Hunting Goat in New Zealand

Available in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes, the gregarious goat herds are spread throughout New Zealand. Hunters enjoy goat hunting, which is much easier than deer hunting. Mostly at home on coastal cliffs, rocky crags, and steep hill slopes, goats tend to lay in the sun high up on rocks, particularly after cold, wet weather. They are extremely agile on narrow ledges and steep crags, reaching seemingly impossible places with ease.

Hunters help to cull what has become a national pest, and earn themselves a great trophy in return. Billy goats can have a horn spread of up to 45 inches and therefore make for a desirable addition to your hunting trophy collection.

Both male and female goats carry horns, with the female's' horns being more slender with an upward-backward curve and a visible space between the bases. Male goat horns are larger, with a backwards and upwards, or upward-outward open spiral sweep and they may touch at the base. The goat carries its horns for life.

Approximately the same size as a sheep, a feral goat is slightly more slender. Male goats are larger, with larger horns, shaggier coats and heavier forequarters.

Social animals, goats live in mixed groups of male and female animals of various ages, eating a wide range of plant materials. They would eat early in the morning and late afternoon during summer, and rest and ruminate during the day. During winter, they will eat throughout the day.

While feral goats are widespread throughout New Zealand trophy billies are hard to find and are an exciting addition to any hunt.


Goat Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Capra hircus
Male Height: 70 cm
Male Weight: 50-60 kg
Color: White, Black, Brown or mixed
Length: Up to 1.5 m


Hunting Considerations

Goat hunting is particularly successful in winter, when the mating season has ended, and the males are still grouped with the females. During winter, their coats are more lush, and the damp conditions slow them down.

Goats are very inquisitive and because they are slower moving than deer, they are also easier to hunt. When they hear the first shot, they may stand around, trying to figure out where the sound came from. However, goats that have become used to hunting, will run off in single file. A whistle or shout will probably cause them to stop.

In open country, stalk upwind, because goats do have a good sense of smell and eyesight. Likewise, male goats emit a pungent smell, which you can use as an indicator of the presence of a goat.

The .308 Winchester with a sturdy bullet and a .260 Remington are both good choices for goat hunting, but your professional hunter is best placed to advise on specifics that suit your experience levels.

Shot Placement

Goats frequently butt heads, and their heads are hard. The between-the-eyes shot is therefore not as effective as one might imagine. A better shot would be placed behind the head and at an angle toward the lower jaw.

The double-shoulder shot (entering one shoulder and exiting from the other) is most effective in putting the goat down instantly. A heart or lung position will be a good choice for a follow-up shot.


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