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North Basin: Prime Rusa and Red Stag Habitat
– Hunting Experiences

The Poronui Hunting Estate is 3,000 acres of diverse big game habitat. In shape it resembles a long, wide rectangle with a ridge of hills separating the northern from the southern end. Deer species have spread out over the entirety of the landscape. During winter rusa stags and trophy red stag bachelor groups have a particular liking for the northern basin.

Prime rusa and red stag habitat

North Basin Terrain 

The basin is shaped like a deep bowl with numerous folds and creases wrinkling the rolling hill faces. It has steep hills at the back boundary called The Pinnacles and from near here a medium sized stream flows down to the distant river flats. On the far side of the main hill is a hidden gully and small creek which is full of tall native trees. On the eastern side is an extensive gum tree plantation which is well tracked and provides hunter access to the area. The basin itself was once forest but was logged decades ago and is now a mix of grass clearings, scrub, decaying logs, and regenerating native trees. In short the area provides ample cover, water, food and warmth and deer of all species are drawn here like iron to a magnet.

North basin terrain landscape in Poronui

Rusa Stag Hotspot

In July each year the rusa stag rut begins to crank up reaching its peak in mid-August. The North Basin environs is the prime spot for hunters seeking a rusa trophy. The bottom end of the basin in particular is an intersection point for North Basin stream and the stream and the ridges running down to the river flats here are where stags set up their individual territories and growl their calls to hinds and each other. In August it is not uncommon on a cold morning to hear up to three stags giving lazy roars in this area named Tin Hut. Virtually unseen at other times of the year rusa stags are suddenly visible and vulnerable to hunters. Guides target sunny clearings and open ridges where stags like to bed and seek hinds. Spot and stalk and ambush tactics work well at this time of year.


Red Stag Bachelor Group

Red stags also find North Basin the perfect place to hang out. They join up with up to five or six same age herd mates and preserve energy during the colder months of winter. North Basin is sheltered, and some of the hill faces regularly experience sun. There is plenty of cover, either in the gums, the scrub faces or in the native tree gully. Under the native trees, gums and shrubs there are always pockets of grass, and the stream and creek provides plenty of water. The Pinnacles is always very popular with red stags and hunters are virtually certain of locating stags in this vicinity. By climbing the hills  there is also the very real possibility of finding the largest stags hiding in the native tree gully behind it. Hunters that find a mob of trophy stags can select the biggest or their wish list stag from those who appear in front of them. Spot and stalk is the main hunting tactic used.

Red stag bachelor group

Greg Morton
Previously New Zealand correspondent for USA based publications The Hunting Report; The Bird Hunting Report and The Angling Report, Presently writes a monthly article named Fair Chase for New Zealand Fishing News and a hunting blog for Poronui.
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