Caribou Gear Tarp

New Zealand DIY Public Land Red Stag and Tahr Hunt

any bow hunters contemplating a tahr hunt the best and easiest window of opportunity is in the southern spring when the bulls venture down to get into the early feed to recharge after the winter spend up high, if you peruse my posts n look at all the mobbed up bulls ,lots of 20 to 30 in amongst the matagouri which allows for easy stalking.
that is my favourite time as there are plenty of other animals out n about to make things interesting.
to make things more interesting ive purchased a recurve and doing well with that, firstly im coming over to steal one of your elk in colorado otc, sept of course.
 
any bow hunters contemplating a tahr hunt the best and easiest window of opportunity is in the southern spring when the bulls venture down to get into the early feed to recharge after the winter spend up high, if you peruse my posts n look at all the mobbed up bulls ,lots of 20 to 30 in amongst the matagouri which allows for easy stalking.
that is my favourite time as there are plenty of other animals out n about to make things interesting.
to make things more interesting ive purchased a recurve and doing well with that, firstly im coming over to steal one of your elk in colorado otc, sept of course.
That's nice to hear. Heading to South Island in early November with my one-legged Navy wingman (not a pun). Can't wait.

Come to South Carolina for some awesome sea island Lowcountry or upstate mountain whitetail! They aren't huge like Northern whitetail, but great hunting adventure and excellent eating.
Me.jpg
Tent.jpg
Stand.jpg
Stand View.jpg
Deer2.jpg
DeerEDITED.jpg
 
thats a shame Islander, im hunting tahr in oct as that is around my birthday date.Primised myself a bull with the recurve when i turn 74.
 
Last edited:
Hey SCliving, awesome story and great hunt. Congrats on the amazing adventure. Hoping you can answer a couple of questions for me. I’m heading to New Zealand next year for a stag hunt. I was hoping to bring back the skull for a European mount. Any idea if this would be a problem getting this back through customs if it’s cleaned up enough? I’m just trying to get information in general about how hard it might be to bring skulls back from NZ with me as luggage. I know the paperwork that has to be filled out and contacting F&G but wasn’t sure how hard it is to get the skull ready on the NZ side of things. After we get done with our hunt, me and the wife, we’re going around the island for seven days and then to Australia for three or four. So it’s possible that I could find someone to prep it for me so I can bring it home, but I’m not entirely sure if that’s feasible. So any information you can provide I’d greatly appreciate it.

I also saw that you’re doing a southeast Alaska bear hunt in the spring. Curious where you’re hunting at. Me and a buddy drew an Kuiu Island bear hunt for spring of 2024.

Thanks
 
Excellent Trip Report! love the photos. I think I may have just added this to the list. Alaska is up first for me then WY elk. I am an east coast guy.NZ looks amazing.
 
Hey SCliving, awesome story and great hunt. Congrats on the amazing adventure. Hoping you can answer a couple of questions for me. I’m heading to New Zealand next year for a stag hunt. I was hoping to bring back the skull for a European mount. Any idea if this would be a problem getting this back through customs if it’s cleaned up enough? I’m just trying to get information in general about how hard it might be to bring skulls back from NZ with me as luggage. I know the paperwork that has to be filled out and contacting F&G but wasn’t sure how hard it is to get the skull ready on the NZ side of things. After we get done with our hunt, me and the wife, we’re going around the island for seven days and then to Australia for three or four. So it’s possible that I could find someone to prep it for me so I can bring it home, but I’m not entirely sure if that’s feasible. So any information you can provide I’d greatly appreciate it.

I also saw that you’re doing a southeast Alaska bear hunt in the spring. Curious where you’re hunting at. Me and a buddy drew an Kuiu Island bear hunt for spring of 2024.

Thanks
I didn’t have issues bringing anything back. Hopefully you’re flying through Houston. They’re easier to work with. I cleaned everything and I’ve brought it back with me twice from NZ (antlers, horns, skull caps, frozen capes). As long as you have the paperwork completed you should be fine just clean everything really well, but this time they didn’t even inspect anything they just ran it through the X-ray took a copy of my paperwork, stamped my copy and said have a good one.

