Have you heard the roar of the red stag during the rut? Cervus elaphus a close cousin of the larger American Elk or Wapiti , Russian Maral, and Sika stag (Cervus nippon), red deer have been introduced around the world as “Exotics” from New Zealand to Texas and Kentucky; originating in Europe there are other large populations across the globe. The largest native herds with the best trophy quality are found in Hungary, Germany and Romania with Scotland being a close fourth for a smaller antler size but the most fantastic stalking experience. Ancient Romans to the modern day nobility of the United Kingdom such as the Duke of Bedford have kept red stag with them doing well in deer parks, game preserves and Scottish highland estates. See our red stag hunts here.
Red deer’s name sake describes their color varying from dark red to light brown. Adult males are called stags and adult females are called hinds. Body weight can vary from 100-450 pounds (50-225kg) and can be from 175 to 260 cm (69 to 100 “) at the shoulder in stags and hinds 160 to 210 cm (63 to 83“). Antlers can reach up to 50” or 120cm tall and weigh 1kg (2 pounds to 10 plus kg or more than 20 pounds of antlers weight but with an average central European wild length and weight of half that. Although giant 300” plus trophy red stag can be found in non-native lands, in the UK a 6×6 or perfectly symmetrical 12 point stag with full crowns large enough to hold a whiskey glass is called a “Royal” and a very hard to find 14 point is an “Imperial”.
Preferred Caliber: .243 (100 grain minimum in the UK), 6.5mm in Central Europe or 270/280 Win, .308 Win, 30-06 Springfield, 7mm Rem Mag, and .300 Win Mag in North and South American as well as New Zealand. Archery is completely legal in North America, Hungary New Zealand, France and Spain; there are few other countries like Croatia with grey area laws for bow.
Breeding season known as the “Rut” is magical time around September to October depending on weather in the Northern Hemisphere and opposite in the southern hemisphere. Preferred hunting method is in a high seat outside the rut, stalking during breeding cycles.
With few natural predators and healthy stable managed populations, the red stag will be around a long time providing generations of future outdoors man the opportunity to hunt and enjoy this valuable resource.
by Mat Cervantes
Browse Red Stag Hunts:
New Zealand Hunting for Red Stag, Tahr, and Chamois
Red Stag Hunting in Canada - A Great Alternative to New Zealand
Red Stag Hunting in Scotland
Argentina Big Game Hunting and Dove Combo
New Zealand Red Stag Hunts for Free Range Stags