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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Curious to hear what other people think of this animal as game. I've killed 7-8 of them, and believe the trick is not to hunt them like a whitetail. They are small animals at Chincoteaque, VA where I hunt them. 30-60 lbs field dressed. Absolutely free range - park has been trying aggressively to limit their numbers for years.
 

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Now you've piqued my curiosity...

Would you care to describe your most recent hunt? What caliber(s) you tend to prefer for them? I'm sure that with a dressed weight around half that of an average whitetail, you do NOT want to be using a full-power .30cal! I'd like to know more.
 

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On one of the other boards that I frequent , one of the members in Maryland had a good thread going on hunting them with a muzzle loader. I guess in some places there hip boots are required equipment. Looks pretty interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Sika hunting can be done with about any caliber you would use for small whitetail (.243, .30-30, .270 etc). They are not hard to kill. I have only had one run after being shot, and it only made it about 20 yards. None ever required more than one shot either. I did see someone hunting them with a .300 Winchester Magnum years back!!!
I was hopeing someone would share their hunting techniques. My experience is that you should forget your hunting deer (really an Elk though). My friends and I hunt them like we would rabbits! Tree stands and Elk calls usually get you nothing.
They are night feeders (they particularly like the grass on the lawn of the ranger station). They move around pretty freely until the first shot then they go to ground. Chincoteaque has a great many sand dunes with large thickets of briars between them. The Sika generally dig themselves in there. Run a drive through those briar patches and you will eventually find them. Sika generally wont spook until you have just about stepped on them. They get up fast and generally run 25-50 yards - before stopping briefly to emit a bark-like warning to other Sika.
They also like to hang out on small plots of dry land surrounded by water. Drives work great there too.
I always take a rifle, and a shotgun loaded with buckshot - position in drive determines what I carry. Waders an absolute necessity. Usually still hunt from the ground first thing in morning - they will be moving then as hunters spook them up moving into their zones. At 9:00 AM nothing is moving - that's when I switch to a drive.
I was always suprised by the low success rate of hunters there. I have never gone home without one however. The only problem is getting through the lottery - been a few years since I made it through.

No dogs allowed in hunting there.

Most important thing is the meat is great!!!! Cooks up with a red color like elk - does'nt brown like Whitetail. Much sweeter and not as gamey as Whitetail.
 

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Sounds like a fun hunt! I wish they'd bring some out this way, because it sounds like they'd fit right into northern and eastern Oklahoma, all over Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri.

I imagine that as small as they are, the big .30's (.30-30, .308, .30'06, 7.62x54r, etc) would be a bit of overkill for them. I wonder how a .223 would stack up in their case. Either way, I'd probably opt for a .243, if given the opportunity.
 

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Sika (Japanese) deer are widely hunted in this country (NZ).Most shooters would use a .243-.270 in that class and its pretty common to use a .223 also,although IMHO its better to use something bigger than a .22 centerfire for any deer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
The .223 cartridge is illegal for hunting in VA. - so unfortunately I have no experience with it other than target shooting. I've heard it is used in Texas with success.

I actually liked useing military surplus rifles a few time. Made a kill with a Type 38 carbine, K98, and a Lee Enfield No. 4. 8mm Mauser and .303 would put one down fast!

I really liked this type of hunting, but would only do it with my most trusted partners. Don't really know how to describe it - kind of a cross between skeet shooting and a combat rifle course. Best analogy would probably be hunting really big pheasant!!!! Boring and physically challenging - with short burst of fast action.

Until a few years back shooting a Whitetail deer there was illegal. Nice fine awaited those who shot first without thinking. Quite a few times I ran across Whitetail corpses left to rot in the field (I always reported these to the rangers - who would have me walk them to the corpse). Saw more than a few really nice 8-point Whitetail bucks hunting there that would have been easy kills - real torture having your rifle sighted on a trophy Whitetail and not being able to pull the trigger. Added a "Friend or Foe" type aspect to the hunting. You not only had to check the backgroung before shooting, but make sure you were shooting the right type of animal!!! Challenging and fun!
Was pretty easy to tell a Whitetail from a Sika. An alarmed Whitetail sticks its big white tail in the air when it's fleeing - the Sika simply has a big white rump - tail is small. They run differently too - if it looks like it's on a pogo stick - it's a Whitetail. Body shape is quite different too! Ears and legs smaller on Sika. I doubt you would notice in the quick, but the Sika also has a black stripe down it's back that makes the hide stand out.
A few years back they opened up hunting to include Whitetails, and getting through lottery has become really difficult. Kinda shame because the real hunt is for Sika in my mind. More I think of this - the more I can't wait to do it again!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
In Virginia - you can hunt during a designated season, with approved firearms, on private property. Some public land is also open; but honestly I'm not to thrilled with the idea of not knowing who is next to me (woods can get crowded)! I learned a long time ago to be picky on who I hunt and drink with. Some state and federal land have hunting rights given out by lottery - certain amount of territory (1 to 30 acres) is restricted to the winner for a given time. Chincoteaque is the last.
Sika do not roam freely in Virginia or Maryland. They are pretty much restricted to Chincoteaque( Assateaque ) Island. Story, I believe, goes that about 1904 the Emperor (spelling??) of Japan gave something like a dozen Japanese Sika deer to the Boy Scouts of America. They then released them on Chincoteaque. Numbers then increased reportedly to 800 to 1200 animals at times. Island is not a lush environment, and this keeps the size of the animals down. I assume if they ever made it to central VA where the farms are they would be much larger!!!
I've always dreamed of hunting New Zealand or Australia. Heard of being able to hunt for days without seeing another sole. Sounds like heaven to me. I can only dream of hunting for Red Deer or Hog Deer also. Do you hunt on private or public land in NZ?
I believe that hunting in Virginia and New Zealand would be quite different. I hear you do a lot of spotting and stalking there - like is done in the middle to western US. VA is heavily forested where it has'nt been turned into farm land. Shooting a deer past 100yards is unusual. My furthest kill is only at 175 yrds. Average is probably 70 yrds.
Been looking into the possibility of a canoe hunting trip somewhere in the USA. Somewhere I can get lost for a few days, but have'nt found the right location yet.
 

