New Zealand Free-Range Property Opens For Trophy Fallow Deer Hunting


Published: July - 2009

Over the last decade in New Zealand a number of developing properties have fostered quality fallow deer populations that hunting outfitters have discovered and opened to the market. The latest new trophy herd to appear is in the South Island province of Otago, inland from the city of Dunedin.

Hunters will love this property, as the herd inhabits wide-open terrain, without forests or scrub, making for long-distance spotting opportunities, followed by foot-stalking adventures. The most dominant landscape features are sculptured rock tors, with thyme herb bushes and rosehip briars the main vegetation. The scenery is stunning, including flat plateaus, a deep river valley, numerous gullies and undulating hills against a backdrop of striking mountains.

Deer numbers on this property are excellent and this creates an exciting rutting period with numerous trophy bucks setting up pads (territories) and croaking out their challenges. The most amazing part is that these pads are in open country and often result in a buck attracting up to 30 does on a flat ridge-top. Good binoculars are essential, as trophy bucks can be spotted miles away. I visited in early April and over one day saw in excess of 100 deer, with at least eight trophy bucks. Croaking was constant.

During my trip, a bowhunter stalked a huge white buck holding 20 does. He managed to get within 40 meters (43 yards) and arrowed what is probably New Zealand's new number one free-range fallow buck in the archery category. It was scored under the South Pacific Douglas Score system (DS), which rewards symmetrical heads. The 23-point head scored 233 points. This is huge, as the largest buck shot with a rifle is 260DS. You can see a photograph of this buck in my Hunting Report blog about the increasing trophy quality of New Zealand's fallow deer. (Visit www.huntingreport.com and scroll down to blogs.)

I shot a black fallow buck, which also scored well over 200DS. In New Zealand, a 200DS fallow buck score qualifies a head for entry in the national record book for that species,........(continued)

 
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