New Zealand Stag Hunt Report

buzzy

WKR
Joined
Sep 10, 2013
Messages
510
Part 1

Just got back from a 13 day New Zealand adventure. The first three days were spent hunting with Owen Throwbridge of The Hype of The Hunt. I had met Owen about three years ago at a lunch with a mutual friend while hunting for Ibex in Kyrgyzstan. He was there hunting Ibex as well. We had a great talk, and when I got back to the states, I signed up with him for a hunt during the middle of the roar.

The months went by quickly and it was finally time for me and my wife to takeoff for New Zealand. The plan for the trip was to arrive in Christchurch and rent a car and meet Owen about 2 1/2 hours away. This was going to work out better for us since after the hunt we were going to go ahead and drive around the island and check out what it had to offer. I was fortunate enough to secure business tickets using some airline miles I had so the trip over was as comfortable as it could get being in business. We got some sleep and arrived in Christchurch around 1:30 in the afternoon ready for the adventure.

All the bags showed up and we were quickly able to hop on the shuttle to get our rental car. Yes, it does take some time learning to drive on the other side of the road, but I managed with a great copilot making sure I wasn’t going the wrong way. We made it to our final destination after a three hour car ride and we’re loving the various towns and scenery we were seeing as we traveled to hunting camp. Owen set up for us to stay in a hotel in town that was a short 10 minute drive to the ranch that we were going to be hunting. It was actually a tiny home so we had two bedrooms and a little kitchenette for our stay. Very nice accommodations and very quiet. We had been in contact with Owen and the plan was for him to show up at 7:30 in the morning. Me and my wife Jamie went into town to check out the local pub and have some food.

The next morning came quickly and we made some breakfast. The kitchenette had some food in it for us to make breakfast. The weather outside, though wasn’t looking great. It was misty and foggy with a very low cloud level. Owen showed up on time and we got caught up on life as we drove to the ranch. I was gonna be using his 30-06 as I didn’t wanna deal with bringing my rifle around the country as I traveled after the hunt. On my list was a gold level stag, arawapa ram, and a feral goat. We would be hunting a 1500 acre ranch that was just loaded with game. It had everything from stags, elk, rams, goats, pheasants, wallabies, fallow deer, and I’m sure a few other species mixed in there as well. Actually, the ranch had almost too much game, and probably could’ve used some culling of animals.

With the weather as poor as it was, we drove to the base of a two track and walked up a valley. The plan was to get to the top and then glass the back half if we could. Owen knew from previous scouting trip that there were a few nice feral goats in the valley and some nice stags on the backside. The plan was to look over a bunch of stags and see which one I liked before taking one. Obviously this is an estate hunt, and you’re able to look over some animals before pulling the trigger on one. As we hiked up, the weather just got worse and worse. We stopped and rested a few times underneath some trees as it was raining some. It finally stopped and we continued on and spotted one of the nice goats on the opposite hillside about 140 yards away. Looked them over and Owen said that’s a nice one to take if I wanted it. Right then the fog rolled through even heavier and we couldn’t see anything. So we got set up and about 10 minutes later the fog cleared enough for us to see the goats. He was a jet black goat that look good to me so I said I’ll take him. One shot later the goat was down. We ended up having to go down a bit of a steep ravine and up another side that was really slippery and wet. But we made it over there and took some pictures and got the goat taken out. Jamie decided to meet us back at the truck, as it wasn’t going to be a easy walk over to where the animal was at.

After we got done with pictures and getting the animal cut up, we headed back for the truck. The weather just wasn’t cooperating. It was now late morning and didn’t look like it was going to get any better. So we got into the truck and went into town for lunch and dropped off back at the hotel for a few hours break. Owen came back about 430 and just him and I went out as it was still pretty wet outside and not looking good. This time we got into a side-by-side to look over a different part of the ranch. We saw some great stags and elk bugling and roaring and able to get some videos through the spotting scope. Nothing big yet but a bunch of different animals all over the place. We did run into a few wallabies and he said if I wanted to shoot one or two of them I could. He said they’re pest and the rancher wants them off the ranch. Later in our trip, we learned that the government actually hopes to read the island of the wallabies and possums by 2050. So a quick shot later and I had a wallaby down. Good way to finish off day one. We the all went to dinner in town and back to the hotel.

