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Rusa – The Winter Trophy!
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The secretive Rusa would be the most neglected of the New Zealand deer species. In part, this results from the habitat that the free-range population occupies. The steep, scrub-covered slopes around Galatea (in the Whakatane district in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand) very effectively hide Rusa away from all but the keenest and most persistent hunters.


The other contributing factor is that their biological clock is programmed differently from Red, Fallow and Sika deer. Rather than rut in the autumn, Rusa are still in velvet at that time. It’s well in to winter before the stags start to rut and by this time many hunters have used up their holidays or are just staying closer to the fire! It’s actually the winter cold that helps target this species. Rusa don’t like the cold at all, they are an Asian species and their small body size makes them vulnerable to cold. The best time to hunt them is after a good (or bad depending on how you view them!) frost. After a ripping frost, expect every Rusa to be out in a clearing, soaking up every ray of sunshine that is available.

Poronui is home to a thriving Rusa population which has great trophy potential. The warm mānuka faces are an ideal habitat. The frequent clearings and edges are a magnet to feeding deer, providing a perfect opportunity for hunters to glass from a distance before stalking to a suitable shooting location. Rusa aren’t huge animals but it is sometimes necessary to take longer shots if they are feeding on the edge of open country. A flat shooting calibre like the 7mm or 300 magnum is ideal, particularly if a Red stag is also part of the plan. July and early August are perfect months for a Rusa hunt, just remember to bring some warm clothing!

Interested in hunting Rusa at Poronui? Design your dream hunting package here> 

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