I am a month away from flying to New Zealand to hunt red deer with Max. I was speaking with a friend who hadn’t heard very much about red deer in New Zealand, and I thought I would do a quick outline of what hunting in New Zealand entails.
First, why would you want to hunt Red deer in New Zealand? While it may seem like an expensive way to hunt a smaller elk, there are some aspects that make it a very worthwhile adventure. Red deer are more aggressive than Elk and they roar instead of bugle. What I mean by more aggressive is that red deer rake trees, charge into calls, and scream their heads off at another level of rage compared to an elk.
They also are noticeably different in appearance even to an occasional hunter. As a disclaimer I will say that many of the photos online of red deer are shot on game reserves and the public land reds we are after are much smaller. However, they are a ton of fun to hunt.
The next best reason to hunt red deer is that New Zealand is one of the top vacation destinations in the world. The people are friendly, the weather is mild, and the scenery is magnificent. Even if you don’t shoot a red deer, you will not regret a trip to New Zealand. It’s April, and you haven’t been able to hunt deer for three months. What better way to escape the cold than to go on a deer hunting trip in some extraordinary terrain?
The biggest obstacle to going on a hunting trip to New Zealand tends to be money. The plane ticket makes up the bulk of the cost for the trip. You shouldn’t pay over $1,500 to fly to New Zealand. If you buy a ticket to Hawaii and split it up on budget airlines, you can get it down to twelve to thirteen hundred.
Luckily, in New Zealand you don’t have to buy a tag or license when bowhunting. If you are hunting for a rifle you will have to get a temporary gun license, but you still will not need a hunting license or tag. Your best friend when trying to save money on hunting in New Zealand is the Department of Conservation. They have locations all over New Zealand and if you talk with the office workers you can likely find a good hunt to hike to.
The time to hunt roaring red deer is the first two weeks in April. If you hunt in March you might get the first vocal stag and you will also have fewer hunters and block requirements to worry about. The other nice thing about hunting in April is that you will be able to hunt tahr in reasonable weather. If you want to hunt Tahr in their winter manes, but in more icy conditions, you should go to New Zealand in May or June.
I hope this sheds some light on various aspects of taking a trip to New Zealand. I have written other blogs on hunting red deer on Iowa Slam, but if you have any specific questions or blogs ideas that you would like to hear about please let us know. I’ll try to write a blog specifically about how to save money on a hunting trip to New Zealand in the next few weeks. Good Luck!