New Zealand Fallow Deer – My First Big Game Hunt

Since I skipped a year of college I talked my parents into letting me take a year off, finish my CPA exam, and spend a few months traveling.  That’s when I booked myself a 2 ½ month trip Down Under.  My last week there, I called my parents up and told them I wasn’t ready to come home and decided to stay another 3 months with no particular plans!

I already spent 2 weeks in the South Island of New Zealand, but I wanted to travel back to explore the North Island, and ended up booking a 2 day hunt. When my guide picked me up in Christchurch, he looked a little confused….”Just you?”

“Yup, just me!”

Takes me out in the field for target practice and ask if I ever shot a rifle before.


I could see the look on his face wondering why I was there. ” Ok then, see that ‘X’ on the target 100 yards away, aim at the ‘X’.”

I shoot, look up at him, and ask, “How’d I do?”  He takes his eyes away from his binoculars and says shoot again just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

I shoot again, and look up at him.  He says, “Yup, exactly the same spot, you can definitely kill a deer, let’s go!”

Is this really happening?

I didn’t know what to expect; it was my first hunt and everything was so exciting. Besides the breathtaking scenery, the whole experience was so surreal.

Hunting New Zealand simply described: hiking the rough terrain, a rifle strapped to my back, heart pounding, and hands grasping at everything possible to avoid plunging off the mountainside as the rocks below my feet began to slide. It was hard to catch my breath in the thin mountain air, but I kept my eyes on the herd of fallow deer prancing in the valley far below.

Trying not to fall off the side of the mountain

The excitement of the stalk eclipsed my fear but daylight was fading. I spotted MY fallow deer, uphill, about 140 yards, mostly hidden behind some brush.  There were other deer out in the open, but they weren’t MY deer.  I waited anxiously.  More than twenty minutes elapsed, my leg asleep, rifle perched on shooting sticks, the sun setting deeper in the sky, but my determination did not weaken.

Finally, movement! My guide whispered, “You see her, her kill zone is barely peeking through the bushes. Shoot when ready.”

Then everything went silent. I zoned in, and when I felt it, I mean really felt it, without thinking my finger pulled the trigger.  I slowly lifted my head from my sight just in time to watch her drop, and it shook every nerve in my body.  “You got her! Great shot!”

My Fallow Deer

My first kill, perfect shot!  I will never forget that feeling! I was hooked! I just found my true passion in life!!

About the Author

Larysa Switlyk

Larysa Switlyk

Larysa Switlyk is from Sarasota, Florida. Her goals include following her passion for the outdoors, learning as much as possible about hunting and fishing, stressing the importance of regulations, becoming a role model to both men and women, and encouraging women to get more involved in outdoor sports.