Mature bulls measure up to just over one metre at shoulder height and over 70kg, exceptionally up to 136kg. Mature adult females seldom weigh more than 36kg.
In winter bull tahr have a much prized, thick, reddish to dark brown pelt, with a lighter mane and dark stripe on the back. Females are usually lighter in colour. In spring, tahr shed much of their coat and it becomes lighter in colour.
Both sexes have horns but bulls grow much larger horns. The horns nearly touch at the base, curve and diverge backwards and converge again at the tips. Tahr horns are measured from base to tip along the outside of the curve, and good specimens range up to 36cm long.
Rifle and calibre
Tahr are large bodied animals with heavy coats of long hair and often difficult to approach closely. They require a flat-trajectory calibre with high striking energy such as a .308, .270, .30-06 or larger. Take care to allow for the length of the ridge and mane hair when placing the shot. Bull tahr can be difficult to put down once disturbed or if shot placement is not perfect, so be prepared for a quick follow-up shot to ensure a clean kill.
49 6/8 Douglas Score, first equal for bulls taken by Thomas Felts at Karangarua Valley, South Westland in 2012 and G. D. O’Rourke, Erewhon Station in 1987.
Historically 12 inches on the shortest horn, but in recent years 13 inches has become the benchmark.
Record Book Qualification
40 Douglas Score or 13 inches in length on the shortest horn.
Every year DOC offers a wilderness tahr ballot