Otago Red Stags Book

New book tipped by critics as being the best New Zealand hunting book published for 40 years – An instant collector’s item – an epic story of one mans dogged belief that guided free-range red stag hunts in New Zealand had a real value.

Authors: Chris McCarthy and Gary Innis. Design: Daniel Burke. Editor: Kay Innis.

SKU: otago-red-stags-book Category:


Contributing authors: Greg Allen, Peter Burke, Steve Crawford, David Reid, Sarah Schwandt and Pat Stratton. Transcriptions from George Lindsay and Dave Mahar.

A4 size – 120,000 words – 470 Photographs including images from professional Photographers Steve Couper and Brent Hollow.

‘This is the story of a Kiwi outfitter and a Scottish bloodline of wild red deer in New Zealand. This is no ordinary story because Chris McCarthy is the last of a historic line of legendary guides still doing the hard yards in guiding free-range for these iconic wild deer. Known as Otago red deer Cervus elaphus scoticus, these stags are renowned for growing the most beautiful antlers of any wild red deer on Earth’. Gary Innis, co-author (has visited New Zealand 9 times to hunt with Chris for Otago stags).

‘I really do think this book will ultimately be as important as Banwell’s Great New Zealand Deer Heads’. Shaun Burnett, author of The New Zealand Red Deer Antler Book.

‘I’ve laughed and cried, felt my stomach lurch – all of it. That’s what good storytelling does and you’ve nailed it. I can’t wait to get my hands on the published book’. Susie Gray Biehle, retired Publisher, Austin American-Statesman; former Executive Vice President, USA Today.

‘It’s a most attractive journey and resume of your perseverance and dream to deliver today what was taking place there a long way back in time’. Kevin Whitelaw, author of New Zealand’s Hunting Legends.

I wrote this for my many repeat clients and everyone who has helped me along the way on this journey of reintroducing trophy hunters to traditional Otago red stags. Limited initial print run – price and availability to be confirmed – Available for public sale early 2024 here.

Is there a word in the dictionary for repeating history? Well, that is exactly what Chris McCarthy is accomplishing in the modern era by guiding hunters to take Otago red stags of a quality not seen since the halcyon days of the 1920s and 30s.

Back then, European hunters would need to set aside six months to travel to New Zealand to hunt these stags, the greatest red stag trophies to be found anywhere in the world. More than one hundred years later Chris McCarthy is guiding his clients to wild Otago trophy stags that are in the league of those from the halcyon days. His dream to replicate the stags of yesteryear for his clients has reached fulfilment.

It is not only Chris’s dream that has come to fruition but the dreams of his many successful clients, for every dedicated red stag trophy hunter knows of the world-famous painting Monarch of the Glen and every red stag hunter dreams of having their own Monarch of the Glen on their trophy room wall.

The partnership of professional guide Chris McCarthy and landowner David Emmerson is securing for today’s hunters, yesterday’s trophies today.

Last words (from a client’s perspective) – Gary Innis

I hunted red deer in my youth with some success but, like many hunters, my dreams were always of incredible trophies taken long before my time. Through sustainable land management, judicious culling and controlled hunting, Lake Hawea Hunting Safaris is offering opportunities to hunt superb free-range stags as if you’d stepped back in time.

Great wild stags from the revered Otago bloodline of a trophy quality not seen since last century are being taken once again. In recent years Lake Hawea Hunting Safaris has guided hunters to take five of the greatest trophies of all time – including two in 2019 – a feat not seen since 1933 when Jim and Ronnie Muir guided Captain J Haggas to take five royals including two of the greatest trophies of all time.

I have been fortunate to have travelled all over the world to photograph game animals, but none reduce me to a shaking mess like BIG Otago red stags with shapely and striking white-tipped antlers. I took live photos of three of the six stags featured in this book before deciding to drop the hammer – I still have the blurry photos to remind me of those shakes!

This book provides an important historical record of exceptional modern-day Otago red stag trophies, as testament to the hunters and to the vision and efforts of a skilful master guide working in partnership with landholders.


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