A Place For Trophy Stags and Fallow Deer


Published: October - 2005

Red stag and the black fallow buck are two of the most sought after deer species in New Zealand. But unless you hunt a fenced enclosure, it can be difficult to find both species in one location. I say that as a life-long Kiwi who has spent a lot of time outdoors.

The good news is, a place that has both red stag and fallow has just become more accessible to overseas hunters. And, get this, the area also has a huntable population of chamois. The property in question is Mount Nicholas sheep and cattle station. This is a 100,000-acre private ranch where one outfitter has exclusive access to the free-range hunting of red stags, fallow deer and chamois bucks. The company is called Southern Hunting Safaris, and the owner/guide is Scott Thomson.

Mount Nicholas is in the South Island province of Southland, on the shores of picturesque Lake Wakitipu. Across the lake lies Queenstown, New Zealand's premier tourist town and home to a national airport. Hunters visiting Mount Nicholas fly into Christchurch International Airport, and then fly down to Queenstown where Thomson meets them.

A 40-minute cruise across Lake Wakitipu on the tourist steamer Earnslaw plucks hunters out of suburbia and transports them to a remote and beautiful alpine scenery where the hunting occurs. A trip from Queenstown by road would take over three hours. Mount Nicholas Station is a well run pastoral ranch with farm buildings tucked neatly in a sheltered lake bay. The hunting is right on the station's doorstep.

The two free-range deer herds at Mount Nicholas both originate from some of New Zealand's best quality ancestral herds. The red deer are descendents of a Scottish breed, and the Otago vegetation contributes to their trophy quality. This herd is unique for the symmetry and lyre shape of the heads it produces. It is possible to secure trophy stags in the 10- to 16-point range. The center of their range is flat-topped Mount Nicholas itself, and one particular face that rises from an alpine lake holds over........(continued)

 
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