Skip to main content

27th Annual Pig and Deer Hunting Competition

Owen River Tavern was the first pub in New Zealand to introduce a pig and deer hunting competition, and this year is the 27th event.

Every year (since 1997), this annual event attracts a considerable sized sponsorship with a value of over $5,000 in committed prizes.

Hunters from throughout the Top of the South start arriving at the tavern on Friday 1 July 2011 and the three day hunt continues until weigh-in at noon on Sunday 3 July 2011.

2011 Sponsors and Prizes

  • Owen River Tavern - Average Weight Boar $450
  • Frena- Kiwi Ltd. - 1st Heaviest Boar $350
  • Dominion Brewery - 2nd Heaviest Boar $250
  • Sports World Richmond - 3rd Heaviest Boar $15
  • West Coast Brewery - Best Tusks $100
  • Canterbury Brewery - Heaviest Sow $100
  • Murchison Vet - Longest Tail $100
  • Swazi Sports Clothing - Heaviest Deer $200

Ladies Section- Boars Only

  • N. Z. Pig Hunter magazine - 1st. Heaviest Boar $150
  • More Pork magazine - 2nd Heaviest Boar $100
  • Gold Pine Richmond - 3rd Heaviest Boar $50.00

Junior Section - Boars Only

(Entry Fee $5 for 15 year olds and under)
  • 2009 Pig and Deer Hunting Competition1st Heaviest Boar $100
  • 2nd Heaviest Boar $60
  • 3rd Heaviest Boar $40

Free Entry for Children 12 years and Under

  • Prizes for Heaviest Eel, Rabbit and hare.

Entry Fee is $25 per Hunter

Entries close 10pm on Thursday 30th June 2011

Any queries phone 03 5239 273

Weight In : Sunday 3th July 2011 from 1:30pm till 3:30pm at Owen River Tavern Car Park

Prize Giving on Sunday 3th July 2011 at 5pm


  • Minimum Weight 50lbs. Except Junior section.
  • The hunt starts at 1 am on Friday 1st July to 2.30 pm Sunday 3rd July 2011
  • Hunters must be present to claim their prize or the prize will be redrawn.
  • Boars weighted in other competitions are not accepted.
  • All pigs and Deer presented must be clean and free of OFFAL.
  • No frozen pigs or deer. No tampered with or domesticated pigs or deer.
  • In case of draw. Winner will be decided by coin toss.
  • The Judges ‘ decision is final.


Deer in New Zealand

Originally, New Zealand had no land mammals (apart from bats) and European settlers introduced game animals to populate what they saw as empty forests. From the 1850s to the early 1900s they brought in many species of deer, tahr, chamois and even moose, for recreational shooting.

More than 250 red deer were imported from Britain into New Zealand between 1851 and the early 1900s. Around 1,000 animals had been liberated into the wild by 1923, mainly in forested or mountainous areas. They spread rapidly and by the 1940s were living in most of the southern and central North Island, and the more remote areas of the South Island and Stewart Island. Ever since their introduction they have been the main target species for deer hunters.

In 1993 one estimate put the wild deer population at 250,000. The vast majority (77%) were red deer, with smaller numbers of sika (13%), fallow (7%) and white-tailed deer (3%). Wapiti, sambar and rusa made up very small numbers.

At first, deer hunting in New Zealand was rather exclusive – in the early 1900s there was a strict licensing system. But deer spread so quickly that soon anyone could hunt.

New Zealand Feral Pigs

Pigs were first introduced to New Zealand by the French explorer Jean François Marie de Surville in 1769, but the fate of the early pigs is not known.

Captain James Cook gifted pigs to Māori in the 1770s. The animals bred, and some escaped to form wild populations – which is why feral pigs in New Zealand are sometimes called ‘Captain Cookers’.

Māori were quick to keep pigs that Europeans introduced. Many of the animals escaped, adding to wild populations. Pig hunting soon became a popular pastime among Māori.

New Zealand feral pigs are also frequently known as "tuskers", due to their appearance.

Feral pigs were well established by 1840, and were the first introduced animals to be hunted for sport. They are found in both the North and South islands and the Chatham Islands. In 1996 they were found in about 34% of the land area. They have probably colonised the most favourable habitats.

An Australian nickname for New Zealand in the late 19th century was ‘the Pig Islands’, because of the prevalence of wild pigs. These have more muscular front legs and shoulders than domestic pigs, and smaller back legs. They are also hairier, with longer, larger snouts and tusks, and much narrower backs – which is why they are commonly called razorbacks.

Māori were quick to take up pig hunting, and early European settlers hunted the pigs that destroyed crops and killed lambs. In the 1930s a government bounty of ‘two bob a snout’ was paid, and during the 1940s either a shilling or three rounds of .303 ammunition were paid for each pig’s tail. Pigs were also poisoned in large numbers during the 1940s and 1950s.

By 1988, one estimate put the number of feral pigs killed by hunters at around 100,000. In 2007 the New Zealand Pig Hunter magazine stated that it had a readership of 25,000.

Dogs are often hurt by pigs’ tusks, and sometimes die of the injuries. There is also at least one story of a hunter being killed, and others have been badly injured by the tusks of angry boars.