The Roar – Outtheresouthernadventures

The Roar

Here in NZ the Red deer roar can happen, depending on the area you live anytime from mid March through to the end of April and I've even heard the odd roar in May.

So just what is the 'Roar', or sometimes known as the ' rut', it is the mating time for the Red deer here in NZ. It can also be used in conjunction with the Fallow deer mating time which is usually after the Red deer roar and usually about the end of April and into May.

So I hear you say 'what's so important about the 'Roar' What is it that gets hunters so excited about this 'Roar'. I'll try and explain.

A roaring red deer stag in the open tussocks. Very exciting. 

Imagine its (let's say, July) and your away in a far away valley out for a hunt. You are standing in the valley floor about the centre by the river that runs down through the valley. From where you are standing it is 600m to the bush edge, either side of the valley. The bush clad faces run up to the 1000m mark and go up and down the valley for 20kms. (The deer do not Roar at this time of year) Your job now is to find a red deer stag somewhere in that bush. If you walked into, whichever side you want to hunt and you are trying to find a red deer stag, this could be literally a needle in a haystack. You could spend days just wondering around in search of a red deer stag. ( although there are methods hunters use to locate animals this time of year)

Looking into the Caples valley, just so much bush. A deer could be anywhere.  

Now imagine the same valley, you're in the same spot and it's mid April and the 'Roar' is in full swing. Up to your left a red deer stag starts 'Roaring' and with some pin pointing you think it is up on a particular ridgeline. Firstly there is no just wondering around, you have heard the stag and have pinpointed it's position. You can now head towards it. That's saved a lot of wondering.

Secondly, his 'Roaring' is basically telling all the other stags in the area to piss off don't bother coming over here. He may have some girlfriends in tow as this is the time of year the red deer hinds come into season. He will be with some girls and his whole focus is on mating with her. This means he just might let his guard down because he's more focused on her than on himself.

A red deer stag with a hind and yearling. 

Thirdly, if the wind doesn't betray you're presence and you can get close enough, you can 'Roar' back at him and he thinks 'Shit, it's another stag coming in to try steal my girls' and this can make him very aggressive and mad and he might charge in to fight off the intruder. This can give you the chance of a shot at him.

All of these points are a win win for the hunter that is after a stag. Now if you've ever been in the bush and had a Red deer stag roaring at you from about 20m away, it is so loud, so scary, the hairs on your neck stand up it is truly a unbelievable experience that few but hunters will ever get to experience. And this is why the 'Roar' is so eagerly anticipated.

Although taken from a distance, hearing him roar is awesome. 

For the hunter the 'Roar', can happen at any time over that (generally) April period and you need to be 'Out There' in the hills with the hope that you have picked the time, that they are going to Roar.

Red deer usually need a cold snap to get them roaring so if a bit of bad weather rolls in, once it clears that could be the time. The hunter needs to get into their favorite spot in the hopes the stags are going to start roaring.

Chasing roaring red deer can happen for a couple of days or a week. but only at that time of the year so for the hunter that has had to wait an entire year to hear the stags roaring ( which might only be for a few days) they are really looking forward to it. This could be the chance to find a magnificent trophy with a great set of antlers. It is an exciting time.

This red deer stag was roaring from about 40m away, pretty exciting stuff. 

However, more so when bush hunting, this is a time to be extra careful. Although you can hear this stag roaring there is the chance it could be another hunter. Yes another hunter might be 'roaring', you hear him and thinking its a red deer start stalking in towards that hunter. You might roar, he roars and all this time it is two hunters stalking in on each other. In thick bush, visibility could be down to meters so positive identification is paramount.

There is a rule that you never shoot at anything until you have 100% identified your target as a deer. Remember, movement, colour, shape and sound are all another hunter until you have positively identified your target as a deer. If you can't identify then you don't shoot. It is better that they roaring deer gets away than you fire a shot which you haven't positively identified and you've just shot another hunter.

This young red deer stag was roared up and is about 10m away in thick west coast bush. 

Here in NZ the roar gets a lot of hunters into the hills in search of a stag so with a sudden influx of hunters it is even more important to be super dooper extra careful. Rule 4 of the seven basic firearms rules says 'Identify your target beyond all doubt' then once you have positively identified you should apply rule 3 'Chamber a round only when ready to shoot'.

A nice west coast red stag taken in thick bush. The importance of 100% positive id is paramount. 

You may have seen a lot of adverts stating 'get roar fit' and as per the last few sentences a lot more hunters get out into the hills this time of year. Often they are city folk that don't do much exercise for most of the year then suddenly they are out on the hill and get themselves into precarious positions. They might Heli into a hunting block and can get themselves into places they can't get themselves out of. Perhaps walk too far, hear that stag and keep going after him then realize they've gone too far.

So hence the push a month or two out from the roar to get fitter.
And just by going for some walks after work 3-4 per week around your neighbor hood can make a huge difference when you out on the hill. It could be the difference between getting back to camp safely or not. Not getting back to camp now puts pressure on your mates your hunting with, Police, Search and Rescue and family and friends. All because you're not 'Roar fit'. I know when I'm getting close to the roar I get fitter just for that time. I don't want to let me down or my hunting mates so I make a effort to get fitter. And when your fitter you will feel better for it.

In order to do this you need to get fit, have good reliable gear and and accurate firearm. 

It is also important to ensure your gear is all up to standard for the time you will spend in the hills and you know it is all fit for purpose. It is not going to fail or let you down. Make sure your firearm is sighted in correctly for the hunting you are doing, whether bush hunting or open tops hunting. This might mean spending some time at the range, putting a few rounds through your firearm to make sure it is going to hit the target in the 'killing area' on the game you are hunting. Sighting it in for close bush hunting or knowing where the bullet hits at 300m on the open tops. The last thing you want is to badly wound the game animal your taking a shot at.

Spend some time behind the rifle and know where its shooting. 

If the roar trip is one of the few opportunities you get to get out hunting then you want to make the most of it. To make the best chance you can so take the time, get fit, know your firearms bullet impact for the ranges you are shooting, check your gear is in good working order, apply rule 4 then rule 3 and be safe Out There. Remember no meat is better than no mate!