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Read Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.  Well it’s been about six months or so since we were in New Zealand and it seems like forever ago.  Time is short as we are in the midst of hunting season so there won’t be much words for this final installment but be looking for some content to roll out around the New Year.  For now enjoy the photos and be looking for more here on the website and through our Instagram page.

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Hiking to the next zone

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Josh wrangling a cicada eater from a backcountry zone

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Starting the day off with a one hander

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Zack hooking up and about to get schooled by a backcountry brown trout

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What a specimen. Caught in a creek only two rods lengths wide.

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Long, wet hikes were the name of the game in the backcountry

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Front country sunrise

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Hatch of the day boys!

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Josh with his biggest brown of the trip and life

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Exploring a wild, tiny creek with big browns

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Zack with his personal best and the biggest weight fish of our trip

Zack Boughton

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Read the first part of this series HERE.  After a few weeks on the island we had put some great fish in the net but conditions had been tough.  The rivers had blown out twice and most of the fishable days had overcast skies which made spotting tough in lots of the water we were fishing.  We pushed through and made the best of it.  We spent some time fishing the flats for kingfish which was a wild experience.  I think we were a few weeks behind on timing and it seems that the locals feel the fishery is getting heavily pressured and there’s some shady tactics being used by guides with boats.  We had a good time despite few kingfish sightings and wen’t back to town before being flow deep into the backcountry.

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Headed into the abyss, and hopefully home to many big brown trout.

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NZ flats tugger

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Headed out in search of kingfish

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Kahawai headed back to go smash baitfish

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Target spotted. Clear water made it easy to see fish but harder to catch.

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Teamwork as Zack tries to bring a brown trout to the net.

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A medium sized backcountry brown. A hell of a fighter though.

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The longest and arguably the prettiest fish of our trip to NZ.

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Josh making light work of a bank side brown trout.

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This day we got worked for hours until Josh picked the right bug and flawlessly drifted it until this brown took.

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Chasing brown trout in big water meant a slip was inevitable.

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Got him netted baby!

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Small guy but big engine.

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1st fish after the heli drop. Stoke was HIGH

The backcountry was amazing but the fishing was tough!  Coming that late in the season meant that the easy to see fish were insanely spooky and picky on flies.  We all got into beautiful fish but our hookup to sighting percentage was definitely in the single digits.  Finding fast water and taking extra time to try to spot fish in that water made things easier as it seemed these fish hadn’t been pressured as much.  Be looking for Part 3 soon.

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NZ Tahr Hunt – Day 3

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Some backcountry essentials: headlamp, inReach, cell phone, and water

Day 3 started with another slow morning of tahr meat sizzling on the wood stove as Josh finished fleshing and salting his tahr cape.  The sun provided some Vitamin D and warmth for a mid-day snooze.  Finally we got our gear together and once again headed up the mountain.  The weather was turning a bit more cloudy and the wind had picked up.

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Roll out

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Rokosch trusting his waterproof gaiters and surefooted steps

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Boulder hopping up the creek

With our pressure from the past two days putting the tahr a bit on edge we elected to go up the creek bottom to just underneath our glassing knob.  From there we’d hike straight up and pop over and be ready to glass and locate tahr.  We would stay out of sight and hopefully the tahr would feed off the mountain one more time.

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Tahr on both sides of the drainage, looking for the biggest one

We quickly located a large mob of tahr high in the cliffs and once again settled in to see if they’d feed down to the areas we could safely access.  After about an hour and a half we decided they would come off the mountain and we better close the distance now or else they would see us.  We dropped back off the ridge and looped further up closing the distance to about a 1000 yards and the tahr slowly working closer and closer.  After about thirty minutes they had worked into under 400 yards.  After getting closer they winded us and started back up the mountain.  When the biggest bull tahr stopped clear of the others the Tikka barked and made a lethal hit.  The bull came downhill before one more shot put him down quickly.  Fist bumps and high fives went around and we quickly scrambled up to the bull.

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Zack with his New Zealand bull tahr

Three tahr in three days.  A darn successful trip with great guys.  We knew the routine and quickly had the bull in our packs and headed down the mountain.

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A successful tahr camp

Success and good times with a great crew!

The next day we cleaned gear and all the tahr skulls and hides.  Unfortanately a storm blew in that evening and we were unable to hunt or fly out.  The following morning we had a chopper show up just after sunrise.

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Stoked

A beautiful but bumpy ride took us back to the hangar and our New Zealand tahr hunt was complete.  If you are interested in hunting free range tahr, stag, or chamois definitely give Ben a shout over at BGHNZ > https://bghnz.co.nz/ A big thanks to both Ben and August who provided much comedic relief in camp and on the mountain! Good times boys, till next time!

-Written by Zack Boughton