Enter outfitter/guide John Batley on the North Island of New Zealand. Batley has a 2,200-acre enclosure northeast of the town of Palmerston North with a goodly population of both species of North American elk. The enclosure is big enough to provide a real hunt for these animals, as opposed to the canned variety often found in these situations. There is enough brush and forest on this property that animals can disappear quite easily. That means there is no guarantee that one will get an elk, although to date no hunter has failed to do so; in fact, several hunters have taken two elk. Numerous times, however, a hunter has seen a desirable elk early in the hunt only to loose it in all the cover and never see it again.
The hunting itself involves extensive hiking and glassing, waiting on stand and riding around slowly in a 4wd vehicle with frequent pauses to glass. Because of all the cover, shooting distances are not long. Shots average 100 - 150 yards; therefore, a magnum cartridge is totally unnecessary. Moderate-caliber rifles such as the 270, 280, or 30-06 will do fine.
As for the numbers of animals on the property, hunters I spoke with said they saw 15 to 30 shootable bulls every day. They said the hardest part was not the hunting but rather selecting the very best bull. However, these were experienced elk hunters skilled at calling in bulls. The ordinary, unskilled elk hunter probably won't see as many elk. One of the hunters I spoke with urgently recommends that anyone booking this hunt buy the Hyper-Hot cow elk call with the instructional cassette and practice using it diligently. He said that it really paid off for him, as it drove those bulls absolutely berserk.........(continued)