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n.z hunting tactics

20 Dec 2012
@ 01:08 am (GMT)

jason brown

the forum has been a bit quiet, lets talk hunting tactics...
im interested in new zealand game as i live there, but im sure tactics in other countries work too, so comment if you will.

ever since iv brought my long range rifle (7mm rem mag) i havnt seen anything to even look at. (except a hare, that was an empressive wound. haha)
i know places (farms) where game are, but my luck is they never come out.
one place has pigs and the odd red deer, the other goats and fallow deer.
its usually my luck that the farmer has just seen pigs and there gone now, 30 minutes before i get there. or he sees deer all the time when unexpected. or someone else goes and walks ten minutes and gets a fallow.
the cheeky goats will turn up in the middle of the farm, the farmer tells me. then i go and i see them at the neighbours (outside the boundry) or there way down the bottom of the gully in the bush somewhere. (i hear them)
i go as often as i can, at least twice a weekend or more. in the morning or evening. the fallow im told, by the farmer. can be real active around 2pm, sometimes i start looking about then untill dark.

is this just long range hunting, sit back and search, hope something jumps out. are our chances less than someone who goes in stalking to find them?
i do go in the trees/bush to some degree after looking and waiting for a while. but my heavy sendero isnt ideal. im thinking the likes of a light weight 7mm/08 would be better to chase game through the tighter stuff.

it can be a little frustrating to often see nothing, not even scare something or miss a shot. then go to work in the morning and see a nice deer crossing a public road. (no guns at work, or hunting)

im told fallow will apear in the same place they were seen a week later, any truth to that?

i dont know, is this just hunting, or does anyone want to share there tips.
i try to hunt with the wind im my face, i wear camo. and try to look well ahead with binos. and i stop and look frequently. (which all seem to be more stalking than, long range. but at this stage i will take what i can get)
the one fallow i did get, was with a rimfire in a steep pine tree block, i got to the end of a walk and just sat down by a tree for a bit thinking i might as well turn back after a rest, and it turned up in the corner of my eye.

nathan, i read a review of one of your hunts, were something along the lines of... you were looking at your watch, saying to the client. oh... the pigs are a bit late tonight, just before they turned up? that sounds to me like experience! any tips/stories... (anyone)



23 Dec 2012
@ 10:02 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: n.z hunting tactics
well i finally had a succsseful hunt with my 7mag.
two goats. i was hanging out to see what kind of damage the rifle would do.
i guess for me it was hearing the goats were around, and being out there looking and therefore being at the right place at the right time. i would have rathered a deer, but my dog get plenty of food at least.
and im happy just to see how the sst projectiles worked.
i first seen them at 480 yards, while i would have liked to have had a shot at that distance. it was about a 20 km wind and a tricky one, and i had only tested my drops to 300 yards. so i got closer, they were taken at about 210 yards.

25 Dec 2012
@ 11:39 am (GMT)


Re: n.z hunting tactics
Congratulation on breaking the dry spell from the sounds of it. I have just had the most unproductive hunting season ever! I still had a great time with friends and family while while pounding the bush and mountains and really to me thats what it's about, I am not going to starve if an Elk doesn't hit the ground. It sure can be frustrating tho when you spend so much time trying to get lady luck on your side and either see nothing or make the wrong call on a tactic and blow an opportunity.

Well as far as tactics hear in B.C. Canada I have a fairly simple approach. I have been a believer that the more time spent in the field equals opportunities. Sound practices like you described are a must (glassing, wind in your face, camo) but preparation like gear, shooting and preseason spotting is just as important.

As far stalking vs snipping I think one lends itself to the other, long range hunting really hasn't changed the way I hunt, it has changed how I manage terrain on a spot and stalk, I have a lot more options if the stalk only needs to get me to 600 yards. The quad bike tactic sure appeals to me but I don't have one yet. I think that quads and long range will keep or get a lot of hunters out that other wise for what ever reason would hang up the binoculars.

