Introduction

Find out information about the tahr ballot for the Hooker-Landsborough and Adams Wilderness areas.

ZIP and Predator Free South Westland project

The project is operating in the Adams Wilderness Area 2022/23. These are the main affected areas:

How you’re affected and other potential areas.

2023 winter ballot

  • Applications open 9 am Tuesday 4 October 2022.
  • Applications close 4 pm Friday 28 October 2022.

Applications will only be accepted through the online application form found via the link on this page.

Application restrictions

  • Only one application per party leader, multiple applications will be voided with no refund. Party Leader must be hunting, no transfers of permit
  • Hunters using a firearm must abide by the New Zealand Police Arms Code and the Arms Act 1983 and have a valid firearms licence.
  • Party leaders need to supply a photo of their valid New Zealand firearms licence with their confirmation.

There are party-size limits for safety and to minimise impacts on campsites:

  • minimum size 2
  • maximum size 6.

Hunting period dates

All landing sites will be open to aerial access between Saturday 22 April 2023 and Friday 14 July 2023.

This timeframe is broken into seven-day periods only, starting from Saturday 22 April 2023 and ending on Friday 14 July 2023:

  • 1st period: 22 April – 28 April 2023
  • 2nd period: 29 April – 5 May 2023
  • 3rd period: 6 May – 12 May 2023
  • 4th period: 13 May – 19 May 2023
  • 5th period: 20 May – 26 May 2023
  • 6th period: 27 May – 2 June 2023
  • 7th period: 3 June – 9 June 2023
  • 8th period: 10 June – 16 June 2023
  • 9th period: 17 June – 23 June 2023
  • 10th period: 24 June – 30 June 2023
  • 11th period: 1 July – 7 July 2023
  • 12th period: 8 July – 14 July 2023

Tahr landing site balloted periods have been extended to 12 weeks. This is based on the statutory requirements within the Himalayan Tahr Control Plan and the management decision by the DDG Operations in the Tahr Control Operational Plan to encourage greater recreation hunter opportunity. 

This has been approved knowing that this is an elevated period of risk for hunters due to the time of year and the weather and snow conditions. These are risk’s that all visitors to alpine areas need to manage themselves.

Ballot process

  • Opens 9 am Tuesday 4 October 2022
  • Closes 4 pm Friday 28 October 2022.

Confirmation form returns close 4 pm Friday 25 November 2022.

All applicants will be notified by email of the outcome of the draw by 11 November 2022. If you haven’t been contacted by this date, email haasthuntingballot@doc.govt.nz or phone +64 3 7500 809.

Confirmation forms are emailed out as part of the successful email notification process. If you need to update your party details, do so on this form and return by email. All successful ballot holders must respond by email that they accept the ballot. Unconfirmed sites will be cancelled and made available for rebooking by other parties.

Successful ballot holders

Landing site permits will be issued in February.

All party members hunting will need to apply individually for an Open Area Hunting Permit either online or at a DOC office.

Apply for an Open Area Hunting Permit.

How to apply

Apply via the 'apply now' link at the top of this page on the opening date.

You have a choice of five sites and five period dates – you can make a combination of choices:

  • one site for five different dates
  • five sites for one period date
  • combination of sites and period dates.

Make sure you use all your choices to increase your chance of being successful.

Tick the boxes with your selections, click 'add all' at the bottom of the page. This will then take you to the preference page, choose the order of preference of your sites 1-5. This is the order we work through your application, 1 being your first choice, 5 the last choice.

The next page will ask for your party details, these need to include

  • party leader contact details – name, address, date of birth, phone number and email
  • party member names, addresses and date of birth. 

Make sure you accept the terms and conditions then click proceed to take you to the payment screen. You will receive an email receipt confirming your application entry. If none is received contact the Haast Hunting Ballot Team with your query.

Enter your application early, every season we get an estimated fifth of our entries on the last day, clogging up the system.

Fee

A non-refundable fee of $60 will be charged for each application regardless of whether the applicant is successful or not.

Where the fee money goes

These charges are solely to recover the costs of managing and administrating aerial access systems. This ensures the wilderness values of these areas are maintained and that there is adequate liaison with participating hunters. The charges levied do not include any permit or access fee.

Costs include labour for administration and post-season campsite inspection, helicopter hire for post-season camp site inspection.

Cancelled and unconfirmed sites

At 9 am Thursday 1 December 2022 any cancelled landing sites will be made available online, firstly to parties that don’t already hold a successful tahr ballot.

Apply online on the DOC website. Any cancelled sites will be added to the booking page as they come in so we recommend you check regularly. We do not keep a waitlist.

Make sure you confirm your party details and return to haasthuntingballot@doc.govt.nz.

All new bookings incur the non-refundable $60 fee.

Contact

Send correspondence for the tahr ballot to haasthuntingballot@doc.govt.nz.

Aerial access 

In the 2023 ballot, recreational hunters will have some managed aerial access into the Hooker/Landsborough and Adams Wilderness Areas. This was made available under the terms of the ‘Himalayan Tahr Control Plan’, approved by the Minister of Conservation in 1993.

This reflects the identification in the plan of recreational tahr hunting as one of the primary controls for tahr in particular areas.

List of DOC approved aircraft concessionaires for tahr services.

Help control tahr

Managed aerial access is being provided to position recreational hunters and will be for a limited period of April to July. This period was selected to limit effects on other wilderness users and to coincide with the tahr rut and the period when skins are at their best.

Recreational hunters are being given this access to help reduce tahr densities to the target levels set in the tahr control plan. While a hunter’s chief objective may be trophy bulls, the Department encourages all hunters to remove nannies and juveniles in the process and to reduce group sizes to less than five animals.

