Red Deer

Current Red Deer records are as follows:

Postion Name Score Date Location
1st Bernard Holdsworth 344 ⅛ 14/02/16 Te Karaka Gisborne
2nd Roy Worters 335 ⅞ 31/03/16 East Coast
3rd Bernard Holdsworth 334 ¾ 29/01/14 Te Karaka Gisborne
4th Daniel Morton 325 27/03/02 Avon Valley Marlborough
5th Simon Bullivant 323⅜ 01/05/22 Ruapehu
6th Peter Turner 321 ½ 8/04/14 North Waikato
7th Stu Moore 313 ½ 13/04/16 North Waikato
8th Cody Weller 304 ¼ 16/01/16 South Marlborough
9th Bernard Holdsworth 302 ⅜ 11/02/17 Te Karaka Gisborne
10th Ricky Russ 295 ⅜ 02/4/17 Waihopai Valley
11th Philip Commins 292 ⅛ 7/04/05 Mamaku
12th Bernard Holdsworth 288 21/01/13 Te Karaka Gisborne
13th Ray Worters 287 ⅜ 27/03/15 Gisborne
14th Simon Bullivant 287 ¼ 14/05/12 Te Karaka Gisborne
15th Ray Worters 284 ¼ 12/04/14 Raukumara East Coast
16th Ray Worters 280 ⅝ 08/04/17 Raukumara East Coast
17th Simon Ward 280 ⅛ 9/04/16 Mohaka
18th Simon Bullivant 278 27/04/02 North Waikato
19th Simon Bullivant 277 ¾ 29/02/20 Kaikoura
20th Colin Quinn 276 ⅝ 3/01/03 Rotoehu Forest
21th Lachie Gray 273 ¾ 02/04/22 Waihopai Valley
22st Mike Murray 273 ½ 11/04/02 Coastal Wairarapa
23nd Ray Worters 270 ⅞ 13/04/14 Raukumara East Coast
24rd Steve Boyd 270 ⅝ 5/04/05 Raetihi
25th Katie Cassaidy 268 ⅜ 6/04/19 North Waikato
About Red Deer

Red deer were introduced by acclimatisation societies along with other deer and game species. The first red deer to reach New Zealand were a pair sent by Lord Petre in 1851 from his herd at red_deerThorndon 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 were a gift to Sir Frederick Weld from Windsor Great Park and were released near Wellington; these were followed by further releases up to 1914.

Today, red deer is the most widespread species, existing in the wild and on farms on both the North and South Islands.  Males have a shoulder height of 1100-1300 mm and weigh 95-215 kg with females smaller at 950-1050 mm shoulder height and weighing 85-110kg.

The summer coat of red deer is typically a reddish brown. White spots are extremely rare on adults and limited to the area around the spine. Although red deer sometimes have a dorsal stripe, it is usually restricted to the neck and hip regions, and is rarely continuous.  The winter coat of red deer is usually of a brown or grey-brown with the throat and underside being light grey grading to creamy-white between the hind legs.

Red deer antlers are grown and cast annually by males from their second year.  The antler beams of red stags are larger and wider than those of sika stags. In cross-section, the bone component of the antler is thinner in red deer than for sika deer, and there is a comparatively larger porous core. In red deer, the brow tines usually branch closer to the coronet and are at right angles to the main antler beam. Red deer also have bez tines.

Velvet antler growth starts between early September and December and is complete when the dried velvet is frayed from the hard antler between mid-January and mid-March.

Red deer are sociable animals and form single sex groups outside of the rut period.  Male groupings may be quite loose but female groupings are much more cohesive, made up of females their young and previous season’s offspring.

Feeding occurs early morning and late evening although in undisturbed areas or in periods of light rain feeding may occur over extended daylight hours.

Before the rut, male groupings break up as the older males seek to establish their own rutting area and attempt to attract females into a harem. During the roar, males will roar periodically, especially in the early morning and evening.

Red deer make use of wallows, both during the roar and at other times of the year. The covering of mud accentuates the smell of a rutting male and can give the deer a larger, darker appearance.

The rut is from late March through April with most conceptions occurring early to mid-April.  The gestation period: 221 to 252 days with an average 234 days.

Birthing: Late November and December, peak early December. Fawns born with reddish brown coats scattered with white spots on back and flanks. Spots disappear in about 2 months.