Since early on, we have put on courses for new hunters, a way of introducing them to some of the finer details and techniques of the process. Over the years the course has grown as we added more information and learnt the important bits that people wanted to know.
The course is now suitable for both new and reasonably experienced hunters – anyone wanting to learn some new tips and tricks and have a good yarn along the way.
Hosted by Kerry Adams and drawing on the expertise of Richard Ross, owner and guide at Balnagown Hunting, where we hold the courses.
Richard started Balnagown Hunting over 20 years ago, and it remains the premier Fallow Deer Game Estate in the Auckland region.
It’s a beautiful venue, remote enough to feel like you are away from it all, close enough to Auckland for it to be accessible for a day trip.
The animal we process will have been happily enjoying its life to the fullest, walking around the very land we are on that morning. If you want traceability – this is it! Field to fork will never be so literal.
If you like the look of the place – why not head up a day early and spend the evening prior glassing and wandering around the land. Maybe even sneak in a hunt?
Field Dressing – Skinning And Gutting
Once the animal is down, the work begins. One of the biggest hurdles new hunters have is not being comfortable with what to do once they have shot the animal and now need to process it, ready for a carryout.
The animal we will be working on will be freshly shot. So it’s still hot, and time is ticking in regards to getting it gutted and cooling down. Failing to to this quickly can result in tainted meat and the ‘gamey’ taste people sometimes associated with venison. We will be starting by getting this first, important step done. It’s hands on, right from the start.
“Kerry and Richard are a wealth of knowledge and good guys to boot! Learnt a lot. It was a great day!”
After a quick chat about knives and safety from Kerry, Richard will take over.
Richard has been processing animals for over 20 years for both himself and clients and has developed an efficient, easy and clean method. He won’t claim that it’s the only way, buts it’s certainly one of the better ones we have ever seen. Instead of getting yourself covered in blood and guts, learn from a man who has mastered the art.
We will get the animal to the point it would be ready to throw in a chiller, or, if you are in a rather remote spot, ready to further cut up and pack.
At this point, Kerry (me) will have a chat about equipment choices for hunting – focusing on two key items – knives, and firearms. As you will learn, often, simple is best. But along with suggestions, there will be maintenance tips and a general conversation about what you need, what you might like, and what you can potentially leave at home. There will be a selection of knives to try if you should want, and all questions are welcomed.
Processing -Basic Butchery
After a morning tea break (a great time to ask questions and clarify anything that has already been covered) we take the now ‘dressed out’ animal and break it down into the primary cuts (discussing both carrying out a whole animal vs. cutting it down) and then further process the primaries in sections of meat, ready for the freezer, or, in our case, the BBQ!
Various cuts suit varies methods of cooking, and we include information on what is most suitable for what, including some uses for the organs, including one of our favourites – the heart! Very little goes to waste, as should be the case. If you have dogs, there will be plenty of bones for them as well.
“Thanks for the course guys! Learnt plenty and looking forward to heading out to put it into practise!”
If you are a new hunter, this course is for you. If you are experienced but want to pick up some new tips, or maybe have never formally learnt the process, there is also plenty for you to gain. For those wanting to understand more the process of an animal getting onto our plate, this is also a great way to do it. For many hunters, it’s primarily about feeding our family clean, green protein, and we would love the opportunity to share our passion and knowledge with you.
Some people choose to head up the evening prior – we can then head up around the estate, glassing animals, talking shop and generally relaxing in a little piece of eden right here in Auckland. Just add the extra ticket in below. Limited numbers.
There is very comfortable accommodation on site, and all meals are included. There is a good chance Venison is on the menu.
Some people also decide to sneak in a cheeky hunt while they are up there (it is a hunting estate after all) – and we are happy to help make this happen if you would be interested. Just drop us a line and we can sort it (firearms etc all provided).
So, book in, come along, and have a great, informative day!
Keen to get some shooting done as well? How about popping up a day early!