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Stunning Sika Deer: The Most Eye-Catching Deer in NZ
– Hunting Experiences

New Zealand sika are an eye-catching and charismatic deer species. They are arguably this country’s most cunning big game quarry and hunters need to bring their A-Game if they want to be successful. They are wary, elusive, inquisitive, fearless and also beautiful.

Spotted Sika Deer. Poronui Hunting

Types of Sika Deer

Their mixed Asian ancestry from Woburn Abbey (England to Poronui: 1905) means that each individual seen on the hill today is quite unique.  This mixture of genes can result in discernible differences between individuals, particularly in terms of colour. On Poronui, sika fall into two broad categories and then within each category there are more subtle variations.
Colouration varies from orange/chestnut to dark grey and spotting ranges from prominent white spots to faded or obscure spotting.

Plain Sika Hind. In the Grasslands. Poronui Hunting.

Spotted sika observed in the open in summer and early fall are the rock stars for the species and have the wow factor when highlighted by sunlight. In a word; they are ‘stunning’.

Image of a simple Deer Stag in the grass. Poronui Hunting.

The Sika Are Social Creatures

Over winter, the stags are back in their bachelor groups, which they stay in until the next rut. It is interesting that not many mobs I observed are a mixture of plain and spotted stags. The grey/black ones seemed to hang out together in the trees, and the spotted ones grazed high up in the open. Go figure is my thought.

Super Spotted Deer Hind. Poronui Hunting.

The Rare Black Sika Deer

Some animals have rare colour traits as well. I once spotted a near-black sika stag; several hinds have whitish bibs under their chins and some of the spotted hinds are super spotted.

Near Black Sika Stag. Poronui Hunting

An Ambassador For Poronui

The colour is just part of the package that makes sika such a great ambassador for Poronui. They inhabit the whole property and are often seen when non-hunting guests are horse-riding, hiking, photographing, mountain biking and fishing. They are vocal, very gregarious and happy to live close to the accommodation, and are often seen on the roads early and late in the day.

Spotted Sika Stag. Ready to be hunted. Poronui Hunting.

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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