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Bring On The Sika Rut

The best way to secure a Sika Trophy is to have it come to you. Alternatively, good lookout spots where a well sighted in ‘long shot’ rifle can do the job from afar.

Clearing of exotic forest at Poronui in recent years has given rise to a bright new environment for Sika Hunting. It’s also provided new roads that weave their way into the interior where sika deer were once inaccessible for hunters. It is a great year to book a hunt.

Along with landscape change, there will also be changes in the ways Poronui hunting guides ply their trade in 2018. ‘Spot and stalk’ is still the prime way trophies will be secured, but ‘hide and snipe’ will also be in the toolbox where hunting tactics are implemented. The scarred earth left behind when the loggers left has already sprouted grass, and native Manuka has also been planted to attract bees. Sika being opportunistic, grass and scrubland feeders will be there or thereabouts in numbers when the rut starts.

Groups of female sika have made use of the new grassland for some time now, made such places their home, and come the peak of the rut (mid-April) those ‘girl’ areas will see the stags prowling the periphery or setting up territories nearby. The best way to secure a sika trophy is to have it come to you so I am sure Mark McGlashan and the other sika guides will have identified a few lookout spots where a well sighted in ‘long shot’ rifle can do the job from afar.

Quality wise, Poronui sika are at the top of the trophy tree, and clients can be assured of taking a good trophy, with a better than average chance of taking a great trophy. It’s all about genetics and nutrition. Original liberations introduced animals with Chinese and Japanese bloodlines so Poronui hunters will observe differences in pelage, antler characteristics and habitat preference. Personally, I love the big Chinese chestnut and spotted stags over the darker Japanese stags but both produce impressive antlers. Several big velvet stags have already been spotted over summer so it promises to be a vintage year for sika. A lot of sika hunting is free-range, but clients can also hunt sika inside the estate, where red stag, fallow buck and Rusa stag also roam.

Greg Morton

He’s Still Out There

As one year has just ended, hunters are now excitedly planning their 2018 adventures. Many thwarted stalkers will think back on the big one that eluded them, how another age ring will affect the quality of his antlers, and what strategy they can employ to aid success this time round.

In July of 2017 during a snowstorm I saw a super Poronui red stag, one of the best estate red stags I’ve seen for a while. Luckily for him all I carried was a camera. He also saw me so our meeting was brief, and after one stunning photograph which shows him battling the elements we bade each other adieu. Someone in 2018 has the opportunity to take him with a rifle or perhaps a bow as he is still out there! The linked photograph is a powerful incentive to be that person.

Red deer are New Zealand’s top international trophy drawcard and an antler conformation that particularly appeals to North American hunters is the dual matching drop-tine stag. My July stag is one such beast. North American clients that visit Poronui have often hunted elk in their homeland so the dipping back tines is something they are used to seeing in trophy animals and often the animal they try to harvest if possible.

Poronui has all types of red stag antlers from heavy to long, wide to rangy, multi-pointed to conventional, typical to non-typical and within the last bracket single or double drop tined animals. Big is the only common thread running through all the heads and with a quality breeding programme they are getting bigger each year. The drop tine animals are quite unique and not all that common. Being non-typical they do not appeal to everyone but having said that mature drop tine trophies are usually top of the list when hunters are selecting a red stag trophy.

This trophy has it all, even tines coming off the drop tines. I will watch Poronui’s photo gallery with interest in the months ahead to see if any clients find the ‘big boy’.

Greg Morton.


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