WARO details and maps available on the DOC website

Southern Lakes (Queenstown) Branch
New Zealand Deerstalkers Association
Po Box 2234, Wakatipu
Queenstown, Otago
Phone 021 942 328

30th June 2018

To John Roberts jroberts@doc.govt.nz Southern South Island WARO Co-ordinator

Incorporated in 1970, the Southern Lakes branch of the NZDA is part of the National NZ Deerstalkers Association.
The Southern Lakes Branch is also a member of CRAG (South Islands Combined Regional Access Group) and CORUF (Central Otago Recreational Users Forum) and fully supports their submissions also made.We consulted with our members and as a result would like to make the following submission for amendments to the WARO permits on behalf of all our members and the club.

Section 1 - General submission on the WARO process and concessions

  1. Maximum 3 year permit period for this round of WARO permit renewals

Rationale: The consultation process was incredibly tight, and by allowing a 3 year period better consultation can be considered for the next applications.
In our area, the public meeting in Cromwell has held during the daytime, initially 3 days before the deadline which has not been in line with the DOC consultation processes:  page 15 “allow sufficient time for the consultation process “

This 3 year period would allow the current Game Animal Council  and recreational hunters time to evaluate the current concessions with proper year round evaluations and ample time for the next round of reviews.

  1. The standard South Island closure periods should be 16th Dec – 31st Jan and 15th Mar – 30 Apr

Rationale: The dates and timings should be the same for both the North and South Island to avoid any confusion, these dates would cover time periods during school holidays when traditionally the back country is busier with families and tourists.
Due to global warming, the roar period has frequently been later in recent years due to the warmer autumns. This extended period would also on the whole cover the fluctuating dates of the School Easter holidays when the back country is considerably busier.

  1. Deer in velvet should be restricted as should solely taking trophy stags

Rationale: One argument for closing the restricted areas during the roar is to prevent no conflict with hunters however if the area has been targeted before the roar when the stags are in velvet, there is little incentive for the hunters to access these areas and help with the management of the animals with recreational hunting.

Having a set ratio of hinds to stags in the concession clauses would encourage the taking of more hinds. This would have the greatest impact on animal numbers and allow recreational hunters to target the remaining stags. Note the monitoring of sex of the deer at the meat processing plant would also need to be upheld to ensure compliance.

Secondly, having trophy stags available to hunters would encourage more trophy hunters to get out in the areas.
This is a huge under estimated tourism income.  We are one of the few countries left in the world where hunting is mainly all year round and at the moment this tourism revenue is not fully realised or understood. The fact we have WARO deters overseas hunters from coming here. Overseas hunters spend big money in our economy and could potentially contribute to DOC with the need for special permits if we diferenciated nationaility like the great walks.

  1. Areas that have been recently targeted by WARO should be available in a form of communication to hunters

Rationale: As all helicopter routes are already tracked and monitored, it would be a great tool for hunters to see where areas have not been targeted recently.
Recreational hunters will in their nature target areas that have not had a recent WARO operations in as the potential success rate would be much higher. This would really benefit the animal management as areas that may not be financially viable for WARO operations at that time (low meat prices, or distance flown with low reward) will be targeted by the recreational hunter instead.

It would also allow the recreational hunter to see areas that may not be worth visiting if recently targeted and allow them to make informed decisions about where to go, again targeting areas that may need animal control.

  1. Any land handed over to DOC as a result of any recent or future Tenure Review should NOT be allowed WARO without public consultation and that the NZDA are informed for consultation as a local stakeholder

Rationale: It would be unfair for areas the come up as a result of Tenure Review to be automatically permitted WARO (eg Mt Creighton is due to be handed over to DOC) without the correct period of consultation to be taken into consideration. This would be a breach of the Consultation Policy that DOC have.

  1. Areas readily accessible and used by hunters for recreational hunting should be closed to WARO

Rationale: Under the conservation act 1987 one of the main principles is

“Fostering recreation and allowing tourism on conservation land, providing the use is consistent with the conservation of the resource;”
Therefore Recreational Hunting is not only a tourism activity (both domestically and internationally),  it is a year round management tool for the control of wild animals. Furthermore recreational hunting is not affected by outside economic factors like the current price of venison on the market or the price of by products like velvet.

There is a conflict of interests by allowing WARO in popular and easily accessible recreational hunting areas. Recreational Hunters tend not to target WARO permitted areas both for safety reasons or presuming their success rates will be low (See point 4 discussed earlier).

Bbecause recreational hunting is on the increase (much like the population) and with increasing numbers of areas being “out of bounds” due to 1080 activity, or recent WARO activity, the areas available for recreational hunting are becoming less and less and the opportunity to “Foster recreation” is actually decreasing which is in conflict of the Conservation Act 1987 and therefore the current Conservation Management Strategy.

We agree for animal management purposes that WARO has a place for areas that are hard to access by recreational hunters – in accessible areas such as Western Fiordland or land locked areas, however there are some areas zoned green or yellow that would be better served if available solely to recreational hunters without WARO pressure.

