The Island of New Caledonia sits in an isolated corner of the Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and north of New Zealand surrounded by the longest continuous barrier reef on the planet. The reef itself is an UN-inscribed natural wonder of the world. This geologically ancient and mysterious island is a French territory in the sub-tropical Melanesian region. It is a unique area that boasts a thriving population of Javan Rusa stags. Known as Cerf on the island, they were introduced in 1870 when the governor of Java gifted several animals to the wife of the New Caledonian Governor.
The Island's Rusa
The population exploded surpassing half a million animals, and Rusa initially over browsed the island's endemic Guava forests. To manage the species a calculated population reduction plan was put in place focusing on strategically reducing total deer numbers while improving trophy quality. Efforts have been very successful, and stags with beams in the mid-30-inch range and are now abundant. The island's Rusa management plan is something like QDM but on a national scale! In addition to excellent trophy quality, the management program translates into an economically viable venison market on the island. Every year a venison festival held in the town of Boulouparis. New Caledonia is very proud of its Rusa deer.
Hunters can expect to see several hundred to over a thousand Rusa each day while out hunting! With so many options it’s all about finding and judging the perfect stag. Most hunters usually take 2 stags but there is no limit. Aside from Rusa, a South Pacific Wild Turkey is also included in each Rusa package. With picturesque rolling coulee country, this hunt is well suited for spot and stalk hunting tactics. Quality rifles are provided at no cost assisting with hassle-free travel. Trophy export is quick and simple, as Rusa populations are stable and not CITES classified. The import process into most counties is equally painless. There are no taxidermists on the island, so hunters are required to fly home with their capes and antlers as checked baggage, avoiding expensive shipping and expediting charges! Antler caps will be boiled and cleaned while capes are dry salted in camp and packaged for the flight home.
A Tropical Vacation
While the hunting alone is superb, New Caledonia has much more to offer. For starters, the moderate island weather is lovely. Melanesian & French/European fusion of food and cultures are fantastic, and last but far from least are the natural splendors, such as the barrier reef and coral lagoon. As far as tropical adventures go, New Caledonia might be one of the world’s top options. Visitors are always encouraged to maximize their trip by planning side ventures before and after the hunt to best experience what the island has to offer. Fishing and snorkeling charters are a must if the weather is conducive. Exploring the endemic rainforests and National Parks along the eastern side of the island make for an unforgettable day. The islands beautiful resorts are a perfect way to disconnect from the world, while touring the lively capital city of Noumea is an experience in itself. Enjoy sunset each day on the beach or overlooking the mountains. This unique and memorable destination is well worth the journey!
Dates & Rates
While some Rusa rut year-round, the vast majority of the Island's population of Rusa rut during the winter months of July, August, and September. As such, our annual hunting season coincieds only during the very peak of the roar.
|Week 1||3rd Week of July|
|Week 2||4th Week of July|
|Week 3||1st Week of August|
|Week 4||2nd Week of August|
|Week 5||3rd Week of August|
|Week 6||4th Week of August|
|Week 7||1st Week of September|
|Trophy Rut Hunts||5 full days – 2x1 guided – x1 Javan Rusa & x1 Wild Turkey – July - September = $6200|
|Additional Trophy Rusa Stag||$2,500|
|Non-Hunting Observers||$350/day x 6 = $2100|
INCLUDED IN PRICE
- Round trip airport/resort pick-up and drop-off services
- Fluent English-speaking outfitter overseeing the hunt
- All meals and accommodations during the hunt
- All permits, licenses, and trophy fees for x1 Javan Rusa Stag with no size restrictions
- 2x1 professional guiding
- Rifle rental for the duration of the hunt & ammunition
- All ground transportation while hunting
- Bonus South Pacific Wild Turkey
- Detailed antler & hide preparations for travel home
- Veterinary certificate and Proof of Origin Certificate
- Travel to La Tontouta Intl Airport near Noumea, New Caledonia
- Any pre and post hunt meals or accommodations
- Trophy fees for any additional game animals harvested
- Gratuities to guides and lodge staff
- Taxidermy and trophy export as additional checked luggage
- Fishing, personal side-ventures, vacationing or island tourism
- purchases of a personal nature, alcohol, souvenirs etc.
