The Introduction of Deer As Game Animals in New Zealand

May 23, 2023

The first red deer stag to land in New Zealand was from The Royal Park in Richmond, UK and was released in Nelson in April of 1854

The hunting of deer for sport and their prized trophy heads was the initial motivation for importing and releasing deer in New Zealand by the early colonial settlers from the United Kingdom who emigrated seeking land and fortune in the undeveloped lands of the new colony.

The first arrival was a red deer stag (Cervus elaphus) from the Royal Park in Richmond, which was released in Nelson in April 1854.

Three more red deer from Thorndon Hall arrived in 1861 and were supplemented with animals from Warnham and Windsor Parks.

NZ's first hunting licences were subsequently issued in Nelson in 1882.

To survive the the long journey to New Zealand, the deer were crated and fed on clover, hay and carrots during their two-month ocean journey. A number died en route, but those that survived proved to be hardy of nature. 

Between 1861 and 1919, more than 250 were brought to New Zealand directly from the UK or via Australia. This continued until 1926 with the majority coming from the great English Parks and from the Scottish Highlands.

Of all the deer species (Cervidae family) introduced, red deer (Cervus elaphus) proved to be the most successful at assimilating into their new found environment of New Zealand. 

As transportation procedures became perfected, red deer were liberated (introduced) with rapid success across all the main forested areas of New Zealand from Auckland in the North Island to Stewart Island which lies off the southern coast of the South Island.

Such was the success of the introduction of Red Deer to New Zealand that in 1913 Warnham Park imported six hinds from Lake Hawea back to the UK to improve its own genetic stock.

Finding the environment of New Zealand much to its liking, red deer (Cervus elaphus) soon colonised every available patch of habitat, particularly inaccessible mountain valleys, where it remained undisturbed for decades and a significant population remain today.

The Cervidae family of species in NZ

Red Deer (C. elaphus)
In addition to Red Deer (Cervus elaphus), a number of other species were also introduced to New Zealand as game animals.

Red Deer (C. elaphus) are the most widespread deer species in New Zealand and the fourth-largest extant deer species, behind the Moose, Elk, and Sambar deer. Introduced by acclimatisation societies along with other deer and game species initially to the Nelson region at the top of the South Island (see above). The first red deer to reach the North Island were a gift to Sir Frederick Weld from Windsor Great Park and were released near Wellington.  Between 1851 and 1926, 220 separate liberations of red deer involved over 800 deer. Some hybridisation happened with the closely related American elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) were that introduced to Fiordland in 1921. New Zealand red deer produce very large antlers and are regarded by discerning hunters as the best deer antlers in the world.

Elk Venator New Zealand
Wapiti (Cervus canadensis ) known as elk

Wapiti (Cervus canadensis ) known as elk in North America, the largest of all round-horned deer, was introduced into George Sound, in Fiordland, by the New Zealand Tourist Department in 1905 when 18 animals of the Cervus elaphus nelsoni (now called Cervus canadensis nelsoni) species were released at the head of George Sound, Fiordland and became quickly established. Ten of these animals were a gift from American President Theodore Roosevelt, the balance were purchased by the New Zealand government. Earlier introductions to other sites in New Zealand were unsuccessful.

In 1923 the first hunting licences for Wapiti were issued. As interest grew and the herd spread, more blocks were made available. By the 1950’s demand was so great that the blocks were opened to a ballot system. Today there are 25 blocks that attract hundreds of applicants each year.

Rusa (C. timoriensis)

Rusa (C. timoriensis), native to the islands of south-east Asia, were liberated in the Ikawhenua foothills, near Murupara. Rusa are the least widely distributed of all of the recognised deer species in New Zealand. There is no seasonal restriction to hunting Rusa Deer meaning they can be hunted throughout the year. There are however, instances where restrictions apply for specific reasons. The Roar (July to the August) and Spring are the most another favourable times of the year to hunt Rusa deer. During spring deer can be seen coming out of the forest to feed on new grass and shrub growth.

