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The latest two 'volunteers' for the sika stag research project were successfully captured and fitted with collars this week. We would like to thank Malcolm Hogg and his Tauranga-based ‘Sika Six’ Hunting Group for purchasing the two collars fitted to these stags. This support has allowed us to increase the sample to 12 stags.
A total of six sub-adult stags (< 2 years of age) and six fully mature stags (>3 years of age) are carrying collars. The stags are being tracked at least twice a month and their locations recorded on a Geographic Information System (GIS).
The study has been underway for a full 12 months and Cam Speedy has recently being analysing the results. The stags appreciate the improved grazing found on Poronui for about 10 months of the year. During the rut the mature stags move into areas of heavier cover occupied by hinds. This takes many of the stags away from Poronui into the neighbouring beech country. The immature stags appear to remain on Poronui all year round. The next question is whether stags exhibit this behaviour consistently through their lifetime or whether it changes as they mature. Only time will tell!