Fifteen years ago, PH John Scurr established Cardrona Safaris as a family owned and operated business. He explains its beginning, “The company was started in conjunction with our high country farming business located in one of New Zealand’s premier hunting locations, the Queenstown/Wanaka region on the South Island.”
Commenting on his PH work, John says, “Being in the safari business has been a special time of my life. Guiding clients from around the world, I have developed lasting friendships. This involvement broadened my interest in international hunting. I have bagged nearly a hundred different species of animals on all huntable continents. I do not yet have all of the Big Five, but am intimately familiar with an elephant charge and mixing it with the big cat.”
When afield John carries rifles chambered from .270 to .300 caliber. “We do not require anything bigger than .300 because we do not have dangerous game to contend with and the shots are rarely over 300 yards except when hunting tahr and chamois. Every year we harvest good quality animals for our clients across all the species available in New Zealand.”
2009 stands out as a highlight when Scurr guided a client on a red stag that scored 655—an SCI world record at the time. “It was a privilege to guide Prince Dimitrie Sturdza of Romania on that stag,” says Scurr. “The animal was high in the valley and the climb was quite a challenge for the Prince, who is in his seventies, to make it into a comfortable shooting position. The hunt was special because of his connections with hunters in Europe, his standing in society and the great respect he has for the history of hunting. He has a wonderful hunting culture, with gratitude and passionate respect for the species he pursues. We have become good friends and I have hunted with him in Romania as his guest. Developing these relationships makes the outfitter/guide business so rewarding and gives us a perspective on international experience.”
John described his own hunting experiences. “Along with fantastic African safaris, I have great respect for the big mountain ranges of the world. Hunting for ibex and rams in the Tian Shans, chamois in the Carpathians, tahr in the Southern Alps, mountain goat in the Alaskan mountains, tur in the Caucasian Mountains and mountain nyala in the Bale Mountains are memories of burning energy and personal satisfaction. Not all of my hunting ventures have been successful, so I have something to look forward to in coming years.”
Scurr provides hunts on foot, and can get you to hunting locations by four-wheel drive vehicles or helicopter. Small game, duck and quail are offered at their hunting preserve. Trout fishing is available in nearby Lake Wanaka and surrounding rivers.
An SCI member, John Scurr has invested in SCI knowing those funds are carefully and strategically used in programs educating young hunters, who are the foundation of the industry, about ethical hunting and conservation. John and his wife Anne have enjoyed hosting many families and take great pride in seeing those parents, girls and boys enjoying New Zealand’s wildlife and environment.