Sambar (C. unicolor)

Sambar (C. unicolor), a large and cunning beast from India and Sri Lanka were introduced to Manawatu in 1875. In New Zealand Sambar deer are only found in the North Island. The two main populations of wild Sambar deer are found in the Manawatu/Wanganui region and the Bay of Plenty region. They range mostly on private land which is predominantly forestry blocks. Sambar occupy a variety of habitats from indigenous and exotic forests to wetlands and farmland. The rut extends over a period from late May to December with Spring being another favourable time of the year to hunt Sambar. During spring Sambar can be seen coming out of the forest to feed on new grass and farm crops.

European Fallow Deer (Dama dama)

European Fallow Deer (Dama dama) Fallow were introduced into New Zealand from 1864, with 26 different liberations taking place. While not a large in size they are very aggressive and during the rut they will often fight to the death and have been known to kill red stags.  The Fallow Buck rut is in early April and finishes in May. Unlike the Red Stag that roar when issuing their challenge, Fallow Buck make a grunt or croaking sound. Fallow come in a variety of colours including black, chocolate, spotted (menil) and white. A good buck will have palmated antlers.They are the second most hunted deer in New Zealand.

Japanese sika (C. nippon)

Japanese sika (C. nippon), originate in New Zealand from a single release of six animals at Merrylees Clearing in the Kaimanawa Range in 1905, gifted by the Duke of Beford. Sika have a reputation for being among the most cunning of deer and is well-deserved. Sika stags exude attitude and are a highly vocal species, with over 10 individual sounds, ranging from soft whistles to loud screams. They and grow a classic eight-point trophy in a four by four formation. They are extremely vocal during the rut, which runs from start to the end of April.

American Whitetail Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

American Whitetail Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), a medium-sized deer native to North America, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru and Bolivia was colonised in Stewart Island, New Zealand's southern most inhabited island. The American White Tail's liberation in New Zealand can be traced to the World Fair of 1904 held in St. Louis, Missouri. Reportedly, a herd had been trapped in snow in New Hampshire and taken to St. Louis where President Theodore Roosevelt decided to gift some of this herd of Whitetail Deer to New Zealand. Sometime in late 1904 or early 1905, 22 animals were sent via boat to the South Island of New Zealand. Of the 22 deer on the ship, 18 of them survived the journey (four bucks and 14 does). Nine were sent to Pegasus Sound, Stewart Island with the remaining nine sent to the Rees Valley, near Queenstown in the lower South Island.

These two main herds still exist as well as some other smaller herds of New Zealand whitetail that inhabit private land  in the South Island.

No Species have matched the adaptability of  Red Deer in NZ

While all these species have established populations in various different regions New Zealand, none have matched the tenacity and phenomenal adaptability of the red deer( C. elaphus).

Within only a few decades of the introduction of Red Deer to New Zealand stags began sporting much longer and more impressive antlers than their UK forefathers. 

An early example of the prowess of NZ as a Red Deer trophy hunting destination can be circled back to the early 10920s. Typically, none of the 120 best British Red Deer Trophies at the Wembley Exhibition of 1924 exceeded 40 inches (102cm in length) while New Zealand listed 62 stags measuring over 40 inches in one year alone for the same period. 

Venator - Home of World Class Red Stag Trophies

From these early origins, New Zealand continues to produce some of the most prized Red Stag trophies and of many Safari Club International SCI World Records for Red Deer.

Venator has been home to numerous Red Stags scoring in excess of 800+ SCI points

Venator is proud to hold claim to a number of these past and present SCI World Records with scores of over 950+ SCI Points* being recorded in the 2023 season (*pending ratification by SCI).



Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for frequently asked questions about hunting red deer in New Zealand

What’s included in my USA hunting trip package?

Our packages are all inclusive and typically 5-days/6-nights – with 5 full days of hunting! We pick can pick you up directly from the Queenstown airport, or if you like to arrive earlier we can assist with hotel bookings in Queenstown.

Includes: luxury lodge accommodations, roundtrip Queenstown transfer, daily guide rates, private chef crafted cuisine, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, field preparation of trophies, on-site hostess, Wi-Fi throughout the lodge, daily room servicing & laundry and of course trophy fees as booked and listed on invoice.

Additional trophies, upgrades and curated experiences may easily be added during your stay.

What success rate can I expect on my Red Deer hunting trip with Venator?

100% on antlered game, 100% shot opportunity on rifle Elk and red deer with success rates virtually identical.

