Hunter Reviews New Zealand Free-Range Red Stag Hunt at Hossack Station

New Zealand correspondent Greg Morton hunted red stag with Hossack Station Trophy Hunting (011-64-3-324-3033; www.thehossack.co.nz) in 2009. He filed a detailed accounting (Article 2447) of both the hunting and the management there, telling readers that the ranch offers some of the best stag hunting on South Island, with a good possibility of finding top free-range trophies.

Now we have a subscriber report (10985) on Hossack Station from subscriber Jeff Byrnes, who also gives an enthusiastic picture of the operation. He hunted in April with guide Willy Macdonald taking red stag and fallow deer on his five-day hunt. “My hunt at Hossack Station was one of the most enjoyable I’ve had in a long time,” writes Byrnes. “I hunted with veteran African PH Willy Macdonald, now a guide at Hossack. I’ve hunted with him in Africa several times before, and his skills have translated well to New Zealand. He works very hard to secure the best trophies possible.

“There are large numbers of deer, and the herd is well-managed. I saw numerous shootable red stags every day, so I was able to be quite picky. It was great fun to watch and hear them during the roar. There are also very nice fallow deer, some with a striking black coloration. The ranch has chamois, too, although I did not hunt those areas. It’s a huge place, and I only saw part of it. The scenery is spectacular, with rivers and dramatic mountains. UTVs are used to reach the hunting area, but there’s still a good amount of climbing in rugged terrain, so being in good shape is advised. Good boots with gaiters are essential. Although I didn’t have the time to partake, it seems that the fishing and wingshooting would be excellent.

“The camp was quite comfortable, complete with satellite TV and phone. Meals were excellent, with local lamb and, of course, venison. We harvested mushrooms several times while hunting, and they made a nice addition to lunch and dinner. Hossack Station is less than two hours from the Christchurch airport. It is also near the resort town of Hanmer Springs, with various tourist attractions and restaurants. Overall, this was a good combination of hard hunting with some relaxing sightseeing on South Island. I have no reservations about recommending this hunt to fellow subscribers.”

Outfitter John Angland was out of the country and could not be reached, but we heard from Willy Macdonald with additional information.

“Jeff Byrnes has hunted with me in four different countries in Africa. As I am now living in New Zealand, I was happy to have him come and hunt with me on Hossack Station.

“We offer free-range hunts in the wild park area of our 25,000-acre ranch, with the option to hunt in a 2,500-acre high-fenced area (where most of our bowhunting takes place using blinds or still hunting). The rest of the ranch is 22,500 acres with only cattle fence. Chamois and boar are available in the free-range area, while red stag and fallow deer may be hunted in both areas.

“Our free-range red stag hunts are conducted primarily during the rut from the end of March to the last week in April. The fallow deer rut runs from mid-April to May. Although we do not have tahr at Hossack Station, we have a property where we hunt them about a two-hour drive away. Tahr can be hunted either with assistance of a helicopter or on foot. Should clients request the large, high-scoring, estate-reared red stags available in NZ, we can also arrange to hunt these on nearby stations. We still have limited availability for red stag and other hunts in 2018.

“Accommodation consists of renovated shearers’ quarters, rustic but comfortable and warm. We can also arrange tours and excursions around New Zealand at an additional cost. Often a hunter spends a week with us and is joined by his family for a holiday and travel around New Zealand, which may include a visit to the hot springs at Hanmer Springs.”

Postscript: Hossack Station offers what they call a “Hossack Royal Guarantee.” If for any reason hunters do not take a free-range stag in the wild park, they may take a 6×6 stag behind the wire at no additional cost. On his 2009 hunt, correspondent Greg Morton encountered some unusual hot weather and ended up making use of the guarantee. He recommended allowing time to exercise this option if the free-range stags aren’t cooperating.

Morton also noted that the ranch has improved the genetics of the high-fenced deer and has introduced them into the larger game park, but that the hunting still provides a good representation of hunting in “wild” areas. If you go, please file a report. Enjoy!