Wapiti hunting New Zealand

 

Available: Wilderness or game estate

Wapiti are another species that has suffered from NZ's lack of game management. Free-range trophies have steadily declined in size since the 1950's. A game estate hunt is the best option for a big trophy. Trophies can be up to 60 inches in length.

 

The wapiti rut in March/April, with the bulls releasing an eerie bugling noise, which really makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Best time to hunt, bulls are in hard antler from late February and cast in September.

Wapiti were liberated into George Sound, Fiordland in 1905. An original 20 animals were received as a gift to New Zealand from President Theodore Roosevelt. In the early days the herd flourished and some exceptional trophies were taken. Trophies up to an over 60 inches in length, the longest recorded antler being a cast antler found near the Henry saddle measuring 64 1/2 inches. Sadly over population and interbreeding with red deer seriously reduced the quality of the herd. Nowadays anything over 40 inches in length is considered a trophy. There are now no true pure bred wapiti left in the wild. For the big trophies of yesteryear a game estate hunt is the only option.

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