Relaxing in a duck blind with a six-pack of cold ones, some BBQ, and a colorful collection of hunters in a foreign country… They say there are better things in life, but not many. This was another one of my New Zealand adventures, albeit, a much tamer one. In the company of other New Zealand hunters, I waited in a duck blind on the southern coast of New Zealand. Our game was waterfowl and we looked out on a saltwater marsh separated from the South Pacific by a rocky berm.
We shot 80 or 90 ducks from our blind that day. When we were done, shells littered the wooden floor and my ears rang with the echoes of shots from my Beretta and the other shotguns. Our take was a combination of mallards and paradise ducks. Paradise ducks are a particularly interesting breed because they mate for life, and, unlike most other breeds, it is the female who has the most colorful plumage.
When we descended from the duck blind, I took to an ATV. The soggy, marshy terrain made the area difficult to cross, but well worth it. I wasn’t about to miss out on a chance to hunt Black Swans. New Zealand is the only place in the world where you can hunt these stunning birds, and even then, there is a limit of two per hunter while they are in season.
I took position on a hill 75 yards from the water line in an area that guide knew from experience the black swans could be found. The guides flushed the swans out in my direction. I picked one bird out of the wedge and fired my Beretta. I fired off as many shells as I could. These birds are huge. They have a wingspan of 6 feet. A single shell is not enough to drop one of these black beauties.
After my waterfowl hunt, I had the opportunity to hunt Chamois. Chamois, like the Tahr, were introduced to New Zealand for sport. Chamois are a popular game animal in the Alps where they are native and grow to be a bit larger than those in New Zealand.
The Chamois were brought to New Zealand in 1907, when they were given as gift by the Austrian Emperor, Franz Joseph I. Over the following century, they have spread over most of the South Island.
The particular herd I hunted was close to the mountain where I took the Tahr. When I finally had one in my sights, I marveled at its beauty. An antelope and goat-like creature, Chamois have short bristly hair with black stripes beneath the eyes and a white rump and straight black horns that hook backwards near the tip.
I readied my 7mm WSM Browning A-Bolt rifle. I peered through my scope, setting my sights on my Chamois. I steadied my aim. I squeezed the trigger. The shot was good, and I felled the 86 pound Chamois at the base of the great mountain of the Tahr hunt.
I love New Zealand!