An age old debate, are the deer located high or low in winter?!
The two most common theories are:
“They’ll be down low. it’s too cold and exposed up high. They won’t be out in the open.”
“They’ll be higher up. More sunlight exposure and the sun hits the hills earlier in the morning. Also, it stays frozen longer down in the valleys.”
So with that, they must be somewhere in the middle, right?!
Recent discussion indicates that we should be hunting lower down, in the bush and that you won’t find much out in the open and up high.
But, how much does terrain and weather play a part in this? In my opinion, more so than height will.
Below are some examples of deer located at differing areas and heights but all above 1000m.
Tussock Hut, Jul 24, 2015
Otutu/Manson, Jul 30, 2019
Spion Kop, Jul 30, 2019
Waipakihi River, Jun 7, 2015
I’ve also seen fresh sign throughout the full elevation range.
My own observations are that if the conditions are favourable, elevation isn’t as significant a factor as is often suggested.
I’d be very keen to hear from others on their experiences and observations.
Note: This case is based on hunting in the Central Plateau, specifically the Kaweka and Kaimanawa Ranges, where elevation ranges from around 800m in the Northern Kaimanawas to around 1700 in the Eastern Kawekas.