Making areas available for recreational hunting would greatly reduce discontent and friction between WARO operators and recreational hunters and ultimately result in an effective way to control deer with a much less conflict of interests

Section 2 – Review of WARO areas in the South Island

Feedback for the next WARO review process - It would have been much easier to identify the new areas on the maps if they had been numbered or coded somehow. The recommendations in the excel sheet rely on knowledge of DOC areas and classifications rather than a description of the areas for discussion. To avoid confusion we have identified areas in the submission in circles and referenced them as zones

  1. Map 15 – Remarkables Conservation Area, Zone A

    We support the proposal that the area known as Remarkables Conservation Area in the Nevis valley is to join the adjacent land and will be not permitted/red.
    Rationale is that this is a popular and easily accessible area for recreational hunters, 4WDs and biking and would create a conflict of interest with the popularity of the area for the growing populations of Queenstown, Cromwell and Alexandra

  2. Map 15 – Timaru Creek and Dingle, Zone B

This is the Timaru Creek and Dingle catchments and is currently restricted however with the growing popularity of the Te Araroa trail and the Dingle for recreational purposes including fishing, we would request this changes to a non permitted (red) area

  1. Map 14 – Shotover Conservation Area - Mt Aurum, Zone C

There seems to be inconsistencies in information available for this area as the DOC maps site does not show the area round the Skippers township as available for recreational hunting (See figure 1 below) however according to the WARO proposal this is currently green.

Figure 1 – Taken from http://maps.doc.govt.nz/mapviewer/index.html?viewer=docmaps

This maybe because on the DOC maps it is a restricted hunting area https://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/parks-and-recreation/hunting/otago/ot-rec-huntingmaps-mount-aurum-new.pdf which the Southern Lakes NZDA successfully got changed from open hunting back to restricted hunting, a number of years ago,  because there were too many rifles in the area to be safe.

This is also a heavily visited area by commercial tourism operators and has heavy foot traffic so would be at conflict to allow WARO operations in here. I see that it is under review in the recommendations, but it does not specify sufficiently what the restrictions would be.

We would however want to see this whole area changing to red ie not permitted. The rationale being because it is very accessible by foot and heavily used already by recreational hunters.

It will also neighbour the Mt Creighton area which has recently gone through Tenure review and so once this new hunting area comes available as DOC land and hunting permitted,  there will be even easier access to the Mt Aurum area for recreational hunters.

Mt Aurum is also the one of the closest areas to Queenstown and easily accessible for the hunting tourists that we know come from overseas to the area. 

  1. Map 16 – Mavora Lakes: Zone D

 We would like to see this area changed to red ie not permitted in particular the area around the Lower Mavora Lake which includes the Te Araroa Trail and the Livingstone Mountains.

Rationale: The Te Araroa trail is currently in a Green WARO permitted zone. Most tracks are designated red – so the change is especially important as this track is growing in popularity.  In addition there are great access routes via 4WD for all types of recreation like quad bikes and motor bikes as well as recreational hunting. This includes areas upto the Forks hut and Boundary hut which are popular with all recreational users

  1. Map 16 - Eyre Mountains – Zone E 

We would like to see this area changed to red – non permitted. The rationale is that this area like the Mavora Lakes area is popular with recreational hunters and easily accessible with the 4WD tracks that access this area.

There are a considerable number of huts in this area too – Ashton, Lincoln, Upper Windley, Islands, Cromel Branch, Upper Cromel, Irthing and Mt Bee Bunkrooms which provides a great network of huts,  many of which are at the end of a well formed track.  As access and facilities are great and close enough to the Queenstown Area, this is a potentially great area for recreational hunters to control the deer populations year round on foot.

  1. Map 16 - Takitimu Range – Zone F

We would like to see the area either side of the Te Araroa trail change to red ie not permitted . The rationale being that popular trails used for recreation should not have WARO permitted above and around them. Safety would be the main factor for this one.

13. Map 12 - Ruataniwha Conservation Area – Mt Cook Area zone G

This area was part of the Glentanner/Ferintosh tenure review  and includes Bush stream/Freds stream/Whales stream/ Twins stream, We are requesting it goes to red/ not permitted

The rationale is that this area is a great recreational hunting area easily accessible from the road for Tahr and actually has little deer in the area.
Helicopters shooting from above will be seen from the road and will likely be a danger to the users in this area if WARO is permitted
Every time we have had a club trip in the Mt Cook area, we have seen other users and there are always a number of trucks (presumably other recreational users, climbers or hunters) parked up along the entire road at each creek entrance so it is definitely a popular area accessible for recreation and has no place for WARO

Section 3 - Summary of points raised above

  1. A maximum 3 year permit period for this round of WARO permit renewals
  2. The standard South Island closure periods should be 16th Dec – 31st Jan and 15th Mar – 30 Apr
  3. Deer in velvet should be restricted as should solely taking trophy stags
  4. Areas that have been recently targeted by WARO should be available in a form of communication to hunters
  5. Any land handed over to DOC as a result of any recent or future Tenure Review should NOT be allowed WARO without public consultation and that the NZDA are informed for consultation as a local stakeholder
  6. Areas readily accessible and used by hunters for recreational hunting should be closed to WARO
    All areas below are specific to an area and are requested to be red/not permitted:
  7. Map 15 – Remarkables Conservation Area, zone A
  8. Map 15 – Timaru Creek and The Dingle, zone B
  9. Map 14 – Mt Aurum, zone C
  10. Map 16 – Mavora Lakes zone D
  11. Map 16 – Eyre Mountains zone E
  12. Map 16 Takitimu Range, zone F
  13. Map 12 – Ruataniwha Conservation Area Zone G


For and on behalf of the Southern Lakes Branch of the NZDA

Incorporated Society since 1970
Association Registration 226436