Free-range red stags of Glazebrook
– Glazebrook

Glazebrook Station, located at the head of the Waihopai Valley inland from the Marlborough town of Blenheim, is the South Island arm of the Poronui hunting operation. It is an alpine ranch, 25,000 acres in size, encompassing two long valleys, and dominated by steep, forest and scrub-covered mountains.

Free-range wild game available to hunters is plentiful and well-managed. Glazebrook is home to populations of wild goats, wild pigs, fallow bucks, and, the premier attraction, red deer stags. Most hunting clients hunt all four species while on-site, and Glazebrook guides can also provide bull tahr and chamois hunts on request.

The original red deer that arrived in the area were probably descendants of three animals liberated at Nelson in 1861 from Thorndon Hall stock, England. Thorndon Park reds produced neat, tidy heads, but trophies were quite light in weight. The local name for many of the smaller, original Marlborough red deer stags is ‘bush stags’.

Glazebook has bush stags, but it also has bigger stags with better trophy bloodlines linked to animals that infiltrated the region from new directions over the decades. The later arrivals are larger in body mass, and larger in antler.

The rut, which starts in mid- to late-March and continues throughout April, is bedlam at Glazebrook as the numerous, wandering bush stags appear in force from the forests and try and take hinds from the resident trophy stags. It is not uncommon to glass over 20 stags in a day during the peak of the rut. Hunting clients are advised to keep their powder dry for a while, enjoy the antics of the hopeful lightweights, let the smaller bush stags walk, and trust their guide to find one of the bigger stags on the property. Patience pays dividends at Glazebrook.

Spot and stalk is the main hunting tactic employed, as is roaring at prospective animals to bring them into an ambush location. Stalking sideways across hill faces to find deer, called sidling in New Zealand, is another common tactic, as a lot of the big stags are located midway up mountains, and hiding with hinds in terrain creases and guts on the forest or scrub faces. Being dropped off high up by vehicle, and having hunters stalk down to the valley floor is another ruse often employed to get the drop on wary deer-expecting hunters to hunt up not down.

One thing is certain at Glazebrook. You will see lots of deer: both reds and fallow. A trophy ‘bush’ red stag will have antlers from eight to 12 points, while the strong genetics trophy stags will have heavier antlers with 12 to 16 points. The post-rut period from May through to early winter is also a good time to target red stags.

Glazebrook is one of the top free-range red stag hunting destinations in New Zealand.

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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