Discussion in 'Hunting Australia & New Zealand' started by 50by50, Feb 23, 2017.
Did you do a DIY? What animals did you take?
Yeah, it was DIY. We hooked up with a local that is a Tahr fanatic and paid for his heli flight in to come hunt with us, so although it was unguided, we did have the benefit of a Kiwi with us.
We hunted the west coast first and got into them from the first day. We had the helicopter drop us off high and then we hunted down to the hut over the course of two days. We were still getting into them from the hut, but we were doing herculean hikes every morning to get up high. When the rain finally socked us in, we called the helicopter to pull us out and we drove over to the east coast. We hiked into a drainage and set up camp in a cool little wooded area. The next morning we got into them again and I shot my best Tahr of the trip. I think he went 12.5 inches.
It was absolutely phenomenal. Some of the most beautiful country I've seen with great friends, lots of animals, and intense terrain. Overall the 4 of us shot 7 tahr and 1 chamois.
This is very interesting subject. I have some questions:
Are there any available empty huts or cabins in the wilderness that can be used for free during the hunt? Possibly to substitue evean a tent?
To hunt Tahr - how many days would be necessary to plan for?
What would be the list of necessary equipment, to be suffiecent for the duration of the hunt, but in the same time not to heavy for carrying? (obviulsy, the rifle, sat phone, and gps are needed, so the question refers to other survival equipment)
those are good questions.
Huts: yes, there are huts in the wilderness that are available during the hunt. You'll have to check, but I believe most require a small fee per night. Some also require you to book in the hut as they sometimes don't have very many beds. The one we stayed in was super cheap each night- like $15 US I think. There was 6 bunks. It was nice coming off the mountain and being able to dry out and get some really good rest. At first I was thinking we should stay high and hunt out of our tents but after two days of super hard hunting, it felt amazing getting to the hut and taking a swim in the river and getting dry and warm. The other cool thing about the hut is that on the way in, we got the helicopter to stop at the hut and we dropped off extra clothes and food. This made a big difference in getting warm and dry with clean clothes. Felt great.
I think 5-7 days is sufficient for a tahr hunt, depending on the weather. We planned 10 days and it was a little too long. Granted, for the most part, we had good weather so we weren't socked in more than a couple days. They say sometimes you can get socked in for days on end. We didn't experience that. Finding Tahr was not difficult. They're rutting in June and the bulls are out with the Ewes so we were getting on them pretty consistently. We could have shot 4 or 5 good tahr each if we'd wanted. One of the most difficult things was accessing the tahr. They live straight up and by the end of 7 days, my body was starting to play out.
Necessary equipment: I packed like I was going on a late season backpacking hunt in the high country of Wyoming. The wind was crazy and one of the guys had the poles on his tent all break the second night out. So I would go with the lightest, highest quality gear you can afford. I had a little kuiu one man tent that used one of my walking sticks as the pole and it held up fine. But when it rained, that tent was not very good at keeping the condensation from getting me wet. Still- for an economical tent that is super super lightweight, it was worth a little water on the inside of the tent.
Gear that was crucial: walking sticks, high quality boots (my solomons were TRASHED at the end of the hunt- and they were basically brand new), really good rain gear, socks for every day, moleskin, pain meds for stiff and sore muscles.
I went really light on my pack. I pre-packed all my food so each day I had a bag of food I could eat as I liked. It was all freeze dried or extremely light weight. I'm glad I went light on my gear because those tahr capes are HEAVY. I felt bad for my two buddies who were carrying close to 100lbs off the mountain. It was grueling and extremely difficult terrain so plan on an extra 40- 50 lbs of cape and backstraps when you're planning your backpacking gear.
I'm all over the place with this post- sorry. If a person packed like they were doing a late season high country hunt in the rocky mountains, they would have everything they would need to have a great hunt in New Zealand.
Thanks for the long answer, 50!
So the hut can be used as "base camp", and then from there to make daily hunting trips? This is possible? Am i right?
If Tahr is priority target, can those cabins can be found in aproximate area of free range Tahr?
How to find and contact hut/cabin owner for rental? in Tahr hunting area, of course.
