Weapons and Strategies | New Zealand Hunt Planner

 

With a dozen big game species and a variety of habitats from glaciated mountains to coastal plains to thick, dark forests, New Zealand has a huge amount of variety for the keen hunter.  You would be hard pressed to hunt every game animal in every habitat, even if you stayed hard after it for a couple of months.

 

In addition to the dizzying variety, every hunter has to choose for his or herself what weapon they will hunt with and what hunting strategy or strategies they will utilize on their hunt.  For some this will be easy, for others it might be a bit more of a difficult decision. Here are a few tips to help you choose.

Bowhunting

Unless you are a diehard muzzleloader hunter like good ol’ Jim Shockey, the choice of what weapon to take will generally come down to and decision between rifle vs bow.  

 

Bowhunting is (unfortunately) not a very popular pastime in New Zealand.  When I landed in Christchurch on my first trip to New...

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The Seasons, The Weather And The Rut | New Zealand Hunt Planner

 

They say that timing is everything.  Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s hard to deny that timing in hunting, as well as almost every other aspect of life, is critical if you are trying to stack the odds of success in your favor.

 

If you are trying to figure out when to go to New Zealand, there are three basic criteria that I suggest considering in order to make your decision -- the seasons, the weather and the rut.  Let's take a quick look at each one and I'll offer my recommendations on how to prioritize each one.

 

Seasons 

One of the most exciting aspects of hunting in New Zealand for the Northern Hemisphere (American) hunter is the ability to hunt prime fall hunting seasons during the off season.

 

In case you didn’t know...March, April and May are fall in New Zealand, while September, October and November are New Zealand’s springtime.

 

To add to the list of opposites, in New Zealand the sun rotates...

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North Island vs South Island | Where To Hunt | New Zealand Hunt Planner

  

Where should you hunt is often the first question that people ask when planning a hunting adventure away from home.  Here is some high level information to help get you started.

 

The country of New Zealand is split into two major islands, the North Island and the South Island.  

 

Between the two major islands and its smaller offshore islands, New Zealand has approximately 20 million acres (over 80,00 kilometers squared) in some form of public ownership.  This represents almost 30% of New Zealand’s land mass.

 

A large portion of these public lands exist in the form of Forest Parks, Conservation Parks and National Parks -- all of which allow hunting, with a few exceptions.  This creates an incredible amount of opportunity for all hunters, both kiwis and foreigners. The challenge is figuring out where to hunt!

 

For starters, its best to determine which main island you will focus on.  Although you could definitely...

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New Zealand's Big Game Animals | New Zealand Hunt Planner

 

There are a whole pile of non-native critters that have been introduced into the wilds of New Zealand and are considered “noxious animals” by the Department of Conservation (DOC). 

 

All large mammals in New Zealand are open for hunting year round, with very few exceptions.

 

Here is a partial list of those animals.  These are the more popular species among hunters:

 

  • Himalayan Tahr
  • Chamois
  • Red Deer
  • Fallow Deer
  • Sika Deer
  • Sambar Deer
  • Rusa Deer
  • Elk (Wapiti)
  • Whitetail Deer
  • Feral Goat
  • Feral Sheep (Merino, Arapawa)
  • Feral Pig


Lets jump in and take a look at each one as a possible target species for a DIY hunter.

 

Himalayan Tahr

Location -- South Island

Public Land, DIY Opportunity -- High

Himalayan Tahr are a fantastic mountain game animal.  They are quite literally the king of the mountain...as long as that mountain is located in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.

 

Tahr are a large wild goat with a full bristling mane and a...

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Mountain Hunting's Greatest Value | New Zealand Hunt Planner

 

Mountain hunting can be a disease for those afflicted.

 

If you have ever been on a true mountain hunt, then you might know a bit of what I'm talking about.

 

Here is the way I see it...

 

Goats and sheep live in the mountains, usually above treeline and often in crazy, cliffy, gnarly, high mountain country.  Pursuing goats and sheep in that amazing country gives the hunter a rare glimpse into a landscape and ecosystem that as humans we just don’t venture into often.  This is the mountain hunting experience.  

Once a hunter has gotten a taste of those high windswept ridges, craggy peaks, and alpine basins dotted with tarns and scree chutes, it's hard to get the memory of that hunt -- that amazing country and the beautiful animals that live up there -- out of your head. 

 

Combine that experience with the hard physical exertion that is required to reach those places, which produces endorphines in your brain - kinda...

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Getting Started | New Zealand Hunt Planner

 

New Zealand has so much opportunity for the DIY, public land hunter, its amazing that it doesn't get more attention from American hunters. 

 

Consider this: travel to the country is relatively easy, NZ's hunting regulations are minimal and the number of game species and amount of game is high -- all of this in a beautiful country full of very friendly people and with an exchange rate that makes hunting out of country very economical for the adventurous US hunter.

 

Here are some of the important things to know about when getting started:

 

Available Species

Tahr, chamois, red deer and fallow deer seem to be the most commonly hunted species by international hunters.  There is good reason for this.

 

Tahr and chamois are the most common and accessible mountain game in New Zealand - and some of the finest mountain species in the world.  Similarly, red deer and fallow deer are the most common and accessible deer species,...

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The Outline | New Zealand Hunt Planner

 

Hey there!  Welcome Welcome!

 

Ok, based on comments on Instagram and email responses it seems that the interest for a New Zealand hunt planning guide is just a smidge more than for a general info Alaska guide.

 

Sooooo, here we go!  (BTW, if you had your heart set on the Alaska course, hang in there.  It will be coming next)

 

This here outline is how I'm thinking about laying out the course content.  If you saw the email, you might remember that I described this as a general info, high level course that would teach you all the info that you would need to know to plan your own adventure in New Zealand, but without a lot of the super nitty-gritty species and location specific detail that has gone into the likes of the Haul Road Caribou Guide, Adak Caribou Guide and Kodiak Sitka Blacktail Guide.

 

That said, there will still be plenty of info about each game species plus where to find them in New Zealand.  So...

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