Merry Christmas everyone! Aj
26 Dec 2012
@ 01:28 am (GMT)

jason brown

Re: n.z hunting tactics
thanks, i would have rathered a deer but its good to finally get something with that rifle.
i guess its a matter of time once you know the game is around. i can see where long range and stalking can go hand in hand.
i often wonder if they sence or pick up my sent when i go onto the tree line to look for signs of them. then if i come back a couple of days later to try and spot them at a longer range i maybe waisting my time, so i try not to do it too often.
but yes, i enjoy getting out there either way. it can just be frustrating after a while, knowing the game is there but not seeing any.
15 Mar 2013
@ 07:55 pm (GMT)

Guy Mainland

Re: n.z hunting tactics
Hi Jason, it's probably a few months out of date but here's my two cent's. Strange, isn't it, that most of the threads on this and most other forums concentrate on the rifles, the calibres, the optic's ,the equipment-basically the toys. This is the only website I've seen that has a hunting tactic's forum-and it's barely used. As a bloke who is recent to hunting and with no mates who are interested or with experience, finding out where the animals are is hard to say the least. In early Janauary I shelled out big money on a heli-hunt trip into a Tararua's hot spot. Jason from amalgamated Helicopters was awsome- flew me all around the area showing me where he see's them, when they will be there-everything I needed to know. I followed his advice, and came back five days later empty handed. Didn't see a thing. My theory is the weather was too hot for them out on the tops. There was heap's of old sign and just one set of fresh print's. My dog winded once or twice but the terrain was impossible when I tried to get down to them. It was frustrating, I wondered if it was me. When Jason picked me up he couldn't believe it either. We flew all over the place and finally saw a spiker in a river bed about two days walk away from where I was. Did I waste my money? Hell no! It was an awsome five days just me and my dog, camping out under star's a couple of hairy moments climbing some dodgy terrain, and scenery was world class. I agree with faulkner, It's the hunt, not the kill that I enjoy, bagging an animal every time would be great but that's pretty rare as I hear it. As for tips and tactics, faulkner is not the first person who has said the more often you go out the more you will see.
15 Mar 2013
@ 11:34 pm (GMT)


Re: n.z hunting tactics
Guy your points are all very valid, I think its a bit of boys and their toys, lol. Your hunt sounds like a great trip, I don't think you wasted your money or time or anything else for that matter. I don't mind coming home empty handed but it can be a bit frustrating when nothing is spotted.

Your damn right on the tactics part! There are tons of us on here from around the world and like you said "the forum sits idle" Nathan's site deserve better!!

Well this winter I put a bit of time in hunting coyotes, we have a large lake (~65km guessing) that freezes over. The coyotes cruz the shore line and when the deer try and cross from one shore to the other on the ice the coyotes have a field day! its a long range hunting dream come true! I/we head out for first light and park close to the shore line in the trees, walk up on the shore carefully and glass for "kills" once they are found and there's usually 2 to 6 from various days, coyotes are never very far! The wind is always on the side of the coyotes cause once the bullet gets past the tree lined protection of the shore its almost impossible to make the wind out on the ice, a bit of snow falling helps but the best hunting is really cold weather (-15 or -20 C) and snow falls when its a tad warmer out generally. Laser range finders are also finicky, if the wind has polished the ice you have to be on hair or the laser just bounces off and keeps on going:/ I had one this winter in close and pressed the button a hundred times and nothing! Well with the NF reticle I figured 550 yards "2 MOA back bone to brisket" and fired - instant dead yote! Once I when out to retrieve the carcass I could range the trees where I had shot from 530 yards! I also had multiple misses at 850 to 1100 yards mostly due to wind and range errors. Well winter seams to have come to an early end here and total of 2 yotes have been whacked and several days spend and gas money burned. All and all I had a great time spent with friends and even learned a few things along the way!!
There was a post awhile back about a crow hunt that was such a good read even with some language barriers that I think we all need to share a few. It just to easy to take for granted that its the same everywhere!

Happy hunting guys and "gals - know theres got to be a few;)" Aj
16 Oct 2013
@ 11:52 pm (GMT)

Gavin Chau

Re: n.z hunting tactics
sorry about the thread revival but this forum needs more posts!

In Australia I have been hunting on the same 2 properties for the last 2 years - more a force of habit than anything else - on these properties we have a few methods of getting game besides the usual spotlighting.

in one spot we split into 2 groups on a series of mountain ridges - in the afternoon there are often goats and pigs high up in the scrub on top of one particular ridge - one group shoots these at short range and the remaining ones get flushed out into a saddle of a mountain where they can be sniped at 550-600m by the other group (its only when I discovered this that I developed a strong interest in long range hunting - in fact I purpose built my rifle to shoot in this spot! as luck would have it I've now found spots where longer shots are available)

I'm not sure how pigs behave in other areas but there on these properties in particular they tend to spend their nights high up in the mountains and come down in the early morning and late after noons to feed. There are certain paddocks that they like to feed in (generally the ones with lignum) and at dusk they often descend in the same area to go through the same hole in the fence to get to the same paddock so its simply a matter of waiting on the opposite ridge for them. the downside is that there is only a 10 minute window where there is enough light to see them.