In most ot the Tahr range the huts are owned by DoC (Department of Conservation) they are on a first come first served basis and cannot be booked. Once you have identified the hut by name go to the https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-stay/stay-in-a-hut/ website and search for the hut That will give the cost etc.
Some huts are owned by mountaineering clubs and are also avaliable on a first come first served basis, but it varies from hut to hut.
If basing yourself at a hut you often end up with big days climbing up to the tahr, fly-camping higher/closer to the animals can be good for a night or two and then head back to the hut to dry out/refresh.
Some huts can be accessed by helicopter while others you need to walk in to.
Hope that helps.
This is great info. Thanks!
I say get over and do it, its beautiful country and the people are great, beer so so...
The mountains are the toughest part of a tahr hunt, the animals themselves are prone to stand there and watch you get into a few hundred yards. The last time i hunted them I took the bow to up the challenge, didn't get one either! though I had my chances.
I'd recommend anyone to have a crack at sika, that's a challenging hunt on public land!
I'd really love to get a turkey or two next year to bring home but I'm not sure if they're in the south island, only seen em on the north.
I will have to hold my horses, I am just on the begining of the Tahr project research & feasibility study....
Free range Tahr for me is a long term project.
I am also reasearching for cape buffalo or cow in Africa.
And have another PG hunt booked for 2019, so NZ Thar cannot happen in less then two years from now, for me.
So, back to the Tahr.
The hunting area is this, on the South Island.:
There are many hunting blocks and areas, 47 areas and 12 blocks!
Which Tahr hunting blocks or areas are the most promissing?
Then I can compare with availability of the govt huts, on previous reccomended sights.
Thank you all guys, you are really great!
There is a tahr ballot for some areas each year. Winning the ballot lets you use a helicopter to access areas helicopters are usually excluded from. There are a lot of areas that are open and anyone can go there at anytime. Don't plan too much at the moment because in the next year or so a lot (10-20,000) tahr will be culled from public conservation land. Hopefully they are not targeting the Bulls.
Make a decision on West Coast or East Coast. West is generally better trophy potential but it is steeper and nastier with a lot more thick scrub to get through.
The East is more open and easier access.
Pretty sure all the ballot areas are on the West Coast.
the twelve blocks on the East coast are HUGE. You would not hunt them properly in a couple of weeks or months. One hunting permit would give you access to 2/3rds or more of the blocks from memory.
I'd add to this convo by saying that the first time i hunted tahr we just got heli'd up to a hut not in the balloted area and saw plenty of bulls.
It's an incredible place to hunt, depending on what you do and where you are you may have a chance at multiple species and several animals. but I'd always encourage restraint and respect. A lot of guys go there and whether it's because they're on holidays, have no connection to the place or just don't care because it's not impacting their resources go crazy and kill anything that moves (Aussies can be some of the worst).
It's where the old aldo leopold quote of "ethics is what you do when no one is watching even if the wrong thing is legal". Not at all insinuating anything against yourself obviosuly but it's not rare to see guys going over shooting 3, 6, 10 or more animals of whatever species, ringbarking heads and leaving the rest to rot.
I'm lucky I can bring meat back so I'm very keen to serve chamois here in Australia to some people if i can knock one over next year.
So basically, you go - as mentioned in your example, by chopper in non-balloted area in the hut. (it simplifies balloting process - thumb up)
After that, you simply start glassing, observing, walking and stalking? And tahr is not to far, to be seen?
Did I get this correctly? (Dummy like me, has to ask.. sorry )
For such a hunt, one or two weeks. what would be the essential equipment list?
Is the water in the creeks and rivers drinkable (no 10/80 etc)?
One week would be enough, unless you wanted to switch to another area. You will prob lose a day or two to weather.
It takes a couple of days to get a tahr, they are pretty predictable.
Find where they are coming down one evening and then climb up there the next afternoon and intercept them as they come down to feed. Don't bother trying to hunt them in the morning, they will be climbing back up to their daytime bedding areas, and you can't outclimb a tahr.
A good spotter is needed to spot the difference between a young 10" bull and a trophy 12" bull.
Any water will be fine to drink, I've never had an issue in 30 odd years of hunting and tramping.
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