By Greg Morton, New Zealand CorrespondentEditor Note: If you are planning to hunt in New Zealand in the coming months, The Hunting Report is going to help make your research easier. We've asked Kiwi correspondent Greg Morton to provide a comprehensive overview on current opportunities for the major game species there, especially anything that might have changed recently and could affect your hunt planning. We are starting this month with the two alpine species, tahr and chamois, hunted in the "Southern Alps" on the larger South Island. Here is Morton's on-the-ground assessment.
Tahr and chamois in New Zealand are only found on the tall peaks that run right up the middle of the South Island (called "the mainland" by residents), dividing the drier East Coast from the wetter West.
In the case of tahr, there is an extra restriction on where within the Southern Alps they can live. A "tahr zone," a prescribed portion of the central South Island where no more than 10,000 tahr may reside, has been imposed to limit the spread of this species. Animals outside the zone are shot on sight. Chamois have no such restriction on them and occur over a much wider range.
Historically, free-range tahr and chamois populations were larger on the West Coast but, at least in the case of tahr, the balance is much more even today. A number of factors favor the East Coast for visiting hunters. A general terrain and weather description would be that the East Coast is flatter to rolling terrain, primarily tussock covered, drier and experiences longer periods of stable weather. On the East Coast there are several large, private, high-country ranches offering good populations of tahr in particular......