In this entry I am going to say nothing about the future legal or ethical side of heli-hunting. It's legal today, and outfitters and clients will be doing it as I write. What I will write about is the nature of heli-hunting, as it gets very little press.
Here in New Zealand, heli-hunting mostly takes place in the South Island, in the Southern Alps of that island after bull tahr and buck chamois. These two alpine big game species live high, in challenging and demanding terrain.
Helicopters are used primarily to find these trophies for overseas hunters who are on a short time schedule, or fitness, or age wise would be unable to access their domain and locate them. The helicopter puts the hunter in a position where he or she has the opportunity to get a shot. Heli-hunting is no assassination however. The flight is exhilarating, aerobatic, and exciting with the outcome uncertain. When located, if located, the targeted animal runs for cover, usually by dropping height fast. It is estimated that about 1 in 4 chases is actually successful as a descending bull tahr can drop height virtually faster than the chopper. Should the tahr or chamois hide in steep or bluffy cliffs then the hunt will be abandoned because trophy recovery is not possible.
There is also no guarantee of the quality of the trophy animal, as it is one flight on one day, and the bigger animals are cunning. Weather is also a problem in mountain areas, and flights may be cancelled. In some ways this is where problems occur with recreational hunters as heli-hunting outfitters have to target new areas when weather stops them hunting their usual spots. Helicopter time is also expensive, usually added to the client's bill, unless it is part of a bought hunting package.
While most clients will achieve their hunting goal, heli-hunting it is no done deal, it is a hunt, albeit a different sort of hunt, and like hunting has risks associated with it such as the accident that befell the American hunter who slipped to his death while disembarking his helicopter a couple of years ago.