What’s NOT included in my New Zealand hunting trip package?

Airfare, taxidermy, crating/shipping trophies, trophy upgrades, additional trophies, gratuities, NZ travel visa, curated non-hunting experiences, spa, items of personal nature, firearm import fee and of course additional tours/lodging pre or post hunt.

When is the New Zealand hunting season?

Click to view our New Zealand hunting season chart.

Our main hunting season is from late February-August with most deer species rutting late March-end April.

Velvet red stags make for a great November/December/January hunt and warm Southern Hemisphere Christmas vacation.

Tahr and chamois winter coats start late April-September.

Main waterfowl season is May-July.

What physical shape do I need to be in for my New Zealand hunting trip?

We highly recommend you be in the best shape possible for your age and physical limitations to have best hunting experience. Don’t be concerned if you have any physical or health issues, our guides are well trained and considerate.

They will modify your hunt to suit your ability. We have worked with all fitness levels including wheelchair hunters; plus, our luxury lodge is handicap accessible.

All the same, if you can spare the time, some extra activities like walking, biking or gym work out will pay off.

What is the average shot distance on my New Zealand hunting trip?

Rifle shot range is 100–300 on average.

Long distance shooters can stretch out much further if they prefer.

Archery ranges out to 60-yards for antlered game.

Do you take bow hunters on New Zealand hunting trips?

Yes, we host a number of archery hunters every season and our clients enjoy great success rates on all of our species.

Our predominate method is spot and stalk with shot opportunities ranging out to 60-yards.

Are there any snakes I need to look out for on my New Zealand hunting trip?

There are no snakes, predators or venomous creatures on our New Zealand hunting trips.

Is there a license fee for my New Zealand hunting trip?

No, our packages are all-inclusive plus New Zealand does not operate on a licensing or tag system.

What kind of vehicles do we use access hunting areas?

Antlered game we access our big steep country using UTV’s (Kawasaki Mule). From key vantage points we scout letting our eyes do the walking. Once target is found we spot and stalk hunt.

Tahr and chamois we use helicopters to access remote alpine habitat. You’ll experience a purely New Zealand hunting culture and adrenaline rush in breathtaking terrain.

For the hard-core foot only mountain hunter, contact us for specific Tahr and chamois information.

What gear should I pack for my New Zealand hunting trip?

We are hunting gear junkies and have tried lots of gear, our short, detailed gear list will be supplied upon booking.

If you plan on even the possibility of hunting Tahr and/or Chamois additional warm weather gear will be needed.

Daily laundry is included in daily rates.

Do I need a waterproof coat for my New Zealand hunting trip?

Yes, Good quality waterproof coat is essential gear as it can snow and rain any time of year. We will supply a complete gear list upon booking.

Do I need to wear camo clothing for my New Zealand hunting trip?

This varies by your home country and hunting traditions.

American’s traditionally have excellent camo that works well afield.

Wear what you feel most comfortable in, we will hunt hard and play the wind.

Archery hunters stalking in close, quiet camo is an excellent idea.

Some of our favorite camo patterns include Pnuma, Kuiu, Forloh

What kind of hunting boots do you recommend for my New Zealand hunting trip?

Footwear can be a highly personal choice; we’ve had great experiences with Crispi, Meindl, Scarpa, Lowa, Lathrop & Sons.

Whichever you chose, make sure they are well broken in.

Travel hint: Very clean boots clear NZ customs quicker as immigrations officers work to protect our environment from possible threats.

Will I need a spotting scope for my New Zealand hunting trip?

No, our guides all carry Swarovski spotting scopes, and rangefinders.

You of course may bring your own if you prefer.

Binoculars will be on the gear list, we recommend 10x binoculars.

What shall I do with my time if I tag out early?

We are located in New Zealand’s #1 tourist region. There are literally unlimited options based on what you like, and our onsite hostess will be happy to organize. Our luxury lodge is also very comfortable to simply kick back and relax, we include free Wi-Fi.

Since New Zealand is not on a tag or permit system, many hunters choose to hunt additional species.

Can my New Zealand hunting trip be documented on video and/or photographed?

Yes, very popular.

Check out some of the videos on our YouTube channel: Venator Cardrona Safaris.

We will need prior notification to book videographer talent.

