Name: Sambar Deer
Scientific Name: Rusa unicolor
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New Zealand sambar deer, like rusa, originated from India with its introduction to the central North Island in 1875.
The South Pacific is the only region in the world this species can be hunted. Closely related to the rusa, sambar also prefer to inhabit thick scrub and bush however this species frequently ventures out into small clearings to feed.
Sambar are a large deer with a distress bark that is not dissimilar to a fog horn! The second largest deer species in New Zealand, a mature stag can weigh 700+lbs. The antler on sambar are very dense, and for this reason they are often sought after by both trophy hunters and knife makers all over the world.
We glass from the edge of the open fields on private land down into the valleys looking for a flicker of the ear, or a slight movement of the body. Free range, wild Sambar hunting requires patience and timing to find these shy giants, moving typically early mornings and late evenings sambar will be seen more often on cooler mornings as the sun hits open valley faces where they will come out to sun themselves.
Fitness does not play a major part in this hunt, but patience and skill as a hunter will earn you the reward that very few have the opportunity to experience.
New Zealand Safaris offers limited hunts each year on free range sambar stags, personally guiding these New Zealand deer hunts. The privately owned property we hunt posseses some of the largest wild sambar deer in the South Pacific, we strive to maintain the quality and numbers on this privileged hunt.
Hunts can be combined with sika and rusa deer also in the North Island of New Zealand, and with any of the main species in the South Island with a short 1 hour commercial flight.
Sambar deer stags are in hard antler and can be hunted from late May through September, with the rut running from mid June to August.