Special Feature: Sambar trophy herd in coastal swampland

The Ruahine and Tararua ranges form a central backbone to the lower North Island region bordering the wide Manawatu Plains.

Tussock covered summit ridges from the Ruahine skyline, fall abruptly in steep-sided bush clad ridges into beautiful secluded valleys. The high country supports only low numbers of deer due to the relentless pressure from recreational hunters living nearby in Wellington, Palmerston North and other urban centres.

Red deer are present throughout the main ranges and doing the ‘hard yards’ by tramping into the less accessible river headwaters and climbing onto the open tops, a fit hunter can achieve good results. Sika deer are gaining ground in the northern Ruahines, displacing some of the resident red deer. It seems likely that they will spread into the Tararuas as they aggressively seek new territory and food sources.

Sambar deer have a unique coastal enclave, effectively concealed in sand dune, pine forest and near impassable swampland. These magnificent animals are built like bulldozers – solid and squat and the stags carry even six point antlers. This protected herd is controlled by balloted hunting within a limited season. Initially the herd struggled to survive in a small range based on Santoft Forest but now has expanded northwards. Farm escapes and illegal releases have enabled sambar to spread into the Whanganui, Mangawhero, Whangaehu and Turakina river catchments east of Wanganui city.

Wild pigs occur in the Ruahines and Tararuas in small pockets along the forest margins in scrub and fern covered foothills. Goats are well established on the drier eastern slopes of the Ruahines but are kept in check by culling.

Waterfowl are quite plentiful on Manawatu lakes such as Omanu near Foxton, Koitiata near Bulls and wetlands at Makerua, Waimahora and Pukepuke. Pheasant and California quail can be hunted in a number of Manawatu forest areas.

Guided hunting for fallow trophies in regenerating bush on private property is offered in Waikanae and helicopter fly-ins to the Ruahines and Tararuas can be arranged at Paraparaumu Airport.

Hunting Regions: Information on Small Species & Big Game Animals

  • Hunting Fiordland

    Fiordland

    Special Feature: Trophy wapiti in a World Heritage Area - To hunt the high tops, hanging valleys and big basins of Fiordland National Park is a rare privilege.

  • Hunting Nelson

    Nelson

    Special Feature: Red, fallow and chamois trophies in National Parks - This top destination for travellers has wonderful sunshine, golden sand beaches and the most popular national parks in the country.

  • Hunting South Canterbury

    South Canterbury

    Special Feature: Classic alpine hunting for big game species - New Zealand’s most elevated hunting grounds are found in the Mt Cook National Park in South Canterbury.

  • Hunting Wanganui

    Wanganui

    Special Feature: Fallow herds with the North Island’s best trophy potential - The largest lowland forest in the North Island spreads across the Whanganui National Park, straddling the Whanganui River.

  • Hunting Taranaki

    Taranaki

    Special Feature: Trophy hunting on commercial Safari farms - The Taranaki region is defined by the perfect volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki (also known as Mt Egmont) and the lush green rectangular dairy farm blocks at its base.

  • Hunting King Country

    King Country

    Special Feature: The home of wild pig hunting in New Zealand - Lying to the west of Tongariro National Park and centred on Te Kuiti, is a vast region of endless razorback ridges and deep isolated valleys.

  • Hunting Central Otago

    Central Otago

    Special Feature: Outstanding fallow trophies at two locations - The glacial origins of ‘Central’ are obvious when you first view the enormous round-top mountain ranges draped in golden brown tussock grasses.

  • Hunting Manawatu

    Manawatu

    Special Feature: Sambar trophy herd in coastal swampland - The Ruahine and Tararua ranges form a central backbone to the lower North Island region bordering the wide Manawatu Plains.

  • Hunting Volcanic Plateau

    Volcanic Plateau

    Special Feature: Red and sika trophy herds under active volcanoes - Three striking landmarks dominate the Central North Island skyline in the region known as the Volcanic Plateau.

  • Hunting Hawkes Bay

    Hawkes Bay

    Special Feature: Excellent red and sika hunting in Kawekas - The sweeping curve of Hawke’s Bay from Napier to Mahia Peninsula fronts a deep hinterland of golden brown rolling hills and steep-sided mountain ranges.

  • Hunting East Cape

    East Cape

    Special Feature: Trophy class red deer in the Raukumaras - Follow the Pacific Coast Highway beyond the Bay of Plenty and you pass under the precipitous slopes of the Raukumara Range, which conceals hidden valleys where heavy antlered red stags roam.

  • Hunting Bay of Plenty

    Bay of Plenty

    Special Feature: Localised herds of red, fallow, sambar and rusa deer - The broad Bay of Plenty basin embraces a surprising variety of seascapes, landforms, flora and fauna.

  • Hunting Wairarapa

    Wairarapa

    Special Feature: Great deer stalking in a boutique mountain range - Hill country sheep stations measuring thousands of hectares in extent, are spread over the Wairarapa’s rolling downland.

  • Hunting West Coast

    West Coast

    Special Feature: Game animals galore in 400 km of rainforest - The West Coast stands out as ‘deer hunter’s heaven’, with a wild game presence in virtually every patch of bush in a 400 km coastal strip from Karamea to the Cascade River.

  • North Canterbury

    Southland

    Special Feature: Good access to extensive hunting territory - The southernmost region has an incredible variety of terrain and wild game habitat and excellent opportunities to score a trophy.

  • Marlborough

    Marlborough

    Special Feature: Red deer and chamois in a superb alpine setting - This sun-drenched region is synonymous with fine wines, gourmet food and relaxing holidays in the beautiful labyrinth of waterways known as the Marlborough Sounds.

  • North Canterbury

    North Canterbury

    Special Feature: Prime chamois habitat in Southern Alps - South Island’s major city, Christchurch, is a good base for exploring fascinating inland places like Lake Coleridge, Hanmer Springs, Lewis Pass and Lake Sumner.

  • Waikato

    Waikato

    Special Feature: Abundant waterfowl in Waikato/Hauraki wetlands - One hour’s drive south of Auckland brings you to a region of fertile plains that is one of the richest dairying areas in the world.

  • Coromandel

    Coromandel

    Special Feature: Multiple blocks with accessible wild pigs. - The rugged volcanic Coromandel Peninsula is Auckland’s most important summer recreational playground, offering sheltered golden sand beaches and superb boating and fishing.

  • Stewart Island Hunting

    Stewart Island

    Special Feature: Brilliant wilderness hunting for whitetail trophies - Rugged, windswept Stewart Island contains Rakiura National Park, a wilderness renowned for its unspoilt nature and scenic beauty.