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My partner and I had been planning this Tahr and Chamois hunting trip for months and, due to us living in the North Island, it had been delayed twice thanks to lockdowns and travel restrictions – needless to say, we were buzzing to get out on the tops in the West Coast and breathe in fresh mountain air.
The weather forecast predicted perfect bluebird days for our five-night trip to the West Coast, but as we drove from Queenstown to Haast, dark clouds appeared above us and seemed to be settling in for the long haul. Four days, to be exact!
The helicopter dropped us off right on the tops, close to the wilderness zone, and we pitched our tent on fresh snow surrounded by frozen tarns. 0 degrees. The rain quickly set in and stayed. Not ideal for camping exposed to the elements, but pretty good weather for hunting!
With no facilities or creature comforts, we had luckily packed two Jetboils – the Flash (mostly used for our morning coffees) and the Stash (for cooking our much-needed warm meals).
Due to the freezing cold weather, we were lucky to enjoy fresh meat for the first couple of days, then moved on to the dehydrated meals for the second half of our trip. The sun came out for our last day in the alps, and I savoured my last morning coffee with blue sky above and fluffy white clouds all around me.
My two goals for the trip were to shoot a trophy bull Tahr and a trophy Chamois buck, and I was fortunate (and dedicated) enough to bring both home with me. My partner also came home with a couple of trophies, including a 14” bull Tahr! A successful, if somewhat wet and cold, trip which we survived in no small part due to the warm drinks and eats thanks to our Jetboil set ups!