The Mountain Gnomad

This young Kiwi chap Arash Tahan contacted me recently about his plan to spend a couple of years tramping and hunting the South Island of New Zealand. What an admirable idea. If I was 40-50 years younger (and unattached) I can imagine doing so too, but I have had my own adventures and continue to have the odd one still! Anyway, he has now started out. I thought you might like to check on his progress from time to time. Currently he is in one of my favourite places, Fiordland. May he see a live moose! And hopefully not shoot it.

Here is what he proposes to do:

’18 months of solo hunting on public land; for either red deer, chamois, or Tahr. All the while embracing the spirit of adventure, the dirt-bag lifestyle, and the utterly refreshing freedoms which accompany them – such as being broke, growing unruly, lice-infested facial hair, eating road-kill whenever my efforts in the bush aren’t rewarded, and wearing the same pair of underwear for months on end…mum will be proud.
I’ll live on the road between hunting trips and work odd jobs for farmers and other rural folk, in return for brief accommodation or petrol/food…’

There is going to be some spectacular photography:

Some great stories…This one begins well: ‘Broken logs. Frosty, serrated tussocks. Soggy ground. I clawed and flinched my way along the edge of a swampy clearing; all the while fastened on my destination – a North facing spur, roughly two kilometers away. A likely spot for deer to bathe themselves in the warmth of the morning sun…’

Even some interesting poetry:


‘I yearn for a change of scenery.

An opportunity to escape.

A reason to greet each morning

with a smile upon my face.


To hell with conventional living!

‘Tis never done me any good.

A heavy pack is all I need,

and a rifle, with walnut wood.


I will set off on a big adventure

The horizon – my guiding star

I will explore the entire Southern Alps,

traversing mountains, near or far.


Weathered and wily deer I’ll seek

Perhaps a chamois or two

I’ll drink from the deepest alpine tarns,

and pen experiences I shall never rue


And during the final hours of my journey

As the sun sinks through the sky

I will hope that my handful of learnings,

will serve me ‘til the day I die.’


Already really more or less at the very beginning of his adventures, there are some wondrous things. It is going to be a great year. Anyway a great read for we voyeurs at home who can only dream of trampming  the mountains of Fiordland with just a pack and a rifle. Check out his web site and blog here:

And good luck to you Arash, and happy hunting!

PS: This seems to be a bit of a NZ thing. See eg my earlier post:

Another couple have spent seven years living in the NZ wilderness. There is a book and a Youtube:

See Also, eg:

4 thoughts on “The Mountain Gnomad”

  1. The Mountain Gnomad

    Hey Steve, cheers for the kind words, I really appreciate it! To hear it from someone with your experience means a lot! There’s one or two blog posts of yours I’d like to share sometime down the track (especially the one on ethics – loved it). It’s one reason I’ve ditched my scope and will be stalking in close with a peep sight/open sights from now on. Fair chase has become a thing of the past, and I’d love to advocate it to the best of my ability. Simple. No fuss. That’s what the outdoors should be about.

    Patrick: Thanks mate, and I too look forward to hearing about your adventures one day! Keep me posted.


    1. Thank you Arash. Go for it. The more people learn to hunt ethically the better. I have been to all the places you have visited so far so the posts bring back lots of memories. I’m so glad you are having a good time and it is all working out for you. I think lots of people apart from me will be following you with interest and excitement. As you can see you have already inspired others, which must be very gratifying. Please try to get a photo of a moose rather than shooting one. It s much more difficult but I’m not sure there are really enough of them to begin culling them. If you walk very quietly up the streams where they are in the high summer, you may just surprise one. Do keep in touch. Cheers, Steve.

    1. Well Patrick, I hope you keep us posted about your adventures too. Oh, to be 17 again. So many wonderful things to look forward to. Good luck to you. Cheers, Steve.

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