As April begins in the South Island of New Zealand you can typically find 3 species of big game animals in or near peak rut, including red stag, fallow buck, and elk.
The is the largest of all New Zealand big game species – elk or known by its Native American `Wapiti` name here in New Zealand will typically start their bugle or rut in early to mid March and proceed through to late April depending on the temperatures.
The first introduction of elk onto an island was by Sir George Grey in the 1900s. This introduction happened in the North Island of New Zealand, but subsequently failed. The second introduction was in March 1908, gifted by president Theodore Roosevelt after being approached by the famous English hunter Sir George Littledale. 18 Rocky Mountain elk were relocated to George Sound, in the South Island’s remote Fiordland where they now are managed on public land by the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation.
Today, thanks to the management efforts of the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation and private hunting estates, elk hunting in New Zealand has developed to the point where it now rivals the best areas in the US for trophy quality animals. Many of the largest trophy bull elk in the world both typical and non typical are coming off private hunting areas that manage the herds.
New Zealand Safaris has a partnership with one of these large properties allowing us to provide a viable and an economic alternative to the US if you are after the biggest elk bulls. It is not uncommon for us to see 10-15 trophy bulls in a day on this property. Elk bulls are classed by the S.C.I. scoring system – trophy heads typically range from 330-450+ inches for both typical and non typical.
We’ve have some pretty amazing hunts already this year on what our clients call ‘one of the most spectacular elk properties in the world.’ Check out the pictures and footage – if it’s on your bucket list get in touch with us!