NEW ZEALAND: My New Zealand Hunt

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Australia & New Zealand' started by gillettehunter, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Sep 10, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(2) New Zealand
    I'm a bit late getting this written up. Better late than never I guess.
    About 1 year ago my wife said, I'd like to go to a photo class in New
    Zealand. Would you like to go hunting there? Nice when they twist your
    arm to go hunting!


    Then the research started. In my mind I really wanted to shoot a VERY
    good red stag. Everything else was secondary. My research showed that
    would mean an estate animal ( high fence). I soon realized that the
    kind of red stag I really wanted was out of my price range. So you try
    to get the best you can for the money available. I am not going to discuss
    the issue of high fenced hunting. From what I saw in New Zealand,
    it was completely fair chase and I had a lot of fun.
    I found a couple of referrals for Peter Chamberlin of Kiwi Wilderness Safaris. I looked up
    his web site and the prices were very reasonable. So I sent a e-mail
    asking questions. As we went back and forth it appeared that there was
    a chance to take a gold medal plus animal for a gold medal price. SCI
    gold medal red stag is 350-400. Peter told me he took several in the
    410-415 class each year for the same price. I then asked if there was
    ever a chance for a 430-450 animal. He said yes but it could cost a bit
    more depending on where we were hunting. I sent a deposit for a 5 day
    hunt for Red Stag and Tahr.
    Normally I do one big hunt every 3 or so years. I had already planned a
    Marco Polo hunt to Kyrgyzstan in Feb and this would follow a couple of
    months later. A bit of a strain on the budget, but workable this time.
    Especially since my wife paid the air fare! The hunt was scheduled for
    the end of April through the first of May.
    About a month before I left I got a e-mail from Peter. Seems he had seen
    a 450 plus red stag with at least 24 points. It would cost only $2000
    more than a gold medal animal. I had first right of refusal as I had
    asked first about a larger animal. I didn't hesitate and told him that
    was the one I wanted to hunt for.
    I arrived at Christchurch in the afternoon to a steady rain. It had
    rained the day before and was forecast to rain the next day. Peter
    picked me up and we headed to his place about 2 hours away.
    Peter has a great setup for visiting hunters. Adjacent to his house are
    2 rooms that can be rented or used for visiting hunters. 2 beds,
    microwave and TV. Very handy. He told me to meet him at 7 for breakfast
    and then we'd go hunting. The farm we were hunting was only about 30 minutes away from Peter's
    house. Peter has a cabin there to use. Nice hunting cabin. Couple of
    bedrooms, kitchen, living room with a fireplace. When we were almost to
    the cabin we saw our first red stags. One stag and 3 or so females. It
    looked like he had 7-8 points to a side and would be a nice trophy next
    It rained all day so we hunted very little. We hauled and cut some wood
    for the cabin. In the afternoon I shot his rifle. Peter had told me it
    was not difficult to bring my rifle, but that he had several that I
    could choose from at no charge. My wife thought it would be easier to
    not have a rifle to travel with so I elected to use his. Peter used to
    work for what was then the largest gun seller in NZ. He has Remington's
    with Leuopold scopes on them.
    I used his 7mm mag with 140 gr bullets. In spite of the rain we took it
    out to sight it in. It was fine and the trigger was good for me. I also
    shot his 22-250 so I was familiar with it.
    That evening we went out to see what we might find. The high Fence area
    covered about 2 square miles with several large patches of timber. Lots of
    "thorn brush" that was 6 feet and more tall.
    There were 2 large valleys and 2 good sized hills. In other words there was
    plenty of places for the animals to hide where we couldn't see them.
    Peter showed me several places where animals were coming and going from
    the preserve. We drove up a hill to look across the valley to the other
    side and see what might be out. With the rain it was a slow evening
    with few animals sighted. The mud was bad enough that Peter chained up
    to get us back down safely.
    As a result of my trip to Kyrgyzstan 2 months earlier my knees had not been
    well. Exercising a month before I was to go I had felt something give
    way in my left knee.... So my exercising had suffered a lot. My knee
    didn't feel so great either. This was to become more of a problem the
    next day.
    Day 2 dawned clear and looked like a great hunting day. We drove to the
    cabin and had breakfast and headed back to the hunting preserve. We
