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It’s not often you hear of an American hunter that wants to shoot a free range stag, in fact it’s bloody rare! Most are after a high fence monster all 30 odd points of him and any talk of having to walk anywhere during a hunt is a sure way to put most yank hunters off.

Not Kris Thorson and his lovely wife Kathy though, these two were dead set on a free range red stag hunt and during our email conversations, I assured Kris if you’re wanting a free range hunt that’s exactly what you’ll get.. no high fence, no ear tags and no bullsh*t.

Date was set for early to mid March as I was already booked out during the peak of the rut. Pre roar can be tricky finding mature stags as they head off to mark territory and find hinds but I was confident if we had a few days up our sleeves we’d be right. Before we knew it we were on our way to the North Island free range red stag property.

10,000 acres of working farmland, manuka and kanuka guts and a mixture of pine and native forests that feed the property with a healthy number of red and fallow deer. Kris and his wife Kathy had already spent a few days in tourist-mode looking around the South Island and were keen to get out on the hill and away from the crowds.

Over the next few days we looked over a lot of deer and missed out on a nice 13 point red at 300 yards in bad light but we were eventually rewarded with Kris taking a nice mature 11 point stag on last light as he fed out of the bush looking to link up with half a dozen hinds already out. A good shot from 80 odd yards and Kris had his true NZ free range stag.

Below is a few photos from our hunt, I really enjoyed hunting with Kris and Kathy and it’s refreshing to see not all american hunters wanting to shoot high fence stags, they encountered a real hunt and experienced NZ outside of the fence.

If you’re interested in hunting for free range red stags on public or private land please get in touch via info@bghnz.co.nz or phone 0272325083

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