Red Stag... in New York?

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It was October 1st of 2009. We had the whole crew going out in the woods that fine opening day morning. I was set up in a tree close to a nearby pond. And as any great white hunter will tell, you don't get much sleep the night before an opening day for a hunting season. With that said, I was nodding off all morning but trying to stay alert. It was 7:18 AM or so when I heard something walking in the pond close to me beyond the brush and trees. I quickly jumped up and grabbed the Reflex Growler.

I waited patiently while the sounds of movement in the water progressed toward me. Every so often the sounds of the unknown would stop and I would think that it had reached land and any moment would pop out and reveal itself to me. But a few minutes later the sounds would start up again. 15 minutes (which felt like forever) later I see movement coming through the brush. At first I saw the long tines and thought "wow, nice spike." But after careful review I knew this wasn’t an ordinary whitetail spike. I have shot several spikes in my time but nothing was compared to him. I also noticed his body was a different color than that of a typical whitetail deer.

He started moving away from me on an angle and I quickly gave off a grunt with my grunt tube. He stopped, looked back and gave a baby lamb like grunt. Surprised by his reaction, I waited to see what he would do next. After a few seconds He started off again leaving me in his trails. This time I grunted louder. He turned again and "grunted." He then proceeded to move away from me towards a main trail. I knew I had his attention but couldn’t understand why he didn’t come to me. I guess I just assumed that he never saw anything there so he left. After the "deer" left me behind I picked up the radio and called to my dad who was close to where he had gone.

After no response on the radio, I was thinking maybe my dad had gotten a shot off and he was too busy catching his thoughts. Several minutes after trying to contact dad, I heard the faint sounds of that “lamb grunt” again coming from the main trail where I last saw him. I quickly popped up and grabbed the Growler and grunted again with my grunt tube. As I stood there I could hear the “lamb grunt” starting to become louder and louder. I knew that this was going to be the one and only chance of getting a good shot at this deer since I was 30 yards away from the main trail if he passed.

I picked the spot on the main trail where I had an open shooting lane. When he came back into view on the trail he was moving like he was on a mission. I drew back on the bow and waited for him to come into my lane. A few steps before entering I put out a low grunt and he stopped abruptly, standing in the lane. That’s when I let the arrow fly! As the deer was running off, I was trying to figure out what type of deer it was. It was big and had antlers and that’s all I knew. Climbing down from the tree I had a pretty good idea of where he was because I heard him crash after the shot. Trying to call dad on the radio was impossible so I went to his stand and picked him up explaining what had happened. Turns out he had lost his radio and that’s why I couldn’t reach him. Dad and I tracked the blood trail through the woods to where he laid. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first spotted him. It looked like a horse with antlers laying on the ground. After gutting it, I called the rest of the clan to come and see this amazing deer I had just shot.

I took the deer to a local butcher/taxidermist and he quickly identified the deer as a Red Stag! Believe it or not I had never seen a Red Stag before in my life. The taxidermist tells me that a few years back a local farmer was raising some Red Deer and didn’t have a permit to do so. The state found out about this and the farmer told them that he was going to terminate the animals. Instead, the farmer released the deer into the wild and now they’re populating. This could be the start of a new species of animal to New York to hunt on Long Island.

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groovy mike's picture


WOW! what an experience THAT would be!

Where in New York are you?

It would be fantastic to have them breeding in the wild.  No 'canned hunt' here.  You tookk an honest to goodness free range red stag in New York State!

That's awesome!

Critter's picture

Red Stag in New York that is

Red Stag in New York that is a new one on me.  Great story

ManOfTheFall's picture

Awesome story, great pic,

Awesome story, great pic, nice stag.

numbnutz's picture

I didnt even know there was

I didnt even know there was stag i NY, thats pretty darn cool

Red Stag... in New York?

Very interesting story, and haven't heard of something like that happening before. I wonder if there are more out there and breeding? Guess time will tell.

Quite a trophy in it's own right... ;-)

Thanks, and nice picture.

jpcomputers's picture

Thanks for reading my story.

Thanks for reading my story. I hope they're breeding. Although I don't think it would be good for our whitetail population here on LI.