    stopped near the gate to the preserve. We then proceeded to climb a
    steep hill to look into one of the valleys. I slipped and twisted my
    knee on the way up in the wet grass and mud. We could see a number of
    red deer and fallow deer from our position, but no shooters.
    Going down
    the hill, I slipped 2 more times and by then my knee was a mess. We
    crossed the fence and walk down a 2 lane track that goes across the
    bottom the preserve. Actually Peter walked. I hobbled....
    About 1/2 mile in we came across a chocolate colored fallow deer bedded
    on the side of the road perhaps 150 yds away. Peter told me I could
    shoot him if I wanted him. I asked about the trophy fee. He said it was
    a bronze medal type of cull animal and the cost would only be $500.
    Knowing our stag could be close I declined for the time being.
    As the road started to climb at the head of the valley we hit a
    switchback. Climbing (hobbling) further I looked to my right and saw a
    set of antlers above the thorn brush. They looked huge to me and I was
    sure it was our stag. He moved away as I tried to get Peter where he
    could see. Peter is perhaps 5 ft 4 in and was in a hole and never got a
    glimpse. The stag was heading away from us to our right. Peter hurried
    me back to the switchback corner which gave us a great view of the upper
    valley. I told Peter that I was sure that this was a shooter stag. He
    had me kneel down with a set of shooting sticks on the front and his
    pack under my arm at the rear. His pack has a rigid internal frame and
    it is made for a very steady rest. The stag came out at a trot. Peter
    said to wait for him to stop. I followed him in the scope as he put some
    distance between us he finally stopped at the edge of some thorn brush
    about 275 yards away. He was partially screened by the brush , but I was ready
    to shoot. I tried a shot at what I could see. He jumped and angled back
    somewhat towards us. I reloaded and took a shot at him moving. There was a
    solid thwack and he turned downhill. I worked the bolt and Peter said I
    think he is done for. The stag went down about 250 yards away.
    When we got to the stag I couldn't believe how big he was. The mass on
    his horns is incredible. On his left side the palmation is 10 inches
    wide! 31 or 32 points depending on how small you count them. He is a
    magnificent stag and green scored 529 SCI. He is huge.
    Peter said that he was the biggest that they have taken there.
    We pulled him out that afternoon and got him all caped out. My knee was
    swollen and painful. I iced it that night to see if that would help.
    All I had with me as a pain medication was alieve which wasn't going to
    do enough. The next day Peter worked some on the cape and made
    arrangements for us to hunt for a Tahr on a farm about 4 hrs away. We
    left mid-morning and stopped by a pharmacy on the way. I picked up a
    kneed wrap and some additional pain medication. It was a nice drive to
    the area we were to hunt. NZ is a little different on bridges than what
    we are. Most of the bridges that we crossed had only one lane.
    Depending on who had the light we often to to wait to cross a bridge.
    Saves on costs, I guess.
    We arrived at the ranch mid afternoon and went to talk to the manager.
    He told us there were 2 good sized herds of Tahr. The ranch is cattle
    fenced, but the Tahr come and go as they please. These Tahr are lower
    down than most, but still live on a steep hillside. He has a resident
    herd on the ranch all of the time. The rut was just getting a good
    start. Because of the rut a number of bulls were down out of the high
    country to breed with the resident nannies. We went to have a look.
    These herds are simply a loose knit breeding groups. Perhaps 20-40
    nannies and 10-20 bulls fighting for breeding rights. Tahr are
    difficult to judge horn size. A look at Peter looking at Tahr.
    The long neck hair is also considered
    an important part of the trophy. This mane reminds you of a lion in some
    respects. We spent perhaps 2 hours looking at the first herd. There were
    several mature bulls and I thought we would shoot one of them. I was a
    little puzzled when we drove away to see the second herd.
    With the second herd we took a walk over to the edge of a very steep
    ravine. We could see a good number of tahr from our vantage point. We
    watched a larger bull push a younger bull towards us. The bigger one
    got to perhaps 300 yards and saw or smelled us and headed back into the
    bush. The younger one stayed at under 250 yards for quite some time. I
    later learned that we were simply scouting for which herd had the best
    bulls to hunt on the next day as well as resting my knee..... I thought
    we had seen perhaps 75-90 tahr that day.
