Unlocking the Secret Lives of Sika Stags

Poronui is currently participating with Cam Speedy, wildlife biologist, in a radio tracking study of sika stags being undertaken in the Taharua Valley of the central North Island. Using a helicopter and a net-gun, a sample of sub-adult and fully mature stags have been caught over the past year and fitted with radio collars. Twice a month fixes are being taken and plotted on GIS.

Study Objectives

  • To determine the seasonal movements (when and where) of mature stags, particularly between summer velvet/fattening areas and rutting grounds
  • To quantify dispersal patterns/distances (when and where) of young stags once they mature and leave their family group / birth place.

Key Findings

Young Stags (<3 years old)

  • Same home range (~2.5 km) for a full year
  • Often live in large groups through spring and summer
  • Groups disperse during the rut
  • Groups re-form in June after rut

 Mature Stags (>3 years old)

  • Limited movements during summer (1-2km)
  • Live alone or in small groups
  • During the rut most moved from Poronui to scrub beech habitat (between 4-12.5km)
  • Travels started early March and were complete by late March
  • Small ranges during the rut (<1km)
  • Returned to their summer ranges by late May for winter, living alone or in small groups

Questions We Hope to Answer

We will continue to update progress on this web page, so keep an eye on our blog or find us on Facebook - we will let our friends know when post updates.  
  • What will all our stags do next rut?
  • When do young stags start to travel and where will they go?
  • Will mature stags go back to the same rutting grounds next year?

Home Range Maps

Here are images of the home range maps of some of our young stags, the borders of which are typically 2-3 km.

Caught as a 2 year old spiker - turned 5 pointer:
 
Young stag in sika study at Poronui

Caught as a 2 year old spiker - turned 5 pointer:

Home range of young stag in sika study at Poronui

Here are images of the home range maps of some of our mature stags, the borders of which varied from 5-14 km.

Caught as fully mature stag – age unknown:

Home range of mature stag in sika study at Poronui

Caught as a small 6 pointer (3 yrs) – now large 6 pointer:


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

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