The intersection of hunting + conservation in NZ's ecosystems

The intersection of hunting + conservation in NZ's ecosystems

Tim Gale from the New Zealand Game Animal Council joins the host to delve into the latest Hunting Research Project, a significant initiative designed to update our understanding of the New Zealand hunting community. 

A decade has passed since the last survey, and this new research aims to uncover current hunter motivations, expenditures, and demographic changes, including the male-to-female hunter ratio. The conversation begins with Gale reminiscing about his summer before turning to the relevance of the research, which was last conducted in 2011-2012. 

He explains the importance of understanding hunters' motivations and values.

"We need to know the data in the hunting sector and decision-makers need to know the data... for the effective administration and management of game animals and hunting." 

The pair discuss how factors like the COVID-19 pandemic and economic pressures, such as rising living costs, may be influencing hunting habits. Gale highlights hunting as a "cost-effective and official way to go and get your own free-range organic meat." 

As they explore the variety of game in New Zealand's ecosystems, he notes that while deer is the primary target, hunters often harvest additional species like pigs, tahr, and goats. This multifaceted hunting practice reflects the adaptability and opportunistic nature of hunters in the diverse New Zealand landscape. 

The conversation also covers the upcoming survey's ease of participation, emphasising its role in shaping future game animal management and conservation policies. Gale stresses the value of this data.

"This data is going to be available to all the hunting sector, to all decision-makers... it's going to support, like the NZDA, to know... what work [hunters] do in that conservation space." 

The conversation touches on how the survey will collect data on hunters' club affiliations and their involvement in conservation efforts, demonstrating the link between hunting and conservation. Looking ahead, Gale shares his personal excitement for the hunting season and the potential impact of the survey findings on understanding the hunting community's contribution to environmental stewardship. 

"It's really hard to... affect change or to understand what's going on if we don't have the data." 

This conversation not only celebrates the hunting culture in New Zealand but also emphasises the critical role hunters play in conserving the country's unique ecosystems. 

Listen to the full chat between Tim Gale and Dominic George above.

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