New Zealand’s majestic Southern Alps hold some of the finest Big Game Animals to be found anywhere in the world. Four Seasons Safaris New Zealand offers fair chase Hunting safaris on exclusive privately-owned land where both record book ‘Free Range’ & ‘Game Ranch’ trophies are regularly taken. In addition we personally arrange and guide safaris into the most remote corners of New Zealand and Australia – the choice is yours.
About Red Stag
Red Stag (Cervus elaphus) share many similarities to the Elk. They are a large-antlered species with trophy heads 6×6 (12-points) and more. Weighing in at around 400 pounds, after the Wapiti and Sambar, they are the third largest of the deer breeds found in New Zealand, although specimens of the Rusa deer can be almost as large. New Zealand produces the largest Red Stags in the world and the Red is the main species inhabiting many areas in the South Island. It is a very sought-after trophy. Red Stags can be hunted while ‘hard racked’ from February through until September.
Introduced to New Zealand from Europe in the 1850’s, to provide sport for the gentry, the Red Deer found the conditions here perfect and they thrived. In fact they thrived so well, that in the late 1950’s, through until the mid 1970’s, numbers were such that they were systematically slaughtered in huge numbers. In the late 60’s and early 70’s, helicopter gunships using ex-military, semi-automatic weaponry, were used extensively to bring the animal numbers down. Today, there is still some helicopter hunting for Red Deer but on a much lesser scale, given that the sheer deer numbers are no longer there. However, because of the pressure from helicopters, even today, it can be difficult for a hunter to bag a trophy Red Stag in the wild.
All of the Red Stag hunts we carry out are on private land where we can offer you ‘Free Range & Game Ranch’ hunts. There is an extremely high level of trophy quality throughout the herds we hunt and our careful management of these private areas means we can consistently produce record book Red Stags for our clients.
The ‘Rut’ or more commonly named the ‘Roar’ starts mid March and continues to the end of April, this is the prime period for hunting the Red Stag, as they aggressively issue their challenges to the other stags in the area. As you stalk a Big Red, you can return their vocal challenges, but be prepared to feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up when he bellows his response, while he is closing the distance on you.
Locating a stag by sound offers the hunter, whether using a rifle, bow, muzzeloader or camera, a real advantage.
The opportunities are endless, simply tell us how much time you have, what you wish to do and target and let us customise a safari for you, we recommend you fill out our Request a Quote form, we will get back to you with some more information and a detailed quote or please feel free to Contact us today to discuss your requirements (see FAQs) and we will cater a package that suits your needs!
A red deer (species) male is called a `Stag’, the female `Hind’. The Red Stag can weigh up to approximately 450 pounds while the hinds will average around 250-300 pounds. Red Stags start casting (dropping) (shedding) their antlers around the start of September where they will then start growing back their racks in velvet until the end of January. By the end of February most Stag`s will have rubbed off the velvet in preparation for the coming Rut (roar) starting by the middle of March.
As you can see from the previous class of Red Stag up to 320″, the photos below of red stags in the 320″-360″ class show an increase in antler size, width, length and numbers of tines. Read More…
As we step up in a class from 360″- 390″ to this class of 360″ – 390″, you can see the photos below, the stags have more tines and additional mass and length in the antlers, which all equates to the total score of antler increase.
The Roar of the Red Stag (rut) in New Zealand usually starts around early to the middle of March as the weather starts to cool down. If we get a rain during this period, they can really get roaring early. Their Roar sounds like that of a lion (hence the name), echoing through the valleys they will “roar” out to each other as a challenge, or letting rivals know that the`patch’ they stand on, they tend to protect and look out any rivals.
A red stags habit is the exact of an elk, infact they rut during the same period here in NZ and often will interbreed… becoming a Stelk! Read More…
By the end of March, the red stag will be in full Rut. You will see them challenging, fighting and chasing each other during the heat of the day.
`Wallowing’ This is common in most deer species where they seek out patches of muddy and water type areas to roll in a mud bath, coating their bodies and antlers to give them their own unique “musk” smell. While hunting stag, you can often smell when a Stag has been in an area. Often we can watch over these wallows to see what Stag`s are coming in during the course of the day. An exciting spectacle and quite the advantage to hunters, particularily bow hunters.
Looking at the pictures below, you can see as we step up in class these stags have more significant crowning (the top tines on each side of the main beam) with variations in the non-typical type antler configuration, with some sporting drop tines. Read More…
All of our Red Stag hunts are on exclusive private land to Four Seasons Safaris NZ, where we can offer you the very best of fair chase hunting in New Zealand. There is an extremely high level of trophy quality throughout the herds we hunt and with our careful management of these private areas, we can consistently produce record book Red Stags for our clients.
Looking at the pictures below, you can see we are stepping up into some very big stags. Typically these big red stags are 7-9 years old and have been hard at work over the years breeding, leaving offspring for future hunters to be maybe even better than what you see here.
Typical or non typical, these stags will set an impression for any hunters that are wishing for that special unique trophy stag. Read More…
The species, red deer, it is only the (males) stags that have antlers, which start growing in the spring (September) and are shed each year, usually at the end of winter. Antlers typically measure 30 inches in total length and can weigh up to 13 pounds each side, though extra large ones as the pictures show below, can grow to an excess of 55 inches and can weigh over 18 pounds. Antlers are made of bone like composition which can grow at a rate of 2.5 cm (1.0 in) a day while growing out in velvet. This is a soft covering which helps to protect newly forming antlers in the spring. As these large red stags grow there antlers throughout summer, their neck muscles naturally strengthen as they carry the weight of this massive bone on their head. Once the full rack of velvet is grown out to its potential, typically during January, the long summer days dry the velvet as the antler hardens and the stag’s get the itch to start stripping the velvet from their antlers. Throughout February stags are spending much of there time rubbing bushes and trees to strip the last of their velvet while sharpening their antlers is preperation for the rut which is about to begin during March.
New Zealand is reputably producing the worlds largest red stags and has been for a number of years. Four Seasaons Safaris with its own management regeim is at the forefront of the industry, with increasing numbers of hunters wishing to stalk the largest stags of the world. Read More…