Episode 12, Season 1

Hunting in NZ

Behind the Scenes

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The Hunt

In this episode of I Am Hunter, I head back to one of my favourite hunting locations in the world, New Zealand. 

In the very first episode of season 1, you would have seen me hunt a big old red stag during the Roar.

This time I was back for one of the free range fallow bucks that roam the hills near Mt Ruapehu. 

I also had the privilege of accompanying one of our hunting clients, Hayden, on his first international trip. 

Hayden is a farmer from Victoria who, after seeing some of the footage from our first NZ hunt, was super keen to bag himself a red stag.

We climbed up hills and back down them, wading through a creek along the way, chasing after a wily stag for Hayden. Every time we thought we were close, he’d disappear again. It made for a tough hunt but they’re always the ones you remember!

The People

The following people appeared in this episode. Click on their photos below to follow them on social media. 

Jess Byfield
Jess Byfield
hayden red resize
Hayden Hanratty
Hunting New Zealand with Brad Berry
Brad Berry
Rod Byfield
Rod Byfield
The Location

We were guided again by Brad Berry from Ruapehu Hunting, which operates in Ruatiti on New Zealand’s North Island.

Brad both farms and guides on a 4200 acre property. Surrounding by DOC lands, the property has an abundance of free range red, fallow and sika deer that roam between public and private lands. 

The game animals

In this episode, we hunted free range fallow deer and red deer.

The fallow deer are one of the most unique deer species with their antlers growing moose-like palms. They display a variety of colours in their coat. Red and brown are the most common variations, but they can also be found in both pale fawn, almost black and white colours. Some individuals also have white spots scattered over their coat.

The mighty red deer is a true king of the wild. They have long-tined antlers that form an impressive crown at the top. They are one of the largest of the deer species and are farmed as a prime source of venison in many parts of the world. They have a reddish-brown coat.

The red deer are native to Europe, Asia and some parts of northern Africa. Fossil records show the first evidence of red deer back 12 million years ago. 

Click the images below for a more in-depth look at both of these species. 


Fallow Deer


Firearm - .243 or larger. Bow - 50lbs draw weight


Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, Europe, Argentina


Red Deer


Cervus elaphus


Firearm - .270 or larger Bow - 50lbs min. draw weight


Least Concern (population increasing)


New Zealand, Australia, Eastern Europe, Argentina and Chile

Game Saver Tips

In this episode, I had an opportunity to cook one of my favourite dishes for Hayden – venison heart. 

So many hunters treat heart like any other offal and tend to throw it into the gut pile. If they keep it at all, it might only be to throw to the dogs. 

I guarantee you, if you haven’t tried heart yet, you’re definitely missing out. 

Unlike other organs, the heart is simply a muscle, which means the meat is no different to a rump or a backstrap in taste and texture. 

And while other cuts of venison definitely benefit from being aged, the heart can literally be eaten the same day its hunted, making it a great after-hunt snack. 

Cut into thin strips and fry up with a little butter, onion and garlic and I guarantee you will never look at heart the same way again. 

I have included a recipe for it below, along with a few of my other favourite venison recipes. 

Venison heart
Venison Heart
Venison Shoulder Roast
Roast Venison Shoulder
Pulled venison with sliders
Pulled Venison Neck sliders
Gear List

Unfortunately some items we used in this episode are now completely unavailable with no alternative from the company like the Under Armour Women’s Hunting gear or the Save a Fawn Beanie. For other items, if that model is no longer available we will try to give you the next best thing. 


Our equipment we took with us on this hunt from guns and packs, to binos and rangefinders. 

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Episode Sponsors

Garmin make durable devices engineered on the inside for life on the outside. Their products go wherever you go and track your precise location in the process. Go farther than ever before when hunting and finding adventure.


Winchester have been supplying quality ammunition and firearms in Australia since 1967. Other brands include Browning, CZ, Steyr, Huglu, Norma ammunition, ADI gun powders, and Meopta optics.


Burris wide range of optics are built tough to provide a lifetime of reliable performance in the field. The company has so much faith in their products that they provide a lifetime guarantee on all of their optics.


FoodSaver is a leading producer of vacuum sealer systems that help you preserve food freshness and flavor, and limit waste. We use their GameSaver as its built tough for use in the field, and even comes with a 12V adaptor.

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