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Roar Hunters Urged To Avoid Temptation And Stick To The Plan

With the roar season about to begin, hunters need to take extra special care out there. according to NZ Deerstalkers Association Chief Executive Gwyn Thurlow.

“I would like to remind all hunters to be particularly cautious at this time, which is the busiest time of year in the hunting calendar. Be certain beyond all doubt when identifying your target and always assume anything you hear or glimpse in the bush could be another human until you have a 100% positive identification.

This message is particularly important as Easter weekend will fall within the peak roar period, which makes it more likely that many hunters will take advantage of the long weekend to get out hunting in droves. With an increased number of people hunting public land, there is an increased risk so all hunters must remain diligent.

Mr. Thurlow said the identify your target rule always applied but should be emphasized again for the roaring season, or 'the roar' – the time of year from about late March to the end of April during which red deer are mating.

Though there is an increased risk of encountering other hunting parties during this busy period, it is important to note that incidents are more likely to occur within hunting parties. As such, it is critical to communicate with your hunting party and agree on plans for movement and dividing hunting grounds, then commit to the plan.

Mr. Thurlow said “We all know the temptation to deviate from a plan when we hear a stag roaring outside our agreed hunting area, however the risk of from the plan is not worth the risk.”

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“The ‘roar’ may be a prized stag, or another hunter seeking to attract the attention of other animals. If you hear a stag from your friend’s area, then rather than entering their ground and risk a tragedy, be happy on their behalf and focus on your own hunt instead.”

“Stags ‘roar’ to defend their territories and attract females, and hunters track them by this noise in the hope of securing a trophy. Often roaring back at a stag will attract it and lead to an opportunity for a shot, but there is also the risk that you will draw in another hunter who thinks you are a stag. This means you must be especially careful and not get carried away by the excitement of the chase. Movement, sound, colour and shape can be very deceptive and it is every hunter’s absolute responsibility to prove it is safe to fire.”

He also emphasized the need for hunters to avoid losing visual contact with a hunting companion, to wear coloured clothing in contrast with the environment, carry an emergency locator beacon, and take all the other normal precautions in the Firearms Safety Code.

About the deer roar/rut

The roar runs from late March through April, peaking early April. It is the breeding season of New Zealand’s deer species. The roar lasts approximately four weeks, with stags being the most vocal in the middle two weeks. The 2024 roar season coincides with our Easter Holiday long weekend and so will be well attended by New Zealand’s hunting community. Like duck shooting opening weekend, the roar is the most important event on most game hunters’ annual calendars.

About NZDA

New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association Incorporated (NZDA) is the national body of recreational deerstalkers and other big game hunters. We have 48 branches and hunting member clubs throughout New Zealand. We have more than 12,000 members and have been actively advocating for recreational deerstalking and hunting, running hunter training courses, conservation trips, conferences since 1937. All NZDA members are expected to maintain ethical standards for hunting.

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