Introduced ungulates are an important management issue on New Zealand’s public conservation land (PCL). Ungulates are harvested by recreational and commercial hunters, with some government-funded culling. A robust monitoring system is needed to reliably report trends in occupancy and abundance, and to evaluate management effectiveness. We first describe the design and implementation of a monitoring programme enabling ungulate occupancy and relative abundances to be estimated on New Zealand’s PCL.
Transects at right angles to the shoreline are used to describe seven herbaceous, two scrub and four forest communities of the lake edge. Composition, structure, site preference and relation to lake level are given for these communities. The effect of browsing mammals on the flora and structure of mountain beech forest is shown by comparison of forest on Buncrana Island with that on the adjacent mainland. Shoreline vegetation is compared with that recorded from other areas in Fiordland.
Comparable sites were examined on Rahui Island, Lake Waikareiti, which is free of introduced mammals, and on the adjacent mainland, which is not. The forest understorey density in Nothofagus fusca, N. menziesii forest has been reduced on the mainland. In the mainland forest there are fewer plants of Pseudopanax and Coprosma spp. and more plants of Dracophyllum pyramidale and Dicksonia lanata. Regeneration of Nothofagus menziesii.
We examined the jaw size, age and sex distribution of 324 red deer constituting a comprehensive record of all recreational hunting kills made by a single hunter of the Tararua ranges of North Island New Zealand over a period 20 years (1976-1996). The proportion of stags shot at times other than the rut (March—April) was not significantly different to that in a sample of deer obtained by commercial helicopter hunting and did not change significantly after the first three years of hunting regardless of any effect of helicopter hunting.
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.
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.
High deer numbers in northern Fiordland in the 1960s significantly changed forest understorey composition. The density of woody plants in the understorey was reduced in some areas by as much as 50%, and preferred plants became less abundant than those seldom eaten. However, the impact of deer and wapiti varied between forest types.
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.