Few hunters can pass up the opportunity to hunt the great red stag New Zealand can offer. Possibly the greatest draw is the country itself, with its wild, beautiful countryside, capricious climate, and unique blend of flora and fauna. The long hunting season, taking place at opposite times from Northern Hemisphere seasons, also makes it a great choice for American and European sportsmen looking for a good hunt during their homeland’s off season.
Red deer are an introduced species in New Zealand. They were originally brought over from England and Scotland in the 1850s and released on the South Island. As they’ve proven time and time again in other areas they’ve been introduced to, these deer are exceptional at adapting to a new habitat, and their population—and individual size—grew rapidly. Some of the greatest trophy stags ever taken were bagged by early hunters at the turn of the 20th century.
Sadly, their population grew so quickly that they were soon considered a pest and a threat to native species, and the government ordered a culling of red deer, eventually killing more than a million of them. There were—and still are—also incredibly loose restrictions on stag hunting New Zealand, which resulted in only a limited number of true trophy stags being left in the wild.
Today, the best hunting opportunities for hunting red stag New Zealand has are on estates, where extensive fair-chase hunting can be done. The antlers of deer on estates often range from 300 to 700 SCI points. There are also plentiful opportunities for free-range hunting; these hunts generally yield trophies up to 300 inches.
The season for stag hunting New Zealand’s wild or managed red deer populations lasts from mid-February to mid-August. The best hunting is done during “roar” or rut, which generally lasts from mid-March through the end of April.
Our outfitters offer both free-range hunting and fair chase estate hunting. In general, estate hunting is more highly recommended: the estates are extremely large and the animals have all the advantages of their wild cousins, making for just as challenging a hunt as pursuing them in the wild. The terrain generally isn’t as rough, so this is certainly a better choice for people who are less physically fit, but it can still be very demanding. Finally, the deer are selectively bred to provide the largest antlers possible and protected from the scantily-regulated hunting on public grounds, so you’ll almost certainly get a much better trophy.
Free-range hunting is done on land with no high fences that would restrict the movement of deer, meaning that the population is less controlled and antler quality is usually lower. This is a good choice for hunters who feel that the only true hunt is one without barriers.
The best time to hunt red stag is undoubtedly when they’re in roar: this makes the deer more aggressive and less timid, and they’ll come in close to inspect a call. This results in close-quarters shots, often at less than a hundred yards, and bow hunters can often close the distance to thirty or less. Keep in mind that these are large deer, often weighing as much as 500 pounds, and it can take a lot to bring them down. Take advantage of the close range to land as lethal a shot as possible.
If you’d like to hunt the red stag New Zealand has waiting for you, call Global Sporting Safaris at 888-850-4868, Extension 702 or click one of the active links and let us know what type of experience you’d like to have. We’ll send you information on opportunities that match your goals. Our experienced outfitters are second to none and we’re happy to share personal experiences with you.