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#6257107 - 04/12/16 03:44 PM New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy
Theringworm Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 321
As some of you know, I have had this hunt booked for two years now. All I can say is, WOW. New Zealand has to be one of the Worlds most beautiful places. From flat lush farmlands, rolling sheep covered hills, and steep terrain rain forests on the North island, to absolute fjords and snow capped mountain peaks on the South island, this place is an outdoorsman's paradise.

We started our trip off in Auckland for one night and did a whale/dolphin watching tour. No whales, but there were plenty of dolphins.


The next morning we traveled to Matamata & Rotorua. There, we visited the film location of Lord of the Rings (Hobbiton), Zip lining, hot springs/geysers, and rafted the tallest commercially navigable waterfall in the world which was roughly a 21ft drop.








You can barely see our raft under the water in this pic.

From Rotorua we drove south to the town of Wanganui where we met our head guide who led us up the Wanganui river to our hunting location. We hunted with Wanganui Safaris on 15,000 acres of free range that the family homesteaded back in the late 1800s with an additional 100,000 acres of Maori tribe land next to it. Having a guide that was 50% Maori gave us access to this tribal land so there was more than enough land to hunt and an absolute ton of game. What I didn't realize was the reason why there were so many animals and why they all grew to trophy size. The reason is this: New Zealand has ZERO predators. No cats of any kind, no coyotes, no snakes, nothing that targets the animals on the land. And due to the enormous amounts of annual rain fall and lush vegetation, there is never a shortage of food. There wasn't any supplemental feed on this ranch. No protein blocks or feeders, nothing of the sort. Simply grass fed free range game.

Upon arrival we were shown our rooms and unpacked. 3:00pm sharp we would meet and zero in our rifles (we borrowed theirs since we would be traveling after the hunt as well and didn't want to carry rifles around). The rifle I borrowed was a suppressed Sako .308 with a Zeiss scope. 3 shots and I was dead bulls eye. My best friend used a Tikka 7mm and his father was given a Sako .300winmag. We were all paired up with guides. I was paired up with an slender & wiry 18 yo Kiwi whom had been guiding for 3 yrs. My greatest fear had just become a reality. This young man was going to hike me into the ground. If you can't tell by the pictures, flat land does not exist. This was some of the steepest terrain I have been on and after my recent adventure in October with my aoudad hunt, I didn't think it could get any more difficult. Well, it did and this was hard work from the get go. We logged on average 10 miles of hiking a day with an average elevation change of 2,000ft per day.

On day one as we were leaving the ranch and heading out to the tribal land I spotted a monster stag that was sitting on a knoll overlooking the bottom. He glared at us and casually stood up as to say, "I am untouchable" and slowly walked into the thick bush. This was 10 minutes into the hunt on the 1st day. My heart was pounding. All I waned to know was how big he was. My guide (who told me on the way out, "I am not going to let you shoot a stag today. You need to see more than one in person so you have a better idea what you are after.") said he didn't get a great look at him but said he probably was around 450 SCI. That initial impression haunted me the rest of the night and actually the rest of the trip. We eventually got to the location we wanted to hunt. Just before getting to a clearing we jumped something in the bush but couldn't immediately see it. My guide, with his keen sense of sight and pulling things from the dark gloomy undergrowth quietly whispered out, "STAG" and motioned me forward. I got a glimpse of its rear end and muzzle for a brief moment until it proceeded deeper into the bush. We waited for 20 minutes to see if it would circle around and come out into the open. It never did, but it also didn't gallop off through the forest either. My guide whispered back that, "he is still close by". So we very quietly hugged the forest edge until we got to a point where there was no foliage from the ground to about 4 ft in the air. We glassed and glassed, my guide being about 15ft in front of me. He froze, I froze. He pointed and I glassed. There he was. My first real good look at what I came for, a Red Stag. he was bedded down on a ridge with trees between him and us overlooking an opening in the forest down below. His massive rack swiveling back and forth as he soured the area below. What a sight to see. I asked his score. My guide said, 350's. He then said, lets see how close we can get. We ended up ranging him at 27 yds before he slowly got up and walked away. What a first night of hunting.

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#6257130 - 04/12/16 04:01 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
NewGulf Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 14168
Loc: New Gulf, Texas
Beautiful pictures ive always wanted to visit there!

