New Zealand

New Zealand

Welcome to New Zealand

New Zealand is truly a land of wonder with its active volcanoes, deep fiords, high snowy mountains, ancient native forests, glaciers close to the beach, geothermal areas, deep glowworm caves and spectacular beaches not to mention the vast hunting lands and great sport fishing!

New Zealand Big Game Hunting

There are 12 species of big game available to the hunter in New Zealand and they are: Wapiti, Red Deer, Sika Deer, Rusa Deer, Sambar Deer, Whitetail Deer, Fallow Deer, Himalayan Thar, Austrian Chamois, South Pacific Goat, Wild Pig, and Wild Bulls. All provide exalt trophy hunting and have exceeded the trophy potential for every species. New Zealand also offers fine waterfowl and upland game-bird hunting.

New Zealand Sport Fishing

Over 1,200 species of marine fish populate New Zealand waters, from Great White Shark to Manta Ray. The warm current from Northern Australia even brings exotic fish to the Poor Knights Islands.

New Zealand is a trout fishing Mecca referred to by the legendary Zane Grey as “The Angler’s El Dorado,”. New Zealand has some of the best fishing for big wild brown trout in the world. The extreme water clarity, fewer fish per mile, bigger and more wary fish, and self-sustaining wild trout populations all combine to provide challenges most visiting anglers have never experienced before.

New Zealand Salt Water Fishing

Saltwater catches vary by location, from tuna and shark around Fiordland, to snapper and kingfish in the Marlborough Sounds. The far north, around the Bay of Islands has marlin, kingfish and sporting kahawai, with terakihi available around most of the New Zealand coastline. Fly-fishing brings a new dimension to the meaning of light tackle saltwater sport. Kahawai, an express speedster and leaper, when hooked will take with abandon a fly cast from a boat or river mouth. Other fish species such as skipjack, tuna and trevally can give spectacular sport too.

New Zealand Big Game Species:

New Zealand Wapiti Deer


The Wapiti, also known as North American Elk live mainly in the steep, dense isolated bush of Fiordland and unless you are a very fit person you should forget hunting a wapiti within Fiordland! Wapiti are available on most of New Zealands game reserves and grow to impressive trophies.

New Zealand Red Deer


The Red Deer are prolific throughout most of the country and can be hunted at any time of the year without licenses or permits, although a hunting permit is required to hunt on D.O.C. (Department of Conservation) land. Red stags are most active during the “Roar” (the rutting season) and subsequently this is the most exciting time (usually mid April) to hunt them. The small number of game reserves in New Zealand have large trophy heads with success guaranteed.

New Zealand Sika Deer


Sika have a distinct liking for dense scrub and are very difficult to hunt. Like the other deer in New Zealand , their antlers exceed almost anything grown in their home country and are also considered to be one of the most cunning of all deer species.

New Zealand Rusa Deer


The Rusa occupy a small area within the Urewera National Park and every year several good trophies are taken. They are best hunted during the roar (rut) which for these deer is August.

Rutting late in July and August, the rusa retain hard antler until November/December. One of the most difficult trophies to achieve. A bit of extra time to is needed when hunting rusa, as they rarely come easy to hunters.

New Zealand Sambar Deer


The Sambar deers natural habitat is confined to a relatively small area north of Wellington and they are best hunted during August to October (their rutting season). Due to their low numbers they are now under protection and subject to a ballot permit system. Trophy heads are available within some of New Zealands game reserves – such as Treetops.

New Zealand Whitetail Deer


The home of the Whitetail Deer in New Zealand is Stewart Island at the bottom of the South Island. They do not grow trophy heads equal to those of the USA however, trophies are available within selected game reserves.

The Stewart Island herd attracts most hunters because it is much larger and the deer are more accessible. About 1500 animals are taken there by hunters every year. The experience of hunting these deer on Stewart Island is highly prized.

