Almost 200 young hunters contested the third annual Fernridge Kids Hunt at the weekend that was expected to raise more than $7000 for the school.
Gordon Crawley, Fernridge Board of Trustees chairman, said 197 entries were taken for the weekend hunting event that for the first time was thrown open to include young hunters and game from throughout North Island.
Celebrity outdoorsman Geoff Thomas was to have taken a lead role at the event, which started on Friday, but a family member had fallen ill and he was unable to attend, Mr Crawley said.
The event attracted numerous sponsors from throughout Wairarapa and from as far away as Levin and Kapiti and every entrant walked away with at least a goodie bag for their troubles.
The contest was divided into two age grades, including 2-to-4 years and 5-to-15 years, and was split into game categories as well.
Mr Crawley said at least 500 people had attended the Sunday weigh-in and prize-giving at the school, where there also were food and drink stalls and contest stalls. Mr Crawley said two trailer loads of smaller game were taken during the hunt, including hares and rabbits along with four boar, 16 red deer, 11 fallow deer and 34 goats.
Schoolboy Ben Parker, who brought in a deer weighing 98.5kg, took the prize for heaviest red stag and more than 100 spot prizes also were handed out on Sunday including hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, guided meat hunts, airguns and helicopter flights.
However, there had been less "negativity" directed at this year's event, Mr Crawley said, after a degree of opposition was raised last year to children hunting and killing for sport.
"Most people are fully supportive of the event and feedback is generally positive."
Mr Crawley said the number of entries was up on the previous two years and the expected fundraising target of $7000 would be spent on information technology equipment.