In August, you’ll find us up in the the remote parts of the Northern Territories of Australia guiding clients on Australian big game hunting safaris for Banteng, Buffalo, boar and for added fun fishing and cultural tours.
With already two huge Banteng Bulls down to start our 2019 Australia Big Game Safaris over here these are the most elusive large animals you can hunt acting more like a deer than bovine. Completely wild and free ranging we have permits in conjunction with the traditional land owner Soleman Cooper to hunt the highly coveted Garig Gunak Barlu National Park where the last of the pure Banteng exists that have not crossed with cattle and first introduced and still roam wild and free due to heavily managed hunting.
With warm temps these huge animals feed on the burns late evenings and leave them early in the mornings spending the day near fresh water springs in heavy tropical jungle and trees, which makes this hunt even more exciting as they will blow loudly through their nostrils right beside you before dissolving into the grasses. Amazingly exciting we also encounter Water Buffalo, Boar, Wild Horses and at times donkeys.
The ocean fishing is second to none off the rocks of beaches as there is little to no fishing pressure, but swimming is not advisable as there are a couple of aquatic species that have reasonably sharp teeth.
Combine all this to have the traditional aboriginal owner with us talking about his ancestors or hunting methods and tracking these animals in areas where the average white guy would need a GPS this is just one of those hunts that is very pure, exciting, and memorable on many levels. Camp is both comfortable and adequate, we bring our own fresh food and alcohol in with a cook on the beach front cabins which has generator power, flushing toilet and running water/ showering and private bed rooms for this remote location this is perfect place to have thousands of acres to yourself personally guided by Jim Gibson.
Australian Water Buffalo are an amazingly tough animal, underestimated and under gunned by many.
A Bull in his prime will be 600-800 lbs heavier than his cousin the African Cape Buffalo, the Australian Water Buffalo is also about 2-2.5 ft taller with a much denser bone structure. A mature Australian Water Buffalo is 16 plus years, it is not uncommon to take Bulls that are 20 years or older if they are in a wild and free ranging environment like the one in this video.
To make an ethical shot on an Australian Water Buffalo Bull it is recommended to use a minimum of .375 caliber although some hunters may use a .338. On our Australian Water Buffalo hunts we have seen that the .338 caliber is moving much too quickly to achieve maximum expansion of projectile which should be bonded, or, first shot even a solid but this can be left to the experts to discuss in depth.
Taking risky or 50/50 shots is strongly discouraged as a wounded Australian Water Buffalo will be either lost or create a dangerous situation. Taking time to stalk and wait until an almost 90 degree shot is possible and is the best practice. Half way from top of the shoulder to bottom of chest and straight up from the front leg, or if the offset shoulder is slightly forward/behind then centred between the two which should break both shoulders, lungs, and potentially heart.
Depending on the follow up shot (99% of the time a follow up shot is needed) and his position, then the shot should be into the same spot or high neck/spine shot if possible.
Like many of the deer species the lungs and heart are in the lower quarter of the Red Stag, approximately the size of a dinner plate.
For Red Stag shot placement judging half way going from the top of the shoulder and bottom of the chest you should aim slightly under half way. Being more of a medium skinned animal Red Stags like all animals can be extremely tough during the rut to take down so use appropriate calibers again that deliver good kinetic energy and you can handle to shoot accurately. Muzzle breaks or preferably suppressors are excellent options if you’re worried about recoil and the latter noise. All of our New Zealand Safaris rifles are equipped with suppressors.
A suitable range between 80-250 yards and take time to make the shot. Bow hunting on these guys will get your heart pumping with average shots at approximately 40 yards where we can use cover, calling, and blinds to get in close.
When discussing red stag shot placement, we are typically aiming for double lung, braking both shoulders and potentially also hitting heart which would be the ideal shot. As every hunter knows animals do not always stand square on at 90% and waiting for the perfect alignment can mean not getting a shot.
First and foremost if you are not confident with taking a shot don’t take it. It’s not worth pointing your rifle and shooting or ball parking it. Preparation before the shot and knowing where the vitals are is important in making sure you are taking an ethical shot. With a steady rest you can make those quartering shots if need be. Stags will often turn to face you if they have been alerted or winded you for a brief moment, it may be your best opportunity. Preparation really equals opportunity.
When lining up red stag shot placement it’s always important to think about bullet exit over entry as this is where maximum damage occurs so look at where the off set leg is positioned and body. Front on low down and allow for the exit. Another fatal shot that can be taken if you are very confident and your rifle is a tack driver is at the base of the neck and the spine.
May brings about the most challenging and exciting chamois hunting rut in New Zealand.
Chamois, the mountain Antelope are only found in isolated parts of the South Island. Jim Gibson & New Zealand Safaris has gained a world wide reputation of chamois hunting on wild animals on free range, low fence, on extensive high country properties that are privately owned and exclusive to New Zealand Safaris. Our chamois hunts are limited to 6 hunts per year across 3 properties encompassing 75,000 acres. By limiting the hunts per year we are able to implement a sustainable game management system along with the land owners which is unfortunately lacking in many parts of New Zealand. These animals are now highly valued and protected by both hunting outfitters and landowners. All of our hunting is accessed by 4×4 and is a traditional spot and stalk hunt, helicopters and local hunters are forbidden in these private areas.
