Sika Hunting

Sika Hunting in New Zealand

The sika’s reputation as being among the most cunning of deer is well deserved.  At times it would seem they have eyes in the back of their heads never mind an ability to disappear without the slightest noise. 

On the other hand they are incredibly aggressive and vocal during the rut-characteristics that can leave them vulnerable at this time.  It also makes for exciting hunting. Their high pitched roars, combined with the crash of antlers as stags fight, will give even the most experienced hunter a mega dose of buck fever.

Pat Stratton, sika hunting at Poronui, 2010

Hunting sika is always a test of a hunter.  No matter how careful the stalk, the hunter will often be undone by the ever watchful hinds.  A shrill warning whistle and the glimpse of a white tail bobbing rapidly into the distance is an inevitable part of hunting sika deer.

In some ways they are almost too smart for their own good.  Displaying total disdain, sika will seldom go far, relying on their wits to survive instead of simply running into the next valley! As a result animal densities remain high despite hunting pressure.

The classic eight point trophy is a great reminder of the hunt.  The typically even head exudes attitude.  They don’t come easy, but they make a special reminder of a unique experience.

Sika hunting


Sika deer (Cervus nippon) are originally from Asia and were introduced to Poronui from Woburn Abbey Park in England in 1905. Smaller and more difficult to hunt than red deer (but larger than a fallow deer), sika trophies are highly prized. They are the most vocal of deer in New Zealand, and are more often heard than seen. The trophy head typically has eight points but the number of points can go to at least twelve. 

Sika are a very elusive animal, a quality that makes them particularly popular for trophy hunting.

They have been known to adopt a broad range of survival strategies to avoid danger, including lying their belly flat on the ground.  In New Zealand, their roar or ‘rut’ occurs between early April and June (late Autumn, early winter in the southern hemisphere) and fawning is from December to February (Summer).

Sika have a relatively short and neat head, with shorter and rounder ears than red deer. They have a relatively long (20-25 cm), narrow tail in comparison with red deer.

sika deer hunting

The summer coat of sika is typically a sleek bright chestnut colour which grades to a creamy white on the belly. The coat usually has white spots along the back and flanks.  In contrast the winter coat of sika deer is a uniform, dull grey with the spots faint or absent (usually more noticeable on younger animals). Sika deer typically have a distinctive black dorsal stripe which extends from the ears to a patch at the base of the tail. This stripe is visible on both summer and winter coats, but is more defined in summer.


In sika deer both sexes have a shrill, high-pitched whistle which they use when disturbed or alarmed. Sika hinds are generally more vocal than stags, except in the month before fawning(usually November). Sika often whistle repeatedly whilst fleeing from disturbance. During the roar, sika stags have a call that can best be described as being similar to a donkey "hee-haw".

Hunting sika deer in New Zealand

During this time, the stags dig shallow scrapes usually around the margins of their rutting territory. These scrapes are typically about 0.5 m in diameter and the stag regularly visits and urinates in them. Sika and red deer also make use of larger wallows, both during the roar and at other times of the year.

To claim your own sika trophy, contact Steve by email or call 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.

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