FIVE OF THE BEST LARGE GAME ANIMALS NZ HAS TO HUNT
NZ has deservedly earned a reputation for producing the largest Red Stags in the world and having produced 9/10 of the “hunted” world leading scores you can understand why. Not only are red deer a huge “kiwi” favourite but hunters from all over the globe travel huge distances and spend thousands upon thousands of dollars just to chase their dream stag here in NZ.
Whether it’s the hair standing up on the back of your neck everytime you hear a Red Stag roar, the lure of a magnificent trophy head, the plentiful amount of top quality meat one can harvest off a single animal or just the excitement of the adventure to be had with every hunt, Red deer will most certainly be near the top of most hunters wish lists.
Top locations to hunt Red Deer.
Red deer are NZ’s most widely distributed Deer Species. They can be found from the top of the North island to the bottom of the South with the most popular areas amongst hunters to hunt these deer being the alpine tussock areas of NZ’s Southern Alps and throughout the North Island’s Central Plateau.
Chamois were brought to NZ as a gift from the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph in 1907. Like the Himalayan Tahr they established themselves quickly and are now found throughout the entire Southern Alps range in NZ’s South Island. More wide spread than tahr and even found in areas of lowland forests and scrub chamois could be considered more accessible to hunters however if you’re after a trophy buck outside of the rut they live a largely solitary life so can often be a lot more challenging to spot compared to a large bachelor group of bull tahr.
Top locations to hunt chamois.
Chamois can be found from Marlborough to Fiordland sounds in all attitudes and habitats. There is however good numbers to be found under the cover of bush canopy in the milder areas of south Westland throughout the colder months of winter and the drier, eastern side of the main divide in the warmer seasons.
Fallow deer are NZ’s 2nd most common deer species and are one of the most unique deer in the animal kingdom. Not only are they know for being the only deer species besides Moose to have “palmated” antlers but they are the only deer to have distinctly different colour phases/variations throughout the species. There’s common (brown with lighter spots sometimes present in their summer coat), melanistic (dark chocolate to almost black in colour), menil (lighter brown with white neck, belly and spots over their torso throughout the year) and leucistic (white/cream all over). Fallow deer are also described by many to be the best eating of the deer species here in NZ so really a trophy or prized animal all round.
Top location to hunt Fallow Deer.
Although there are numerous herds of fallow throughout the country by far our biggest herd is from the original historic Whanganui release in the North Island and Blue mountains in the South.
Feral pigs are found throughout the entire country including a number of our outer islands like Great Barrier, and Chatham Islands. Often hunted with a team of dogs, wild pig hunts can be an adrenaline fueled, action packed way to secure great tasting food for the table/freezer. Because they can be found anywhere from alpine regions right down to wetland areas and the coast from the top of the north to the bottom of the South Island hunting wild pigs is achievable and within reach of most hunters. Using dogs and a knife means you also don’t necessarily need to own and use a firearm and license however having one available can save a great deal of injury to both dogs and hunters if you come across a large aggressive boar sporting razor sharp tusks up to 6” long. “Good Luck”.
Top Locations to hunt wild pigs.
Due to their vast range of habitats and diet, feral pigs can be found almost everywhere in bush, scrub and grasslands so our best tip is just to get out there and have a go in any likely area.
Introduced to NZ for game hunting over 100years ago tahr quickly established themselves in their ideal alpine environment of our South Island’s Southern Alps.
A large goat-like animal native to the Himalayan mountains of India and Nepal where numbers are considered low, here in NZ their population has exploded and plans for government culls are underway to try and control numbers and the damage they are doing to our native alpine vegetation. NZ is the only country in the world where you can hunt these majestic alpine animals which are prized for the bulls incredible pelt (which can be compared to that of an African lion) and horns, the vast amounts of flavoursome meat (females especially) provide and the share challenge they present a hunter in their rugged alpine range.
Top locations to hunt Tahr
Tahr are found in good numbers throughout the southern alps of NZ from around the Rakaia Valley in the north to lake Hawea in the south. This being said….. you really can’t beat hunting them on the slopes of NZ’s tallest peak Aoraki, Mt Cook or the rugged scrub faces of South Westland.