6 Jan 2024

Kim Hollows on conservation & the Deer Wars

From The Weekend , 10:35 am on 6 January 2024

Conservation in Aotearoa has changed over the years. Maybe most notably in Fiordland, where Red Deer are one of the main pests.

Eradication attempts throughout the 1960s led to the infamous Deer Wars. Helicopter crews competing to cull, and later live capture as many deer as possible. It was as dangerous and, wild as it sounds! By the 90s hunting deer from choppers became uneconomical, and the focus shifted back to trapping and baiting. 

Helicopter pilot, deer hunter and film maker Kim Hollows has been at the forefront of those attempts to control the deer population for decades. 

Starting out in "Deer recovery" aged 14 he progressed to piloting hunting helicopters, using nets to catch live deer from the moving chopper. He later went on to found the now defunct Fiordland Conservation trust.

Kim joins us from Fiordland. 

For more stories from the heli-hunting days you can listen and follow the Deer Wars podcast on AppleSpotify or any podcast app now. It's also available via the RNZ website.

Man waiting to attach strop to helicopter in air

Photo: Supplied by Paul Roy