Black Fallow Property Opens To Hunting


Published: September - 2004

Fallow deer are one of the world's most common deer species, but the free-range New Zealand herd of fallow I am going to tell you about is unique. The animals are nearly all black and a high proportion of them are magnificent bucks. Today, the fallow deer most commonly found in enclosures are white, but historically the color most associated with wild New Zealand fallow deer is black.

Introduced to New Zealand in 1864, there are several separate fallow deer herds spread throughout both islands, but quality is variable. The black herds with the best trophy potential have always been on the South Island: the Blue Mountain herd of Otago; and the Greenstone Valley herd of Southland. Hunting pressure there has always been extreme, but on one or two very exclusive private properties, protected herds of animals have built up. One property in particular is outstanding. For 50 years the owner of this property kept all hunters out, and it would be fair to say that his trespass signs meant it when they said, "Enter at your own risk." Few dared. The outstanding hunting potential was whispered about but unseen and largely unknown.

A change in policy has now seen this amazing fallow deer paradise open to local and international hunters. The outfitter who has acquired exclusive permission to operate there is Gerald Telford of Fishing and Hunting Services in Wanaka, Otago. It is a huge bonus for his company and a reflection of the property owner's confidence in Telford's ability to manage the herd correctly.

The deer are descended from the Blue Mountain stock of Otago, which makes their pedigree the best in New Zealand. I visited the property in April of this year, and was absolutely blown away by what I saw. On 5,000 acres of native tussock and scrubland, in the heart of rich agricultural country, this property would bring a grin to any free-range hunter's face. Deer, deer and more deer! I knew it was special when we stalked up on one main rutting pad and were confronted by 15 trophy........(continued)

 
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