Preparing for a New Zealand Stag Hunt

Preparing for a New Zealand Stag Hunt

Ladies-only hunts are some of the very best experiences I have had. Over the years, Prois has hosted hunts for ladies in Quebec, Texas, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Illinois, and now New Zealand. That’s right, seven amazing ladies will be off to parts unknown in New Zealand.

Preparing for international travel is often confusing and perhaps a bit frustrating. While New Zealand is tame compared to hunting locations in Africa and Central Asia, it takes some foresight and planning to ensure a smooth travel and hunting experience.

Proper Documentation 

Obtain your NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority). This can be done online or via the NZeTA app. Many in our party had difficulty with the app and opted for the online service.

At this time you will be required to pay for an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL). You will have confirmation within 72 hours.

If you are planning to bring your own firearms, you will be required to file a customs form 4457 from a local customs port in your state. You definitely need to start this process early if you live in a rural area. Apply for your gun permit in New Zealand— online—no more than 1 month in advance before heading out. 

Follow all TSA rules for firearm travel. Many New Zealand outfitters rent rifles on-site which is often an easier route.

Plan Ahead

When it comes to safety, I personally always use a service such as Global Rescue when I hunt internationally. Nobody ever plans for a medical emergency abroad, but they do indeed happen.

Global Rescue provides medical advisory services, air evacuation home for medical emergencies, and extended services to provide evacuation in areas of civil strife.

The basic services cost around $130 for a week and are definitely worth the cost.

You'll also want to contact your credit card company prior to travel to ensure it does not get locked.

Be sure to check with your cell service to get international calling. Whatsapp is a good way to communicate internationally.

Know What to Expect

Check the weather and pack accordingly. I realize this sounds simplistic, but remember New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere and technically opposite our seasons.

I recommend merino wool, mid-weight pants options, lightweight jackets and vests, as well as rain gear. Plan to be warm, but plan for cool mornings and rain.

Keep Your Gear Clean & Ready

Clean those boots. Understandably, New Zealand customs is concerned about travelers bringing in anything that may harm their agriculture. Clean boots are a must and will be inspected upon arrival.

Here are some tips to make the process easier:

  • Clean the soles of your boots before you leave home. They only have to clean them if something is visibly stuck to the bottom.  If they are already clean, the representative just checks them and gives them back to you.
  • Pack the boots in a part of your bag that's easy to get to and pack so you won't have a problem opening your bag at customs and finding the boots. Wrap the boots in plastic bags as well.

Getting Your Meat Home

Know the process for bringing meat back to the States. Travelers may bring back fresh (chilled or frozen), cooked, cured or dried meat from countries without livestock diseases if they have official documentation to prove the product’s country of origin.

The following items are considered official documentation:

  • package label
  • written documentation
  • proof of travel (passport or travel itinerary)
  • origin of flight
  • receipt of sale
  • CBP document (based on the officer’s interview of the traveler)
  • a meat inspection certificate
  • certificate of origin

Travelers may bring back boneless meat in commercially packaged, labeled, and contained in unopened hermetically sealed containers or packages that are cooked by a commercial method after such packing to produce articles that are shelf-stable without refrigeration.

Hunters may not bring back more than 50 pounds of an item. Shipments larger than 50 pounds are considered commercial shipments. Purchase a cooler upon arrival.

Label your cooler with your name and address. Once departing, ensure the cooler is taped shut. I travel with Sharpies and Duck tape for this purpose.

moss - New Zealand Stag Hunt Antlers

If you Don't Know... Ask. Or look it Up.

Check with your outfitter about any specific questions you may have. No questions are stupid, and if you are asking the question, chances are good someone else has as well.

Make sure you're familiar with local and international laws. You can only travel with $7k cash and anything more must be claimed upon entry.

As we have all seen in the headlines this past year, never ever travel with any illicit drugs. Just because cannabis is legal in your state definitely does not mean it is legal anywhere else. It's always good to check in with your local contact to confirm what to keep in mind before lugging it in your carry-on.

Buckle In

It’s a long flight down there. Here are my recommendations for dealing with long flights:

  • Bring prescription meds.
  • Bring a change of clothing. Make sure they are compact and lightweight.
  • Bring a toiletry bag with wipes, toothbrush/paste, deodorant, brush, makeup.
  • Keep all documents with you.
  • Get up and move! Often!
  • Sit back and enjoy the experience!

About the Author

Kirstie Pike

Kirstie Pike is the founder and CEO of Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women, the leading edge for women’s performance hunting gear for nine years and running.
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