Our lodge is located on the South Island of New Zealand. This is a beautiful river valley flowing through temperate […]
- Trip03/01 - 07/31
- Success Rate95%
- Hunt ID3819
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In New Zealand, red deer were introduced by acclimatization societies along with other deer and game species. The first red deer to reach New Zealand was a pair sent by Lord Petre in 1851 from his herd at Thorndon Park, Essex, to the South Island, but the hind was shot before they had a chance to breed. Lord Petre sent another stag and two hinds in 1861, and these were liberated near Nelson, from where they quickly spread. The first deer to reach the North Island was a gift to Sir Frederick Weld from Windsor Great Park and were released near Wellington; these were followed by further releases up to 1914. Between 1851 and 1926, 220 separate liberations of red deer involved over 800 deer. In 1927, the State Forest Service introduced a bounty for red deer shot on their land, and in 1931, government control operations were commenced. Between 1931 and March 1975, 1,124,297 deer were killed on official operations.
The introduced red deer have adapted well and are widely hunted on both islands; many of the 220 introductions used deer originating from Scotland (Invermark) or one of the major deer parks in England, principally Warnham, Woburn Abbey or Windsor Great Park. Some hybridization happened with the closely related American elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) introduced in Fiordland in 1921. New Zealand red deer produce very large antlers and are regarded as amongst the best in the world by hunters. Along with the other introduced deer species, they are, however, officially regarded as a noxious pest and are still heavily culled using professional hunters working with helicopters, or even poisoned.