2015 South Island New Zealand Hunt
Glen Dene Station
I arrived in Queenstown on Tuesday at 10:45 am. The weather was overcast and windy. I was immediately met and picked up by PH and Station owner Richard Burdon. Richard and I met a few years ago at the Portland Sports show and this is my second trip to Glen Dene Station. Glen Dene is actually a working sheep ranch with thousands of acres of free range hunting for a variety of animals. Situated between lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka with mountains rising in between it is ideal habitat for red stag, fallow deer, chamois, wild pig and a variety of wild sheep.
We headed north towards Glen Dene but stopped on the way for a great lunch at a local golf course. After a short drive we arrived at Glen Dene where I was met by Richard’s mom & dad, Jerry & Leslie Burdon. They are a couple of the nicest people you will ever meet, and would be my host for my stay there. Every night I spent there was a delight with wonderful meals and down home hospitality. I then got my gear settled in at the cabin that overlooks scenic Lake Hawea.
Shortly after settling in I was met by my guide and good friend Dan Rossiter. He would be with me for the next 6 days as I hunted for fallow deer and chamois. We headed out to the range to check out Dan’s 308 rifle I would be using. After a couple of shots at 100 and a couple at 200 yds I knew that this would do just fine.
After sighting in Dan & I went out for a little scouting to try & locate a nice Fallow. We drove back into the mountains and started hiking up a two track and thanks to Dan’s great eyesight we immediately starting seeing game. We glassed two fairly nice fallows, but Dan thought we should look again in the morning and see what else was out there.
That night at dinner Richard told Dan & I that we should check out one of his Paddocks (a parcel of land used for growing a kind of turnip for sheep feed) as the deer were jumping the fence and causing extensive damage. He wanted us to shoot a nice meat animal to fill the freezer. We headed out at dawn the next morning and sure enough, there were about 30 deer in the field. We were able to get within about 100 yds. and I was able to take a nice hind out of the herd. We field dressed it out and took back to the ranch and hung it in the cooler.
After a short lunch we headed back into the hills to try to find a good Fallow buck. We did quite a bit of walking and glassing without much luck, seeing only a few does and fawns and some immature bucks. We were heading back to the truck when Dan saw a buck on the opposite side of a valley across a creek. He got out his spotting scope to take a better look at him. He looked good so we decided to get a closer look. When we stalked to within about 200 yds, we knew he was the one to take. We were able to get a little closer and set up for a shot. The shot was good but he stumbled and fell into the creek and immediately started washing downstream. The high rains had swollen the creek so the water was high and fast. It took some running and a little luck to catch up to my fallow. Dan finally grabbed an antler as it swept by close to our side. We both just set there for a moment and caught our breath. What a beautiful buck it was. I was very impressed with the rack. Dan field dressed it and headed back to the ranch.
This was only the first full day and I had already taken a nice meat animal and a trophy fallow buck.
The next two days were spent hunting chamois. The weather was not co-operating. We did a lot of glassing and did see some animals, but the hunting was very limited due to the blowing snow and low cloud cover. We did have a relatively easy shot opportunity at one chamois, but it had a broken horn which was lucky for it. The second day we got lucky and a chamois buck was observed coming across a valley towards us. It disappeared into a ravine on our side of the valley and after waiting about an hour we decided to try and creep over the edge and take a peek. It was extremely steep and slippery with shale and snow, but we managed to get to the edge. There he was, at about 75 yds. and looking the other way. It should have been a very easy shot, but the snow, wind and side hill caused me to fumble and I fogged up the scope with my breath. The buck saw us and started fidgeting and I hurried the shot. A clean miss right over his back and off he went. All I could do was shake my head. We hiked out of the canyon and did some more glassing in the next valley without any luck.
I had planned an overnight wilderness hunt into the high mountains, but the weather just would not allow it with heavy snows, fog and low visibility the odds would have been against us. We had scheduled a chopper to drop us off in an area known for good chamois hunting, but they were not flying into that area as the winds, snow and low visibility prohibited it.
Day five started out the same as the last two day but promised to clear later in the day. We tried an early morning hunt in the lower elevations with no luck. We did see some chamois but they were in places we could not get to without being spotted. We also spotted two really nice goats high on a rock face at about 300 or 400 yards. Too bad I was focused on chamois or one would have been a nice trophy. At about noon we headed back to the ranch. A call to the heliport told us the weather had cleared enough for the chopper to fly into the area we had hoped to hunt earlier. An hour and a half drive and we reached the heliport. In no time at all the pilot had us in the mountains. Dan spotted two chamois bucks on a steep craggy rock face. One looked real good and we decided to give it a try. The chopper dropped us off, and after a very short walk we were in position for a shot. Both chamois were moving around a bit so it was hard to get a bead on him. Shooting off hand I missed the first shot, but he stopped broadside to me and I was able to get the job done on my second shot. He was a really nice black winter coat chamois at nine and one half inches. Dan called the chopper in on his 2-way and we roped him off the mountain. I have to say the skill of the pilot and agility of Dan was something to see. Finally, I had my chamois.
My luck had finally changed and so had the weather. The next few days were supposed to be clear and warmer.
That night we had a really nice dinner of red deer and chamois at Richard’s house with Richard, his lovely wife Sarah, their son Charlie and daughter Georgie, along with my guide Dan, and a just arrived hunter, Dan and his wife Linda. They would be going out the next day for Red stag. As it turned out hunter Dan got one of the biggest stags taken in that area. What a beautiful animal!
The last day was spent cutting up stag, fallow deer and chamois by Dan who is a butcher also. I packaged my meat as Dan cut it up. That Dan is quite the guy! A fishing excursion was planned for that afternoon. That morning I had slept in and missed the occasion of Guide Dan’s 10 year old daughter Aneeka getting her first stag off that same turnip paddock I had hunted the first day. Both daughter and father were very proud.
We did some fishing on the lake with some success and Richard’s son Charlie was able to shoot a couple of nice mallards along the shore. All in all a good time was had by everyone.
The next day Richard took me to the airport and saw me off. I have to say that my trip was a fantastic success. The Glen Dene Station in a beautiful piece of property. The one outstanding feature that makes it a success is the people. You always felt welcome and special and they were all looking out for you. Making sure you had the best visit they could give you.
Big thanks to Richard, Dan, and Jerry & Leslie. You are all the greatest!!!