Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) Captain Cooker
A New Breed of Pig
Early South Pacific explorer, Captain Cook on his first voyage to New Zealand in 1769 is credited with introducing pigs originating from the old English breeds of Tamworth, Berkshire. These in turn crossbred with a smaller black pig the early Polynesians (the forebears of today’s Maori) had already established here, the Kune-Kune , this name was given by the Maori’s, and described the shape of the pig’s body. “Kune-Kune” means “fat and round”.
The combination of the two quite different species has produced a unique variety, a pig named in honour of the great explorer and sea captain. This razor backed “Captain Cookers” look very much like European boars with solid shoulders, small hindquarters, long snouts and long tusks. Most are black in color, however many colour variations are found. Large males weigh up to 150 kilograms (330 pounds).
Now this tough, feral pig quite freely roams both North and South Island bush and tussock land. They have thrived in our conditions. Wild pigs be found over a wide range of habitat, but prefer warm, bracken fern and manuka-infested slopes and tussock grasslands with thick pockets of matagouri and briar.
Captain Cookers are the most prolific Wild Pigs in New Zealand and if left alone are known damage pastures and crops, kill lambs, and destroyed the habitats of native species such as kākāpō (flightless parrot) and land snails. The Department of Conservation actively promotes the hunting of these animals. Wild Pigs are quite patchily distributed throughout New Zealand and are found in about 34% of the land area.
The Challenge of the Hunt
With a keen sense of smell, and good hearing, the Wild Boar is a challenging animal to hunt and this makes it arguably the most popular and dangerous animal hunted. Large boars have been known to rip hunters with their long and sharp tusks during the chase. Well-trained dogs can make this easier and safer. Having experienced bushmen for guides and well trained dogs is the key to a successful safe hunt. Fitness is a requirement for some of the more remote hunts we offer but we have a selection that is also not essential.
A Big Boar ‘Cooker’ can weigh up 300lbs and with his razor sharp ivory tusks that can draw out to 6 inches, presents as a formidable foe to any animal, including man.
New Zealand Record
Pig Tusks (Drawn) – 28 on the Douglas Score points system or more than 7 1/2 inches long
Best Hunting Times
There are opportunities to hunt Wild Pigs in New Zealand all year round but the Winter months are often the most fruitful.
Spot and stalking on foot with rifle and bow is a popular method of hunting along with hunting with dogs. Pig hunting is a traditional sport for many New Zealanders. It is typically done with specially bred Pig Dogs and a knife, known as pig sticking. This hunting method is not for the squeamish, as the well-trained Pig Dogs find the Pigs, bail and hold them until the hunter comes to dispatch them with a knife. It is an adrenaline-charged hunt and the unpredictability of tangling with a Big Boar hand to hand can produce some very exciting moments. This method is not for the faint hearted, as the dogs are finding the pigs, then will do their best to hold the pig while the hunter goes in for the kill. This is a very adrenalin action packed hunt, as it is unpredictable of what the Boar can do. Wild Boar are very aggressive and many Pig Dogs have been killed in the pursuit of a running Boar.
Hunting is free range open tussock and native bush pig hunting. Transport on hunts are by jetboat or four wheel bike.
For large pigs hunters must use a large-calibre rifle such as a .303, as .22 bullets are not powerful enough to kill large Boars outright, and no hunter wants to be faced with a wounded Boar. Alternatives are Knife or Bow.
Wild Boar Hunting Trips and Prices