Hunting guide globetrotter

Dylan McKnight

Photo by Clarke Davis
Back home in Valley Falls, Dylan McKnight savors his days spent in New Zealand. If his dream comes true, he may soon get to go back.


by Clarke Davis
Dylan McKnight has loved hunting ever since his older brother introduced him to it when he was 12. Now he’s just one online course away from completing a degree with the dream of becoming a big-game hunting guide.
The local 25-year-old native and 2009 Valley Falls High School graduate will graduate in May from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and outdoor enterprise management.
Helping him fulfill his dream was an internship in New Zealand from which he returned Oct. 29 after eight months. This not only provided him with 10-credit hours toward his degree, but gave him real world experience in his chosen field.
His resume was accepted by Kobatapu Lodge and Tribal Tours where he served as a duck hunting guide and tended bar. The lodge is owned by the Maori tribe.
Most of the customers coming to the lodge were Americans with an occasional British citizen.
He lived at Galaten on the North Island where he had his own cabin. His hosts were Karl and Nadine Toe Toe, owners of the lodge and native New Zealanders.
“They are just wonderful people,” he said, “and Nadine is a five-star chef.”
He ate mostly wild game of all kinds and said Nadine knew best how to prepare  and cook it.
“I learned a lot and I was pretty sad when I had to leave,” he said.
The wild game was mostly what he himself had shot and dressed out.
“We would close the bar early on nights that were slow and hunt all night,” he said.
Hunting some game is legal at night with a spotlight in New Zealand.
The game consists of five species of deer, elk, wild hogs, wild goat, turkey, ducks, geese, pheasant, and quail. Fishing is also a big attraction.
“Over there, a cook will hang the ducks and geese for three or four days before dressing them out, which was different from home,” he said.
The winters are mild on North Island and everyone has a wood-burning stove. South Island contains mountains, a colder climate, and ski resorts are big business.
To get from one island to the next requires taking a ferry and is a long, slow process, according to McKnight. “The ferry might be hauling a hundred cars,” he said.
Fourteen miles wide at the narrowest point, Cook Strait is considered one of the most dangerous and unpredictable waters in the world.
Before coming home, Dylan was visited by his mother, Jan McKnight, and her friends, Denise Streeter and Kim Bolz. They visited the lodge and all toured South Island by plane, train, and car. His father, Dr. Gary McKnight, did not make the trip.
Dylan has an interview soon with a Colorado-based outfitter and if he lands a job he may soon be a globetrotter. Because of his recent experience, he hopes his first assignment will be going back to New Zealand.
Ultimately, McKnight’s dream is to own a lodge.

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Posted by on Jan 25 2016. Filed under The Vindicator. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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