Free Range Red Stag Hunting

Free range red stag hunting is our passion. 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 has nurtured these unique red deer back to a sustainable hunting resource; now producing traditional Otago stag trophies and a traditional hunting experience not seen since the halcyon days of the 1930’s.

The world is now being re-introduced to these classical, traditional, eye pleasing stags, with their sweeping back tines and unrivaled style.

Red stag hunting during the roar is simply an amazing experience and an incredible hunt. Combine this with the Otago red deer bloodline, first class trophies of the highest echelon, 45,000 acres of private hunting with NO high fences, bush clad valleys, open tussock tops and you are in red stag heaven.

First Class Otago Red Stag Trophies from 2023

Outstanding Otago Free Range Red Stags

Free range red stag hunts are often booked out 2 years in advance, so an early booking is essential. The quality of hunt we are offering and quality of trophy in a genuine free range stag of original Otago bloodline is unrivaled; this has led to an extremely high demand for these hunts. During your hunt, you can expect to see numerous 300 class stags with multi tined crowns. Your outfitter and his guides have an intimate knowledge of these free range giants and will help you secure a world class free range red stag.

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First-Class Stag – This is a hunt for the best stag we can find, based around a minimum 12-point Otago stag of the 300 class. Genuine Otago stags of up to 18 points and 350 class have been taken in previous seasons. This is the equivalent of a free range Elk hunt for a 400+ bull on private land in the USA.

Second-Class Stag – These are still big framed, mature stags, they’re judged as second-class stags because of weaker bey tines (G2 tines) or top points that are not of a classical form, beam length may well surpass 40 inches.

NQF Stag – This gives hunters booked on a second-class stag hunt the opportunity to upgrade to a stag that is NQF (Not Quite First-Class). These stags are really first-class stags in terms of their frame and lower tines, their crown points will have a small irregularity in terms of corresponding.

Free-Range Otago Red Stags of 2023 - Outfitter Chris McCarthy talks you through

Premium Dates

Hunts for Otago red stags begin in mid March at the start of the roar and continue on a set schedule for 49 days into early May. Over this whole period our entire operation is based around free range red stag hunting with our clients primary animal being a free range red stag. Fallow can be added as an additional animal, tahr and chamois can also be added as they begin to rut in mid April. We have a sweet cross over period from mid April into early May when all 4 species are rutting, these dates are specifically set aside for free-range combo hunts.

Ask for our hunt schedule plus further info on stag classes and best dates for combo hunts. Rates are on our hunting packages and prices page.

The Hunt

A Rich History

It’s a privilege for guide and client alike to hunt these magnificent creatures which date back to the original Morven Hills liberation of 1871. This is a free range red stag hunt and trophy with a history and a story, for further reading refer to Chris’s articles:

The Otago Red Stag.

The 2020 Otago Red Stag Roaring Season. 

Locked Down on Otago Red Stags – Part 1 2021 season.

Locked Down on Otago Red Stags – Part 2 2021 season.

Legendary Otago red stag hunter John Forbes with his incredible bag of trophies from Boundary Gully, Lake Hawea region, 1911. Photo curtesy of: New Zealand Deerstalkers National Heritage Trust.

Free Range Red Stag Trophies

Tags are LIMITED to 10 first class Otago red stags per season, this ensures we maintain a good population of mature stags in our free range area at the end of each season.

These wild Otago stags are scored on the Douglas Score, which is New Zealand’s national scoring system for wild trophies as Boone and Crockett is in the USA. The main difference between the Douglas Score and Bonne and Crockett is that the Douglas Score also counts a spread measurement. Record book minimum is 300, we consistently take 9-10 incredible WILD trophies each season from around 300 to 350 class

Please see our price list for all hunting rates. Full Price List

Roaring Free Range Otago Red Stags

Record breaking free range Otago red stags

Other Species Available