The cull of tahr in the Southern Alps will be unlikely before February after the death of two experienced hunters.

The operation has been on hold since Department of Conservation workers Scott Theobald and Paul Hondelink died in a helicopter crash in Wanaka last month.

Doc lead operations director for tahr control Andy Roberts said no new date had been set for the operation, but it would be unlikely before February.

Numbers of tahr would continue to increase while the operation was on hold, he said.


"Doc is still planning to reduce the population by 10,000 before 31 August 2019 as part of Doc's Tahr Control Operational Plan."

Read more: DOC cancels balloted tahr hunting

The hunters were among the department's most experienced shooters for wild animal control operations.

"Doc's focus since the tragic helicopter accident has been on supporting the families and colleagues of the two rangers.

"This has included working closely with the families on the arrangements for their funerals, held last week in Wanaka, Aoraki/Mt Cook and in Whangarei."