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Himalayan Tahr,introduced to New Zealand in 1904,are(along with Red Stag)New Zealand's premier trophy hunting species.
They thrive in the mountains and some foothills of the South Island's Southern Alps,prefering the steepest and most rugged terrain. Snow is not a problem to them, although they will be found at lower elevations and on sunny aspects in the middle of winter so they are better able to feed.
They are relatively short-horned. Twelve inches is considered trophy size and anything over 14" is remarkable.It is their long "mane" which most consider to be their most attractive physical characteristic.It is much lighter in colour when compared to the mostly black colour of a mature Bull Tahr.
This long hair develops from March and is present through to September at which time the animals moult.The best time to hunt them is during this period.
They rut in May and June,at which time the Bulls,usually found in bachelor groups or alone,seek out females and work hard to protect their harem.
Like dominant males of many species,they are challenged by younger males and often fight off their rivals.Most "fighting" is merely posturing, however some clashes can result in injury and even death.Their horns are strong and have quite sharp tips.
Bull Tahr are very heavily muscled and strong-boned animals and their size belies their weight. A mature bull can exceed 300lbs with the full skin and head weighing 50lbs or more.Females of the species are much smaller,seldom exceeding 80lbs, and are a light brown colour with relatively short hair.
Successfully hunting Tahr in New Zealand requires a good knowledge of their range and habits.Because they make the mountains their home,a good level of fitness is usually required.
When not feeding in alpine scrub and tussock,they usually seek protection in rocky bluffs in extremely rugged terrain.Many local hunters go years without obtaining a trophy.
For overseas hunters coming to New Zealand to hunt Tahr within a limited period of time,an experienced Professional Hunting Guide is essential. Most have hunting areas available to them that include both public and private land which is either Free Range or Estate.
The Estate areas especially,hold good numbers of trophy sized Tahr and usually have vehicle access to high ground.Helicopters are often employed to access high ground where there are no vehicle tracks.
The hunter can confidently expect his or her guide to get them in range of a trophy animal no matter their level of experience and fitness. Then it’s up to the hunter! http://www.guidedhuntingnewzealand.co.nz
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