Additional rates apply based on what you want.

Photo editing and video production will be completed and delivered post hunt.

What happens if I wound an animal during my New Zealand hunting trip?

We will do everything possible to locate and recover game. However, in the unlikely event an animal is wounded and not recovered the full trophy fee is due. Hunters may continue to hunt on trophy fee basis.

How is my trophy taken care of?

Game is typically skinned and quartered in the field. Meat, capes and antlers/horns are then transported to our off-site cooler.

And of course, game is skinned based on your instructions for taxidermy.

What happens to the meat from my New Zealand hunting trip?

Our private chef will prepare gourmet game cuisine throughout your stay. The remaining venison will be used by various sources.

Can I take my meat home after my New Zealand hunting trip?

Taking meat home from New Zealand can be difficult and very expensive. It is possible.

Rest assured no meat goes to waste and our private chef prepares game meat for you to try during your stay.

How big is my hunting area?

We hunt two large exclusive preserves, totaling in excess of 15,000 acres of excellent diverse habitat, that’s 23+ square miles (60+ square kilometers) of private hunting. Our hunting preserves consist of undulating back country, covered in native vegetation. There’s excellent cover and plenty of draws and gullies.

Tahr and Chamois are hunted on both private & public land.

We’re located in prime country, no lodge changes, long transfers or overnights required.

What are your New Zealand hunting trip rates?
What are your terms and conditions?
Are translators available for my New Zealand hunting trip?

Being that we are located in the tourism mecca of New Zealand we can find people that speak all languages if needed. We also have agents and Venator employees in numerous locations around the world.

When is the best time to hunt for Red Stag trophies in New Zealand?

Hunting is very solid February straight through to August.

Best time can vary greatly depending on hunter’s desire, non-hunting activities, and simply when they can break away for hunt.

Early season pre-roar is fantastic hunting with thickest cover bow hunters like. Roar season heats up late March to late April and reserved for when we hunt our biggest stags.

May onward is best time to add in Tahr and Chamois in winter coats without sacrificing red stag hunting experience.

Can I hunt a velvet stag during my New Zealand hunting trip?

Velvet red stags make for a great November/December/January hunt and warm Southern Hemisphere Christmas vacation. Coincides with the ultimate dry fly-fishing experience.

What is the difference between Red Deer and Red Stag?

They are the same species. Term stag or deer really comes down to where you’re from and cultural terminology.

What if my Red Stag trophy is bigger than what I booked?

We have experienced hunting guides who are experts in field-judging game.

If trophy is larger than guide judges, that’s on us.

If the guide judges a trophy and it is larger than class you booked and you decide to shoot, that’s on you.

Hunters can upgrade in the field if they find a trophy, they want which is larger than booked.

Is Red Stag meat good to eat?

Very flavorful, our exclusive private chef will prepare a variety of cuisine from Red Stag, Elk/Wapiti, Tahr, Fallow Deer and Chamois.

Do Red Stag have ivory teeth?

Yes, red deer have a pair of ivory teeth similar to elk used to vocalize their mating call.

Do I need to hunt the roar in New Zealand?

No, Hunting is strong with equal success the entire season!

What is the world record Red Stag trophy?

Safari Club International book of records lists an 826 2/8” stag as the world record. It was hunted here with us. Click link to watch this video on YouTube

What noise does a Red Stag make?

Red stag roar is the sound made during the rutting season, this bellow is most commonly compared to a lion’s roar.

When is the elk bugle in New Zealand?

The elk bugle coincides with the red stag roar, end March – late April

Where did the elk come from in New Zealand?

In 1909 Rocky Mountain elk were introduced courtesy of President Roosevelt.

What is the New Zealand elk trophy record?

Safari Club International book of records

Wapiti Typical category lists a 472 2/8” bull as world record. It was hunted here with us.

Wapiti Non-typical category lists a 591 5/8” bull as world record.

How big is an elk in New Zealand?

Rocky Mountain Elk is the largest big-game species in New Zealand with mature bulls sporting antlers 300 – 500+ SCI.

When do fallow deer rut in New Zealand?

Fallow deer rut later than red stag in New Zealand. Typically, mid-April through mid-May.

Where are New Zealand fallow deer from?

