Fallow Deer Hunting in New Zealand

For more information e-mail   Steuart   of NZ Hunting Info Ltd

The Romans may well have introduced fallow deer (Dama dama) to England from Turkey in about 150 AD. Nearly 1900 years later some of these fallow were taken from England to New Zealand. Fallow deer became established in New Zealand following 24 releases between 1860 and 1910.

A fine fallow buck
fallow buck
A good trophy
fallow trophy

For nearly a century there were about 15 discrete herds of wild fallow deer in New Zealand. see map Today that number has increased significantly. The new herds are the result of both illegal releases and farm escapees. but are mostly on or surrounded by private land. Therefore the main opportunities for hunting fallow on public land remain in traditional herds like the Greenstone/ Caples Valleys, and Blue Mountains in the South Island and the Wanganui herd in the North Island.

The other herds on public land such as the Matamata, Te Puke, Mt Arthur, Aniseed Valley, Paparoa, E.Wakatipu are in reality small and difficult to hunt without local knowledge. The figure of four thousand fallow shot throughout the country in 1988 gives an indication of their standing as a game species. This compares to the 20-30 000 red deer shot annually by recreational hunters.

Trophy yield varies from herd to herd. In recent times, the Greenstone/Caples and Blue Mountain fallow have produced the greatest volume of trophies from public land. After 1990, more than twenty trophies scoring more than 200 (Douglas Score) have been taken from each of these herds. Several good heads have been taken from the Kaipara herd under the Woodhill Fallow Management scheme but other good heads from this area are from private land. In contrast, since 1990 only a handful of trophies scoring more than 200 (Douglas Score) have come from the Wanganui and Paparoa populations. The East Wakatipu, Manukau and Albury fallow steadily produce good heads but these are nearly all from private land.

Buck through the matagouri
fallow buck
Fallow buck on the run
fallow trophy

The New Zealand wild fallow are mostly of European origin and there are a variety of colour types dependent on the orignal stock. For example the Greenstone/Caples animals are mostly of the black phase. In recent times animals of the the larger Mesopotamian sub-species have been imported to improve farmed stock and some releases have been made. In time farmed animals may escape and affect the trophy quality of wild fallow populations.

There are tighter controls on the hunting of fallow compared to red deer. The website links below provide information on how to apply for hunting blocks.

Because fallow are a small bodied deer that often live in close cover, and because they are under constant pressure, you need to be a skilled hunter to be consistently successful.


The best New Zealand trophies are slightly behind the quality of the best of the Australian trophies. European stags produce superior heads to those found in both Australia and NZ. European heads are measured under the CIC scoring system but in New Zealand the Douglas Scoring system is followed.

Best NZ Fallow Head

Douglas Score 26638 taken in 2001.



Antler Cast


The following is a summary of NZ Fallow Deer Herds where there are animals available for hunting on Public Land.

Location Issuer of Permits
S. Kaipara Head Woodhill Fallow Management Committee Woodhill
Matamata (Waikato) DOC with Committee of Interest Groups
Te Puke DOC
Wanganui DOC Tauakira
DOC Maukuku
DOC KoKaka & Taheke
DOC Nukuhau, Omahine & Okahutiria
DOC Tarere
DOC Puketartara
Aniseed Valley DOC
Mount Arthur DOC
Paparoa DOC
Greenstone/Caples DOC   Greenstone/Caples
East Wakitipu DOC
Blue Mountains DOC Blue Mountains

Map showing the locations of the traditional fallow deer herds.

For more information e-mail   Steuart   of NZ Hunting Info Ltd