Hunt winner writes about once in a lifetime trip to New Zealand from Friends of NRA
- Last fall the Central Coast Friends of NRA
, based in Newport, Oregon, auctioned off a New Zealand hunting trip during its annual banquet. The winner, Chris Vukasovich, recently returned from from the land of the long white cloud and wrote the NRA a nice letter about his Red Stag hunt.
I would like to take this opportunity to comment on a hunting trip I purchased at a Friends of NRA banquet here in Newport, OR. It was a Red Stag hunt in New Zealand provided by Central South Island Hunting. Gary Oakes is the owner/outfitter and I can’t recommend him highly enough.
Having hunted in Africa, Mexico and most of the western United States, I was excited to try a totally different area. The hunt was provided by Gary who lives in Omaru, South Island, New Zealand (www.csihunting.co.nz). When I contacted Gary he was very informative and helpful. He inquired what else, if anything, I would like to hunt. I told him I would like to do some boar hunting and he said he would be ready. We set a date for the hunt and he said he would meet us at the airport.
My wife has never accompanied me on previous hunting trips so this would be a first. I would hunt and she would explore. We decided that after the hunt we would tour New Zealand and stop in Fiji on the way back. Because of this, I decided to use one of Gary’s rifles. It was nice to find out that his equipment was the same as what I hunt with at home.
When we arrived in Dunedin, New Zealand there was Gary, just as promised. We drove to Moeraki on the east coast to our hunting lodge. Moeraki is a tiny picturesque fishing village and the lodge overlooked the bay. What a view! As we arrived late Gary took us to the local tavern (walking distance) where we had the local specialty of blue cod and chips. We then called it a day.
The next morning we rose to coffee, breakfast and a view of the sun coming up over the bay. Not a bad way to start the day. For the next three days I went hunting and my wife explored the village and hiked the beaches and hills of Moeraki. We both had a great time. We got an added surprise in that Moeraki is the home of Fleur Sullivan, a world famous chef, and we ate at her restaurant twice and got to meet her as well.
The hunting was great. Gary had done his homework and we managed to bag a 14 point stag the first day. The next two days were spent hunting boar with dogs. Never having hunted boar with dogs this was a new experience for me. We managed to take a boar on the side of a steep canyon thickly covered in gorse (a really nasty 8 foot bush with thorns everywhere). This was the most exciting hunt I’ve experienced. Taking a boar with a knife in the midst of a pack of frenzied dogs is quite an experience!
Days hunting and exploring were wonderful. The food was great. Location was marvelous. Gary’s knowledge, patience and ability is as good as any guide I have ever experienced and certainly better than a lot of them. Hunters interested in species in really hard to get to areas should be aware that Gary is a licensed helicopter pilot and can get you to really inaccessible places (obviously at additional cost). I cannot recommend Gary’s operation highly enough. It was a hunt I will always remember. Anybody considering hunting in New Zealand should definitely contact Gary Oakes.
It's so great to hear about people's positive experiences from being a part of Friends of NRA. In addition to having an amazing time, Chris can sleep soundly knowing that the money spent on this once in a lifetime trip will help shooting sports programs in Newport, across Oregon and throughout the United States. Thanks Chris!