High mountain tahr hunt in New Zealand
I have always dreamed of hunting internationally. There is something about it that excites my soul: the preparation, travel, journey, hunt, the experiences and the memories. Yet, it can be an intimidating, though fulfilling, process when planning to hunt internationally. If you can, try not to do it alone. I didn’t and it made the trip even better. Within a few months of booking the hunt, I had already organized five men to join me on the adventure. After all of the years that I had spent dreaming about a South Pacific hunt — and the hard work that I put in to prepare for hunting in the Southern Alps of New Zealand — we were off!
Our journey to New Zealand was long and exhausting. We drove two hours to Salt Lake City then hopped on a plane from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. Once we arrived in Los Angeles, we switched airlines. Because our group had checked firearms, we were required to re-check in and go back through security. Traveling with firearms can be a stressful experience!
Once we got everything sorted out, we were on our way to Christchurch, New Zealand. I had read that one of the most beautiful airports to fly into is Christchurch. They weren’t kidding! It has the most amazing views from the pristine coastline to the broad mountains.
After over 30 hours of travel, we finally landed in Christchurch, New Zealand. By this time, adrenaline was running through our veins. Although we were functioning on zero sleep, we were more than ready for the hunt.
After clearing customs, we met our guides and loaded our gear for the three-hour car ride to the landing station.
We especially enjoyed the beautiful views along the way as New Zealand has so many — from the coastline to the high shale rock peaks. Something we found unique was that they drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car.
After getting to the landing station and finally getting a good night’s sleep, we woke up with great anticipation. Our helicopter flight was scheduled to leave at 11 a.m. We organized our gear and sighted in our rifles; we were ready for a one-shot kill.
The pilot flew our gear in first. He chose to set us up 12 miles up a river that was only accessible by foot or helicopter.
With everyone and everything arriving to our destination safely, we set up camp. The weather was nice and warm. In New Zealand, their seasons are opposite of ours so while we were experiencing a late summer our loved ones back home were dealing with the end of winter.
We relaxed around camp and glassed the high rocky peaks to spot the prized tahr. After a relaxing evening, good food and a campfire, we retired for the night so we would be refreshed and ready to hunt the following day.
The morning started with us walking up the creek beds and seeing what tahr we could find.
This was a constant scene over the next five days. We glassed a lot. It was definitely a true mountain hunt, spot-and-stalk style. All of us were in awe of the beautiful scenery that surrounded us. It reminded us of the Brooks Range in Alaska.
We trekked up and down the creek beds and different drainages in pursuit of our trophy tahr.
Once we spotted tahr, we planned to stalk them and, hopefully, get a good shot in.
This is the view from where I shot my tahr. These beautiful animals are extremely tough and are often compared to mountain goats.
When I shot and killed my tahr, he fell down a 1,000 vertical foot avalanche chute. With only a broken jaw and a mangled cape, this proved to me the toughness of these animals. If this had been antlers instead of horns, there is no way they would have survived the fall.
My trophy tahr shot in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.
Another view of my tahr.
Around every corner is more breathtaking mountain scenery from the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Each one of us brought back home memories and stories from this hunting adventure, which we will never forget. We also have great bull tahrs to show for our hard work and dedication.
Dan’s bull tahr.
Bob’s bull tahr.
Jeff’s bull tahr.
Todd’s bull tahr.
After a successful week in the bush, we anticipated our next great adventure. We gave thanks for the wonderful experience and the new friends we made.
The chopper arrived and we were outta there! This was an excellent hunt and a trip of a lifetime! We can’t say enough great things about our outfitter and the hunt we experienced. If you are interested in going on a New Zealand hunt or have any questions, please contact us at Trophy Quest Outdoors.