Shaun has been hunting his entire life. His passion for hunting and the outdoors lead him to the South Island of New Zealand where mountain hunting became his life.
As an previous outdoor instructor, makes hunting with him very safe and everything is thought out and planned to the smallest detail. Plus he is incredibly easy to get along with and is an incredible hunter and can spot game like no one else I have ever hunted with.
Shaun has guided for one of New Zealand’s top hunting outfitters and he has learned what it takes to make each clients hunt and stay in New Zealand exactly what the client wants. His Business, Exclusive Adventures New Zealand is focused purely on the clients needs, and ensures his clients adventures are the best New Zealand can offer.
We hiked and glassed that afternoon and evening without spotting a Chamois. The country was big, steep and breathtaking! It was like something out of a movie.
The night was clear and the canyon was cold, 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Everything was frozen solid at dawn.
I slept in a 30 Degree Super Down Sleeping Bag Prototype, 185 Merino top and bottoms, Super Down Hooded Jacket and Pants and inside the new KUIU Prototype 2 man tent.
I plan on sleeping in part if not all of my layering system when it gets cold. Not just because I make it the clothes and love them, but it lets me get away with bringing a 30 degree bag, which saves me weight and bulk.
All four of us headed up the canyon, glassing for Chamois all morning. Around 11am, we reached a fork in the canyon with two very good looking drainages. Brendan and Bruce when left, Shaun and I headed up the drainage to the right.
Brendan and Bruce covered a huge amount of ground looking for a group of Chamois with no luck.
Shaun spots a group of Chamois including a good buck from the river bottom. The challenge was going to be getting to them. The Chamois were located at the top of an almost vertical basin 3200 feet straight up.
The stalk was incredible. We climbed up a small ridge to a small bench made by a waterfall that gave us access to a small drainage chute. Fortunately, the drainage chute was dry and we were able to scaled up it for over 2500 Vertical feet to get above the Rainforest line. Notice all the small waterfalls in the photo above, that will give you some perspective to how vertical this climb was. I was thrilled to be in my the new Zamberlan’s, being able to front point in this terrain made a massive difference during this ascent.
After a couple of hours of very technical climbing we reach the timberline and began closing the distance on where we last spotted the buck. Shaun moves around and hugs a rock face as we move onto a flat above a waterfall. He quickly looks back, very seriously at me and tells me to get around the rock and get my rifle out. I know by the look in his eye he has spotted the buck.
Without much hesitation I move around the rock (thankfully because after looking back at that move I doubt I would have done it had it not been for the focus of the buck).
I drop my pack pull out my rifle and lay it across my pack. 180 yards in front of us was the buck, on top of a finger ridge looking our way.
As I was settling my crosshairs on this front shoulder he turned completely broadside and my rifle went off.
This is a great Chamois, heavy horns and a very mature animal.
As we were examining the buck, a nanny Chamois above us started running straight down the mountain. Shaun told me to get my rifle ready.
He whistled, the nanny stopped and the rifle went off. She is a gorgeous, long horns, old and a really, really nice trophy.
We caped and boned and packed up our Icons for the climb off this mountain. Shaun and I both agreed we could not get down what we came up. We made a sidehill across the basin, hoping we could get around to a ridge above camp to get down.
We were able to safely get down, I was happy but mentally exhausted, the stress of such steep terrain wears you out because every step has to be double checked to make sure it is firm. You do not want to slip or take any chances.
This stalk was the most technical I have ever been on. We had to be VERY careful on foot holds and hand holds for most of it and it made the entire experience very rewarding and memorable.
At day break, Brendan and Bruce made a stalk on a group of Chamois down stream from camp. The helicopter was scheduled to pick us up in the early afternoon. Brendan and Bruce had not made it back to camp by the time the pilot arrived.
The pilot flew Paul and I and everyone’s gear out and went back and picked up Shaun. They flew looking for Bruce and Brendan and finally found them on the side of the mountain with a couple of really nice Chamois.
The pilot flew into the mountain and Shaun was able to rope the two Chamois to the bottom of the Hughes 500, load up Brendan and Bruce and flew them off the mountain. They were very lucky, because they could not get down the way they came up and were not exactly sure how they were going to get off the mountain safely.
He flew them right to the heliport with the Chamois still hanging from the bottom of the chopper. Only in New Zealand!
Shaun put together a morning Red Stag hunt for us on a 22,000 acre Station (ranch) that has a good population of free range Red Stag.
During the morning, we spotted several groups of Red Deer with a couple of smaller stags. Nothing Shaun felt was worth stalking. Later in the morning Shaun found a lone bull that was not really long, but had a lot of character and was a great representative bull. He was in a small basin that set up well to get in close. Shaun, Brendan and I made a nice stalk putting us about 100 yard from the Stag. One shot and what an end to an unbelievable adventure.
I have never packed so much quality hunting into 8 days before. And all of it was so well planned down to the smallest detail. We never saw another hunter, the hunting was exceptional and Shaun and Bruce were as good of guides as I have ever hunted with. Bruce is an absolute Superman in the Mountains and I really enjoyed picking his brain everyday about the gear he uses. I learned so much from his lifetime in these mountains. The Oxbow lodge with Lloyd and Julie make the trip just that much better and you truly feel welcomed. Such a nice touch.
New Zealand is an incredible place to hunt, stunning scenery, easy and inexpensive to get to and is a fantastic place to bring your wife and family. Shaun will custom taylor your experience to however you wish. From hunting to free diving to helicopter wine tours, how ever you want to spend your vacation. Shaun will spend the time with you to make sure you get every detail covered.
I cannot thank Shaun and his business Partner Ben Ferguson enough for putting together a trip that crushed all of our expectations. I could not be more sincere in recommending Shaun and Exclusive Adventures New Zealand to put together a trip of a lifetime for you.