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#6257155 - 04/12/16 04:25 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
Theringworm Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 321
Day two we set out on foot again from the lodge hiking all the way down to the bottom on the valley floor and then back up again. The stags are in rut this time of year and the "Roar" as the call it was on. We could hear them from every direction. The plan was to get to an opening where we could glass the ridges and locate them before they retreated back into the dense bush by mid-day. We were seeing tons of game, red hinds, fallow deer, arapawa sheet etc, but no stags. We kept hearing one behind us up on a ridge so we set out to find him. As we were rounding a ridge a roar came from just the opposite side of the hill. We knew we were close. We stopped to glass. The forest is so dense I couldn't see him.




Once again, my guide motions me to come forward and points. He spotted us about the same time I spotted him. "390's" my guide said, "we can find better. He is narrow and has short crowns." By this time my guide new what I was after so he was able to quickly give me a thumbs up or down on if this was one to pursue. The day went on but the stags had bedded down. We did find an Angora Billy Goat that likely taped out to 35inches that I set up to shoot but he moved behind a bush and I got impatient so I called off the shot and told my guide, lets get the Stag first then we can have fun.

By now, I was being haunted by that 450 stag I had seen the first night. I told my guide, if we see him or something like it again, that's what I wanted. That afternoon the plan was to back to where we had seen the 450. My guide said stags make wallows which they circle around and will visit with frequency. Kind of like a scrape that deer make. He said if we can find the wallow then we might be able to locate him by setting up close by.

We eventually got to the top of the knoll, right above where we had seen him before. We crept up to the edge but didn't see him, just some fallow does. As we were about to get up and head back a different direction we glassed the opposing ridge and saw the head guide with my friends father some 1,500 yds away waving at us and point to our left, which was downhill and down the trail we had driven the day before. We assumed he could see something we could not and quietly walked down the hill. We still couldn't see anything and had reached the point where the trail switched back to the right and continued down hill. We assumed again, whatever he had seen was gone, so we started hiking back up and out. This time we heard a whistle come from the opposing ridge. We glassed and it was the head guide again motioning for us to keep going down to the left off the trail. To the left was a little opening and a draw with a creek running through it. We assumed whatever it was he saw was around the bend. My guide was in front and I was behind him. As he got to the bend and started to round the corner he froze. He turned and quickly came back to me. He said, "it's him, the 450. He is rear-end to us sitting 15 yds from the bend. We need to figure out a way to get broadside on him". As we were quickly discussing whether to climb up on top in the brush or move right out into the open where we didn't have any cover another Stag came running down the field into the open. We froze. He knew something was there but not sure what. He sniffed, head bobbed, walked back and forth but couldn't make us out. By now, the stag we were after new something was up and stood up and bolted towards the other stag into the brush. He was gone.

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#6257180 - 04/12/16 04:44 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
Great pics! I went in 2008 and hunted the South Island about 2.5 hrs south of Christchurch.
_________________________


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#6257181 - 04/12/16 04:44 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
Michael W. Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/22/10
Posts: 2684
Loc: Central Texas / Comal County
Great looking country. A friend of mine took a stag there a few years ago. Its on my list of places to see.
_________________________


A clear conscience is often the sign of a fuzzy memory.

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#6257206 - 04/12/16 05:00 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
Theringworm Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 321
Day three it was raining like crazy and very foggy with visibility being poor. We figure we would start out above on the ridge where the stag had run up and see if we could find him by coming in from another angle. We immediately saw two stags, one 340's and one right around 400. The 340's one we got to within 11 yds of. He really wanted to walk down the trail we were hunkered down on but could tell something wasn't right. Once we got to the trail that ran north and south where he had gone up, we started to head down it. If there just red stag it wouldn't be as hard to hunt but with fallow deer, sheep, goats, etc all around it was hard sneaking up on something without being busted by something else. As we crested the tall hill that we had seen the stag run up the night before, my guide once again froze, backed up and said, "put one in the chamber, he is right around the corner,...30yds". As I flailed to get a round loaded he decided it was time to relocate. He never ran, just walked and walked and walked. We tried to follow but couldn't keep up. We thought he might come out below where we had seen him the first night so we headed to set up and cut him off. He didn't come out but likely bedded down in the bush up on top of the hill. We went up after him, and actually found a fresh wallow that may have been his, at least we were hoping it was and thus thought he would really go far from it if so. We decided to get into the bush and see if we could jump him. We did jump another one and actually jumped the one we were after but he wasn't sticking around and took off. By now we were soaking wet, tired and felt we should ease off and head back for lunch.

