Day – 4
The history of New Zealand dates back at least 700 years to when it was discovered and settled by Polynesians, who developed a distinct Māori culture centered on kinship links and land. The first European explorer to sight New Zealand was Abel Janszoon Tasman on the 13th December, 1642. Captain James Cook, who reached New Zealand in October 1769 on the first of his three voyages, was the first European explorer to circumnavigate and map New Zealand.
Birds and lizards are the only indigenous animals to the islands. There has since been the introduction of Spanish Goats, Merino Sheep, Cotton Tail Rabbits and Hares, Red-Deer, Elk, Moose, Himalayan Tahr and Chamois.
There are no predators on the islands. Hunting is the only form of wildlife management and if quota goals are not met the government will cull the herds to meet objectives. Because of this the government does not require hunting licenses or tags, there are no bag limits or hunting seasons. With such a diverse range of habitat and perfect climate, game management through hunting is essential.
It was a clear crisp morning. Absolutely breathtaking. The peaks were covered in fresh snow with clouds spilling over the tops and down into the canyons below making it a magical start of the day.
We spent the morning glassing and hunting our way over to the mountain where Brendan shot his bull the evening before to look for a couple of big bulls we saw just before dark.
We closed the distance down to 300 yards and I set up for a steep up hill shot. I put my rifle over two Icon packs and lay in the prone position to get a steady rest.
Shaun and Bruce told us how durable a large bull Tahr is and how well they can take a bullet and this bull took the first bullet without much more than a slight jump and headed straight up the mountain. It was starting to get dark and I was having a very hard time finding him against the dark rock in my scope for an anchoring shot. He finally appeared on the skyline at 350 yards at a very steep angle. It was now or never.
The gun went off and the bull was gone. The shot felt great but it was impossible to tell for sure what happened. Bruce took off straight up the mountain to find the bull. Shaun and I followed because no one can keep up with Bruce.
The bull was down right where I shot him! Thee feet beyond where he dropped was a 2000 foot cliff face. This bull was special, 8 ½ years old and over 12 ½ inches in length with a lot of weight and a huge body and incredible coat. It was an amazing trophy. I was thrilled!
As we are setting up the Bull for photos we heard a shot from down below. Brendan had spotted two bulls and made a stalk shooting a big fluffer at only 25 Yards! Brendan’s bull was another mature 71/2 year old over 12 inches in length with great mass. An old warrior. What an end to our Tahr hunt. We rolled into camp late and tired but with big smiles on our faces. What a day!
Shaun and Brendan caped, turned ears and lips. We broke down camp and packed up heavy loads and climbed up and over the mountain to our pick up location.
Over Flat-Whites and Meat Pies we came up with a plan for Chamois. Shaun had a canyon he has hunted in the past that has produced some great bucks. Shaun made arrangements to get flown in the next day.
Notice Shaun drives on the wrong side of his truck and road.
We spent the night at the Ox-Bow Lodge where we washed clothes, refueled on gourmet food and got a good night sleep.
To be Continued……………….