New Zealand Hunting Report- When the shoe is on the other foot
Good day Gentleman,
It gives me great pleasure to write this report on a recent trip I undertook to New Zealand. The trip had some business purposes, but thought that this was a great
opportunity to experience the huntng industry of another country. I feel it is important to learn these new experiences as it refreshes the mind to different hunting cultures, which gives me new perspective and fresh ideas of running an outfitting business in South Africa.
I was collected by my host, and now very good friend, Craig Feaver, who owns a magnificent ranch on the South Island of New Zealand, operating under the name of Rata Peaks. The ranch is an approximate 2 hr drive from the city of Christchurch. The drive seems very short, once you get totally mystified by the beauty of this amazing country. Craig and his partner Jan , ultimately farm with velvet, which they obtain from the Red Deer.
I, however, was after an animal that has prickled my mind for a while, namely a Tahr.
The Tahr is a type of a mountain goat, which for some odd reason seem to find it necessary to inhabit near vertical rock faces, displaying their balancing skills in ledges only a couple of inches wide. I stood for some time, just admiring how they mock fight and play on these rock faces, with one false step, ultimately meaning an end to their existance.
The first day on arrival, we headed over to the local taxidermist to borrow a rifle. Since I would be travelling quite a bit, I found that it would be too much of a hassle to take my own rifle over, and decided to use whatever they give me. I was supplied with a neat little .300 WSM. What an awesome calibre, which shoots flat and hits hard. On the first day, we checked the rifle, which needed a couple of clicks to set it to my shooting style. Craig wanted to head out immediately, which I was fine with, but after getting to the first look out point, I could feel something was not right. The jetlag has caught up with me, since there was also an 11 hr difference between South Africa and New Zealand, and as many of you know sleeping on a plane is not the most comfortable.
I decided to call the first day, without even as much as a sniff at a stalk. At 5 pm local time, I was in lala land, trying to get some rest for the next day of hard hunting.
The next morning brought a lot of excitement, as we could see some Tahr from the house on the mountain side. After fuelling ourselves a great breakfast the morning, we headed out in our pursuit of a Bull Tahr. We spotted a group against a mountain side about 500 yds away, but they were accompanied by a group of Red Deer. The Red Deer, which are a lot more skittish than the Tahr, would surely make the Tahr bolt off if we pushed them too hard.
We did allow the Red Deer to see us, but just enough to make them uncomfortable to move off without disturbing the Tahr too much. The Tahr were feeding away from us at the time, and the plan was to give them enough time to feed around the hillside, giving us an opportunity to put a stalk in.
After approximately two hours, the animals had moved out of sight and we closed the gap. We spotted them on the other side of a hill, which was ranged at 207 yds. Childsplay for a .300 WSM.
After sitting on the hillside for a while, a mature bull presented himself, standing on a rock above all the other.
I decided to take him. The bullet broke the shoulder and stopped just under the skin on the otherside. The Bull was not happy after the shot, and took two steps before rolling a fair way down the mountain.
After reaching the Bull, some photos were taken, after which we did a full mount cape on the animal. It will most probably not turn out into a full mount, but this leaves my options open once the animal gets back to South Africa.
The scenery of this hunt was magical and a true treat to me, who have only been exposed to South African bushveld. The ranch is situated in the same mountains where the movie of Lord of the Rings were filmed and the one photo I have posted here actually shows the location of where they built the castle for the movie.
All in all, I had an eye opening experience that will live with me for the rest of my life. If any of you are looking for a great or a new challenge, give yourself a chance at a Tahr Bull.
Hope you enjoy the photos.
KMG Hunting Safaris