    The next morning we headed back to the second hillside. You can see some of the cliffs here.
    We spent the next 1-2 hours looking at tahr through the spotting scope. Peter picked
    a primary and a secondary animal that we wanted to hunt. We then headed
    out to the hillside to get in range. This hillside is very steep with
    some cliffs up to 50 feet high. Didn't look bad from the side......
    When we headed over most of the tahr had gone into the bush to bed. An
    hour later as we got to where they had been we started seeing tahr. A
    cloud cover moved in and they came out to feed some more.
    This turned into one of my best hunting days of my life. We spent 3 1/2
    to 4 hours with tahr all around us. One time I stood up slowly and
    counted 8 tahr within 75 yards of us. We would move slowly until we
    attracted attention and then stop for 20 minutes while they settled
    down. Hear is a good Tahr. We got right in the middle of this herd of tahr. One young bull
    got curious about us. He was 4 1/2 yrs old and came up to perhaps 15-18
    yards. He spent 15 minutes looking us over. I finally threw a small rock
    and hit him trying to get him to leave us alone!
    We finally located the bull that Peter had chosen for me to shoot. Got
    the shooting sticks out and set up with his pack. The bull was perhaps
    250 yards away and was not at a good angle. He was with a hot nanny and
    was staying tight with her. All of a sudden I felt the wind shift and
    blow towards the bull we wanted. He smelled us and headed out right
    away.... Peter said he was one of the back country bulls that had been
    hunted before. About a hour later we spotted what may of been the same bull following his
    nanny perhaps 450 yards away. So away we went through the thorn brush to
    close the distance. We spooked several tahr and had to pick our way down
    the hill very carefully. We closed the distance to about 250 yards and
    the bull disappeared again into the brush. We eased out to a point and
    waited to see what would happen. 10 minutes later the nanny came out and
    Peter said the bull would follow. When he came out Peter had me wait to
    shoot until he verified that this was the right bull. When he gave me
    the green light I squeezed the trigger and dropped him in his tracks
    with a high shoulder shot. Good thing I did. He was just 5 feet from a
    drop off that that could of taken him 100 yards or more down the hill. Horn
    breakage can be a problem in a case like that.
    He is an absolutely beautiful bull Tahr. His mane is exceptional. His
    horns are over 12 inches to a side. Truly a great trophy. As we caped
    him out we had a audience of 21 tahr watching us from up the hill. I
    worked up several blisters going down the hill..........
    We drove back to Peters home that evening and made a plan for the last
    day. I was interested in a fallow deer at the cull price. Peter said
    there were 3-4 bronze medal type of animals in the sanctuary. The last
    morning we were unable to find one of them. That evening we could see a
    lot of fallow does, but no horns. It was like they knew to stay in the
    brush. Then with less than 20 minutes of shooting light Peter found one
    of them! He was way down the hill. Bad place for a hunter with bad
    knees and blistered feet. Away we went. Got down the hill to about 350
    yards. Peter said this was about our best position to get a shot. I laid
    down prone to shoot at a fairly steep downhill angle. I missed my first
    shot. Breeze may of pushed it a little.
    I dropped him with my second as he stayed around too long and gave me a second chance. He is not huge,
    but is my first fallow deer ever. Nice representative trophy. Note the thorns!
    The next day I flew to Queenstown to spend a couple of days touring with my wife.
    We had a good time and gave my feet a chance to heal up. Got back to the states and
    had Arthoscopic surgery on my knee. Its doing a lot better and I should be in decent shape for hunting this fall.
    Peter had my capes and horns all ready to go when I was. He does a great
    job and I had no troubles bringing them through customs at LAX.
    If you want a great hunt in NZ then you should contact Peter. He does a lot
    wilderness hunts. Sometimes they drive up the streams to get up high.
    Other hunts they get dropped off by a helicopter and spend a week
    hunting from a tent. I couldn't find anyone with good references that
    was any cheaper. He doesn't charge enough for the quality of his hunts.
    He has a daily rate of $400. Trophy fees were $2500 for a silver medal red stag.
    $5000 for a gold medal. Tahr is $2500 trophy fee.
    If you are considering going to NZ then you need to at least talk to
    Peter. Despite bad knees I had a great time and enjoyed myself. I also
    got some of my best trophies ever. Thanks Peter.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2016

