Blog: What’s Your Big Game Plan?

It’s quite likely you’ve already got the topo maps out and have been arguing with your mates about where’s the best place to get that once in a lifetime chance at a trophy

What are you up to this roar? Did you get your usual block?” These questions may have been occurring with more and more frequency as we enter February. Where to go is certainly an important question but it’s only one part of a robust Big Game Plan. Below we explore some of the critical parts of every plan.

Plan together. Who is going where, when will you meet up?
Talk to your mates. Plan the trip together to make sure everyone knows what’s going on.

Be seen: High contrast clothing is an essential item.

As long as it contrasts with your environment — choose your favourite blaze colour — it’s a key bit of equipment during the roar when there are a much higher number of hunters out. Similarly, binoculars are also essential gear. You should not identify game using only your rifle scope, this could easily break a primary firearms safety rule.

Be sure: ID your target beyond all doubt

Are you sure of your target? Why are you sure? Have you seen the whole animal? How many spikes, what sex and how fat is it? Is it really what you are after? Is it a person? Last year there were two misidentified shootings, one resulting in a fatality. Both were shot at less than 75m and one of them was from the same party as the shooter.

Relax and BE SURE > Is it a stag? How many points? Is it in good condition? Then check again.

Mis-Identified key statistics — Page 43–45. (A hunter’s tale, MSC 2017)

> 80% Are from the same hunting party

> 92% The victim is less than 75m from the shooter

> It happens to experienced hunters as well as inexperienced hunters.

Watch for key tips while hunting in a group

Who are you going with?

Is it their first hunt or are they experienced, might they want to share rifles? What’s the walk-in like? Keep your compatriots in mind, you may have to pick an easier walk-in spot. Conversely, if you are all keen, go for the gusto on an epic walk in away from everyone else. On the day, talk to your partners about where you are going and what time you will link up or otherwise move.

Choose one shooter and constantly communicate

What if someone wants to do something else or changes their mind?

It is important to stick with the plans you made with your party. How will they know where to find you if something goes wrong? If you prefer this, perhaps bring walkie-talkies or arrange more frequent meeting times. In any case, do not enter someone else’s hunting area if you have agreed for them to use it.

Be found: If it does go wrong what type of communications equipment are you taking?

We recommend a PLB for all hunting trips, one for every group at a minimum.

Think about your firearms.

When was the last time you’ve had them out for a shoot? Don’t kid yourself, re-zero your rifle every year. Take your mates along and add an extra box or two of the ammunition that your rifle likes. Spot for each other. Write down the drops for each range and tape them onto your scope or stock. Consider bringing a single rifle and sharing the load, and the shooting, with your spotter.

Have a great trip this year and #MakeitHomeNZ to tell your stories!