After long flights from Indonesia and Alaska the Uncle and Nephew team of Tony and Roger arrived deep in the lower South Island for their first free range New Zealand red stag roar hunt. The guys were very excited to be in New Zealand and eager to start their wilderness adventure with us. With the weather looking far from ideal out West we quickly decided that it was best to change from Plan A to Plan B. When planning itineraries for our guests it is crucial to have multiple plans, as the New Zealand weather is often a force to reckon with during the planning of outdoor adventures. The plan to hunt South was discussed with Tony and Roger and the Red Stag was to be our primary target species. However for these two gents the wild Fallow Bucks and Chamois Bucks of New Zealand were not off the hunting menu.
Base Camp was to be an old musters hut in the Southland backcountry.
Being early in the roar (rut) the deer were still a cagey and not yet fully vocal, this meant we had to put in the ground work with a lot of climbing and hiking. Free range hunting in New Zealand can be tough going on your first visit to our country as our guys found out. The guys were not keen to give up though and were happy to put in the yards. At 75yrs Roger could still out climb and walk most average hunters and Tony was hard behind Guide Josh’s heel’s which is no mean feat.
When free range hunting for Wild New Zealand big game a good level of fitness can make or break your success. Its always recommended that you get in good shape before you hit our hills to chase these majestic animals. We can discuss this with you during the planning phase of your trip, giving you some good fitness targets to aim for before you jump on the plane.
Plenty of animals were seen including 2 very nice 10 point stags which were left to grow for next season, however the magic 12 point stag still hadn’t shown himself. After 2 days of patient hunting and plenty of glassing the desired Stag was spotted sitting high on a ridge line near the edge of a huge alpine basin. Guide Josh and Tony decided to attempt the long stalk and close the gap. An intense stalk followed lasting over an hour, all playing out for Roger who was eagerly watching on through the spotting scope. Josh and Tony steadily stalked their way to where they last saw the stag and to a high point where Josh though a shot may be taken. The stag was quickly spotted and lucky for the guys he hadn’t moved far from it original position, problem was he was now bed down and not in a shootable position. However one hard roar from Josh through his roar horn caught the stags attention causing him to stand allowing Tony to place the perfect shot with his 300WM.
Tony was wrapped to secure a beautiful free range NZ red stag. Free range hunts are very rewarding with much effort over tough terrain often required to secure your game.
A break of 3 days let the boys recharge the batteries and legs. Brown trout were next on the list, but due to heavy rain and high rivers it was decided a spot of Kahawai fishing at the river mouth may be a better option to fill in the evening.
The last thing on the list for the guys was to find a nice free range Fallow Buck. With extensive local knowledge guide Josh once again found a Fallow hotspot. A dark buck with a great trophy head was quickly located through the binos and this time it was Rogers turn to stalk. With light fading fast and a kilometre still to cover the feet were put into over drive. The distance was closed quickly by the guys but unfortunately upon cresting the ridge above where the buck was spotted, the call was made to leave him till next time due to the fading light and inability to identify him safely and beyond doubt.
This fine buck was seen late on the last hunt of the trip, as can happen when free range hunting. But one things for sure it will keep Roger enthused for his next trip back to New Zealand.
It was a pleasure to have you both join us for your New Zealand adventure and we really look forward to your return next hunting season. Thank you also to our awesome Guide Josh. Without his expert guiding skills and knowledge none of this would have been possible.
Thanks guys from The New Zealand Adventure Company.