Red Stag Hunting in Argentina
European red stag were introduced to Patagonia in the 1940’s. With few competing species, ideal climate, perfect habitat and few predators they have flourished. Patagonia’s red stag are amongst the largest typical red stag in the world. Few genetic modifications or mutations have taken place or been allowed over the years. In fact, it’s illegal to release or introduce genetics into the wild herd, so Patagonia’s red stag have remained true to their species and exactly like their European ancestors.
The majority of the country’s herd is concentrated around Bariloche, Junin and San Martin de los Andes, with the most trophies traditionally found in and around Nahuel Huapi and Lanin National Parks. Farther south in the Esquel Area the herd is sparse; however, some of the largest trophies in the country can be found in the region, mostly bordering Los Alerces National Park.
Red Stag Species
Over the years, there has been a diversion of the species and there are now two different types of red stag roaming Patagonia – mountain stag and plains stag. Mountain stag are the larger of the two, both in body and in antlers. The mountain stag’s size directly correlates to their environment and less competition. Mountain stag spend more than ten months of the year holed up deep in Lenga forests foraging on abundant vegetation and bushes. High in protein and minerals, their food source fortifies adding body and antler mass. Stepp animals on the other hand tend to be smaller although much more abundant. It is not uncommon for estancias located on the plains to have cull hundreds of stags on yearly basis to prevent overpopulation. Plains stag tend to graze on plentiful grasses, shrubs and willows and enjoy a rather easy living. The climate is mild and they reproduce rapidly. Although stags are much more abundant in the plains, they tend to have smaller bodies and antlers due to overpopulation (competition) and a less nutritious food source.