Where to Hunt Big Red Stags on Estates, Free-Range, Mixed Properties


Published: July - 2013

Red deer, the primary deer species in New Zealand, has had a long and interesting history in this country. They were introduced in the mid-19th century for the purpose of sport hunting and flourished in a country devoid of mammals. A raft of separate introductions caused numbers to boom on both the South and North Island; in the early years, some magnificent trophies were harvested. Those heady days couldn't last, however; the population exploded, quality declined and the last 160 years has seen the red deer exploited by a variety of different groups for different goals. After protection was removed, red deer were declared a pest species and hunted mercilessly by government agencies. Later, they were hunted commercially for both venison and velvet. Later again, free-range deer were captured as breeding stock for deer farms, where antler growth has been improved through introductions of top European bloodlines. Throughout, generations of Kiwi hunters have enjoyed recreational hunting for red deer on both private and public land. The last 45 years has seen the real development of the estate trophy-hunting industry, complete with animals bred on deer farms specifically to produce trophy heads. The top estate stags nudge the SCI 660 mark. An example of a breeding establishment is Deer Genetics NZ (www.deergeneticsnz.co.nz), which has bred six of the previous World Record SCI stags. They sell semen from world-record quality stags, as well as herd stags sired by world record animals. One of these latter animals, a two-year old stag, sold at auction for $50,000 NZD (about $40,000 USD) this past January, with many others fetching $30,000 or more. Not surprisingly, with this focus on improved genetics, the quality of the trophies available to traveling hunters today is very good, especially on the game estates. But there are also pockets of reasonable quality, private-land, free-range hunting available. Your first decision in seeking a red stag in New Zealand is whether or not you are personally comfortable with estate hunting. Totally free-range stag hunting is available, but the trophy quality is likely to be modest. Game estates, however, offer exceptional trophy opportunities (at a price, of........(continued)
 
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Facilitators: Deer Genetics NZ; Four Seasons Safaris New Zealand; The New Zealand Professional Hunting Guides Association; New Zealand Trophy Hunting; Alpine Hunting Services; Cardrona Safaris; New Zealand Hunting; Manuka Point Station; Glenroy Hunting Safaris; Wildside Hunting Safaris

  


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