Fallow deer were introduced in New Zealand from Europe.

What colors do fallow deer come in in New Zealand?

Fallow deer come in a variety of colors with the most common being light brown with white spots, chocolate brown, white and occasionally black.

Do fallow deer have Adam’s Apple?

Yes, unique to fallow deer the Adam’s Apple or larynx is prominent.

Are you in Tahr country?

Yes, we’re located in prime country, no lodge changes, long transfers or overnights required

How do you hunt Tahr in New Zealand?

We typically conduct helicopter assisted hunts, but also a portion of our clients wish to do foot hunts.

It allows quick access to rugged remote Tahr country.

We are located in prime country and can lift off directly from our luxury lodge for the hunt.

Tahr can be hunted in a variety of ways: by foot, spike camp or helicopter assisted.

Foot hunts are very physically demanding.

Can I bow hunt Tahr in New Zealand?

Yes, specialty hunt. Contact us to discuss.

Can I add a Tahr onto my Red Stag hunt while in New Zealand?

Yes, very popular add on trophy.

It’s best to decide at beginning of hunt as weather patterns will dictate best day(s) to hunt Tahr in the Southern Alps

When is Tahr in long hair in New Zealand?

Winter hair is best May through August

Can I shoot a female Tahr for taxidermy dioramas in New Zealand?

Yes, female Tahr have small horn and make fantastic additions to taxidermy dioramas and trophy rooms. Female Tahr lack the long hair of the bull Tahr.

Can I hunt a black chamois for my New Zealand hunting trip?

Winter hair is best May through August, and we will hunt mature dark chamois

How much does it cost to hunt European Chamois in New Zealand?
Do I need a helicopter to hunt European Chamois in New Zealand?

New Zealand Chamois have a reputation for being an elusive trophy and helicopters make access to their alpine home more time efficient.

We suggest the use of a helicopter to access our higher hunting areas in the Southern Alps.

Foot hunts are very physically demanding.

What is the difference between European Chamois male and female horns?

Both chamois sexes have short black horns.

Male chamois bucks are typically much heavier and pronounced hook.

Female chamois typically less mass, longer and may have less of a hook.

Can my observer go with me during my European Chamois hunt in New Zealand?

Yes, Exciting adrenaline adventure and the landscape you’ll hunt them in is simply spectacular.

Is there a transfer to hunt chamois in New Zealand?

No, we’re located in prime country, no lodge changes, long transfers or overnights required.

Do you have possum and wallaby hunting in New Zealand?

Yes we have possum but not in large numbers. Wallabies are a 2.5-3 hour drive from our lodge.

When is waterfowl season in New Zealand?

May through June

What species of waterfowl do you hunt in New Zealand?
  • Paradise ducks
  • Black Swans
  • Mallard ducks
  • Grey ducks
  • Shoveler ducks
  • and Canada goose
Can I export birds that I hunt in New Zealand?

Yes, depending upon country of import regulations. Birds may require taxidermy to be completed in New Zealand

Do you have Arapawa sheep for hunting in New Zealand?

Yes, a New Zealand classic. Ideal big-game trophy to extend your hunting, youth hunters or those on their first hunt.

Do you have feral goats for hunting in New Zealand?

Yes, great affordable big-game trophy addition to your New Zealand big-game adventure.

Where in New Zealand in the hunting lodge located?

We are located in Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand.

New Zealand’s #1 tourist area

Click here to learn more.

What are the local attractions?

There is a host of unique activities right on our doorstep, you will be spoilt for choice during your stay. Click here to learn more.

Is there shopping near to the hunting accommodation?

Yes, Shopping in the nearby quaint resort town of Wanaka is less than 10-minutes away. Wanaka is situated at the southern end of Lake Wanaka and makes for a wonderful day out.

Is there a spa near to the hunting accommodation?

Yes, our onsite hostess will organize spa, massage and facials to suit your individual requirements in nearby Wanaka

What non-hunting activities do you offer?

Pure New Zealand activities include:

  • jet boat
  • race car-motorsport park
  • bungy jump
  • distillery tours
  • wine tastings
  • historic cheese mill tours
  • spas
  • trekking
  • flight seeing
  • sunrise balloon
  • mountain top lunch
  • hot pools
  • golfing
  • Mount Cook scenic flights
  • Milford Sound
  • cycling trails
  • Lake Wanaka
  • skilling
  • snowboarding
  • shopping
  • famous Fergburger
  • Arrowtown art galleries
  • and cultural tours to name a few.
Who can help me arrange my non-hunting activities?

