Animals

Small Game Hunting

We run daily small animals guided hunting tours that leave from our town office in Lake Tekapo and run for 2 hours and offer guided hunting for larger animals by arrangement. We provide all rifles and ammunition. We use 17 Caliber with both thermal and non-thermal sights.

Small Animals – Rabbits/Hares/Wallabies

European rabbit

(Oryctolagus cuniculus cuniculus)

Size: Adults can grow up to 2 kg in size.

Colour: They are typically grey-brown in color with a paler underside, although black, ginger, and silver-grey colors are sometimes observed. Their eyes are brown and the tips of their ears have narrow black rims.

Social behaviour: In high-density populations, rabbits live in a complex of underground burrows (warrens), while in lower numbers they are found above ground cover. The home range for a rabbit is about 1 ha.

Reproduction: Reproduction in rabbits is dependent on habitat conditions, with productivity as high as 45 to 50 kittens (young rabbits) per year in good areas and down to around 20 in poorer areas, with an average litter size of five. Kittens are born blind in underground burrows and emerge at about three weeks old.

Gestation period: 30 days.

Birthing: European rabbits can give birth most months, excluding March to May.
They are capable of quickly increasing in number and forming large populations, which can cause significant problems to the environment.

Rabbit management in New Zealand

Since the mid-1800s, when rabbits became a problem in the wild, there have been various rabbit management programs implemented in New Zealand. As of 2023, control of rabbits is the responsibility of individual landowners. In most regions, there are regional rules for controlling rabbits on properties that landowners must follow to help keep rabbit numbers under control, particularly in dry rabbit-prone areas. These rules are managed by the regional council or unitary authority in each region and are published in their regional pest management plan. Each region manages rabbits differently, depending on how significantly they are seen as a pest. When rabbit populations are not controlled and allowed to reach high numbers, it can become expensive and labour-intensive to bring them under control. In New Zealand, it has been previously estimated that rabbits cost over $50 million in lost production, plus an additional $25 million in direct pest control each year.

Brown hare

(Lepus europaeus occidentalis)

Size: Adults up to 4.8 kg.

Colour: Mottled black and fawn on upper surface with tawny sides. Belly is pure white. Eyes yellow. Ears black patch at the tip.

Social behaviour: Hares solitary with large 50 ha or more home ranges.

Reproduction: Leverets (young hares) are born above ground fully covered in a thick coat of pile hair and with open eyes. Average litter size 2 with 4 litters per year.

Gestation period: 42 days.

Birthing: July to April.

Nomenclature: Hares: Male = buck. Female = doe. Young = leveret.

Hare management in New Zealand

Hare populations can also cause significant damage to the environment, particularly to young trees and shrubs, and competing with livestock for feed. Therefore, it is essential to manage hare populations to prevent such damage. In New Zealand, hare control is the responsibility of individual landowners, and there are regional rules for controlling hares on properties that landowners must follow to help keep hare numbers under control. These rules are managed by the regional council or unitary authority in each region and are published in their regional pest management plan. Each region manages hares differently, depending on how significant they are seen as a pest. The most common method of hare control is through hunting.

Wallaby

(Notamacropus)

Size: Wallabies are generally smaller than kangaroos, with the Bennett’s wallaby being the largest species in New Zealand, reaching up to 120 cm in length and weighing up to 20 kg.

Colour: Wallabies are typically brown or grey, with some species having distinctive markings on their fur.

Social behaviour: Wallabies are social animals and live in groups called mobs. The size of the mob can vary depending on the species and the availability of food and water.

Reproduction: Female wallabies have a short gestation period of around 30-35 days. They give birth to a single young, called a joey, which is born underdeveloped and spends several months developing inside its mother’s pouch before becoming fully independent.

Gestation period: 30-35 days.

Birthing: Female wallabies give birth to a single joey, which is born underdeveloped and spends several months developing inside its mother’s pouch before becoming fully independent.

Nomenclature: The male wallaby is called a buck, the female is called a doe, and the young is called a joey.

Wallaby management in New Zealand

Wallabies are an introduced pest in New Zealand, and they are causing significant damage to our native biodiversity and productive lands. As introduced herbivores, wallabies are a problem because they graze on pasture and browse on native plants, eating everything that’s at their height in our native bush, including the seedlings that make up the future native bush. This leads to significant damage and prevents native forest regeneration, changing forest composition and diversity. Wallabies also destroy native species’ habitats and food sources and compete for feed with sheep, cattle, and other livestock, which has significant economic consequences for New Zealanders as they cost millions in lost farm production and the overall benefits we get from our environment. They also damage crops, young trees, and fences, increasing the risk of erosion and contributing to poor water quality.

