New Zealand Upland Game Hunting
(Upland game bird is an American term which refers to those non-waterfowl game birds hunted with pointing breeds – Dogs)
In New Zealand the Upland Game hunting is excellent, another stand-alone reason to come to this fantastic country and the habitat for the upland game birds is spectacular. Usually the Game is abundant in the middle of a bright, sunny Winter’s day. Hunting these birds complements traditional Waterfowl-hunting, which is done in the early morning or evening. The season starts at the same time and normally runs for an extra month over duck season. Pheasant hunting is best in the North Island with daily limits on cock birds from 2 to 5. California quail can be hunted in most of New Zealand with Central Plateau in the North Island the heart of Quail country. Many South Island areas have very good quail hunting with a few Chukar as well. Peafowl are widespread in New Zealand. There is no closed season on Peacocks and they are wonderful hunting using the same techniques as for pheasant. Best time to hunt Peacocks is in the spring, September to December, when the birds are in full mating plumage with tails fully grown.
Upland Game Birds (living on dry land, members of the Pheasant family)
Upland Game Hunting Season: Runs from the first weekend in May to the end of August.
Wild Turkey Hunting
Goldminers from California brought Merriams Turkeys to New Zealand in the gold rushes of 1870-80. Without predators, wild Turkeys have thrived and are now widespread and very abundant in New Zealand. They are seldom hunted by locals. No closed seasons apply and with a generous limits of 3 gobblers daily. Traditional US hunting methods of calling work, but often there are so many Turkeys, toms will not leave the group they are with, requiring hunters to stalk or drive birds. For an exciting Turkey hunt, with birds aplenty and no other hunters to be seen, consider a Spring hunt in New Zealand (August – December in the Southern Hemisphere).
Game preserve driven Pheasant and Partridge shooting.
New Zealand has adopted the driven Pheasant and Partridge shooting with relish, since its inception in England almost two centuries ago. New Zealand has 18 Game preserves and growing in number every year. On these preserves the game is bred, released and naturalized into the wild. For the hunt the birds are driven out of areas where they were living, and became targets. On driven shoots, a team of beaters and their dogs work the birds into cover crops or small woods from which they are then progressively flushed out over the line of guns. In New Zealand this season 25,000 Pheasants had been shot across 18 game preserves.
Game preserve walked up shooting.
For the person who simply enjoys the outdoors, especially with their own gun, and a well-trained dog, this can be an exhilarating way to get out doors.
Weapons and Shot
Shotguns can be semi auto, pump or double barrel. There is no limit on magazine capacity in pump or auto guns. 12 gauge is standard here but 10 gauge can be used for geese. Over water, non-toxic steel shot must be used, while on land 200 meters or more from water lead shot is still permitted. For smaller birds like Quail etc open choked shotguns are recommended in conjunction with number 7 or 8 shot. You may bring your own shotgun, but a selection of semi-automatic shotguns can be included in game-bird hunting hunting packages.
For upland hunting stout walking boots and a shooting vest for shells and birds are helpful.
Hunting with dogs
To be shot legally, birds must be flying and within range (30–50 meters) of the hunter, who uses a shotgun. A well-trained and competently-handled gun dog is essential, as these birds rarely take to the wing unless flushed by a dog. Dogs should not move further than a hunter can fire at a flushed bird. The hunter needs to shoot within seconds of the bird flying up from ground cover in a whirr of wings – All of our guides have very experienced dogs.