Where to hunt Sambar Deer
Sambar Deer is a close relative of Rusa Deer. Their original range covers the Indian Subcontinent and many other countries and islands in South-East Asia. The species has also been successfully introduced to many areas outside its home range, including South Africa, Texas and California. However, the best Sambar Deer hunting opportunities are currently found in Australia and New Zealand.
The price of a Sambar deer hunt depends on whether you want just to hunt deer to fill the freezer, or to harvest a trophy-book buck. Management hunts that target non-trophy animals start at just under $1,500, while trophy hunts may cost from $4,000 and up, depending on trophy size, and other factors. The most expensive hunts offer a chance to harvest a slam of various introduced deer, or combine a Sambar stag with a Water Buffalo hunt in Australia.
When to hunt Sambar Deer?
In both Australia and New Zealand Sambar can be hunted year round. This deer doesn’t have a clear-cut rutting schedule, and breeding activity can take place at any time of year. However, in the Southern Hemisphere, most stags seem to have antlers in the hard phase from May to September. This is probably the best time to hunt Sambar Deer, especially in Australia, where in the summer the weather can be too hot, and the forest floor a bit too dry and noisy for successful stalking.
Sambar Deer prefer heavy thickets and woods. They usually don’t move out of their bedding areas during daylight, except at dusk and dawn, and become almost completely nocturnal under heavy hunting pressure. Spot-and-stalk is the method most commonly employed by trophy hunters, but with Sambar Deer it will require much stealth, patience, and a trained eye to spot a stag in a thicket. Expect close encounters and running shots. During the rut the stags use calling extensively (as well as attracting the females with the specific smell from a special gland), and hunters could this to advantage as well.
Why hunt Sambar Deer?
Different kinds of deer present different challenges for a hunter, and offer different rewards. Not every hunter is equally keen on hunting an introduced or exotic species. However, introduced herds and game ranches are an efficient way to create large and genetically diverse populations of threatened species that may later be used for reintroduction efforts. Sambar deer have a beautiful dark skin, delicious flesh, and unusual antlers that are said to have a denser structure than most other deer, making them a favorite with knife handle makers and other artisans. But don’t think these antlers will be easy to get. Millienia of coevolution with Tiger and Leopard sharpened Sambar’s predator avoidance skills, and introduced or not, a mature stag is as elusive as any public-land whitetail.
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