Not so fast, one Kiwi operator told us recently. A fenced property that allows animals to escape is not considered free-range. In fact, it is actually against the law to allow fenced animals to escape.
For a straight answer on this matter, we turned to our resident New Zealand correspondent, Greg Morton, who had this to say: Free-range in New Zealand indeed means no fences. A free-range animal must be born and must live in the wild. In New Zealand, most genuine free-range hunting involves tahr, chamois, goat, wild sheep and wallaby. All and I mean ALL - of those monster SCI deer trophies are from behind a wire, although some good free-range fallow buck and sika stag are occasionally free-range shot. Good free-range red stag are shot from time to time, but they are bronze or silver medal quality at best. NO gold medal animals are shot free range.
The free-range devotee should not be fooled into believing that those monster trophies you see on many web sites are free-range animals. An outfitter would never allow such valuable animals to come and go at will. They have been bred for the park and are harvested soon after release. If there are fences on a monster-deer property that animals can jump over, don't be fooled into thinking those are the only perimeter fences. They aren't!