- Extra hunting days: $500/day (if possible)
- Non-hunting observer days: $350/day x6 = $2100
- Trophy fees for additional game species;
- Javan Rusa Stag (no size restrictions) = $2500
- South Pacific Wild Turkey = $350
- Day charters / Side-ventures;
- Coral Lagoon (fishing/spearfishing/snorkeling) day charters = $600/per charter split by maximum 4 people)
- Outer Reef (Big game & Shark Fishing) day charters = $800/per charter split by maximum 4 people)
- Old-growth rainforest National Park & Noumea City day tours = $100 each/day
Hunters are greeted by their outfitter or guide on Sunday afternoons at either the La Tontouta Airport roughly an hour north of Noumea or the beachside Sheraton Deva Spa & Golf Resort near Bourail. It’s a quick scenic drive to the main lodge situated near the various hunting areas. These are classic spot & stalk style hunts, conducted on various large tracts of privately-owned ranch or tribal lands. Generally, run from our luxurious main lodge with all the comforts, some hunts however are based from more remote homestead type outpost camps.
After a quick breakfast, get set up on high ground with spotting scopes overlooking a series of coastal valleys. As dawn breaks it is not unusual to hear numerous stags light-up and commence roaring, only intensifying as the sun begins to warm the cool air. Typical morning set-ups consist of glassing from strategic heights, judging numerous stags, until a shooter is identified. The evaluation process is particularly critical, but with so many deer, and trophy potential so high, there is no reason not to be extremely selective. Old heavy beamed stags, with long tines and zero antler damage, are the objective.
By late morning activity drops off and it’s time to head back and break for lunch, usually at a ranch house situated in the hunting area. This is also a great time to process any harvested Rusa stags, jump on Wi-Fi, refresh in the pool or river, grab any provisions in town, or a quick midday snooze.
Head back out in the early afternoon continuing to glass, judge, and inventory the many roaring Rusa stags from high ground. Once a shooter is located, a meticulous stalk or interception is devised. Stalks are usually only several hundred yards to close the distance into shooting range, and shots are mostly taken in the prone off a bipod/pack at ranges up to 300 yards. The greatest challenge is often to avoid spooking the many other non-target deer in the way! Sometimes there are simply too many deer to get in close to a specific stag, and hunters need to be patient while they enjoy the show as the situation plays out.
Most hunters take 2 stags, and a South Pacific Wild Turkey is also included in every package if desired. Over the course of the hunt Rusa antler caps are boiled and cleaned, while capes are salted, dried, and packaged in preparation for travel home in compliance with airline and import requirements. This allows hunters to fly with their Rusa as checked luggage dodging expensive shipping and expediting fees.
On Saturday morning, once the Rusa hunt has concluded, hunters are dropped back off at either the La Tontouta Airport or the Sheraton Deva Spa and Golf Resort. Rusa aside, the reef and lagoon itself is a main ecological attraction to the region and it is certainly encouraged to plan some side-ventures while in New Caledonia, ideally before the hunt. There are many activities, and Rusa Island Outfitters is happy to help arrange or coordinate logistics in partnership with many of the island's service providers.
New Caledonia is a long, thin, semi-tropical Island roughly 250 miles long and 35 miles wide, surrounded by an incredible barrier reef and the world’s largest coral lagoon. While most islands in the South Pacific are formed from somewhat recent volcanic activity, New Caledonia is an ancient piece of continental crust. Down its center runs a spine of mountains delineating the island's east and west sides. The eastern slopes catch the prevailing winds and rain, forming a lush rainforest. The west coast however is more arid. Cedar and Gumtree forests dominate the foothills, giving way to grassland habitat with deep vegetated coulees extending to the coast. Rivers create densely vegetated mangrove and cassis thickets supporting vast numbers of Rusa. It is the west side of the island where much of the Rusa hunting is conducted. Some of the terrain can be quite steep, but overall very huntable and scenic.
Like many deer in the southern hemisphere, Rusa can rut year-round, but the bulk of the island’s population of deer rut during the winter months. Hunts are only conducted during the peak of the roar spanning from mid-July to early September. Winter weather here is extremely pleasant and is usually warm and lovely. Generally, there is very little rain this time of year. Strong coastal winds can develop in the afternoons and only on the coldest mornings can you see your breath until the sun crests the horizon. By midday, hunters are usually wearing light pants and tee-shirts, sporting shorts and flip flops during lunch. Come evening, a sweater or light jacket is all that’s needed.