakihi [30 additional deer submitted] has allowed Landcare to be very selective with their chopper harvest. TB has not been detected from any of the 250+ deer sampled. All the carcasses recovered have gone to Iwi to be utilised.

There was some gutting done on the confluence of Trick Creek and the Rangitikei. Landcare are concerned it could be mistaken for illegal WARO work. The survey work removing hinds is a much better outcome for conservation and recreational hunting. The WARO would simply target the bigger, commercially viable stags.

Landcare have generously agreed to record the reproductive status and condition of these hinds and make their jaws available to age again this season. Condition was again pretty average this year, with many barren hinds. NOTE: The harvest was carried out just prior to fawning.

This work is creating a unique and accurate picture of the Sika Herd dynamics, which is going to be an invaluable tool in the impending discussions with DOC about their desire to undertake their own control measures for the Sika Herd.