All About Chasing Deer Down Under


Published: April - 2006

If water buffalo and banteng are all you think Australia has to offer, think again. This island continent also has seven species of deer, a number of which can be hunted outside of game farms in some truly wild habitat. John Clark's Coralsea Safaris specializes in free-range deer hunts in Australia and New Caledonia. Clark is based in Victoria in southeast Australia, where he targets hog deer and sambar. He also hunts free-range axis further north in central Queensland. And for big Java rusa, Clark crosses the Coral Sea where he has locked up a number of large properties in New Caledonia.

While all of these species were introduced to this region, a number of them have established wild populations that thrive in various areas. Trophy hunts for these species are possible, as witness the 14½-inch hog deer that one of Clark's clients took just last season. He didn't have a score for the deer, but a quick look at the Safari Club record book indicates that a hog deer with that kind of length should score quite well.

Hog deer in Australia are found only in southeastern Victoria and are the only wild population of this species outside the Asian mainland and Sri Lanka. They were introduced from India in 1858 and are a challenging game species because they are exceedingly alert and wary. They are found in the coastal fringes where farmlands meet swamps and river flats. They spend their time in thick grass and scrub, and because they are small, standing only 24 to 29 inches at the shoulder, they can be difficult to spot and make challenging targets. Their antler configuration typically features three points to a side, with a short brow tine forming a fork with the main beam. Hog deer are usually found feeding along edges of swamps and will readily take to the water.

Clark conducts his hunts for this species from elevated blinds and by spotting and stalking the forest edges to intercept deer coming out of the bulrushes to feed. He says this hunt........(continued)

 
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