Red Stag Hunting
Hunting Red Stag in New Zealand
The spine-tingling roar of the rutting red stag is exciting hunting at its best. A red stag's large size and huge antlers give him immense presence and make red stags the most sought after species for hunters visiting New Zealand.
Poronui offers some of the best red stag hunting available in New Zealand, with luxury sporting lodge accommodation and top class guides. In 2014 we took the SCI 600+ stag in the second image below, one of the best trophy red stags ever taken in Nw Zealand. We regularly guide hunters to take trophies over 400 SCI, and also provide free range red stag hunting at our South island property - Glazebrook.
Red Stag Hunting at Poronui
While the red stag can be hunted from mid February well into August “the roar”, typically mid March to mid April, is when it really happens. Stags fight aggressively over hinds, issuing charged vocal threats to any other animal that would dare enter their territory. This aggression often leads to their downfall as regular roaring, particularly morning and evening, signals their presence. A good imitation of a roar will often bring the stag crashing in. At times this behaviour surprises the hunter as much as the hunted, and many a stag escapes the close encounter.
There are always plenty of red deer available at Poronui, both free range and in the game estate. This gives hunters a great chance to see plenty of animals and look over a number of potential trophies. It also makes sure the roar is loud and action packed. Magnificent red deer trophies, some exceeding 400 SCI, are shot every year on Poronui.
Red Stag Hunting at Glazebrook
The high mountain valleys and the mixture and grass, scrub and beech forest are just made for red deer and for hunting! The areas of improved grasses ensure the animals are in great condition while there is simply nothing quite like stalking a roaring stag out in the tussock of a hanging valley.
The steep country ensures that all hunts are challenging. There is no such thing as an easy hunt on Glazebrook – all animals are earned! The steep open country also enables hunters to glass large amounts of terrain and to carefully select particular animals to stalk. Early season (late February/early March) is a great time to hunt as the stags will still be in groups feeding up for the rut. At this time it is possible to see large numbers of stags which can make it easier to track down a real trophy. After this the stags will spread out and head for the territories they will rut in. In the case of Glazebrook this is often several hundred metres above the valley floor typically on a scrub covered knob which offers a commanding view of anything approaching from below.
The rut starts to warm up by the middle of March and is usually in full roar by the third week. While the peak will be over by the end of the first week in April there is still activity through much of April. The fallow does start cycling in mid April for their rut which seems to keep the red stags interested!
In almost all cases it is advisable to look over animals from a distance before planning a route for the stalk. Depending on the terrain and location of the stag it can be possible to stalk up from the valley floor otherwise good 4WD tracks enable hunters to get high on the mountain. This enables the hunter to sidle around the slopes, listening and glassing for deer. Gaining height in this way is definitely less of a strain on the legs and makes it easier to stalk in on the stags.
Glazebrook free range red stags are typically large bodied animals in great condition. While good representative stags are available on the property the lack of trez tines on many stags, which is a feature of red deer in the north of the South Island, does limit their trophy potential. Good stags are 10-14 points with an antler length in the range 34-38 inches. Within the high fenced game estate it has been possible to improve the genetics of the herd and some truly magnificent trophies are available. These stags are a perfect match for the stunning high country terrain within the 3,000 acre estate.
The red deer (Cervus elaphus) is one of the largest antlered species of deer with an average trophy head of 12 points. They were introduced from prestigious English game parks and the wild herds of Scotland in the 1850's and have spread throughout New Zealand. Their roar or rut starts in late March and ends late April. This is a prime time to hunt red stags as they are vocal, roaring out challenges to other stags in the area. Fawning is from December to February.
Antlers are grown and cast annually by males from their second year. A typical mature red stag can have ≥12 points. In addition, the head of red deer is longer and more bony in appearance than sika deer. Their ears are pointed and can be longer than half the length of their head. Red deer tails are short (12-15 cm) and match the colour of their upper rump.
The summer coat of red deer is typically a reddish brown. Although red deer sometimes have a dorsal stripe, it is usually restricted to the neck and hip regions, and is rarely continuous.
The winter coat of red deer is usually of a brown or grey-brown with the throat and underside being light grey grading to creamy-white between the hind legs.
In contrast to the sika which has a clean looking white rump patch, red deer have a distinctly cream rump patch with no margin. It cannot be flared as in sika.
Red stags are normally silent, except during the roar when they have a low rumbling, gutteral bellow - usually terminated with several grunts. Both sexes give a gruff bark when they sense danger and hinds use a bleating call to maintain contact with their calves.
During the rut,red stags will roar periodically, especially in the early morning and evening. Red deer make use of wallows, both during the roar and at other times of the year. The covering of mud accentuates the smell of a rutting stag and can give the deer a larger, darker appearance.
There are two times of the year when hunting red deer is easier. The first is in Spring when during November and December red deer are attracted out of the forest to feed on the flush of grass and shrub growth. If you just want to bag a deer for the table, Spring is the time. The second is the breeding season in April, (known as the roar) when stags become vocal.
To claim your own trophy red stag, contact us by email
or call John on +64-21-919 931.