New Zealand Hunting Game
Red deer were first introduced to New Zealand in 1851 from Europe. Not only are they found in the wild, but they are also raised for venison and velvet much like cattle are farmed in the U.S. The Red deer is a majestic animal, with a rack like an elk´s, and a slightly smaller body.
The best time of the year to hunt Red deer is autumn (March and April in New Zealand) during mating season (known as the ´Roar´). It is possible to hunt March through August, however.
The Himalayan Tahr is a rugged relation to the goat and has a dense, woolly winter coat that is reddish to dark brown and has a thick undercoat. Himalayan Tahr are most active during the early morning and later afternoon. They spend the middle of the day resting among rocks and vegetation. Very shy and wary, they are difficult to approach, especially from downhill.
Elk (or Wapiti) in New Zealand are the Rocky Mountain Elk, and are raised commercially for venison and hunting. They were first introduced in the early 1900s, but there are no free-range elk in New Zealand today. Elk range in color from their tan summer coat to their dark brown winter coat. Their buff colored rump patch always makes them easily distinguishable from the other deer species.
Chamois is French for wild goat. Yes, the ´shammy´ that we use to polish our cars comes from the hide of the Chamois. The short, smooth summer coat is overall tawny or reddish-brown, while in winter it becomes a chocolate brown, with guard hairs measuring 10-20 cm/4-8 inches long covering a wooly under layer. The slender, black horns are found in both sexes, the top third of which are sharply curved backwards like hooks, and can reach a length of 32 cm/12.8 inches.
The fallow deer were first introduced to New Zealand in 1864. Like the red deer, they came from Europe. They flourish on both the North and South Islands. They are the second most numerous deer in New Zealand, following the red deer.
Arapawa sheep are one of the only black-faced sheep, and are unique to New Zealand. A mature ram will have a full curl, and makes a handsome trophy. Arapawa rams vary in color from white, black, to a combination of the two colors. They tend to run in flocks, but bachelor groups of rams also roam the mountains. The hunting season for this trophy is year-round.
New Zealand has a large population of pigs, a combination of feral, Russians and blues. At Spey Creek, we have a large population of blues. They get their name from their grayish-blue color. We also have black Russian boars and feral pigs on the ranch.
Pigs are hunted year-round. A popular sport in New Zealand is to hunt pigs with dogs.Once contained by the dogs, the hunter finishes the pursuit with a camera, knife or gun. Brave Kiwis prefer using a knife!
Feral goats are formidable prey in New Zealand. They typically run in herds, with one or two big billies per herd. A mature billy goat will measure thirty inches or more from horn tip to horn tip. A real trophy is anything over forty inches.
Feral goats can be a variety of several colors, but white, black, brown and orange, or a combination of these colors, are the most common.