Red Stag Hunting

Hunting Red Stag in New Zealand

The Monarch of the Glen image leaps to mind whenever red stag is mentioned.  Red deer are simply an inescapable feature of trophy hunting.  The massive antlers, huge body and deep bellowing roar are a magnet to hunters from around the world.

Giss Congeni goes red stag hunting in New Zealand, SCI 410

While the red stag can be hunted from mid February well into August “the roar”, typically mid March to mid April, is when it really happens.  Stags fight aggressively over hinds, issuing charged vocal threats to any other animal that would dare enter their territory.  This aggression often leads to their downfall as regular roaring, particularly morning and evening, signals their presence.  A good imitation of a roar will often bring the stag crashing in.  At times this behaviour surprises the hunter as much as the hunted, and many a stag escapes the close encounter.  

There are always plenty of red deer available at Poronui, both free range and in the game estate. This gives hunters a great chance to see plenty of animals and look over a number of potential trophies.   It also makes sure the roar is loud and action packed.  Magnificent red deer trophies, some exceeding 400 SCI, are shot every year on Poronui.

Gill Moyle goes Red Stag Hunting in NZ, SCI 409


The red deer (Cervus elaphus) is one of the largest antlered species of deer with an average trophy head of 12 points. They were introduced from prestigious English game parks and the wild herds of Scotland in the 1850's and have spread throughout New Zealand. Their roar or rut starts in late March and ends late April. This is a prime time to hunt red stags as they are vocal, roaring out challenges to other stags in the area. Fawning is from December to February.

Red Stag hunting New ZealandAntlers are grown and cast annually by males from their second year. A typical mature red stag can have ≥12 points.  In addition, the head of red deer is longer and more bony in appearance than sika deer. Their ears are pointed and can be longer than half the length of their head. Red deer tails are short (12-15 cm) and match the colour of their upper rump.

The summer coat of red deer is typically a reddish brown.  Although red deer sometimes have a dorsal stripe, it is usually restricted to the neck and hip regions, and is rarely continuous. 

The winter coat of red deer is usually of a brown or grey-brown with the throat and underside being light grey grading to creamy-white between the hind legs.

In contrast to the sika which has a clean looking white rump patch, red deer have a distinctly cream rump patch with no margin. It cannot be flared as in sika.


Red stags are normally silent, except during the roar when they have a low rumbling, gutteral bellow - usually terminated with several grunts. Both sexes give a gruff bark when they sense danger and hinds use a bleating call to maintain contact with their calves.

During the rut,red stags will roar periodically, especially in the early morning and evening. Red deer make use of wallows, both during the roar and at other times of the year. The covering of mud accentuates the smell of a rutting stag and can give the deer a larger, darker appearance.

new Zealand red stag hunting

There are two times of the year when hunting red deer is easier.  The first is in Spring when during November and December red deer are attracted out of the forest to feed on the flush of grass and shrub growth. If you just want to bag a deer for the table, Spring is the time. The second is the breeding season in April, (known as the roar) when stags become vocal.

To claim your own red stag trophy, contact Steve by email or call him on +64-21-888 669.

To discriminating anglers, Poronui is an historic fly fishing lodge where they go fishing for superb NZ brown and rainbow trout in pristine waters.

To sportsmen, Poronui is a supreme hunting lodge where they can hunt majestic deer in a hauntingly beautiful landscape. To others, Poronui is the ultimate luxury wilderness retreat, a place where they can relax or explore 16,000 acres of timeless wilderness.

To match the premier quality of the outdoor experience, Poronui offers three supremely comfortable accommodation options: the legendary Poronui fishing lodge, luxury camping down by the Mohaka river at Safari Camp or stately Blake House - the choice of celebrities, captains of industry and royalty.

Whether your passion is New Zealand fly fishing, hunting or hiking, our guests talk of the magic of Poronui – the breathtaking location, the genuine Kiwi warmth, and the camaraderie they share with guides and fellow adventurers.

Come and experience the legend of Poronui.

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