New Zealand Fallow Deer


These deer originated from the United Kingdom and from those bloodline releases some exceptional trophies have emerged. They inhabit several areas of both the North and South Islands but are particularly prolific around Woodhill Forest. Most trophies are shot from Safari parks.

New Zealand Thar


The Himalayan Thar is found high in the mountains of the Central South Island. The best time to hunt Thar is between May & June when their coats are in pristine condition. Trophy heads are amongst the best available in the world.

New Zealand Chamois


The Austrian Chamois is well established throughout the mountainous South Island and is best hunted in May & June when trophies are world class.

The New Zealand Chamois are most active in the morning and evening. For best Hunting results the hunter should ideally be in the area early and late in the day. Chamois also tend to spend less time watching their surroundings for danger when eating. In the middle of the day chamois rest up on promontories to chew their cuds. Once they have lain down they are less conspicuous and harder to find.

New Zealand Goat


The New Zealand Goat can be found almost anywhere with their numbers reaching near epidemic proportions. They grow horns up to forty-five inches in spread and make a desirable addition to any trophy collection.

New Zealand Wild Pig


The Wild Pig also know as the “Captain Cooker”, these stout pigs are a challenging adversary and make for an exciting hunt, especially in the New Zealand bush. Trophy heads are available in Selected Safari Parks.

New Zealand Wild Sheep


As you can imagine sheep are not hard to find in NZ, however wild sheep and in particular trophy heads are increasingly harder to find these days, except on game reserves. They come in two colors either black or white.


New Zealand Game Bird Hunting

New Zealand Duck Hunting

New Zealand has four key species of ducks that can be hunted.

New Zealand Mallard Duck


The mallard is the most common duck in New Zealand and the Northern Hemisphere. Today there are about 4.5 million mallards. Mallards are most likely to be found on shallow bodies of fresh water such as wetlands and ponds, on lakes and even flooded fields. They are a medium-to-large dabbling duck that is most recognizable by the male’s glossy green head and white collar around the neck. The female is a mottled brown with a brown bill. Both sexes have orange feet and a purple-blue speculum with both sides outlined in white.

New Zealand Grey Duck


The Gray Duck makes up less than 10% of New Zealand’s duck population. The Gray Duck is thinly scattered throughout the mainland, more prominent populations are found in the Northland, Waikato, Gisborne and Westland regions.

A distinguishing feature of the Grey Duck is a pattern of stripes extending from the bill back onto the head, with a thick dark patch over the top of the head, a thinner brown stripe through the eye, and another fainter line below from the beak opening. Males and females are alike in appearance, and similar to plumage of the female mallard. The Grey Duck’s coloring is darker overall, and the head stripes more pronounced than the female mallard. Grey Duck have a white underwing and an iridescent turquoise green speculum on their wing (lower right), whereas the mallard speculum is blue or purple. The blue speculum tends to predominate on hybrids.

The New Zealand Shoveler Duck or (Spoonie)


The “spoonie” has comb-like openings in the side of its spoon shaped bill that let it sift fine insect life from the surface of biologically rich wetlands. Although not as common as the other New Zealand ducks the Shoveler is making a comeback in recent years.

The male Shoveler is New Zealand’s most handsome duck, with variegated plumage, blue-grey head with a white vertical stripe between the eye and bill, a striking reddish-brown breast, and blue wings. The female is more plainly embellished with cryptic brown similar to female Mallards and Grey Ducks. This may be nature’s way of providing camouflage when she is nesting.

The New Zealand Paradise Duck


The Paradise Duck is a Shelduck, meaning that it is goose like in nature. The Paradise Duck is also referred to as the “Parrie”. Unusually for ducks, the female paradise Shelduck is more eye-catching than the male; females have a pure white head and chestnut colored body, while males have a dark grey body and black head.

