Welcome to Track and Trail Safaris, at the end of every hunting year we look at how we can best maximise the hunting opportunities for our hunters and maintain and achieve the very best in personal and professional Safaris for our clients.
Our aim is to give you a genuine honest New Zealand hunting adventure along with great New Zealand food and hospitality.
We want you to leave us and New Zealand satisfied that we have met your expectations and much, much more.
With Chris’s two decade’s of guiding experience around the South Pacific, he would have to be one of the most experienced and passionate professional all round hunting guides in the South pacific.
Chris as your guide has worked hard to maintain his professional standard by holding a National Certificate in Firearms Safety and Appreciation and also holding a National Certificate in Bush Safety and Appreciation and an up-to-date knowledge of comprehensive First Aid for your safety.
As a husband and wife team we draw from knowledge and experience we have gained from many of our own international safari, experiences from around the world including Alaska, Africa, Mongolia, Argentina and others.
With our first hand knowledge we pride our self in to providing a first class guide and outfitter experience along with a fun filled safari for all that have made the journey to us .
Hunt with us in what would have to be, one of the most beautiful pieces of New Zealand country side there is to see in the South Island Experience spectacular views, and reward yourself with, great achievements as you climb and hunt on some of the very best private Tahr & Red Stag hunting country to be found in the world.
"Track & Trail Safaris" offers one of the most challenging affordable free range foot hunts for a mountain game animal in the world.
Experience what has become known as “The Famous Chris Bilkey Tahr hunt”, Fair Chase, Free range; Tahr hunted on foot on our privately managed property.
Meet the challenge, hunters class this as one of the most rewarding foot hunts you can do in the world today.
While hunting with "Track & Trail Safaris” you will experience true New Zealand hospitality in a lovely home environment with totally one on one attention.
Join us at the days end in front of a warm fire for a heads up on the days events and be prepared to enjoy some garden fresh home made food with a theme on New Zealand cuisine and anything else you may like prepared by your host a chef at heart with 20 years experience in the hospitality industry.
Unwind in your own private bed room & bathroom, “Track & Trail Safaris” is well placed for the non hunter weather it is to step out our back door and wander in some of the most beautiful well established bird sanctuaries, natural bush and flora river walks, all with in 10 minutes walking distance to the beautiful setting of the Geraldine village which offers many interesting shops and cafes to the visitor of New Zealand.
We look forward to seeing you soon to share our part of the world and becoming one of our ever growing hunting family.
Chris & Peg Bilkey
Your Hosts & Guide - Chris & Peg Bilkey
Pukeko House - Geraldine, New Zealand
A Successful Free-Range Tahr hunt for a Wheelchair Hunter - By Tim Jones, Editor
The Hunting Report
Editor's Note: When we received a hunt report (10141) from subscriber Jon Miller on his free-range tahr hunt in New Zealand, we sat up and took notice for a couple of reasons. First, this is the fourth very positive report we've received on Track and Trail Safaris (www.chrisbilkey.co.nz; firstname.lastname@example.org; 011-64-3-693-7123), but the first we've heard of him since 2010. All of the previous reports (7713, 6012 and 6731) were entirely positive and all included some mention of tahr hunting. However, what caught our attention was Miller's casual mention that he hunted free-range tahr even though he is a wheelchair hunter. To be certain, Miller is an experienced international hunter with four trips to Africa and this was his second trip to New Zealand, but because tahr are noted for living in steep terrain, we just had to ask a few questions. Here's what Miller told us:
"I met Track and Trail Safaris owner/guide Chris Bilkey at the SCI Convention years ago, and my daughter and I have hunted red stag with him before. We were both successful. We have been discussing a free-range tahr hunt with Chris ever since. I'm not the first wheelchair hunter Chris has taken and I really admire his willingness to accept the challenges inherent in this tahr hunt.
"Getting to Chris's hunting area was no problem. I traveled to the South Island of New Zealand with my friend Darin Hedley from Alberta, who was hunting red stag, and Gary Arndt who came along as an observer. Chris picked us up at Christchuch Airport and drove us to his home in the village of Geraldine. His home is easy for a wheelchair with wide doors and large bathrooms. His wife Peg does all the cooking for the hunters and there really aren't words to describe how good a cook she is.
"As for the actual hunting, we would leave early each morning and head south to a large valley where Chris keeps his Polaris side-by-side UTV. We would transfer to it and head into the side canyons on trails and old roads.
"The first morning we saw tahr a few times, but there was no way to get me in range.
After one of Peg's great lunches in a small cabin we headed out for the afternoon. The wind was coming up when Chris saw a stag that Darin was interested in bedded under a bluff. It was a long hard stalk but they got to about 100 yards and Darin had his stag. I was in a position to see the whole stalk and shot happen. I also saw a bachelor group of tahr on a bluff half a mile away and we decided to try for them the next morning, hoping they would come down lower during the night.
"Back to Chris and Peg's that evening for one of Peg's fabulous dinners. Then, back to the valley in the morning and the tahr had come lower during the night. We watched them and Chris came up with a plan to get close enough for a shot. So up an open ridge we went in the Polaris. As the tahr started to get nervous he found a flat spot and turned to position me. He set me up with a good rest and ranged the tahr at 325 yards. I shot and the bull dropped and rolled halfway to us.
"I call Chris 'the tahr whisperer.' This hunt couldn't be done without his thorough knowledge of the animals and the land or his willingness to take a wheelchair hunter on one of the most difficult hunts in the world. That and a little hunter's luck (and the ability to shoot at long ranges) is all it took. Hunters must practice long-range shots - 300-plus yards - as he can only get you so close."
Postscript: Bilkey's website describes several hunts he offers, including free-range tahr and chamois. In a follow-up email he reported that chamois are hunted in a different area because "too many tahr push the chamois out." Bilkey also offers red stag and fallow deer on their "fair chase" managed game estate and goat, elk and rams are also available. Daily rates run $550US per day 1x1 or $400US per day 2x1 and include reception at the airport, transportation while on the hunt, all meals and accommodations. Bilkey recommends five hunting days for tahr hunts, making it a seven-day itinerary (two half-days for transport plus five full hunting days). Bilkey also offers hunts for sambar on the North Island and 1x1 buffalo hunts in Australia.
We believe it speaks volumes about an outfitter to take on a challenge like this and we appreciate Miller's report on the hunt. We salute them both for this accomplishment. If you've hunted with Track and Trail Safaris recently, please file a report.