Hunting in New Zealand requires the visitor to go online to the New Zealand Police web site and complete a visitor firearms license application found here
This application can be printed out and will automatically be sent to the NZ Police. Notification of your flight details are important so that a police official can meet you at Auckland airport, otherwise you will have to go the police counter, call on the telephone, and wait for an official to arrive, which could be 20 minutes or more, long enough to miss a connecting flight.
Another aspect to this process is that you are required to pay $25 NZ for the application, so make sure you stop by one of the ATM machines first.
The Police official will want to see any licenses you have from your home state, always good to make copies of your hunter education certificate, licenses, passport, drivers license, etc., before you go, as it will expedite the process, otherwise they will need to make copies. Also make sure that you ask the ploiceman if you should open the gun case, it will make him more comfortable if you ask. He will then want to check the details of the firearm that you have supplied on the application against the actual firearm, Manufacturer, model, caliber, and serial number, being the important information. Your Passport number, date of issue, place of issue, where you will be staying, who the firearms will be stored with, purpose of importation are other details required on the application, so having all this information ready will expedite the process for you.
Further details on firearm requirements, restrictions, etc., can be found here.
New Zealand has thousands of Crown land (huntable land requiring nothing more than the firearms license), and there are many private reserves where one can for a substantial fee hunt some real trophy deer. The airline trip from San Francisco takes approximately 12 hours and cost around $1400 round trip. One of the best aspects of hunting New Zealand is that the Roar (read Rut) is 180 degrees out of whack with our seasons in the US of A, in so much as, April through May is the best time to hunt in New Zealand, although one can hunt all year round. Yet one more advantage for the wealthy who want to hire a guide/helicopter, New Zealand is the only place that one can hunt Himalayan Thar. One can also hunt Chamois, Red Deer (European relative of the Elk), Sika deer ( a Japanese deer), Fallow deer, both the normal and Spanish types, Sambar deer, wild pig, wild goat, sheep even cattle and Australian Possum as well as Paradise duck and other waterfowl.
Sika will be found South of Lake Taupoe, Fallow near Whanganui, Red deer around Kiakora, and the Westland, Lake McKerrow, Chamois also in the Kiakora area, and Thar in the area near Fox Glacier. Elk (Wapiti) can be found in the Westland as well, although they cross breed with the Red Deer, and as such the probability of a pure bred Wapiti is much slimmer.
Male deer are generally referred to as “Stags”, while female are “Hinds”.
Hunters are free to contact this writer for more details suggestions of where to hunt for what game, etc.
Antlers and skull caps which have been processed (bleached) can be brought back with you, but as you are entering California upon return, no brain or spinal fluid matter can be brought back. Taxidermy in New Zealand is excellent and similarly priced to the US.
New Zealand dollars are the equivalent of approximately 75 cents US at time of writing.
So, if you are simply looking for another adventure which does not intrude into your hunting seasons in the US, or whether you are looking for a monster trophy, they both can be had in New Zealand the former at pricing that is less expensive than a hunt in the US western States, the latter at similar pricing to a trophy Elk (Wapiti) hunt in Arizona.