After lunch we decided we would go back to his wallow to set up. We had my guides brother with us this time as an extra set of eyes. We had set up at the wallow and waited but a stag that we weren't after decided to show up instead. By this point I was getting uneasy about not getting a stag and was ready to just settle on anything with horns. He would have scored around 400-410, but my guide said, "we can find better, trust me". I looked at him and said, "alright, I'll trust you. It's your call." By now it 2 hours from dusk. We decided to walk back up the trail we had come down that morning in case the 450 stag had gone back up it to the top like he did the night before. 30 mins before dark we crested the very last hill before turning down the trail that headed back to the lodge and spotted what we thought were 2 stags. One around 400 and another smaller one that saw or smelled us and ran back down the hill we had come up. Since we didn't get a good look at it and didn't really know what all was there, my guide and I started to walk down the small little hill below the thicket where we had seen them to see if we could see the stag run out. Before we got 10 steps down my guides brother, who had stayed at the top of the hill motioned for us to come back up quickly. As we got to him, he said and pointed, "is that the stag you are after". As we glassed just beyond where the 400 class stag was standing, in the light fog you could see just the crowns of the monster 450 turning back and forth in the tall grass. It was on now. My guide and I ran down the hill below them to set up behind a tree in hopes they would come our way while the other guide would circle high and start roaring and trashing brush to act like a bigger stag to push them down to us. We heard the guide roar, and then radio "a sika 10 pt is coming first". He bolted into view of the scope. My guide whispered "100 yds to the edge of the forest". Radio again came on "400 is coming" and then "he's next, get ready". I was free handed with the stock against tree when the 450 in frame. My guide confirms, "that's him". He is at a dead run at 100yds. I ripped off a shot. Hits his spine, mid back. He is muscle-ing his was to the forest with his front legs. I rip off two more shots with great placement and he is down. Heart is racing. The stag he is with stops dead in his tracks and comes back to him. Me and my guides are congratulating each other. They get me to try and do a roar just for fun. I do it. All of a sudden the smaller stag starts fighting with the stag I shot on the ground. Craziest thing I have seen.


Scored 450.1 SCI





Picture of all the stags killed in our group. My friend shot a 423, his dad shot a monster 493.


Edited by Theringworm (04/12/16 05:08 PM)

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#6257212 - 04/12/16 05:06 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
Theringworm Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 321
I couldn't go home without shooting an Arapawa Ram (Bob Marley Sheep). My wife needed to get in on the action also. She spotted a spotted fallow doe and a monster Angora goat at the same time. Dropped the doe, climbed down the hill real quick and then dropped the Angora. He taped out at 37 inces. A monster for sure. I'll post more pics of the south island later.


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#6257215 - 04/12/16 05:07 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
don k Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/27/08
Posts: 9263
Loc: Bandera, Tx
That is a Red Deer Stag of a lifetime. Congrats.
_________________________
http://www.ibexgoats.com/home.html

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#6257233 - 04/12/16 05:25 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
East Offline
Mr. BM

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 21074
Loc: East Texas
flehan
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#6257240 - 04/12/16 05:31 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
colt45 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 5383
Loc: bastrop county
holy do do bat man
_________________________
hold on Newt, we got a runaway

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#6257246 - 04/12/16 05:35 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
dogcatcher Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 07/17/06
Posts: 77327
Loc: Abilene or on the road...
Great pics, I am jealous!!!
_________________________
Combat Infantryman, the ultimate hunter where the prey shoots back.
"Illegitimus non carborundum est"

_______ Old style calls for today's outdoorsman_________

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#6257301 - 04/12/16 06:08 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
Theringworm Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 321

Wife about to take the Angora



Wife can't keep her eyes open for a pic. Lol





Edited by Theringworm (04/12/16 06:09 PM)

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#6257310 - 04/12/16 06:14 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
swmays Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 01/06/10
Posts: 5769
Loc: Dallas / Hopkins Co.
Wow! Looks like an outstanding trip. Congratulations!

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#6257322 - 04/12/16 06:24 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
Theringworm Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 321

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#6257331 - 04/12/16 06:29 PM Re: New Zealand Hunt ....pic heavy [Re: Theringworm]
Theringworm Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 321





As you can tell, we had an amazing time. Definitely somewhere to seriously consider going if you have not been. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.

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