THE WILD WEST COAST.
ITS SPORTING, POSSIBILITIES. :' DEER. FORESTS Al-JD TROUT streams: y
The .Waitakerei Ranges; and the West Coast are gradually becoming known as a scenic and. health .resort which can be excelled in JEew parte of the Dominion, and recently it.has been suggested that these v&stti tracts of -'country might be made to possess a strong attraction to the sportsman. The Rev. W. C. Oliver, whose' experiences with rod and rifle have led him to many ' deer forests and * trout' streams, both in New Zealand and other parts of the world, has returned from a visit to ..-the. beautiful Karekare Valley, profoundly impressed with the-'latent possibilities; for sport in that and the surrounding districts. In conversation, with a "Star" reporter, the Bey. Oliver declared that it wasalmost a scandal that all these magnificent hills, so well suited to. the fallow and-axis deer, and the dozens-of ideal trout. streams, should be entirely -negr lected' from an acclimatisation and a sportsman's point of view. He pointed cut' that the feed for deer would be available'-in - - immense quantities; a-s well as water, shelter, and what was also of great importance, the animals would be practically free ;from : molestation. The advisability of placing'deer on the Waitakerei Ranges has been -mentioned before, and one gentleman who owns a large area on the crest of the hills, has agreed that if the deer are secured he will take charge of them in Auckland and see they are liberated in the most favourable localities. The Acclimatisation Society, when approached, had j stated that the consent l of settlers must be ' obtained before the deer could be liberated, and the -Rev. Oliver stated that | all the farmers whom he had interviewed had declared that they were favourable to the experiment. Besides this, the Waitakerei Ranges and the West Coast will never be a great agricultural centre, and the remote chance of crops' being interfered with r would .be amply compensated in other ways. In the Blue Mountains at Tapanui, Otago, there is a.great herd of deer, on country somewhat similar to that on the West Coast, but very much, .inferior as far as feed, climate and shelter'are concerned. Every year from 7(> to 100 sportsmen visit the district paying a license fee of £3, which means an income of from £!250 to, £300 to the Otago Society. Besides this, the money spent in the district, which is far from being so easily accessible from the City as is the case with Auckland's West Coast, is a factor which is of moment to settlers. At Tapanui the hills are covered with,black birch and fern, and the herd is in splendid condition. All round the Blue Mountains there are most extensive farms, where large crops are grown each year, and even there, there has been very little complaint from the settlers. The farmers are allowed by an understanding with the Society to protect themselves in case the deer encroach on- their crops. The Rev. Oliver was of opinion that if Auckland followeu. the practice observed, by the Otago Society and had the services o. f an advisory committee of experts to report on proposed extensions of , th*>ir operations, their work would be much benefited. If deer were liberated on the West Coast they should be protected by a local society as they were at Tapanui, and not indiscriminately .shot, is was the ease in parts of the Waikato, without reference to age or sex. . ■
As far as trout, are concerned,, the-j streams on the West . Coast contain! abundant feed, not only in the .water, but.the. trees and shrubs overhanging! are full of green beetles and other insects «t different times of the. year, and these falling into the water in hundreds form an ideal food for the fish. With trout in the streams, deer on the hills, the unsurpassable bush and wild andrugged seashore, the Waitakerei Ranges and West Coast: should become a resort not only for holiday-makers, but for the army of tourists, and sportsmen who are ever seeking for fresh attractions.
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