One other technique is to follow the farmers feed truck around - in the afternoons the feral pigs will be feeding right alongside the sheep 20m's from the feedtruck! they'll often be rooting around in the same area looking for uneaten chick peas after dark - so you can go back and get them with a spotlight

17 Oct 2013
@ 01:00 am (GMT)

Gavin Chau

Re: n.z hunting tactics
Sorry that second paragraph should read 'the pigs spend their days in the mountain' not nights.... I keep saying to myself one afternoon I'll walk up there and hunt them at close range in the day with a lever rather than spend the arvo plinking at gongs/ hunting goats... never seems to happen though!
17 Oct 2013
@ 02:26 am (GMT)

Warrick Edmonds

Re: n.z hunting tactics
The other point to keep in mind is, always be prepared.

Three months ago I went on a deer hunt based around a large sheep property that boarders a nat park and other scrubland. We spent four days stalking and didn't get close to anything other than a rabbit and a fox. No tracks, nothing. I lugged that 7mmRemMag quite a few cold empty kilometers. After one unsuccessful morning I got sick of sitting around the camp so ate a quick lunch and announced to all I was going to grab my 22 and look for some rabbits down the track. I set off down a well formed dirt road, checking along the sides in the grass. Only after an hour or so did I happen to look down and see fresh deer tracks, two sets, and I'd been walking along them for a few hundred meters. I stopped, and for some reason quietly stalked the tracks. They were obviously fresh, it had rained the previous night, but how fresh, I just wanted to see what field they headed off in to. It took half an hour, one foot at a time and eventually the tracks turned abruptly right into the bracken. I looked up from the ground and only twenty meters away, looking straight back at me were two red deer. Right about then I started thinking, "maybe I should have gone back for the 7mill". All I could do was watch, and they are such pretty things up close, until they suddenly darted away. Did I feel like a turkey.

10 Dec 2013
@ 05:10 am (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: n.z hunting tactics
From an old bloke who’s done a lot of hunting. Use your binoculars every step, use the wind and hunt very slow.
05 Mar 2014
@ 03:09 am (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: n.z hunting tactics advice I can give is get down to library/book store and get out the series of books written by Lentle and Saxton. red deer in NZ, in particular is a must have.
its all about percentage cricket..the more quality time you spend out there=the more chance of seeing game.
1st and last light are always good and try not to scent up an area you are intending to snipe into, use your binoculars more..what are you looking for??? anything that looks out of place horizontal lines,colour etc. good tip is find SIZE of game at range you are looking and you will find them easier eg its no use looking for/at house or mouse sized brown spots, tussocks/flaxes/fences/sheep are all very good for this purpose.
05 Mar 2014
@ 05:03 am (GMT)

jason brown

Re: n.z hunting tactics
I didn't know this thread was still going.... well to sum up my luck in the last while... I don't eat goats but iv had a few at a decent range which is my prefured hunting method, iv passed on one or two doe's with fawns.
iv got a couple of deer at a close range.
I always try long range first, its just what im into. but in the area most of this took place if im really hungry and just want meat (venison) I will stalk in the trees or at least close range around the edges.
and its not from lack of tops and clearings, its just my luck so far.
goats are different they just seem to be in the open more, or at least easier to find. I don't shoot anything I cant recover, not even a smelly old goat, I try to farm it if you like, even if others where I hunt don't. so that limits shots at long range too. I think long range is harder than I first thought it would be. it only takes a minute for a deer to take a few steps in a small clearing and be lost in the trees, and for me that minute is needed to make a wind call, range, check drop chart and dial. I always want a good shot nothing hurried.

I guess that's why its called hunting and not catching. and I get way more luck out in the field over being at home. it is what it is.

05 Mar 2014
@ 02:19 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: n.z hunting tactics
Lentle and Saxton are a great read. I still have my copy of the original book- Red Deer in NZ.

05 Mar 2014
@ 09:55 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: n.z hunting tactics
I was actually looking for books yesterday. I want something that I could learn from not a story about a hunt, unless it does have comments etc about what seemed to work and what didn't.

