These Free-Range Trophy Hunts Are A Real Find


Published: October - 2002

Anyone who has been to Australia knows just about everything there is big. The land itself, for example, as well as the size of individual farms, particularly in what is called The Outback. The place I want to tell you about this month in not in The Outback, but it still fits into that pattern of bigness. It's a million-acre, unfenced farm in South Australia that is packed with all sorts of game, including buffalo and various species of deer. The farm is so big that clients hunting here can only scratch the surface of its potential in a single visit. Sightings of more than 1,000 deer a day are common here.

I learned about this place from Brendon Matthews of Trophy Hunting Safaris New Zealand. He is one of a handful of outfitters allowed to operate hunts here, and he says that hunters driving through this region will see good populations of chital (axis) deer, fallow deer, red deer, sambar, water buffalo, small game and various native Australian animals. An estimate of the total mixed game population on this property was once put at 16,000 animals. Furthermore, the chital (or axis), fallow, red and sambar deer are world class.

Just this year, clients shot several trophy chital here measuring 32-inches. These are quite solitary animals, extremely cunning, running in mobs (or herds) numbering 10 to 15 animals. Their spotted coats, as well as their antlers, make them a highly-prized trophy. As for the fallow bucks here, they are among the best in Oceania. A pick-up found by the landowner had an SCI score of 270, which would make it the new No. 1 by a large margin. Many of the fallow deer here run in mobs as large as 100 animals and tend to be multi-colored. The red stags are also a match for any free-range red deer found in New Zealand, and are one of the most numerous animals.

While this hunting property is primarily a working farm, the landowner allows a limited number of guides to target the resident game........(continued)

 
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