Wild Cattle Hunting
Domestic cattle were first brought into New Zealand by settlers hoping to break away from the British class system. Settlers marched deep into the wilderness, clearing bush and began farming life. Three main events took farmers away from their land. In 1914 the First World War took most males away to Europe. Back in New Zealand, mild Winters and abundant grass allowed game to flourish to epidemic proportions. The great depression of the 1930’s also forced many farmers off their land, and the land inevitably returned to its original wild state. And finally the Second World War caused a repeat situation. The farmers eventually arrived home with little money and with a growing Wild Pig and bovine population and no guns to shoot these animals. The unpredictable elements and the wildlife eventually chased the settlers out of these valleys. The current generations of cattle are all that remain of these farming ventures. Both sheep and cattle now roamed the bush although the cattle were quick to adapt to their freedom and take refuge away from human sight in the forests and have become an incredibly allusive species. Wild Cattle are naturally incredibly healthy, robust and large in proportions, up to around 1600lb in weight. Bulls are a highly regarded trophy, due to their large and very dangerous horns.
The Challenge of the Hunt
The nature of this hunt is such that there’s no guaranteed trophy, only guaranteed opportunities… With close to 2,000 lb of sinewy muscle, wicked horns and a temper to match – Wild Bovine are New Zealand’s only true dangerous game and charges are not uncommon. This is the only wild animals in New Zealand where you can be hunter one minute and hunted the next. Scrub Bulls are feral cattle without game status that can be hunted pretty much at will.
New Zealand Wild Bulls have short, thick horns, solid necks, powerful shoulders, lean build and hindquarters, mainly black pelt and long tail. The colors range from black, white to red and black striped of the good old jersey breed renown for it’s bad temperament.
Best Hunting Times
All year, but in late November and December the Bulls begin rutting and become very territorial and aggressive.
Remote private hunting blocks offer superior access. A private block featuring Wild Cattle should not have a fence as cattle behind a fence must surely be regarded as domestic. Trophy hunters usually try to access on quad bike or horse. Although a wild animal, most private wilderness block owners charge a tag fee due to the fact that hunting is now their only source of income on land which is now fully reverted to its natural state.
Traditionally, local meat hunters use .270Win, .308Win and .30-06 with premium bullets taking neck or head shots only. Trophy hunters tend not to take head shots so typical African cartridges are a must if ordinary chest shots are to be taken. Dominant Bulls are very aggressive and have in the past gored hunters and land owners who have approached too close.