In addition, wallabies can kill native forests, causing them to release carbon rather than holding it. By eating seedlings and killing young trees, introduced browsers also consume our future carbon sinks. In the late 1800s, five species of wallabies were brought from Australia to New Zealand mainly for hunting and for the pleasure of people who had private zoos. These introduced herbivores have since adapted well to the New Zealand environment and have thrived without any natural predators in the country. However, three of the introduced species have become significant pests, causing damage to the native biodiversity and productive lands of New Zealand. One of the species, the Bennett’s wallaby, is mostly found in South Canterbury but is spreading to other areas in the South Island.

Big Animals – Tahr/Deer

Himalayan Tahr

(Hemitragus jemlahicus)

Size: Himalayan tahr is a large ungulate that can grow up to 1.5 meters in length and weigh up to 100 kg.

Colour: Males have a dark brown coat with a black mane, while females are lighter in color with a reddish-brown coat. They have a white marking on their throat and a short, black stripe on the front of their legs.

Social behaviour: Himalayan tahr is a social animal that lives in groups, called herds, of up to 20 individuals. Males are territorial and will defend their territory against other males during the breeding season.

Reproduction: Himalayan tahr typically breeds in May and June, with females giving birth to a single offspring after a gestation period of around 180 days.

Gestation period: Around 180 days.

Birthing: Females give birth to a single offspring.

Nomenclature: The male tahr is called a bull, the female is called a nanny, and the young is called a kid.

Tahr management in New Zealand

Himalayan Tahr were introduced to New Zealand in 1904 for sport and tourism, but their population grew unchecked due to the absence of natural predators. A commercial market for Tahr meat was established in the 1970s, and commercial helicopter Tahr recovery nearly wiped out the entire Tahr population by 1983. The government then initiated the Himalayan Thar Policy in 1991 and the Himalayan Thar Control Plan in 1993 (HTCP) to manage their impacts on natural ecosystems while providing for recreational and commercial interests. Tahr are found in the central Southern Alps and are remarkably fast and agile in steep and rugged terrain. They form easily recognizable social groups, and their horns and the male’s striking mane are popular trophies among recreational and tourist hunters. However, their population growth can damage plants that provide vital food and shelter for native animals, and their control through hunting is required.

Red Deer

(Cervus elaphus)

Size: The red deer is one of the largest deer species. Males (stags) can grow up to 1.5 meters tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 250 kg, while females (hinds) are smaller, reaching up to 1.3 meters tall and weighing up to 150 kg.

Colour: Red deer have a reddish-brown coat in the summer and a more greyish-brown coat in the winter. They have a distinctive white rump patch and a light-coloured tail.

Social behaviour: Red deer are social animals and live in groups known as herds. The size of the herd can vary depending on the season, with larger groups forming in the winter.

Reproduction: Red deer mate in the fall, with stags competing for access to hinds. After a gestation period of around 8 months, hinds give birth to a single calf in the spring.

Gestation period: Around 8 months.

Birthing: Hinds give birth to a single fawn in the spring.

Nomenclature: Male red deer are called stags, females are called hinds, and young are called fawns.

Red Deer Management in New Zealand

Red deer are a popular game animal in New Zealand and hunting them is a popular pastime. However, they are also considered a pest in some areas, as they can cause damage to native vegetation and compete with other wildlife for resources. Various management strategies are used to control red deer populations, including hunting, culling, and fertility control.

Fallow Deer

Size: Fallow deer are medium-sized deer. Males (bucks) can grow up to 1 meter tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 90 kg, while females (does) are smaller, reaching up to 85 cm tall and weighing up to 55 kg.

Colour: Fallow deer have a variable coat colour, with four main colour variants: common (chestnut with white spots), menil (light brown with white spots), melanistic (black), and white. They also have a distinctive white rump patch.

Social behaviour: Fallow deer are social animals and live in groups known as herds. The size of the herd can vary depending on the season, with larger groups forming in the winter.

Reproduction: Fallow deer mate in the fall, with bucks competing for access to does. After a gestation period of around 7 months, does give birth to a single fawn in the spring.

Gestation period: Around 7 months.

Birthing: Does give birth to a single fawn in the spring.

Nomenclature: Male fallow deer are called bucks, females are called does, and young are called fawns.

Fallow Deer Management in New Zealand

Fallow deer are an introduced species in New Zealand, and while they are a popular game animal, they are also considered a pest in some areas. They can cause damage to native vegetation and compete with other wildlife for resources. Control methods used for fallow deer include hunting, culling, and fertility control.

Hunting Safaris

Our Hunting Safari’s take place on 50,000 acres of private land in Lake Tekapo. We have free range animals including Red and Fallow Deer, Himalayan Tahr, Chamois, Wallabies, Rabbits and Hares. Our private lodge on the side of Lake Tekapo provides Private Luxury Accommodation.

Small Animal Hunting Safari’s

English

$299 | 2hrs

Our Fully Guided Small Animal Hunting Safari’s Includes:

Large Animal Hunting Safari’s

English

Prices on request depending on Safari.

Our Fully Guided Large Animal Hunting Safari’s Includes: