Fallow Deer Hunting
Characterised by broad palmated antlers, more in keeping with moose than the other deer species, fallow are a striking deer. Introduced to New Zealand from Europe in 1864 fallow have flourished. The Poronui fallow are of quality Danish stock which produce some exceptional heads. The mixed woodland and grassland found on Poronui is their preferred habitat,and the herd has gone from strength to strength.
Despite being one of the smaller deer species, fallow bucks are very aggressive, particularly during the rut which occurs in late April and May. They are highly vocal at this time of the year, grunting out a challenge to other bucks. Fights between bucks are a regular occurrence and can be vicious even leading to death. The intensity of the fighting can lead to points being broken off so it pays to hunt early in the season.
Fallow deer (Dama dama) have historically been contained in New Zealand to 13 discrete wild fallow deer populations. Most herds occupy small forested areas surrounded by private farmland, although they are now the second most widespread deer in New Zealand, both in the wild and on farms.
Fallow can be variable in colour ranging from almost white to a very dark or even black colour. However the commonest form has a brown coat with white mottles that are most pronounced in summer, with a much darker coat in the winter. All Fallow deer have white spots on their backs, and black tips at the ends of their tails. The antlers on the bucks of fallow deer are typically broad and shovel shaped.
Fallow have a restricted living area and tend to remain close to where they were born, travelling to feed but returning to their normal habitat or herd ground upon finishing. Fallow deer spend much of the day laying up in heavy cover and feed mainly at dawn and dusk. They have readily adapted to the mixed forest/grassland habitat at Poronui and generally stay in areas of low altitude, inhabiting lower valley sides.
Fallow deer are agile and capable of reaching speeds up to 65km per hour, and they are able to clear obstacles over 2m in height. They are extremely wary and have a well-developed sense of smell and excellent eyesight. When disturbed they will often travel only a few hundred metres and circle around the source of the disturbance.