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Bring On The Sika Rut
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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

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