The Top 10 things to consider when Hunting in New Zealand (Part One)
By Simon Guild.
If you’ve heard about hunting in New Zealand and like the sound of it, then there are a few things to keep in mind before you get started. In our 28 years hosting hunters, we’ve learned a thing or two from our clients’ experiences. Here are the top ten points to consider.
1. Hunting Season.
It may seem obvious to some, but we should say it out nonetheless; New Zealand seasons are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere! While you can hunt all our big game species at any time of year without restriction, our hunting season usually starts in early March when stags’ antlers have stripped and they’re ready for the roar.
Broadly speaking, April is peak season for deer species and May is peak season for tahr and chamois with June still a great time to hunt. Once July comes around things can get pretty chilly and at High Peak we like to let the animals winter in peace.
Being a small island in a big ocean means most hunters visiting New Zealand will be travelling a fair distance to get here (at considerable time and cost) so you’ll probably want to make it count.
This could mean getting the biggest trophy buck you can find, or perhaps hunting good examples of each of our top five big game species. By defining your wishlist and your budget, you can then use them as a means to determine your hunt duration, hunt type and the outfitter that will make it happen.
3. Trip Duration.
So now that you’ve created your wishlist, it makes sense to give yourself enough time to achieve it. Make the flight over, recover a little from any effects of jet lag, go hunting and get your animals. We strongly recommend exploring this beautiful country post-hunt – allowing enough time for adverse weather!
For example, for a single species Red Stag hunt, you should plan to spend seven days minimum in New Zealand; a day for arrival, three days hunting, two spare days for weather or sightseeing and a departure day. There is no point in rushing something like this, especially if it’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so give yourself ample time to enjoy it properly.
4. The Hunt.
Now that you have worked out when you want to visit, what you want to hunt and the length of your hunting trip, you need to work out the type of hunter you are and the experience you’re looking for.
A hunt is a hunt, right? No way! Like many game destinations, New Zealand offers a full range of hunting experiences for a vast range of trophy species. If you’re a free-range type hunter, who isn’t concerned about trophy size, then you’ll be looking for a different experience to the hunter after the biggest record-book score he or she can afford. This should be a major factor in outfitter selection.
5. The Outfitter.
Which brings us to outfitter selection. This is one of the single biggest decisions you’ll make upon deciding to hunt NZ. Some operations cater to those after record-book scores where the actual hunting experience is a secondary priority. Others are all about the hunt with the trophy size being less important.
Some cater to both by offering a select few fair-chase hunts on large estates for a full range of trophy sizes but these won’t be cheap.
When looking for the right outfitter, think Good, Cheap, Big – and you can pick any two.
Stay tuned for Part Two of ‘Top Ten Things to Consider when Hunting in New Zealand’