Tracking Study - Stags on the Move, April 2010
After months of inactivity as stags enjoyed the summer bounty provided at Poronui, the basic urges that go with the rutting period have provided motivation for some to pack up and travel to other areas. The seven stags carrying radio tracking collars had been very sedentary during the summer as they put on condition and grew out velvet antlers. Four of the seven, however, moved quickly to leave the property as soon as the cooler weather signaled the arrival of autumn and the rut.
One stag moved an incredible 12.5 kilometres to find an area where he obviously felt more confident of keeping a bunch of hinds for himself. At this stage we can only speculate as to why the stags move as there are certainly plenty of hinds on Poronui. We should get a clearer picture of stag movement and behavior over the next two years – as long as they don’t get shot that is!
It will be fascinating to determine whether these movements are consistent from year to year or whether they change as the stags become older and potentially more dominant over other animals. One thing that is already very clear though is the enormous contribution made to hunting on surrounding lands by stags living on Poronui during the summer. It is clear that the Poronui grass is important to stags who ultimately move out to a very large area on neighbouring lands.