Bull Tahr would have to be pound for pound one of the toughest big game mountain animals to bring down.
The bull tahr is difficult to bring down for two reasons, the long hair over their body and their bone structure.
Pre-rut some of the Bulls in their prime will weigh in excess of 300 pounds especially on private land where they are typically not hunted during the summer months. Due to the lack of hunting pressure tahr will come down to the lower country and graze in sheep and cattle country on fresh spring clover grasses. This is where you must use larger centre fire calibers such as the magnums or 30 caliber with bonded bullets to hunt these amazing animals ethically. The hair in winter is thick and matted, with extremely tough skin up to 1/2 inch thick making this combination very tough and shot placement becomes critical.
The shoulders of a tahr are well muscled and larger than their back end, you are shooting into the power house so take your time as you line up your shot placement as you will only get one vital shot, the rest will be just throwing lead. When Tahr hunting ideally you will have an experienced professional guide or spotter with you that has extensive knowledge of these animals. This will allow you the hunter time to concentrate on the proper set up of the rifle and the shot with the guide ranging distance, body angle, and ideal shot placement. You need to break both shoulders and puncture lungs, or at least one shoulder both lungs, yes they are just that tough. A shot back into the green lung (stomach), missing the vitals and or only hitting the shoulders will result in a wounded and lost Bull.
Take your time aiming small and steady, reload and get ready for a follow up shot this is not the animal to chase. On a mature Bull Tahr, 6 years or over older the hair in winter can hang 9-12 inches down over the leg, 6-9 inches over the bottom of the chest, and 3-9 inches on top of the shoulder.
While on his second tahr hunt with New Zealand Safaris, Reece added a free ranging, wild foot chamois hunt.
Reece took an exceptional 9 inch 10 year old Chamois Buck during his chamois hunt. We are lucky enough to use roads on these private properties as they are extensive working sheep and cattle ranches.
Chamois are only found in the South Island of New Zealand. Without having to use a helicopter for our chamois hunts means we can move about freely without other hunters in the area and not restricted by weather. Our South Island location mostly allows us the ability to hunt from our lodge each day in a traditional wild chamois hunt.
Chamois lay down false rings on their horns so it is very hard to age but typically you want to see 8-12 rings to take a mature Chamois Buck. This time of year the glands swell as they enter the rut (late-April to mid-June) which you can see directly behind the head. When chamois hunting the easiest way to judge a mature Chamois Buck is his horns do a full curl with the horn tips well above the tips of his ears.
Meet Reece, on his second free ranging and wild on foot tahr hunt with us, on our private land. On this hunt Reece got an 8 year old bull tahr, with 13 inch horns.
These properties have excellent mountain roads which allows us to cater to all levels of hunters. From glaciers to river valleys non-hunters have an opportunity to enjoy the scenery and watch the game.
Our properties are all within 40 minutes of our main hunting lodge, or we can camp out in the back country cabins.
You can tell the age by counting the rings on the horns and the lamb tips. On a tahr hunt, a bull is considered mature and a trophy when he reaches 6 years old. On private land exclusive to New Zealand Safaris animals are not under constant hunting pressure so get time to reach maturity and their full potential which makes for some amazing tahr hunting.
When field judging on a tahr hunt, include factors such as body size, cape and colour are important after length of horns 12+ inches is considered a trophy.
Averaging at 270 lbs these are truly magnificent animals and an amazing hunt in some of the most spectacular scenery you will ever see. If you truly value sheep hunting and the mountains and scenery that go hand in hand with this big game hunt, then you will love hunting with us, many bring the non hunter also to be in these amazing places. If clients would prefer we can utilize a helicopter for access up onto the tops for day hunts.
The rut runs from around late May to the end of July with hunting from February to the end of November. If you are looking to plan a tahr hunt, get in touch with us.
April sees the start of the Fallow Deer croak or rut for Fallow Deer in New Zealand and typically will go through to early May. The Fallow Bucks make a noise similar to that of a bull frog, attracting the females. Unlike many other deer species Fallow Bucks will return to their `Rut Pad` or make their own and stay there during the mating season, the female fallow called `does` will then travel to their favourite or local rut pad to mate with the bucks.
Typically during the fallow deer croak the older females will bring in the younger females which starts the cycle of where they go to mate each year during the croak. Fallow Deer are unique because they have different colour phases of coats which is very unusual in the deer world. Fallow Bucks are sought after for their antlers which have palmation like that of a moose. The largest population of Fallow Deer in the Southern Hemisphere is in South Canterbury, New Zealand near the town of Fairlie. Most of the land is privately owned, the properties that are correctly managed have bucks that when harvested have antlers which are some of the largest in the world.
If you’ve never heard the Fallow Buck croak sound check out this recent video.
Water Buffalo Hunting in Australia is one of the most underrated, wild hunts left in the world today. Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) were first introduced as a food source between 1924-1949 to the Northern Territories of Australia from Timor in Indonesia. Since their introduction the buffalo have now developed a different appearance from their descendants.
Banteng Hunting in Australia on wild, free ranging herds is conducted up on the Coburg Peninsula, in the Northern Territories of Australia. First introduced in 1849 as a food source, today they are the only Banteng herd that is still completely pure in strain. (more…)