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The Poronui ‘big four’
– Hunting Experiences

Clients come to Poronui for a number of very compelling reasons. For hunters, a major reason is the quality of the ‘big four’ trophies they will encounter.

Number one: red stag

A trophy red deer stag is the first, and most important, target for many visiting hunters. The word is already out there that Poronui stags are top shelf, visually stunning, and will provide a challenging quarry to hunt. This deer species is in the heavyweight deer category in respect to body and antler size. Unlike other deer species such as sika, red stag antlers vary greatly in characteristics. Hunters will have access to drop-tine, wide, long, heavy, and multi-tine individuals who ooze individuality and aggressive presence.

Poronui stags of SCI360 are a fantastic trophy, and for hunters wanting to push for the biggest, stags over 700 inches are possible at Poronui.

The main rut starts in mid- to late-March and peaks in early to mid-April. The rut period is aptly known in New Zealand as ‘the roar’.

Number two: sika stag

Poronui was the location of the first successful introduction of sika to New Zealand. This historical fact means Poronui is seen as the heritage home of New Zealand sika. The animals released had mixed-Asian ancestry, but whether Chinese or Japanese in appearance, the antlers are excellent. Typically symmetrical, sika heads are very attractive on the eye.
They are the most numerous deer species on Poronui (particularly the free-range herd), and shooting a top-shelf trophy is very attainable because of the number of opportunities that will occur. Most stags are shot within free-range areas where forest fringes farmland. Cutover forest faces and gullies also attract deer out of the forest. They are a feisty deer, provide an extremely challenging hunt, and exude character. The months of April and into May is their main rut period. They like hiding out in the bush and scrub, and Poronui’s “Stag Gully” is one such place.

Number three: fallow buck

Over the decade I have been visiting Poronui, this deer species is the one that has had the biggest growth spurt within the estate. They love the cutover hill faces and have made these areas their primary habitat of choice. Of Danish stock, noted for attractive trophy heads, the primary color of spotted chestnut is common, though occasional black, or grey bucks also occur. Numbers at Poronui are such that the herd operates much like a free-range herd, and hunting opportunities are numerous, especially during the rut. Last year the rut started in early April, but usually it begins in mid- to late-April for a period of about six weeks.

Number four: rusa

Rusa were introduced to New Zealand from New Caledonia, and some of these ancestors were released onto the Poronui estate. Acclimatization was initially slow due to the different climate, but once the herd became fully established and numbers grew quickly. The stags rut in New Zealand’s winter, peaking in late July and August, a time when the other three deer species are hunkered down saving energy. Respectable trophy heads are readily available, and winter is a time when the normally shy stags are out in the open. Poronui rusa stags are solid animals and many more would be harvested if they were rutting at the same time as the rest of the big four. Hunters thinking about a winter hunt need to remember that the other deer species have not cast their antlers when rusa are rutting so can be hunted at the same time.


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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