South Pacific Hunts
Hunting in the South Pacific (Oceana)
When most people think about hunting in the South Pacific, they think of Australia, New Zealand, or New Caledonia. However, there are other South Pacific destinations that offer good hunting. We will look at the hunting in these countries while also covering Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Tasmania.
Hunting the South Pacific is very enjoyable. The hunter gets to hunt some of the most beautiful places on earth. When not hunting you have the choice of visiting hundreds of miles of wide sandy beaches (think Australia’s Gold Coast), tropical rain forests, and snow-capped mountains. The South Pacific had no populations of large mammals until Europeans imported them in the eighteenth century. Some of the domestic stock ran wild and increased their numbers in a pleasant environment. Other species were imported over the next two centuries and released for sport and meat hunting.
Some of the animals that are available include Red Stag, Fallow deer, Rusa Deer, Wapiti, Tahr, Chamois, Water Buffalo, Banteng, Sambar, Boar, Blackbuck, Hog deer, Axis deer, Kangaroo, and dingo.
Australia is a huge continent with a wide variety of terrain. The northeast has tropical rainforests; the southeast has mountain ranges (Mt. Kosciuszko is the tallest at 7,310 feet), and the center has miles and miles of red desert with a very large rock in the middle (Uluru/Ayers Rock). The country has one of the world’s lowest population densities made up mostly of people living in the coastal areas.
Australia has a number of native animals available to hunt such as the kangaroo and dingo (wild dog), but most of its big game is non-native and can be hunted all year round. The most popular animals for hunting are the water buffalo, scrub bull, banteng, boar, and numerous species of deer. Because Australia is so large and the climate is quite varied, hunting methods depend on the type of game hunted and where the hunt takes place. A large dangerous game like the water buffalo is hunted African safari style. The feral water buffalo are found in the wetlands and floodplains in the northern region of the Northern Territory. Because they are non-native, they can be hunted all year round, but the best hunting is in the dry season which runs from June to September.
Australia also has Banteng and scrub bull available. Scrub bulls (feral ox) used to be the domestic cattle in Australia. Some escaped from the stations (ranches) and quickly went wild. They are also found in northern Australia. They are not to be confused with the Banteng which is a separate species. The scrub bull is considered to be the most dangerous mammal in Australia. It has a fairly nasty disposition and has been known to charge without provocation and can actively look for a fight. Banteng tend to stay around water as they need to drink daily. A mature trophy banteng can weigh up to 1800 pounds. They tend to spook easily and will disappear into the bush at the slightest provocation.
Different Australian states have different rifle requirements for hunting deer-sized animals. Anything .270 or larger is legal throughout the country. For large game like buffalo, nothing smaller than a .375 should be used.
U.S. residents don’t need a visa to enter Australia, however, the government requires that a visitor acquire an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) that works like an online visa. If you are bringing your own firearm, you will have to obtain two permits; an International Visitor Firearm Permit and an Import Permit to bring firearms into the country.
New Zealand is composed of two islands – North Island and South Island along with 700 much smaller islands. It’s located 1240 miles east of Australia. It is a very stable and welcoming country which makes it an ideal place to bring the family on a hunt. Getting there is fairly easy as many countries have direct flights. Entry is simple and a visa is readily available at the airport of entry. If you plan on bringing a firearm you need to apply for a temporary firearms license from the New Zealand police. This is a simple process that can be done completely online. It is also possible to rent a gun from your outfitter.
The most popular animal in New Zealand is the red stag. It was imported from British stock back in the 1850s and 1900s. It is the most widespread deer in New Zealand. Sitka deer are found mostly on the North Island. They came from Japan beginning in 1905. Theodore Roosevelt gifted a herd of 20 Wapiti (elk) in 1909 that was released on the South Island and eventually became a large, flourishing herd today. They can be hunted year-round. Fallow deer were introduced from England and Tasmania in 1864 to the South Island. They were later brought to the North Island between 1864 and 1910.
Other animals available to hunt include chamois, tahr, rusa deer, sambar, and a selection of Arapawa sheep and feral goats. All these animals are available as free-range or high-fence hunts.
If you are looking for an adventure, you can be set on a mountaintop by helicopter and hunt from there. Hunters should be aware that mountain hunts can be extremely rugged and challenging.
The island of New Caledonia is east of Australia and north of New Zealand. It’s a long, thin, semi-tropical island about 250 miles long and 35 miles wide. It is home to over 500,000 Rusa deer. A hunter can expect to see up to 1,000 animals each day of hunting. It’s not so much whether you will get a deer, but more likely which one you want. There is no hunting limit, but most hunters take two stags. Also, South Pacific wild turkeys can be hunted while hunting deer. The standard hunting method is spot-and-stalk. Exporting your trophies is quick and painless as the Rusa population is not under CITIES’ control.
There are no taxidermy facilities on the island, so hunters take their capes and antlers home as checked baggage. This eliminates expensive shipping and packing charges.
Hunters normally arrive at the La Tontouta International Airport north of the capital city of Noumea. Most hunting areas are two to three hours north of the airport. Be sure to plan some extra days after the hunt as New Caledonia has a lot to offer the tourist and is quite beautiful.
In West Sumatra, there is a group called The Pig Hunting Sports association. Associations like this exist throughout West Sumatra with the purpose of not only hunting pigs, but also developing friendships and introducing outsiders to hunting pigs in various regions in West Sumatra and Riau. Visitors are welcome and can participate in the hunt. Dogs are used to take down the pig, but the meat isn’t recovered as the general population is Muslim and pork is unclean. If the hunters aren’t Muslim, the pig can end up in a roasting oven.
Papua New Guinea (PNG)
PNG has a Moluccan Rusa deer that can be hunted, but only with a bow. However, it’s not for the faint of heart. You would operate out of a remote tent camp in the Northwest Province about 45 miles from the village of Suki. The Rusa deer are found across most of the Indonesian archipelago. It is quite a bit smaller than the Rusa found in Java
If you are planning on hunting Tasmania and are not an Australian or Tasmanian resident, you will need to obtain an International Visitor Exemption from Firearms Service. They can also aid in importing your firearm into the country. They can also give you information as to what type of game you can legally hunt. According to the government, invasive species including mammals and birds can be hunted all throughout the year and do not require a hunting license. Invasive species include hares, rabbits, feral cats, goats, and pigs, Indian myna birds, rainbow lorikeets, and kookaburras. For certain animals, you will need to procure a game license. Hunting is only permitted during certain seasons.
Wallabies are partially protected in Tasmania and can only be hunted with the proper wallaby license. Only Rufous and Bennetts types may be taken.
Fallow deer are a protected game species in Tasmania. They require a specific fallow deer game license is required. This goes for both public and private land hunting.
There are only five species of ducks that can be hunted in Tasmania – chestnut teal, grey teal, mountain duck, Pacific black duck, and wood duck. All other ducks are protected and cannot be hunted without a crop protection tag. Hunters must complete a Waterfowl Identification Test and obtain a hunting license before hunting ducks.
Mutton birds can be hunted in Tasmania but there are strict bag limits, and they can only be hunted during a very short season.
There are three different species of quail in Tasmania, but only the brown quail can be hunted. The hunter needs to obtain a game license for brown quail.
Hunting brown pheasant on King Island requires a specific license and only the male can be hunted. Private shooting ranches have individual rules and regulations governing pheasant hunting.