We are hunting the otc bear tag in SE Alaska with my buddy that lives in Ketchikan.
 
@Buzzy NZ is on the list of countries with unrestricted animal imports. The USDA isn't worried about some disease coming from NZ.
Been there 5 times diy and I had an Ag inspector tell me that I could bring them back whole with guts and everything if I wanted to.

However, going to NZ they are extremely thorough in examining your backpacking gear.
No dirt on tent stakes, no forest litter inside the tent, no dried mud on your boot soles, no stickers or burrs on velcro, no dried blood or hair on skinning knives, etc.
 
any bow hunters contemplating a tahr hunt the best and easiest window of opportunity is in the southern spring when the bulls venture down to get into the early feed to recharge after the winter spend up high, if you peruse my posts n look at all the mobbed up bulls ,lots of 20 to 30 in amongst the matagouri which allows for easy stalking.
that is my favourite time as there are plenty of other animals out n about to make things interesting.
to make things more interesting ive purchased a recurve and doing well with that, firstly im coming over to steal one of your elk in colorado otc, sept of course.
Kiwi Hunter, I am looking at a doing a 2025 archery hunt over there, coming from Alaska, I am very comfortable with DIY, but trying to start getting some pieces put together. I looked at your posts, just hoping for direction in terms of helicopter operators, vehicle rental, or general area, obviously not looking for your honey hole, just some general info.
 
Kiwi Hunter, I am looking at a doing a 2025 archery hunt over there, coming from Alaska, I am very comfortable with DIY, but trying to start getting some pieces put together. I looked at your posts, just hoping for direction in terms of helicopter operators, vehicle rental, or general area, obviously not looking for your honey hole, just some general info.
Check out discover cars.com for car rental. Got a car for a trip there this coming up March and rates were pretty good.
 
Kiwi Hunter, I am looking at a doing a 2025 archery hunt over there, coming from Alaska, I am very comfortable with DIY, but trying to start getting some pieces put together. I looked at your posts, just hoping for direction in terms of helicopter operators, vehicle rental, or general area, obviously not looking for your honey hole, just some general info.
I'll be putting up a post re my tahr hunt soon.
Like before Xmas.
 
Kiwi Hunter, I am looking at a doing a 2025 archery hunt over there, coming from Alaska, I am very comfortable with DIY, but trying to start getting some pieces put together. I looked at your posts, just hoping for direction in terms of helicopter operators, vehicle rental, or general area, obviously not looking for your honey hole, just some general info.
IIv
 
Kiwi Hunter, I am looking at a doing a 2025 archery hunt over there, coming from Alaska, I am very comfortable with DIY, but trying to start getting some pieces put together. I looked at your posts, just hoping for direction in terms of helicopter operators, vehicle rental, or general area, obviously not looking for your honey hole, just some general info.
ive tried to send you a private message but not working at all, perhaps when you get more posts up. So give a bell when you can.
 
I’m currently sitting in the Christchurch airport. It’s raining pretty hard outside. I’m really hoping to leave on time. Thought this would be as good of a time as ever to start writing this. It was a fun hunt. I hope you enjoy reading it.

I came to New Zealand for the first time in 2018. I’ve only ever done 3 guided hunting trips. This was the first one I’d ever done. I shot a really nice big red stag. While I was hunting I became good friends with my guide, Heath, and I learned all about hunting in NZ. Before I left he even offered me a guiding job in NZ if I ever wanted one. During this trip is when I learned that a non resident can hunt public lands without a guide. A plan began to form in my head. After coming home I would message Heath every so often and ask him questions. He would always answer them to the best of his abilities.

Sometime around 2020 I became friends through Instagram with a kiwi named Barry. He reached out to me asking me questions about the Tikka rifle I built and we became friends conversing multiple times a week about hunting. We began discussing tahr hunting and he invited me to come hunting with him on public land. It took a while to plan and Covid definitely didn’t help but finally towards the end of 2022 we nailed down the dates that I’d be coming based on the tahr rut.

