Hunting New Zealand is not unlike hunting in different parts of the United States, except there is no road hunting. As you can determine the writer is not a fan of the lazy man’s way of hunting as practiced in some parts of the Western States.
Most hunting in New Zealand is hard, arduous and requires strength and stamina, and is unguided, particularly when hunting any of the Maori blocks or National forest areas. In New Zealand there has also been a trend towards hunting behind fences for Large trophy Red deer, but this is not the norm for the average hunter in NZ, and is more or less strictly a tourist trophy hunter type of hunt, but if that is what you are looking for check out Alpine Hunting. So what can the average hunter who does not have $50,000 to throw at a hunt in New Zealand have to hunt?
So why would anyone spend about $2000 on an airfare to hunt New Zealand, well, for relatively little, (a few hundred dollars) one can be dropped off by one of the companies (like Helisika), and spend a week in a remote hut like the Oamaru hut and then be picked up again at the end of the trip. The hunting is very hard, long walks, several miles, no ATV’s no horses, just your back and legs! :) The game that one can hunt in this area are both Red and more frequently Sika deer. Red deer as the reader may know is a European introduction into New Zealand, and the Sika deer is a Japanese/Chinese variety of deer also introduced in the mid 1800’s.
Most species of introduced animals except domesticated such as sheep and cattle are regarded by the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) as noxious species and as such are unprotected, in fact DOC would like to eradicate all of them. In New Zealand one does not have to purchase a hunting license nor tags for animals, the only cost is a $25 Firearms license (for temporary importation of a firearm) upon entry to New Zealand. (Info here and application here). You will need to provide proof of a hunting license from any state in the US, or a Hunter Education certificate. You must also make sure that the firearm you intend to use is on the approved firearms list. Use this online application for a visitor’s firearms licence at least one month before your visit. There are occasional fees associated with the use of the national forests, but they are minimal. The New Zealand DOC manage and with the help of hunting groups such as the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association and tramping clubs maintain hundreds of huts throughout the National parks and forests, which are used by most New Zealand hunters.
So besides the Red Deer, and Sika deer, New Zealand has the following animals available for the hunter: Thar, Chamois, Fallow deer, Sambar deer, wild boar, wild cattle, sheep, goats, ducks, rabbits Australian possum, and thanks to Our President Roosevelt who gifted some Whitetail and Wapiti (ELK) there are even some of them to be found, although many have cross bred with the Red Deer and one finds Elk looking animals that roar like a Red Deer, and Red Deer looking animals that bugle.
Much of the hunting in New Zealand, particularly the high country hunting is by being flown in by helicopters or fixed wing aircraft to the hunting areas, and these rides can be exhilarating in of themselves. New Zealand offers similar hunting experiences as those in California, in that most hunting will be on non trophy style animals, although the odd one is occasionally taken on public land, and at the other extreme the kind of hunting one cannot find in California, but can be found on private property elsewhere in the US on trophy sized animals.
Whitetail are primarily down on Stuart Island way to the South.
For more info check the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association web site here or contact them for information :
PO BOX 6514 Marion Square
or NZ: 64 04 801 7367