Editor’s Note: This past week I went to a Deer Expo and met some interesting people, scouting out what outdoorsmen needed to know about hunting, new hunting products and hunting places to go. This week I’ll share with you some of the people I’ve met, and what I’ve learned that may help you and your hunting buddies have a more fun and successful deer-hunting season this fall.
Who would have believed that a hunter would travel to Australia to hunt Sambar deer that lived originally in India or red stag deer native to most of Europe, Iran and Asia and fallow deer native to Europe? But I met a gentleman, Robert Cavedon, from Eurobin, Victoria, Australia, who owns the 5Star Deer Guide Company. “We guide for Sambar deer, red stags and fallow deer. I believe the Sambar deer is the smartest of all the deer species. You can farm the red deer, the fallow deer and the whitetail. But you can’t farm the Sambar deer that’s a free-range species that’s hunted on the border of the Mount Buffalo National Park in the Alpine region of Victoria, Australia.
“A mature, 3-year-old Sambar deer will weigh from 300-700 pounds (some have topped out at 1200 pounds). Resembling an elk with very long antlers, except for a white blaze some Sambar deer have on their foreheads, the Sambar deer is native to India, Burma and Ceylon.”
When I asked how that Indian elk (Sambar deer) swam across the Indian Ocean to reach Australia, Cavedon answered as he laughed, “Sambars didn’t have to swim. They were brought over and introduced to Australia in the late 1800s, as were all the deer found today in Australia. The only native animals in Australia were the kangaroo and the emu. The Sambar deer has thrived in Australia, and we’ve had a population explosion of them. They come out of the national forest onto private farmlands and eat up the crops. In some parts, these Sambar deer almost have put the farmers out of business.
“In the dairy cattle region of Victoria – the Ovens Valley – most of the dairy cattleman have been put out of business due to the Sambar deer, which eats the same foods cows eat. The last dairy farmer in this section of Victoria finally had to give up raising dairy cows, because he had 60-70 Sambar deer coming onto his property at night that ate the grazing he had for his dairy cattle. We hunt the Ovens Valley for the Sambar deer. By hunting these deer, we’re helping to solve problems for the farmers there as well as offering a great hunt for a huge deer for the sportsmen who fly in to hunt them.
“My group has come to the American market since our Aussie dollar is worth 72 cents to every American dollar. So, automatically Americans get a 28% discount when hunting Australia. A three-day Sambar deer hunt (2 nights and 3 days) costs $1500 – $3500 in Aussie dollars. Also, there’s trophy fees of about $3500 Aussie dollars per animal. Since we have so many Sambar deer, a hunter usually can take his deer in two days of hunting. I’ve learned from American hog hunters who hunt hogs at night that by using thermal binoculars and riflescopes, we can see and hunt the Sambar deer, which is a huge advantage, since these deer are nocturnal feeders.
“We offer a cod fishing trip too on the Buffalo River, also in the Alpine region of Victoria, with the biggest one ever caught being 6-feet long and weighing 250 pounds. We fish for these cod out of kayaks using surface lures, which makes this more than just a fishing trip. It’s a real adventure and very exciting. These cod live in the crystal-clear waters of the Buffalo River and often hold in 10-foot-deep holes. We also offer family holidays where you can bring your entire family with you and visit this part of Australia. You can check out our webpage to learn more about friend and family visits.”
The 5Star Deer Guide Company features luxury accommodations and a restaurant that serves exotic foods like emu, venison, ostrich and wild goat. For more information, call (+61) 408-573-339, or go to www.5stardeerguide.com.au.
To learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” available in Kindle, print and Audible versions at http://amzn.to/YpoQHA
Tomorrow: Learning Quick Ways to Prepare Delicious Deer Hunting Camp Meals