Free range Red Stag hunting

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Free range red stag hunting

Red stag hunting with Chris McCarthy Lake Hawea Hunting Safaris. High quality, traditional, unique, free range, Otago Red Stags (Cervus elaphus scoticus).

What if it was possible to recreate history, to travel back to the golden days of deerstalking …to hunt wild, pure, Otago red stags carrying incredible trophy antlers?

Clint with his 16-point (not all points cam been seen in photo), 350 class free range Otago red stag just under 42 inches in length.

First class free range red stag info

Since 2009 Lake Hawea Hunting Safaris has been re-connecting hunters with the once world-famous Otago red deer herd. Our game management program, across large tracts of private land (86,000 acres) has nurtured these unique red deer back to a sustainable hunting resource; now producing traditional Otago red stag trophies and a traditional hunting experience not seen since the halcyon days of the 1930’s.


Blair with his 15-point free range Otago red stag trophy just under 42 inches in length.


David with his 14-point free range Otago red stag, 41 inches in length, beautifully balanced trophy with strong points all round.

The world is now being re-introduced to these classical, traditional, eye pleasing stags, with their sweeping back tines and unrivaled style. This is a free-range hunting experience that is impossible to describe without having experienced it for yourself.

Red stag hunting details

Hunts are 5 full hunting days and include 6 nights accommodation, hunts are limited to 10 mature stags per year as part of our management program and tag / license system. We target a minimum 12-point ‘Royal’ Otago stag of 300 class with antlers around or over 40 inches as our baseline. Genuine Otago stags of up to 18 points and 350 class have been taken in previous seasons. Terrain ranges from rolling low country to picturesque beech forested river valleys. Suitable to all fitness levels, the lower country is well tracked. Tahr and fallow can also be added on a trophy fee basis.

Gary with is 12-point Royal Otago red stag, 46 inches in length with huge back tines, a trophy from another era? A trophy from today.

Red stag hunting dates

The stags start to roar around 15 March and will roar consistently until late April. The peak of the red stag roar is from 25 March to 15 April.

See our pricelist for rates New Zealand Hunting Packages, rates include 1 genuine Otago stag (Cervus elaphus scoticus), all meals, comfortable accommodation and the opportunity to see a high number of high quality, free ranging stags, an open country roar experience like no other.

This hunt is suitable for non-hunters, facilities are comfortable but basic, this is a cabin-based hunt, not a lodge-based hunt. Additional days also available. Pick up and drop off ex Queenstown airport, South Island, New Zealand.

Chris congratulates his client Gary on his 16-point free range Otago red stag trophy taken up high above bush line.

Success rates are extremely high, you will see multiple trophy stags every day of your hunt, our motto is ‘you cannot shoot great stags if you shoot good stags’, we spend the time, look over a number of different stags and concentrate on taking the best stag possible. This hunt for an Otago red stag of 300 – 350 class is the equivalent of a free range Elk hunt for a 400+ bull on private land in the USA.

A fine collection of free range Otago red stags from our 2021 season. Back at the lodge at the seasons end is Charlie (Sarah) and Chris.

‘Free range red stag hunting is a passion for me. It’s a privilege for guide and client alike to hunt these magnificent creatures which date back to the original Morven Hills liberation in Otago of 1871. This is a free range red stag hunt with a history and a story.’  Chris McCarthy.

Listen to the podcast: The Educated Hunter – Episode #51 Chris McCarthy – Lake Hawea Hunting Safaris

Further info at our Free-Range Red Stag hunting page on our website:

Yesterday’s trophies today

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