Aerial access to these areas is a privilege – look after the opportunity

Future access is reviewed annually and will depend on the way all parties involved co-operate to achieve the tahr density objectives set out in The Himalayan Tahr Control Plan.  Access must be managed to minimise effects on the wilderness values that these areas have been set aside to protect. Effects on these values will take longer to determine.

Post-season inspections locate hidden rubbish such as burnt tins, plastic, string, bags of coal, unburied toilet waste, offal and just poorly rehabilitated campsites. Remember these sites are inhabited for 12 straight weeks and it can be very unpleasant for the Parties towards the end of the season.

It is imperative to see an increasing number of sites being left clean and tidy with minimum impact, as this is the key to continued hunting access.

Hunting areas

There are 25 landing sites throughout the Hooker/Landsborough and the Adams Wilderness Areas. A full list is below. In total, there are 300 opportunities (25 sites x 12 weeks) in the ballot. No landings are permitted outside these sites.

Most areas have one designated landing site but there is provision at several sites for an alternative campsite if snow and weather conditions allow. Where areas have an alternative landing site, there is only one heli landing opportunity per party, as no other party is permitted in that area at the same time.

List of landing sites and hunting blocks.

Kea

The designated tahr helicopter landing sites and campsites fall within the kea’s natural alpine habitat, the mischievous and inquisitive nature of the birds often draws them into campsites, sometimes leading to tent or gear damage.

Keep your excess gear stowed away and the campsite clean. In extreme cases tents may have to be packed up and securely stored daily while you’re away from camp to prevent damage.

Exclusive rights

Successful ballot holders do not get exclusive rights to hunt a particular area like a roar block. You can hunt in the wilderness area you have the landing site in. However, it's courtesy to only hunt the area around your landing site bounded by its natural boundaries.

What is being offered is the exclusive right to fly to a specific landing site for a particular period.

Anyone is free to walk in and hunt in these areas if they have an Open Area Hunting Permit for the region.

Pesticide operations and summaries

It is your responsibility to check current online pesticide summaries for the area/block you’re applying for and/ or hunting.

Permit conditions

Read and understand the permit conditions below and your landing site permit.

You are required to return the DOC kill return/hunting diary within 2 weeks of your hunt being completed. You need to return the diary even if you've not hunted. If you couldn’t access your site due to bad weather, mark your diary 'not hunted due to bad weather' and return.

Return the DOC tahr hunting diary to haasthuntingballot@doc.govt.nz.

The NZ Tahr Foundation kill app that has been released is a voluntary return and does not fulfil your DOC permit obligations.

Other conditions

In addition to the standard conditions shown on your permit, the following conditions shall also apply:

  1. One kill return/hunting diary per party must be completed in full within two weeks of the completion of your trip and emailed to haasthuntingballot@doc.govt.nz. Failure to do so may prevent your participation in further ballots in the Adams and Hooker/Landsborough Wilderness Areas.
    Note: Combine observations from separate hunters each day to avoid duplicating daily tallies and enter total for week.
    Tahr hunting diary 2022 (DOCX, 27K) or Tahr hunting diary 2022 (PDF, 206K)
  2. This is a Wilderness Area – dogs may not be taken into these areas.
  3. All rubbish is to be flown out. This includes all plastic string, burnt tinfoil and camp improvements.
  4. Vegetation is not to be cut for any reason (dead, fallen timber only is to be used for firewood).
  5. Only those aerial operators as noted hold contracts to service recreational hunters in these areas. No other operators may be used.
  6. All toilet waste should be buried and is to be kept clear of all waterways. 
  7. No structures other than tents are to be erected. Do not forget to remove all evidence of camping and dismantle fireplaces.
  8. No chainsaws or building materials such as black polythene etc. are to be taken in.
  9. If, on arrival at your campsite, you find that a fireplace has been established by a previous party, make use of it – do not build another.

Party leaders are responsible for all party members adhering to permit conditions.

Cancellations

If for any reason you are unable to use your balloted tahr landing site, contact haasthuntingballot@doc.govt.nz or the Department of Conservation, Haast as soon as possible so that it may be released back onto the booking site for someone else to use.

Notifying your helicopter company that you are no longer able to use the site is not enough as the balloted party leader will be held responsible if a compliance issue arises from someone else using your site, this could result in the party leader being refused entry in future tahr ballots.

Aerial operators

The right to fly recreational hunters into these sites will be issued to approved operators. Hunters are free to select a servicing operator from this list. Operators not appearing on the list may not be used.

AATH (Aerial-Assisted Trophy Hunting)

Aerial-assisted trophy hunting using a helicopter will be permitted in the Wilderness Areas during part of the ballot period from 14 June – 31 August.

Apart from this, no helicopter wild-animal carcass or live recovery for deer, chamois or tahr is allowed during the ballot period in the Wilderness Areas. If you see any of this happening, record as much information as possible including helicopter registration (numbers and letters displayed on the machine) photos or video footage, and report this to the nearest DOC office as soon as possible so there can be an investigation.

More about Aerial Assisted Trophy Hunting.

Safety is your responsibility

Terrain and weather

Check the specific hunting blocks webpage to find out specific terrain conditions.

Communications

Good communication devices are essential to keep you safe if something goes wrong. We recommend taking:

  • satellite phones
  • personal locator beacons
  • mountain radio from the Mountain Radio Service.

The Mountain Radio Service provide a weather forecast and communication service.

2024 ballot

Information for the 2024 ballot will be available online from August 2023.

Previous tahr ballot results

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