I didn't see that book but maybe its not on the shelves any more.
whats jack oconners books like? not that he was on the shelf either.
05 Mar 2014
@ 11:15 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: n.z hunting tactics
I have not seen an O'Connor book deal exclusively with tactics, I just haven't read enough of his work. I am not sure about using U.S tactics for NZ hunting although we have learned from modern U.S still hunting and sniping approaches. I would prefer to stick with NZ authors for NZ tactics to a degree. That said, any exchange of information is good.

Both the O'Connor and Keith books are highly useful in that you can gain an insight into the history of our cartridges, how they were used, how they were viewed and how that would shape things to come. These men had such a huge influence. There were others as well. I don't know if modern U.S hunters take these men for granted?. I do know that many folk outside of the U.S know the names but know nothing of the men other than the occasional "Keith liked it big" type comment.

Lentle and Saxton books should still be in print. Old copies of Rod and Rifle can also be used as learning tools (Graeme Henry era)- 1980 to about 1993.

05 Mar 2014
@ 11:24 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: n.z hunting tactics
thanks Nathan, I thought n.z authors would be best too. I just wasn't sure who was and who wasn't.
I found two books from lentle and saxon on trade me, so that would keep me busy.
also most books talk mainly about the red deer, which is cool but my local spot is fallow deer.
but its all good, id like to get on to a red one day. this will keep me busy for now.
I will do a search for the rod and rifle too.
05 Mar 2014
@ 11:52 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: n.z hunting tactics
Military tactics also differ. To New Zealanders, it is strange to see a Marine shout or communicate openly. We cringe, we just want to get the hell away. It frays the nerves of NZ soldiers during joint training like nails down a chalk board. We struggle to even watch it on the television, turning our heads away and squinting. Silence and silent communication are a primary virtue of the NZ soldier. We have to turn the clock back to understand the differences.

During the Vietnam war, large numbers of U.S civilians were drafted to war, many did not want to go, many were extremely young and not ready for what they would encounter. The shout (commonly used in Karate - Kiai) can be used to overcome the freeze reflex and keep everyone moving forwards. The helicopter was also in use which ruined any silent advance.

I do not know if talking, shouting or the hooooarrrr (sorry, I do not know the current spelling) call was around during the second world war. This style of soldering may well have been around during the second world war as the conditions were the same- drafting, a need to get soldiers moving forwards and so forth.

We had a large number of Maori through the wars, genetically optimized (survivial of the fittest) to war conditions, thriving in the worst of conditions. I think this influence may have helped set the scene for us. We had drafting but a major proportion of our men were already in the bush living extremely harsh lives in total silence. We have also had limited air and ground support from the beginning through till now. We had to get as close as possible to our enemy in order to seize the element of surprise These days, our air support in the desert is a phone call to U.S forces.

The U.S army is now split into multiple factions which employ multiple tactics. We simply don't have the man power or coin for that so we have to make do.

Ironically, during the Vietnam war, although silence was about the only protection an NZ soldier had, both the Australian and NZ forces would use the loud report (noise) of the SLR to help shock the enemy when springing an ambush. The Aussies also had what they called the bitch- a cut down SLR with the semi function doctored so that the SLR would let rip on full auto with a deafening roar and deadly effect though it must have been very hard to control.

In contrast to these differences, although we place great pride in our quiet stalking skills, U.S hunters introduced the concept of still hunting (including from tree stands) to NZ hunters. A bow hunter could wait in silence without scenting his area by placing his tree stand up high. I once met a highly successful NZ culler who switched to this method (using a rifle out across clearings of up to 250 yards or so). It was interesting to see an already well accomplished hunter adopt this approach. Over the years, I have used a mix of both methods to optimize success during client hunts.

So like I say, we can learn from each other in different ways. Things that seem odd need to be investigated in order to obtain a greater understanding of cultural differences.
06 Mar 2014
@ 08:08 am (GMT)


Re: n.z hunting tactics
Great Post. We Yanks have been loud in battle for quite some time, going back to the rebel yell (ululation if that is the correct word) used to great effect by the Army of Northern Virginia during the War for Southern Independence. Donno if this is really an asset during a hunt.... : )
06 Mar 2014
@ 09:51 pm (GMT)

Stephen Lindsay

Re: n.z hunting tactics
In addition to the two Lentle and Saxton books I have seen (Red Deer in New Zealand, 1991; The New Zealand Hunters' Companion, 1996 - and there are others, one on alpine hunting in NZ), I found the out-of-print Philip Holden book; A Guide to Hunting in New Zealand, 1987; very good. It has sections on all NZ game species, including all the deer and Thar and Chamois.


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