NZDA tahr clubhunt 83

Sambar Deer

rusa unicolor

Male: Stag
Female: Hind
Young: Fawn or Calf

In New Zealand, sambar deer are considered an iconic herd. They are only in the North Island and mostly on private land.


Sambar are big animals. Stags average 1,370 mm shoulder height and 245 kg in weight, with hinds smaller at 1,150 mm and up to 157 kg.


Uniform, darkening to almost black in older animals, with tan to rusty red on the rump. Underparts are grey to mid-brown.


Only stags grow antlers which are relatively short, heavily pearled and normally with three tines (brow, trez and terminal). Antlers are grown from January to March, hardening between June and November and cast in November/December.

Rifle and calibre

Suitable calibres include .270, 7mm-08, 30’06, .308 and .303. A calibre and cartridge with high striking energy is recommended as sambar deer have been known to absorb several shots and still escape.

Record Trophy

284 4/8 DS taken by R. G. Hill at Manawatu cira 1924.

Record Book Qualification

200 Douglas Score

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