Back in October 2008 I was fortunate to travel to the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand to hunt Himalayan Tahr. The hard work paid off with this great specimen who now adorns the wall of my garage.
A previous trip a few years earlier to hunt the elusive mountain goat ended poorly. After choppering into the Department of Conversation hut at the Lower Butler, and spending a morning scaling what appeared to be the north face of the Eiger, I lined up a shot at a mature bull browsing amongst a group of females. The shot rang out and the bull ran, toppled, and kept toppling straight off the end of a sheer bluff. All I could do was watch as this magnificent creature reached terminal velocity, disappearing into the thick vegetation some 300-400 meters below. This, combined with the sling on my .270 breaking causing the scope to suffer some nasty damage on rocks, made for a disappointing trip.
I was not keen on a repeat of this experience. Flying out of Haast to a prime area, three of us set up our position in the Southern Alps and commenced the hunt. The weather was great, but time was against us – a Southerly front was on the way in the next few days. I had specifically upgunned for the trip given my previous experience to a Blaser R93 Offroad in .300 Winchester Magnum. Shooting 180 grain Nosler Partitions, I was confident that anything I connected with wouldn’t be running off on me.
The first group of bulls we encountered at a shootable range made a break for it. Despite their size (weighing up to 100kg) bull Tahr move incredibly quickly. Fortunately my snap shot on the run connected and bowled one cleanly. So cleanly in fact the he plowed head first into a rock breaking off a horn. More bad luck, but as always the meat and hide were able to be put to good use.
Fortunately we were able to get onto another a small group of bulls, where I was able to collect my long sought after trophy. Yet again the Partitions worked their magic – the round recovered from the carcass had perfectly expanded just like in the brochures. The horns measured 12 ¾ inches; not quite a record breaker, but a really great example with a beautiful dark coat. Perseverance apparently does pay off!