Our dedicated onsite hostess will curate all your experiences to make the most of your time in the adventure capital of New Zealand.

How much do non-hunting activities cost?
Do I need to pre-book my non-hunting activities?

No, typically we set up activities when you arrive and take into account weather when booking dates.

What can you tell me about Cardrona Terraces Lodge?

Less than a 10-minute drive from Wanaka town centre lies Cardrona Terraces, an exquisite 700sqm (7,535 sqft) luxury sportsmans lodge.

Designed with the travelling sportsman in mind you will find a dedicated hunters room, with gun display, changing lockers, and drying room. Every room is ensuited with either private balcony, or access on to the courtyard, multiple bars and relaxation areas and heated pool.

Positioned on 42 acres (17 hectares) of land, Cardona Terraces benefits from ultimate privacy within tranquil surrounds.

Watch our Video Tour of our Luxury Hunting Lodge.

What are amenities at the hunting lodge?

Amenities include heated swimming pool, Wi-Fi, patio/deck/terrace, outdoor seating, bar, lounge, coffee machine, elevator, SkyTV, outdoor cooking, Indoor and outdoor fires, library, laundry facilities, firearm storage, wheelchair access and stunning mountain views!

What’s included with my stay at the Cardrona Terraces hunting lodge?

Use of all property facilities, welcome drink upon arrival, onsite chef, onsite hostess, full breakfast, lunch (either at lodge or packed picnic), nightly pre dinner drinks and canapes, nightly four course gourmet dinner with paired wines, extensive selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, daily room servicing, Wi-Fi throughout the lodge.

Do you provide free Wi-Fi at the hunting lodge?

Yes. Free Wi-Fi is included throughout the lodge at no cost.

Is the hunting lodge kid friendly?

Yes, we are family friendly.

However, is you require child day care this needs to be organized pre-trip. Additional rates will apply from childcare provider.

Can I try venison while staying at the hunting lodge?

Yes, our private chef prepares game meat for you to try during your stay. It’s all delicious!

Is alcohol included at my stay in the hunting lodge?

Yes, Alongside the world’s top brands, we serve the finest New Zealand beverages including locally sourced whiskey, spirits and wine.

What is the maximum occupancy for the hunting lodge?

Sleeping up to 12 guests, the six king size bedrooms all split into twin beds, providing full flexibility based on your group requirements. Each bedroom also comes with a full en-suite bathroom.

Can you cater for food allergies for meals at the hunting lodge?

Upon booking we will send you a form to fill out which includes food likes/dislikes.

Who takes care of non-hunting observers during my New Zealand hunting trip?

Our onsite hostess will assist the non-hunters. Let us curate your dream, with a host of unique activities right on our doorstep, you will be spoilt for choice during your stay.

How do we travel to non-hunting activities from the hunting lodge?

Depending upon activity selected, hostess will organize transportation accordingly.

What’s involved with bringing firearms into New Zealand for my hunting trip?

It is very easy unlike many other countries to bring a firearm as well as ammunition into New Zealand.

You will need to fill out the permit and submit to New Zealand police prior to your arrival.

Should you wish to bring your personal firearm to New Zealand we will assist you.

What firearms do you have for me to use during my New Zealand hunting trip?

We have a selection of high-end firearms for you to use free of charge.

Firearm brands include:

  • Blaser
  • Browning
  • Tika
  • Sako
  • Winchester
  • Sauer
  • Best of the West (BOTW)

And topped with fine optics from Leupold, Swarovski and Leica.

What caliber do you recommend for my New Zealand hunting trip?

We recommend calibres between .270 to .300WinMag

Can I tour New Zealand pre/post hunt with my firearm?

If you plan to tour before or after your hunt it is best to plan on using one of the lodges rifles, this makes your touring a lot more hassle free.

What does a New Zealand firearm permit cost?

NZ$25 payable to police upon clearing firearm upon arrival.

Travel tip: Get your 25NZ at your international departure airport, this will save a step, time and line upon arrival in New Zealand.

