GOLDEN RULE: Hunters are urged to identify their targets when out hunting during the roar season. Photo supplied

SENIOR Department of Conservation ranger Andrew Glaser warns that hunters should stay calm and collected, even as the deer in the Eastern Bay bush go into emo-driven overboard.

“The days are getting shorter and the morning chill is creeping in, heralding that autumn is fast approaching,” Mr Glaser said.

The approach of autumn also signals the start of the “rut” or “roar” in deer around the country, where stags challenge each other for hinds and hierarchical dominance.

“This is an exciting time of year for hunters to pit their skills against the stags, attempting to entice them in by mimicking their roars,” Mr Glaser said.

“It can also be an extremely dangerous time for hunting when hunters in the heat of the moment, full of ‘buck fever’, mistake fellow hunters for deer.”

Mr Glaser said “buck fever” was described as a state of mind whereby the urge to shoot an animal over-rides all rational thinking.

“Every year, during the roar, we see a hunting fatality occur when hunters fail to follow the golden rule of identifying your target,” he said.

It can be an adrenaline-filled rush having an animal come towards you, but a good hunter isn’t flustered in these moments.

“They remain cool and calm, take their time, and they don’t feel the pressure of the competition and need to squeeze the trigger.”

Mr Glaser said the trick to remaining calm and collected in that situation was asking “is this a deer,” followed by asking oneself “is this a human or my mate”.

“Sadly, we have cases where a mate shoots a mate,” he said.

Mr Glaser said DoC appreciated the efforts of recreational hunters to help reduce the number of wild deer.

“There are a whole lot of deer out there and their numbers are increasing exponentially without management,” he said.

“We ask hunters to shoot a few hinds for the freezer to help manage deer numbers and help reduce their impact on the bush in the remote backcountry.”

Opotiki Helicopters owner Steven Woods said the roar was a busy time for his company.

“We are flying hunters into the bush in shuttle traffic,” he said.

On arriving back to base, the helicopter would be refuelled, and the next group of hunters would board the aircraft without delay.

“Then we take off again,” he said.

sven.carlsson@thebeacon.co.nz