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Poronui Hunting — 2023 and Beyond
– Hunting Experiences

Spring has arrived here in New Zealand, and Poronui staff are preparing for the next hunting season and beyond. The overseas travel gates are open, the ‘welcome back’ sign is out, and game populations are the highest they have ever been. Trophy quality is also outstanding as many top animals are now three years older due to the past Covid restrictions that impacted overseas hunter travel.

Stags are in growth mode

September, in New Zealand, is all about renewal. Winter is over, new grass begins to poke through, and, for stags and bucks, it is the time to replenish lost body reserves and start building new eye-catching antlers. Hanging out with mates, eating well, growing velvet, and putting on weight will take precedence for several months until mid-March when the priority turns to reproduction. During the rut, vocalisation, raging testosterone, fighting, and dominance will take centre stage over food.

Hunting Demand is High

Right now, North American and European hunters will have their main focus as stalking their own rutting species. However, this year, more than any other, it is important for overseas hunters wanting to hunt Poronui to be well organised and book their hunt to New Zealand well in advance. Many postponed and repeat hunters have already done so as they realise hunting demand will be high since overseas travel has ramped up. This booking advice also applies to 2023 and beyond.

Big-Game Photography

The hunting estate is ideally suited to both rifle and archery hunting, and offers numerous big-game photography opportunities. The Cast and Blast package, which combines hunting and brown and rainbow fly-fishing, is also very popular.

Poronui Big-Game Facts

  • The main red stag rut begins in mid-March and the hunting season ends when antlers are dropped throughout the month of August and early September. Older animals shed first.
  • Red stags are in the last stages of antler stripping in late February. Some stags and fallow bucks have hard antler under the drying velvet and can be hunted then.
  • Fallow bucks and sika stags begin rutting in early-April and hunting for them continues until they drop antlers in late August / early September. Fallow bucks are particularly aggressive fighters, so seeking an early March buck trophy prior to the main rut can assist in securing pristine antlers.
  • Rusa stags are hunted in July and August. Other deer species still have hard antlers then, and rams and goats are also available.
  • Sika stags begin appearing on forest/farmland fringes in early to mid-March. Some are still in late velvet. Hunting the farm fringes, bush blocks, forests, and swampland is possible until antlers are dropped in late winter.
  • Free-range sika stags are feeding in bachelor groups in winter and capes are quite stunning. Those living in bush have dark capes, and those high on open faces are more likely to display Manchurian marking.
  • Arapawa rams and South Pacific billy goats may be hunted all year.
  • Statistics show that red stag is the number one priority for hunters, with sika stag second and fallow buck third. Numerous hunting packages are available.

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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