Aerially distributed baits containing sodium fluoroacetate (1080) are used in New Zealand for small-mammal pest control over an average of about 600 000 ha each year. This can also kill non-target species, including deer. This incidental mortality of deer generates antipathy to 1080 amongst many hunters, adding to the broader opposition to aerial 1080. Hunter opposition to 1080 baiting has also prompted the development of deer-repellent 1080 bait formulations. Historical estimates of deer mortality varied widely but were sometimes high.
Records of official deer control operations in the Kaweka Range between 1958 and 1988 have been used to describe the pattern of official hunting, to indicate changes in hunting efficiency, and to show trends in the proportions of sika and red deer in sympatric populations. The pattern of hunting largely reflected wild animal control priorities, and to some extent the resources available.
The horn length of male thar (Hemitragus jemlahicus) increased significantly with age, especially from birth to 5 years. Age, time of year, and body weight all influenced adult male horn length, but locality did not. Fewer than 1% of males produced horns of sufficient length to qualify as hunting trophies.
In late 1986 an official deer hunting regime in the Murchison Mountains, Fiordland, was compared with two commerical aerial hunting regimes in the adjacent Stuart Mountains by measuring the density of deer faecal pellet groups. Overall densities in the Stuart Mountains were twice those in the Murchison Mountains. Official hunting appeared to be more effective than commercial hunting at reducing and controlling deer densities in heavily forested catchments, but not in catchments with less extensive forest cover.
A significant recovery of food plants preferred by introduced deer (Cervus elaphus) occurred between 1969 and 1984 on 57 permanent plots in the alpine grasslands of northern Fiordland. During this period the deer population was reduced markedly by hunters operating from helicopters.
Deer density indices were estimated in 1969, 1975, and 1984 in the core of the Wapiti Area of Fiordland National Park. Between 1969 and 1984, density above timberline was reduced to near zero by commercial airborne hunting, with smaller decreases in the forest. Overall density declined by 81%. An estimated 2007± 385 deer were present in the 850 km2 survey area in 1984, with an average density in the forest of 3.47±0.66/km2. The highest densities remained in the most completely forested sub-area (Catseye).