Choosing your New Zealand hunting outfitter:
Choosing a New Zealand hunt sounds easy! New Zealanders speak English, they have a lovely accent, their websites are beautiful and their country is gorgeous and safe. How hard could it be to find the best outfitter? It is trickier than you might think. Investigate a bit before you choose your hunt.
Here are some important questions to ask perspective outfitters:
1. Who owns the property where I will be hunting?
2. Are you guaranteed to be able to hunt this property for a number of years?
3. Do you have sole rights to hunt the property?
4. How large is the hunting property?
5. How many people will be hunting on the same property when I am hunting?
6. Is the property made up of one block or is it various pieces of property?
7. If it is made up of various pieces of property, exactly how large is each property?
8. How far is the lodge where I will be staying in relation to the hunting property? How long is the driving time each day?
9. How many people will be staying at the lodge when I am there?
10. Do you know the other hunters that I will be hunting with? Are their values similar to mine?
11. What are the meals like at the lodge? Who prepares the meals?
12. What is the schedule for a typical hunting day?
13. If you are hunting various species, where are they located and will you be moving to hunt them?
14. If you have observers in your party, who will take care of them and exactly what will they be able to do while you hunt? Ask for a sample itinerary for observers.
15. Do you have any testimonials or references to recommend you?
16. Are your properties fenced or free range? If free range, what is the typical trophy size? The largest free range red stag ever taken in New Zealand was in the 330 range! Beware of large trophies promised or shown as free range.
17. If you are hunting a free range stag, ask them their opportunity rate.
18. If you are a bow hunter, how many bow hunters hunt with them each year, is there a bow shop nearby, will my guide be a bow hunter, is it spot and stalk or blind hunting?
19. Are you a member of the New Zealand Professional Hunting Guides Association?
20. How long have you been a guide or in operation?
You must ask yourself if you are interested in an experience or just shooting a trophy. Both are available, it is up to you to ask the questions to ensure that the hunt you book matches the memories you wish to make.