A Brief History of the Red Stag in Argentina
There is a long history of hunting in Argentina. Argentina is one of the world’s most popular hunting destinations, and it all began over 30 years ago with dove hunting as an attempt to reduce the excessive dove population that was ravaging farms across Argentina.
Over time, it evolved to include larger game hunting, such as Red Stag hunting. Over the past few decades Argentina has relaxed its hunting policies, especially relating to hunters coming in from outside of Argentina. Argentina welcomes tens of thousands of hunters annually from around the world. The Red Stag is one of the largest deer species in the world. Red Stag were introduced to Argentina in 1906 in the region of the Caldén woodlands in the province of La Pampa. In the 1920s Red Stag were introduced to the Andean foothills, and then were introduced into Chile around 1928. The Red Stag are well dispersed throughout Argentina. The male of the species is referred to as a stag and the females are referred to as hinds. Red Stag were introduced specifically for hunting and are now prized as well because the meat is used as a local food source.
Facts and Statistics on the Red Stag in Argentina
- Red Stag are the fourth largest type of deer in the world behind moose, elk, and Sambar deer.
- Red Stag generally weigh between 300 to 500 pounds depending on their food source
- Red Stag deer have large antlers that typically have six points. Some stag can have as many as 15 points on their antlers, which signifies that they are more dominant. Red Stag grow and shed their antlers each year.
- Average shots taken by hunters for Red Stag are between 100 and 200 yards, except when deep in forested areas, when average shots usually occur around 80 yards.
- The hide of the Red Stag changes color with the seasons. Their hide is a reddish in color in summer months and then turns to a more grayish color in winter months.
- The female deer, or “hinds”, are not as large as the stags. Females do not have antlers, but they are just as sought out as their male counterparts due to the fact that their meat has an excellent taste that is low in fat and high in protein.
- Red Stag generally live in the protection of the bush or woods. They are nocturnal creatures and can often be found grazing at night.
- Red Stag have amazing jumping agility and they are also able to run up to 35-40 mph.
- In the heat of the day, Stag enjoy visiting water holes to bath themselves in the water or mud. This makes watering holes an ideal spot for hunting.
Where to Hunt the Red Stag in Argentina
In the mountainous region of Patagonia, Stag hunting is done on horseback or by using 4-wheel vehicles. Some ranches have firebreaks and roads that help hunters avoid exhausting climbs, but once at the top of the mountains, it is still necessary to approach the Stag by foot. Since a big part of hunting Stag is the spot & stalk method, some of the most important tools for hunters in this area to bring are binoculars and spotting scopes. In the Patagonia mountains, hunters hunt with their eyes more than their feet because it is essential to stay put spotting place at the top of the mountains. Once the potential Stag is located, then the hunter’s approach can being. Stalking should be done by very carefully walking to a position where you can attempt to take a good shot.
La Pampa, in the region of the Caldén woodlands, is where Stags were first introduced in Argentina. The environment of this province changes per region. La Pampa has areas with deserts, salt lakes, short bush, and grasslands. The bush area of the province is the best spot for hunting as that is where Stag are generally found. The terrain of La Pampa is mostly flat with some areas of rolling hills, so hunters tend to find this region much more “friendly” than the mountainous areas of Patagonia. Because of this friendlier terrain, hunters have a much easier time reaching the places where the Stag are roaring.
How to Hunt the Red Stag
Hunting of Red Stag is primarily done through chasing or stalking them. Due to the fact that stag love spending the day visiting watering holes, setting up by a watering hole in the early morning is a great way to hunt Red Stag. Hunters want to set up in areas where stag will be before sunrise in order to avoid any unnecessary movement that may be noticed by the deer. Hunting can also occur in the evening hours as Stag are nocturnal creatures and are often found grazing at night. Red Stag generally like the security of forested areas as opposed to the wide open plains. These deer are incredibly impressive creatures as they have the agility to jump fences and are able to run well over 35-40 mph. The best time of year to hunt red stag is between March and April as that is when when the hinds, or female deer, come into heat in Argentina. At this time, the stags and hinds begin the “brama” which is the Argentina word for the roar. Red Stag roar to the hinds and the powerful bellowed call brings all of the hinds closer. This roar can be heard for miles and miles. Hunters can use this roar to identify the Stag’s location.
How to Get Your Trophy Home
There are companies in Argentina that will manage the handling and shipping of your Red Stag trophies. These companies will handle and prepare the trophies on site according to both the international export requirements and also per their clients’ requests. Trophy handling companies will often salt and dry the hides, dip, bleach, and cut the skulls. They will also often send the trophies to a taxidermist who will inspect the trophies to ensure that they are suitable for export. These companies will also make sure that all necessary paperwork and permits are completed and filed. Once trophies are ready and the export documents are issued, the shipping will be sorted. When dealing with exporting trophies out of Argentina, it is important to note that most shipping companies can only ship trophies to a customs broker at the destination country in order to get clearance. Some companies have a list of brokers that they work with, or experienced hunters can supply their broker’s information. Once the trophies clear into the destination country, they can either be shipped to you or your taxidermist of choice.
Mounting trophies in Argentina is also an option. The shipping cost of mounts is higher than just antlers and salted hides, but it is usually cheaper to have mounting work done in Argentina as opposed to in the United States.
The shipping time for Red Stag trophies varies since Argentina Fish & Wildlife doesn’t have a fixed time frame to issue the export permits. You can typically expect your trophy to be shipped out of Argentina within 12 months of your hunt. It is recommended that you stay in the area or at your hunting lodge at least 1 more day after your hunts end in order to get the permits and trophies ready.
Many trophy handling companies offer packages for US hunters. Typically, these packages include exporting, shipping, and even mounting in the USA.
How to Book a Hunting Trip to Argentina Featuring the Red Stag?
With Argentina being one of the top countries in the world for hunting, there are many great outfitters that operate from fine lodges and camps. Argentina also has a good infrastructure set up of excellent roads and internal flights. Outfitters such as South American Adventure Safari offers a wide range of different packages to help you plan your wonderful trip across Argentina. Many of these packages are aimed toward hunting Red Stag and other large game. South American Adventure packages that feature Red Stag include:
- Free Range Red Stag, La Pampa, Argentina
- Free Range Red Stag, Patagonia, Argentina
- Custom Tailored Big Game and Bird Hunting Program
South American Adventure Safari is the only outfitter in Argentina invited to participate in the Craig Boddington Endorsed Outfitter Program. Contact South American Adventure Safari today to book your hunting trip to Argentina featuring Red Stag hunting!