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buzzy

WKR
Joined
Sep 10, 2013
Messages
510
Part 2

Day two started the same as day one. Weather didn’t look great, but we were going to go out anyways. As we approach the ranch, it was clearing up a little bit so hopes were getting a little bit higher on my side that we were gonna be able to see more game today. The three of us loaded up into the side-by-side and headed up the backside of the ranch. We stopped along the way and saw some nice stags and elk as the fog was clearing out. We got to the top and saw a few rams but nothing special. Owen was glassing one valley, I was glassing another valley, and Jamie was glassing a third valley. All of us enjoying the time looking at the hillside for game and hoping the right animal will be found. I spotted some sheep coming over the ridge we had just driven through and they were walking downhill from my left to right. One of the two rams looked really good to me so I got Owen’s attention to come over. He came over and said that is a good one mate and if I wanted to I could shoot him. So we grabbed the rifle and my shooting sticks and got set up. Since we were above the rams and the terrain of the hillside I was not gonna be able to get prone and shoot off the bipod. So my trusty shooting sticks that came along were employed and 130 yard shot sent the ram tumbling down the hill. The other ram that was with the group actually tried head butting the ram I shot as he was tumbling down the hill which was interesting to see. I can see why they calle these rams Bob Marley Rams as their fur is just crazy and looks like dreadlocks.

Pictures were taken, and we were going to take the animal whole to the barn. Owen walked back up to the side-by-side to bring it down below us and I was going to drag the ram down to the road. Didn’t take long to get the ram loaded and we were heading back up the way we came. We stopped around the corner and Owen asked if I wanted to shoot a pig. He said they are a pest as well and, the rancher wanted them off the property so I said sure. Got set up for a cross Canyon shot at a little over 300 yards on a black pig. Got the shot off and it was videoed through the spotting scope by Owen. The shot looked great and the pig started to tumble down a very steep hillside all the way to the bottom where we lost side of it. Looking at the video it looked like it was going to be a dead pig. I did pull the shot a little bit or it drifted a bit due to the wind and hit it in the neck vs the vitals.

It took Owen to myself sometime to get over to the pig. Jamie stayed at the side-by-side as there was no road to where he was at, so we took off on the journey to find him hopefully at the bottom. We found good blood and we found where he had rolled down the hill but we could not find the pig after an extensive search. The next day, Owen actually went back with one of his guides and looked again but nothing. We just couldn’t believe that tough little pig survived as the bullet went through his neck but I guess some fatty area of the neck and never really hit anything good. And the 100 to 150 yard Tumble didn’t do him in either.

It was around noon and time to head to town for lunch. Again we ate lunch and Owen took us back to the room to rest a little bit and came back to pick us up at 4:30. This evening we got good weather and we were able to see several nice stags at the ranch. So the plan was made for the morning of day three to go back and try to get one of them. We went to the section of the Ranch where he had seen the stags from the evening before. Jamie was the first to spot the two and they picked up a new stag as there were now 3. The third new one had some amazing mass and points going in all kinds of different directions. I’m not sure which one was the biggest but I knew which one I was gonna shoot and it was the one with a lot of points and mass.

It took us some time of cat and mouse to get into position but one shot later the massive stag was down. After we got done taking pictures and cleaning the stag up it was again back to town for lunch and Owen asked what we wanted to do for the evening. I said let’s go to dinner and then try to do a nighttime possum hunt with spotlights. Owen came by and picked us up for dinner and Jamie decided to sit the nighttime possum hunt out. So it was going to be Owen myself and his other Guide, looking for critters to shoot. The possum hunting was not as great as we had hoped, but I did get one in a short period of time. Great way to finish off a tremendous hunt.

Owen couldn’t have produced a better hunt for us. He was spot on with everything he said and was a great guy to spend time with. He knew the ranch well and was quick to answer any questions we had prior to the hunt. He had also helped advise us with our travel plans over the next 12 days as we toured around New Zealand hitting 9 different towns and traveling 1500 miles. New Zealand is just an amazing place to visit and should be on the list for any hunter or traveler out there. It’s a super safe country, friendly people, great food, and amazing sites to see. I’m going to have the three animals euro mounted as I don’t have room for shoulder mounts. Hopefully the taxidermist will have those over in short order. Already looking forward to possibly going back in a few years and exploring the north part of the south island and hunting for a Tahr.IMG_9622E.jpegIMG_6202.jpegIMG_9495.jpegIMG_9473.jpegIMG_9334.jpegIMG_9040.jpegIMG_9026.jpegIMG_9209.jpegIMG_9177.jpeg
 

GSPHUNTER

WKR
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Messages
4,050
Appears to be you had great and very successful hunt. Very nice report and photos. Maybe you could do a catalog shoot for KUIU. :)
 

elkguide

WKR
Joined
Jan 26, 2016
Messages
4,678
Location
Vermont
AWESOME! Thanks for taking us along.
Brought back many memories of my hunt there.
New Zealand is amazing!
 
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