Red Stag Hunting in New Zealand
About New Zealand Red Stag
Red deer were introduced to New Zealand about 150 years ago by wealthy European settlers, who saw the countryside as perfect habitat for some of the species they hunted for sport back home. Unfortunately they failed to recognize that New Zealand had no large predators, and thus the deer populations grew enormously, causing problems for some of the native flora. Learn more about the history of deer in New Zealand.
Red deer are the most widespread of the 7 remaining species of deer in New Zealand, and is the most widely hunted. Red deer can be found on both the North and South Islands. Red deer are one of the largest deer species in the world, and the stags (males) grow and shed antlers annually, with the antlers growing at a rate of about an inch a day. New Zealand red stag produce large, dramatic racks compared to some of the other red deer varieties (such as Corsican Red Deer), and typically the 4th and 5th tines form a cup or "crown" in the larger stags. Body weight of the mature stag is typically around 400lbs. Learn more about red stag trophy scoring. While most guided hunting trips are for red stag, hunts for red hind (females) are available as well.
Red deer coloration changes with the season. In the summer, their coats tend to be reddish-brown, while in winter they're lighter and more grey. In the fall, both stags and hinds grow thicker coats to keep them warm in the winter months; the stags also grow neck manes.
Red deer and Wapiti (elk) were thought to be the same species until quite recently, when DNA evidence showed that they were in fact different species, with the Wapiti found to be more closely related to Sika deer than to red deer. However, red deer have interbred with Wapiti in Fiordland, on the South Island.
Once mature, red deer mostly stay in same-sex groups for most of the year. During mating season (the "rut" or "roar"), the stags follow herds of hinds, and dominant stags will have as many as 20 hinds in their harem. Red deer stags will "roar" to keep the hinds in their harem together, and also when competing with other males. Wapiti make a much different sound, often referred to as "bugling". Typically stags with harems are from 5 to 11 years old, peaking at about 8 years of age. After the rut, the hinds separate from the males once again, forming herds of up to 50 deer.
While red deer may be hunted in New Zealand from February through September (New Zealand's fall and winter months), the rut typically is from late March through late April.
Places to Hunt Trophy Red Stag
Locations of some of our trophy red stag hunting trips are shown on the map below. Click on any of the markers to see one of the hunting packages we offer for that location. Many of our trips offer opportunities to take additional species, such as chamois, himalayan bull tahr, wapiti, fallow deer, and wild boar.