At present, these animals are found only in limited locations on the South Island of this country, where the government has allowed a controlled population to exist under strict regulations. Whenever reports suggest the population is getting too large, or is spreading too far, extermination helicopters are called in. That is the extent of the management plan for tahr in New Zealand.
The surviving herds live in the rugged Southern Alps range, some on the wet, steep faces of the west side, others on the drier shingle-rock country of the east side. Overseas hunters usually hunt the eastern herds because the terrain there is not as difficult as it is on the west coast. The problem there is hunter competition, which means finding an area with adequate trophy potential is no small feat. Neither is finding a reasonably priced hunt here.
Tahr is generally expensive because most outfitters who offer tahr hunts must pay private landowners a trophy fee to hunt their property, or "run." Then they add their own trophy fee to that, plus guiding costs, before passing the total bill off to the client. Fair enough, these folks are in business to make a living, but this practice tends to make hunting trophy bull tahr a pricey proposition.
Enter Donald and Barbara Bray of Lilydale Wilderness and Hunting Area. The Brays own a 12,500-acre high country station. Of this acreage, 10,500 acres is true high country and home to a good tahr population,........(continued)