Can I visit Australia before or after my New Zealand hunting trip with my firearm?

If you plan on touring (not hunting) Australia on same trip, you can’t take a firearm.

How does the international date line affect my travel?

When flying west you will lose a day as you fly across International Date Line.

i.e.: Departing USA on a Friday, you’ll land in New Zealand on a Sunday.

On your return trip flying east, you will now gain a day as you fly across International Date Line.

i.e.: Departing New Zealand on a Friday, you’ll land in USA on Friday.

Where do we meet the Venator team in New Zealand?

We meet and greet in Queenstown. We can either pick you up straight from the airport, or assist you with hotel arrangements in Queenstown if you wish to arrive 1-2 days before your hunt starts. Scenic ground transfer through scenic mountain pass is just under an hour’s drive to your home away from home.

Do I need to arrange a hotel before my New Zealand hunting trip starts?

We are able to pick you up directly from the airport. Some clients like to arrive in Queenstown or Auckland 1-2 days before the start of their hunt to relax and adjust to the time zone. This is entirely up to the individual.

Is a COVID vaccinations required before arriving in New Zealand for my hunting trip?

With borders re-opened and no vaccine requirement to enter New Zealand, we are excited to welcome you back to Sportsman's Paradise for the 2023 hunting season and beyond.

Do I need a passport and visa to visit New Zealand for my hunting trip?

New Zealand requires at least one unstamped passport page, and at least three months of validity remaining beyond the traveler’s planned date of departure.

New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) will be required for US & Canadian travelers arriving in New Zealand on or after October 1, 2019. The NZeTA must be granted in advance of arrival. Visitors may apply online at the website below, or for a reduced fee using the app (available for android and apple devices). In addition you may also have to pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL).

The NZeTA cost is NZD$9 on the app or NZD$12 on the website. IVL costs are $35 per person additional, and charged along with the eTA.

New Zealand Immigration website

Do I need an electric converter for my devices?

We are on 240v, with a 2-3 pin plug. Most modern electronics now will handle both 110 and 240v, just look at the plug and it should say.

ll you will need is to use your electronics here is a plug converter which you can get at online or at airports.

Travel tip: purchase one converter and pack a power strip from home to charge all your electronics.

What is the climate and air temperature like when I come for my New Zealand hunting trip?

With the weather notoriously unpredictable it’s said that New Zealand can have four seasons in one day. As it can snow and rain any time of year it’s important you bring quality waterproof clothing that’s warm and well fitting.

  • February and March: Summer with temperatures between 40-80° F (5-25°C)
  • April and May: Autumn with temperatures between 32-65° F (0-20°C)
  • June and July: Winter with temperatures between 20-60° F (-5-15°C)
What is the likelihood of rain during my New Zealand hunting trip?

Plan on rain or snow at least one day.

Do you recommend travel/medical insurance for my New Zealand hunting trip?

Yes, we recommend Ripcord Rescue Travel Protection’s comprehensive travel protection plan

Can you help me plan extra days so that I can spend more time in New Zealand?

Most visitors it seems spend additional time touring beautiful New Zealand. This is easy to do, however our lodge is filled with the next group of hunters. We are happy to make recommendations and arrangements based on your interests.

Can you help with flights for my New Zealand hunting trip?

We can recommend qualified travel agencies to assist our guests.

If you book flights on your own, please let us review prior to booking. The international date line can easily goof up plans.

Can I take my trophies with me after my New Zealand Hunting Trip?

No, Export documents and final trophy care won’t be complete till post hunt.

How long does it take to get my trophies home from New Zealand?

It takes approximately 90-days for your trophies to arrive at your nearest designated port of entry. When you hunt with us, you’ll need to bring your taxidermist information with you so we can process your paperwork for export of your trophies after your hunt.

Who handles export documents and shipping when sending my hunting trophies home from New Zealand?

We deliver your trophies to our third-party supplier who completes trophy prep, crating, documents and coordinates directly with you for payments and delivery information.

Can I take my meat home after my New Zealand Hunting Trip?

Taking meat home from New Zealand can be difficult and very expensive. It is possible.

Rest assured no meat goes to waste and our private chef prepares game meat for you to try during your stay.