Since 1995, the excellence of Gary Herbert‚Äôs New Zealand Hunting operation has been defined by a constantly expanding reputation for delivering the finest big game hunting with the finest 5 Star accommodations available. Herbert initially entered the professional hunting business in the mid 1990s as a packer to more established safari operators and then as a professional hunter in locales as diverse as the Russian Republics to Alaska before branching off on his own to start his own company, initially known as New Zealand Mountain Hunting Limited.
Based on his bedrock principles of honesty and integrity in all his dealings, Herbert‚Äôs ‚Äúhands on‚Äù business has flourished and now hosts approximately 60 clients per season, all who arrive as clients but depart as friends, many to return repeatedly.
Since opening, Herbert has slowly accumulated more land, initially in the Ahuriri Valley, (1 hour 45 minutes northeast of Queenstown, South Island), and has grown his holdings to encompass four separate hunting areas totaling more than 40,000 privately owned acres plus an additional 350,000-acre government concession utilized for the pursuit of high Alpine tahr and chamois.
The lodge Initially attracted single hunters or couples, but now welcomes family groups as well, with more than 80% of arriving hunters joined by their spouses and/or families. This fact has occurred secondary to Herbert‚Äôs unique approach to non-hunting guests, and his strong feelings about family. Joined by his wife Louise and their three daughters, Georgia, Grace and Sophie, there is a warmth and ‚Äúfamily feel‚Äù that permeates the entire operation.
There are two full time professional tour/sightseeing guides based at the Lodge to provide day excursions to surrounding sights while husbands or partners hunt.
The touring facet of Gary‚Äôs operation is further enhanced by the presence of helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft–both based at the Lodge and operated by some of New Zealand‚Äôs most experienced pilots.
The massive 10,000 square foot 5 Star Lodge situated on a promontory with the Southern Alps providing a picturesque backdrop was opened in Febuary, 2007 and serves as the base for all hunting and touring operations.
From the Lodge, excursions to outlying spike camps are arranged to satisfy any hunter‚Äôs expectations, from seasoned high Alpine hunters down to the most eager beginner.
Massive red stags, Rocky Mountain elk, Himalayan tahr, Alpine chamois, fallow deer as well as wild boar, rams, goats and South Pacific whitetail deer are all on offer on Herbert‚Äôs hunting areas. In specific seasons, duck and goose hunting is available as well as exceptional brown trout fishing.
Some of the world‚Äôs largest red deer (scoring up to 600 + inches) and elk (400+ inches) are to be found in this South Pacific paradise, all within reach of the world‚Äôs major airports. Additionally, since Herbert owns his own in-house trophy preparation facilities, it allows him total control over handling of all trophies harvested on his properties with hunters usually receiving their trophies within 45 days from the completion of their hunt. That fact alone stands his operation apart from all the others!
The hunting guides at Gary Herbert‚Äôs Lodge are also first class, true mountain professionals, coupled with a culinary staff providing 5 star cuisine. Couple that with an outstanding selection of the finest New Zealand wines and liquors and a grand time is sure to had by all!
New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, so the seasons are reversed–summer in the US is winter in New Zealand. The big game season starts in February and runs through early August. That appeals particularly to Northern Hemisphere guests whose own hunting seasons are not in conflict with those of New Zealand.
Further testament to Gary Herbert‚Äôs excellence and standing in all facets of a volatile and rapidly evolving outdoor adventure business is his selection by Safari Club International as its ‚ÄúInternational Professional Hunter of the Year‚Äù for 2005. This is the pinnacle of achievement in this competitive endeavor and places Gary in very elite company.
Feel free to stop by and introduce yourself to Gary Herbert and his staff at their booth in Las Vegas at the SCI Convention the first week of February. Note that New Zealand is 18 hours ahead of North America and that the website is updated frequently and includes full information as well as links to videos and client reference list.