Paradise Shelducks are commonly observed flying in pairs or grazing on pasture. They are very vocal birds, with males giving a characteristic ‘zonk zonk’, while females make a more shrill ‘zeek zeek’ while flying or as a warning to intruders. They can often be stalked. Resist the temptation to stand up and look as you approach. Instead, pick a tall object and work your way in close remaining down and out of sight.

New Zealand Black Swan


The Black Swan is another of New Zealand’s game waterfowl that can be hunted.

Where water plants persist, swan numbers remain strong so most regions can still allow limited swan hunting opportunities. The swans future, is one in which Fish & Game NZ takes a special interest due to lake pollution.

Black Swan are popular quarry with many hunters and are delicious to eat. Swans often fly off lakes in the evening allowing well positioned hunters to intercept them under their flight lines. Swans are often shot as incidental birds while waiting for ducks.

New Zealand Pukeko


The Pukeko is a large, blue purplish, wetlands dwelling bird.  The Pukeko has a reputation as a friendly although very territorial birds. They are often nicknamed “Swamp Hen”, “Pook” or to some hunters, the “Blue Pheasant”.

Pukeko have been harvested in New Zealand for generations. The blue body feathers are prime fly tying feathers for classic night lures such as the Craig’s Night-time, Taihape Tickler and Scotch Poacher among others. Although not a delicacy the New Zealand Pukeko can be delicious in casseroles and patties.

Pukeko population numbers vary in different parts of the country and there is consequently a lower daily bag limit in some regions (e.g. North Canterbury bag limit is 2). In other regions, with higher rainfall and lower lying areas, Pukeko numbers are higher and the bag limit is also higher (e.g. West Coast bag limit is 20). Sometimes Fish & Game will declare a hunt in-between seasons in the West Coast and Nelson/Marlborough areas.

New Zealand’s Upland Game Birds

Upland game hunting is a different ball game than New Zealand’s waterfowl hunting. This exciting and challenging pastime requires different techniques and often plenty of walking!

The upland game hunting season begins on the first weekend of May and generally lasts until mid-August – providing plenty of action after the duck season closes.

Pheasant and Quail hunting is fast and furious, and a successful day with a good dog will remain a highlight for a long time.

The New Zealand Pheasant


Pheasants are one of New Zealand’s most sought after game birds. Their bright plumage and superb eating qualities make them popular with all game bird hunters.

The New Zealand Pheasants are found in the coastal dune country, exotic forestry, lupin, broom, box-thorn, ink weed and briar patches (My oldests nick name). Look for patches of inkweed, rough covered gullies and crops such as maize.

In the North Island, pheasant hunting season generally begins on the first weekend of May and generally lasts until mid-August.   However, regulations vary between each Fish & Game region and it is important to check local game bird hunting regulations. For example, in some regions the season is a month shorter and in the South Island pheasant shooting may only be permitted for a single day. Please remember, you can only take male birds (roosters). It is illegal to shoot hen pheasants (females); they are protected as the providers of next year’s crop.

The New Zealand Quail


Quail being small, fast flying birds meaning that you need to make quick and accurate shooting such as in shooting skeet!

Quail are found throughout New Zealand but prefer semi-arid conditions. Coastal dune areas, exotic forests, scrubby shingle river beds and hill country are favoured habitat and Quail are likely to roost in briar, broom, boxthorn, matagouri, manuka or gorse.

Quail are a challenge to hunt. They are noisy, ‘talkative’ birds making it easy to identify where a group or ‘covey’ may be resting but their rapid speed and small size make the shooting challenging.

New Zealand Chukor


Primarily a South Island species, the New Zealand Chukor is at home on high, semi arid shale and rocky slopes, interspersed with areas of low tussock and scattered sub alpine vegetation. Found at altitudes of up to 2,000 meters on slopes east of the main divide, Chukor populations extend from Marlborough to Otago.

In those districts where Chukor may still be hunted the season begins in May and continues until the end of August.



Military Hunting and Fishing takes great pride in being able to introduce you to the wildlife, fish and regions of New Zealand.

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