In New Zealand we have the pleasure of hunting many species of animals, and many species means the pleasure of hunting multiple ruts. The Red deer rut kicks New Zealand off as the first rutting season starting in March. Following the Red Deer rut is the Fallow deer rut. The Fallow deer rut is a personal favorite, not only because they are so delicious at the dinner table, but they are amazing to watch in the field.
Starting in April and going into May is the time of the year when these fallow deer are in rut, and it is the best time to harvest a mature fallow buck. The fallow deer are elusive, and can be very difficult to hunt. Finding a mature buck isn’t the hardest part of fallow deer hunting, creating an approach to get in range is. These deer have a keen sense of smell, incredible hearing, and are naturally on high alert.
Fallow bucks are characterized by large palmated antlers those similar to moose paddles. They grow up off the head starting with brow tines and working up to the paddles. On the paddles, several points grow off the outsides edges, giving unique characteristics to a buck. Generally, it takes a few years for a buck to mature enough to have palmation in his antlers, as they usually start out as a spike in their first year. As bucks mature they begin to battle for territory and females. When two mature males are in battle their antlers can create loud volume as they are slammed together. The bucks can fight for upto an hour clashing antlers, and testing the will of their opponent. These fights often end in injury, and sometimes death.
Fallow deer are a vocal animal; females and young one’s bleat, males and females have an alarm bark when they feel threatened, and in the rut the male can be heard at a distance making their croak. The croak is a bull frog like noise, and the bucks will croak repeatedly to attract the attention of the females during the rut.
Fallow deer have very beautiful skins varying in color; Ranging from a chocolate, to white, to the traditional tan with white spots, and a black stripe down their backs. All colors are very unique and no two deer are the same. They are a magnificent animal and are a real trophy. New Zealand has some of the best fallow deer hunting in the world, and if you are coming to New Zealand to hunt make sure that a fallow buck is on your list.