  2. jeffpg

    jeffpg AH Enthusiast

    Apr 3, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Mississippi & Africa
    Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Turkey, USA
    Ok, I'm ready to go!

    I have a weak internet connection here in Africa and can't see your pics, but that may be for the best as I am already wanting to book with this guy!

    Great write up Bruce and it sounds like you found a good outfitter there as well. I will definitely be looking into this trip!

    Thanks for sharing buddy,

  3. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Sep 10, 2009
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    Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(2) New Zealand
    I thought I had pics up. Will have to try and fix it tomorrow....great trip. Bruce

  4. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    Jan 20, 2009
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    Member of:
    Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF
    Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)
    Thanks for the excellent hunt report, I'm glad you got some great trophies!


    ROCKET AH Fanatic

    Jul 3, 2014
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    Cordoba, Argentina
    Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, South Africa
    What a good Hunt you did Bruce.......I am eating my nails because I cannot see the pics I dont know wy......!!!!!!

    Thanks for the great report.......!!!!!!

  6. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Sep 10, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(2) New Zealand
    Area where we hunted the red stag

    Red stag in AM light

    PM light

    Packing head and cape out

    Tahr down low

    Peter looking at Tahr

    Hillside where we hunted the Tahr. Note the cliffs.

    Bull Tahr. Note how long and blonde the mane is

    Tahr watching us cape mine.

    Will get a pic up of my Fallow later. Work to do.... Bruce
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2016

  7. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    Jan 15, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Madrid, Spain
    Member of:
    Spain, Finland, RSA ( KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, North West, Northern Cape, Free State ).
    That was a fantastic hunt, with great trophies, congrats.

  8. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Sep 10, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(2) New Zealand
    My Fallow deer. Nice bronze medal type of animal.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2016


    ROCKET AH Fanatic

    Jul 3, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Cordoba, Argentina
    Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, South Africa
    Yeeesss......we got the wards for the red stag.....magnificen........yes is a very good price for that deer for sure.....!!!!!......all the trophis are very good........thanks for the pics Bruce......!!!!!!!



    Aug 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Canada, USA, Mexico, England
    Congrats Bruce.
    Nice trophies and you survived, with a little surgery.

  11. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    May 27, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Member of:
    USA - TX, CO, GA, ID. Africa - Zimbabwe and South Africa (Limpopo and EC)
    I always wondered what an elk crossbreed with a moose would look like. Now I know!


  12. Lenny13

    Lenny13 AH Member

    Jul 2, 2014
    Likes Received:
    S.Africa(Limpopo, Mpumalanga), USA (SD, TX), Namibia
    This is incredible! Thank you for sharing. It looks like beautiful country and a couple of fantastic trophies!

  13. bluey

    bluey AH ENABLER AH Legend

    May 21, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Member of:
    ssaa, aba ,bairnsdale field archers SFP
    australia south africa (limpopo, north west,eastcape) canada (b.c)zambia
    Very cool trophies,bruce
    Other than buggering your knee,which sounds like ,you punched through and kept on going on.
    Nice write up , and pictures mate
    Thanks once again for sharing your trip with us ,cobber

  14. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    Dec 23, 2012
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    Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe
    Congratulations on the great trophies. Glad the hunt went well and you were successful even with the bum knee.

    Thanks for the report and photos.

    All the best.

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