Updated 6/14/2009
Mike & Arapawa Ram
Mike & Arapawa Ram

Mike & Fallow Deer
Mike & Fallow Deer

TJ & Red Stag
TJ & Red Stag

Mike, Mike & Red Stag
Mike, Mike & Red Stag

    By Michael Price

In March of this year Sue and I flew to New Zealand via San Fran, leaving on Sunday evening at 7:00 PM and arriving in Auckland at 3:30 AM on Tuesday, having lost 19 hours time and a full day crossing the dateline and the equator all in the dark.  We rented a car and tried to find the lost day and the lost nights sleep, but instead ended up lost trying to find our hotel in the dark in a strange city, driving on the wrong side of the road, with street signs on only the cross streets, but never on the unknown street we were traveling on.  An “interesting” start, but not a fun introduction to New Zealand. 

But from then on, New Zealand was a hoot.

We thoroughly enjoyed the people, (actually more sheep than people live there), the fantastic scenery, the beautiful parks everywhere, the lack of litter, cities that are fun, clean and interesting, the abundance of pristine lakes and rivers, the food & Speights beer, the inexpensive but nice motels with kitchens being the norm, the $ exchange rate, the weather, the unique bird and wildlife, the huge long hedges of 30 foot tall trees all topped and square trimmed, the lack of police and the apparent lack of need for them, the un-crowded great roads, the rental car at 220 KPH, the wife that endured that and my ‘most of the time’ left side of the road driving (with her left-left and right-left instructions on every turn) and most importantly, the hunting and the friends that joined us there.

We toured Auckland and the North Island area for 3 days, then flew to Christchurch on the South Island for 4 more days, where we met up with chapter member TJ Stanger and wife Nina.

We then hooked up on Monday AM in Christchurch with a guide from Kiwi Safaris and drove South for about 3 hours to their new South Pointe hunting lodge, where chapter member Mike Rex and wife Joanne joined us.

That afternoon was spent game viewing on just a small part of the Kiwi Safaris property.

The lodge location, accommodations, and food were great, and we all enjoyed the sounds of Stags roaring, the Elk Bulls bugling and the Fallow Deer cough/bark on the mountains adjoining the lodge, with some type of game always in view. I could’a/should’a sat at the picnic table out front and shot things from there, but heck no…..

On the second day, I originally wanted a free range stag, and they must live only on the steepest tallest dang mountains around because that’s where we went, ( of course, hiking from the bottom up.) but after a long day and a lot of miles, we could only find young ones, mostly  due to the fact that New Zealanders can hunt every day, year round, with a one a day limit and no meat recovery required.  Meanwhile, back at the humongous area enclosed by high fence adjoining the lodge, Mike Rex had  whacked a very good Arapawa Ram with his muzzle loader and TJ Stanger had seen a Gold medal Stag he liked.

On the 3rd day, I gave up on the free range idea and hunted in the mountains near the lodge.  By noon the guide and I saw a Stag that had an antler configuration I liked and so again uphill we hiked and after a 7mm round found its mark, the Stag staggered into a ravine and toppled.

In the meantime Mike was busy with his muzzle loader loaded with old powder pellets left with Kiwi Safaris years ago by Craig Boddington and it was not performing well, but Mike said something about holding over the back about thiiiiissss much, with a Hail Mary, and was able to harvest a Feral Goat with big Horns.  And in the meantime TJ and his guide were miraculously able to find the same gold medal Stag again and after a stalk, TJ had to do some quick awkward positioned shooting as the Stag ran toward them in the tall brush. But down it went and TJ did not have to finish it off with the sword he had purchased in Christchurch for the den in his new Austin Texas area home. 

In the afternoon I borrowed Mike’s muzzle loader with old powder and tried two different times to whack an Arapawa Ram, but guess I didn’t put enough Hail Mary into it and only plowed up some dirt.

So on the 4th day, after a test session at the target range and the addition of extra powder in the muzzle loader, it finally reached out a 100 yds with a predictable aim point and I finally whacked a nice Arapawa Ram.  Then later that afternoon we saw a nice Fallow deer, of course way up a steep hill, and after a long round about stalk, the deer fell to the borrowed muzzle loader also.

On the 5th day, even though we could have hunted ½ a day, we all decided to head out. Mike and Joanne to the Queenstown airport to start the trip home.  TJ and Nina, South to the town of Wanaka for 6 more days of touring.

Sue and I stayed in the Southern area of the Island and enjoyed touring for 15 more days. We then flew on to Fiji for 6 more days before flying home, picking up the “lost day” in the process and arriving home the same day, 4 hours earlier than we left Fiji.  A GREAT HUNT, A GREAT TRIP.

Contact info: Web site: Kiwisafaris.co.nz, or contact Collin Rayner at colin@kiwisafaris.co.nz

Mail to: Kiwi Safaris, PO Box 27079, Christchurch, New Zealand.     Ph. 64 3 357 4445

Dedicated to Wildlife Conservation, Education, Humanitarian Efforts and Protecting our Hunting Heritage