Barry, Mark (his father) and I would facetime every so often to get plans in place. I really wanted to red stag hunt too, so the plan was to fly into the mountains after tahr for 4-5 days then drive to a different town get in a different helicopter and head in to stag hunt. I booked my flight Charlotte-Houston-Auckland-Christchurch. I’d known this flight was coming so I’d saved airline points and I was able to cash them in on this flight (free flight, YES!!!). I got my paperwork in order and boarded the plan. A few days before departure Barry contacted me and let me know that they were calling for some absolutely awful weather in the tahr area wherewe were going so we would be going to hunt reds first. That’s fine with me. My preacher growing up always taught us to be flexible when we were on mission trips because plans would always change. I carried that over to normal trips too and I just go with the flow.

The 22+ hours of travel went off without a hitch until I arrived in Auckland. The weather was absolutely horrible. My flight to Christchurch was canceled, then canceled again, then canceled again. I was supposed to land in Christchurch at 9:15am. I finally arrived at 5:30pm. Oh well, you can’t control the weather. Barry and Mark had arranged a heli transport in to the deer and tahr areas. We were planning to get into the deer area on the day of my arrival but since I had all the delays we had to push it back a day. We left the house at 4am to be at the heli pad to take off at daylight.

My first helicopter ride was exciting but uneventful (just the way I like it). About 3 minutes after unloading the helicopter we saw 7 hinds and a decent stag (that was fast!). Barry was telling me to shoot. He said I could look for a bigger one later. I was borrowing a Tikka 270 that is identical to my 7mm08 so I was very confident with the rifle. I didn’t really know what to expect for stag size. I wanted to hold out for a good stag. I decided to not shoot. We set up our camp and let me tell you a helicopter can carry a lot a weight. We had plenty of stuff, lol.

After camp was set up we headed out to begin hunting. The stags were on the back side of the roar. The biggest stags had broken off but smaller/mid size stags were still with hinds. We started finding hinds and small to decent size stags. Plenty of 3x3s and 4x4s (Barry called them 6 pointers and 8 pointers). In my mind a traditional red stag is a 6x6 and that’s what I had in my mind. The giant stags that every one thinks about when they think of NZ are on farms and preserves. They just aren’t on public land. A 12 point stag on public is a very good stag. We only had 2 or 3 days so maybe it was a tall order, but I’m usually pretty good at hunting hard and finding good animals so I didn’t want to shoot something smallish. Mark told me when I saw something I liked to tell him and we’d shoot it.

We found stag after stag I kept holding out even passing a 8 point in easy rifle range. About 3:15 i glassed across a far ridge and saw a solo stag on his feet feeding. I knew immediately that was the one. He was definitely the biggest stag we’d seen on the trip. He was about 1200yds away so we made a plan to try to get close enough for a shot. The country we were hunting was very open, but eventually we got into position moving slowly and using the terrain the best we could. By the time we got into position the stag had bedded on a small rock ledge. I made a good 415yd shot. He rolled off the ledge. I put another one in him because he was still moving a little bit. He was a beautiful public land stag. Either 12 or 13 points (depending on who’s counting). We got him back to camp after dark.

The next day I headed out by myself. Barry wanted to hunt closer to camp and Mark hung back to hike up the ridge to contact the pilot to come pick us up that evening instead of the next day. We’d gotten word that the weather in the tahr area had cleared. Since I killed a good stag we decided to leave early to go tahr hunt. The pilot was coming at 5pm so I had from daylight until about 3pm to hunt. This would give me plenty of time to pack up my stuff before the pilot arrived. I hiked about a mile from camp to the end of a ridge to glass the rough country. I saw about 15 deer total. One was a great stag. He had 5 on his left. He was heavy and long. He was in a great location to stalk in close, but his right side was broken after his G2. Since I’d already killed a good stag I decided to let him go and I’ll try to shoot him when I go back in a couple years, haha. The pilot picked us up right on schedule and we loaded everything up to begin the 2hr drive to get to the town where the tahr portion of the hunt would take place.

View attachment 275228
View attachment 275229
View attachment 275230
View attachment 275231
View attachment 275232
View attachment 275233
View attachment 275234
View attachment 275235
Nice, getting it done as per usual!
 
Ollin Magnetic Digiscoping Systems

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
111,055
Messages
1,945,113
Members
34,992
Latest member
bgeary
Back
Top