Alpine hunting in New Zealand.
In New Zealand there still exist mythical landscapes and breath-taking flora and fauna and let’s not forget it also has the Alps. Our small hunting lodge overlooks the Rangitata River which winds towards the Pacific. The hut is old and not a lodge put up for tourists. The walls are covered in old pictures, trophy bucks on the wall and on the table
a few faded hunting magazines. In short: We feel right at home. We, the American Dick Churchley of Red Hawk Rifles, the hunting journalist Mike Schoby, Monty Doboer of Hornady, and myself, Barton Dobbs, Sales Manager of ZEISS USA. Add to that the local “Kiwis” Julian Dann, Darryl Butterick, and Bill Davis of South Canterbury Hunting Safaris.
New Zealand makes a hunter’s heart beat faster
The region in which we hunted is part of an 8,000 hectare farm with cattle and Merino sheep which has been operated by the same family for generations. You can find tons of salmon and trout in the crystal-clear rivers which thread through this landscape. My hair stands on end just listening to the distant mating call of the stag. The majestic 24 point stags in the fertile valley are our first choice fort he hunt. Stalking Himalaya tahrs in the mountains on the last day is when things really get physically tough. In their Nepalese home, these goat-like animals live in regions at up to 4,400 meters elevation.
Despite the cold temperatures sweat is running down my back as we struggle our way uphill in full gear.
We take a break next to a large rock wall and glass the landscape. When we finally reach the ridge the full panoramic view opens up in front of us. Immediately we spot a herd on the gently declining grass mats. Without my ZEISS binoculars we would have to search everything on foot. Now we just have to stalk down there carefully. We take aim. The reticle lies right on a large jet-black Billy goat. His long neck mane blowing in the mountain wind; a surreal image through the crystal-clear ZEISS riflescope. Finally he stands perfectly. I exhale, ignoring exhaustion and excitement, I calmly squeeze the trigger. The crowning conclusion to a perfect hunting experience. The moments in this almost indescribable landscape will stay with me. And I will be back.