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Fabio: a stag with attitude and panache
– Hunting Experiences

Fabio, the man, is Italian American Fabio Lanzoni, an actor who based his visual appeal around long, flowing, blonde hair, muscles, a square jaw, and obvious sex appeal. It worked well for him during his career, and when I spotted a big red stag strutting his stuff on a Poronui cutover hill face, I had no hesitation in naming him the Fabio of the deer world.

Firstly, like Fabio the man, he was big. The actor had a 56-inch chest and the stag was a gold-medal stag sporting multiple tines, heavy beams, and great width and height. His antlers stood out from his peers in the vicinity, and he was also a muscular, solid animal in bulk. His swollen neck was getting a top workout lugging his weapons around.

Secondly, the boss stag’s swagger and male dominance had already attracted a handful of hinds. His harem knew who the top male in the area was. He was worked up when I first saw him, roaring at some faraway rival. He stormed up the hill to have a piece of the opposition and only came back when he saw satellite stags moving in on his hinds. They quickly melted away as he grunted his frustration.

Thirdly, he had his own way of attracting the opposite sex. He carried himself with panache, a word that means ‘a flamboyant confidence of style or manner’. The man had a mop of long, straight, blonde hair, which he flicked regularly back over his shoulder, while the stag had ripped up the ground and bushes, which left grass, shrubs, and branches adorning his antlers. He hid under his ‘mane’ as he roared and walked. He was carrying so much vegetation on his head he could hardly see. At best, only one eye had a clear view as he patrolled his territory.

Before Fabio the stag, I had never seen a red stag deliberately wear vegetation in this way, though I have seen some reds get tangled up in vines and fences by mistake. Rusa deer spring to mind as the deer species that really does love wearing stuff, and, while hunting in New Caledonia, I was amazed at the amount of sticks and grass they wrapped their heads in. They are the fashion experts of the deer world, but Fabio the Poronui red stag is right up there.

I left him to his catwalk efforts and, I have to admit, he had all the right moves.

Greg Morton
One of New Zealand’s longest hunting/fishing profile journalists. Outdoors writer since 1987. Past positions include New Zealand correspondent for The Hunting Report; The Bird Hunting Report, and The Angling Report, and writing a regular hunting article for New Zealand Outdoor for 30 years. Presently writes a monthly article named Fair Chase for New Zealand Fishing News and a hunting blog for Poronui, while continuing his passion for hunting, fishing, and wildlife photography. Lives in Alexandra, Central Otago.


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