Current Red Deer records are as follows:
|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||Peter Turner||321 ½||8/04/14||North Waikato|
|6th||Stu Moore||313 ½||13/04/16||North Waikato|
|7th||Cody Weller||304 ¼||16/01/16||South Marlborough|
|8th||Philip Commins||292 ⅛||7/04/05||Mamaku|
|9th||Bernard Holdsworth||288||21/01/13||Te Karaka Gisborne|
|10th||Ray Worters||287 ⅜||27/03/15||Gisborne|
|11th||Simon Bullivant||287 ¼||14/05/12||Te Karaka Gisborne|
|12th||Ray Worters||284 ¼||12/04/14||Raukumara East Coast|
|13th||Simon Ward||280 ⅛||9/04/16||Mohaka|
|14th||Simon Bullivant||278||27/04/02||North Waikato|
|15th||Colin Quinn||276 ⅝||3/01/03||Rotoehu Forest|
|16th||Mike Murray||273 ½||11/04/02||Coastal Wairarapa|
|17th||Ray Worters||270 ⅞||13/04/14||Raukumara East Coast|
|18h||Steve Boyd||270 ⅝||5/04/05||Raetihi|
|19th||Ricky Russ||265 ⅛||5/04/14||Pelorus Sound|
|20th||Darrel Hodgkinson||263 ¾||3/04/08||Waihopai Valley|
|21st||John Bair||262 ½||15/03/15||East Wairarapa|
|22nd||Aaron Thomson||260 ¾||8/04/13||Landsborough Valley|
|23rd||Carly Anderson||256 ⅞||5/04/16||North Waikato|
|24th||Allan Turner||255 ¼||27/03/12||Raukumara Range|
|25th||Glenn Hallett||255 ⅛||4/04/12||Ruatiti|
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 Thorndon 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.