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I take it that according to your "pogo-stick" comment concerning whitetail that Sika run, rather than hop or bounce? They sound like a real blast to hunt, and I'm sure they'd fit right in the woods of Arkansas. Sounds VERY similar to your surroundings out in VA. Most folks that hunt with .30'06 rifles wind up wasting a lot of bullet energy, because they don't wind up with shots greater than 80-125yd.

I hope you get into the lottery this year!
 

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I am familiar with the terrain in Virginia,I have been there a few times as I know people in Roanoke and Richmond and have driven through the state a couple of times (my cousin also lives in Oakton,VA just outside D.C.).Yes it has a lot of woodland,and its MUCH hotter there in the summer than NZ (there is hardly any humidity here).Deer are hunted on both private and public land here,there are few hunting regulations in this country and deer may be hunted year round with no restrictions on the number shot or caliber used.There are more deer around now than there have been for several decades,mainly because the price of venison has bottomed out so farmers are no longer capturing them in the wild to use for breeding stock,so their numbers are growing.Hunting has always been the sport of the common man in this country,but I see that changing in the future as there is now big money to be made with the sale of hunting (mainly Red deer and Himalayan thar) to wealthy sportsmen so a lot of private land that used to be available to local hunters is now closed off and used by safari type operations.However there is vast amounts of public land available to hunters for free,so as long as that continues I guess things will still be OK for hunters here.I actually had to help pull down hunting camp this past week,the company I work for hired out several marquees (tents) to a safari operation who had a prince from Brunei coming out to hunt Red deer up in the mountains,he had a staff of 45 who apparently accompany him everywhere,he even had a spa installed just for the couple days he was there.They probably just took him up in their helicopter,pointed out the animal(s) to him,I suppose he pulled the trigger but thats about all.Not really hunting is it.
 

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The boy in this photo is the son of a friend,he shot this fallow deer last year,up in the hills around where I grew up.A fairly small deer but no doubt good eating.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I'm not sure if I can properly describe how a Whitetail vs a Sika runs. It is obvious when you see it. Whitetail tend to do their best to show off their white tail when alarmed - kinda holds it's butt high, and if not too alarmed kinda jumps in high arcs. Sika don't jump as high, and their whole rump is their warning.
Summers in VA do stink. Hot and muggy! Had some relatives from Norway here a few years ago, and they complained quite a bit about the heat. In a neat little side story, during colonial times, soldiers stationed in DC got xtra hardship pay because of the weather here. I live in Richmond. I like the state, but not the summers.
Most rifles are a bit of overkill here considering ranges available. The .260 or 6.5 Swedish are probably two excellent cartridges for this state. I have killed more deer however with a Remington 870 shotgun fitted a Hastings rifled barrel and a Burris 2.5X LER scope. I get less than 2" groups at 100 yards with it, and it is deadly!!!! I don't shoot past 100 yrds with it, but probably could go 125-135 yrds with 3" Magnum.
My favorite shot ever was a Whitetail yearling at 5 feet with the shotgun. I was on one side of a drainage ditch leaning against a tree. Yearling came walking up the ditch, and a little way before it reached me it climbed to the top of the ditch on the other side. I just raised the shotgun without aiming and fired. Blew the deer off it's feet! I've always thought that I could have killed it with a spear or a rifle with a bayonet. Looked for the sabots thinking they were probably still in the deer, but guessed they passed through it still attached to the slug.
I can't compete with most hunters on longest shots! Heck - finding a place to shoot at 200 yrds is a challenge. I can however bragg about shortest shot taken!!!!

Nothing to be ashamed of with that Fallow. I have a picture where I'm carring two Sikas at the same time over my shoulders. I received more than my share of jokes about "hunting small dogs".

Need to see if I can get my scanner working - if so can post a few pictures I have. Did'nt switch from 35mm to a digital camera until recently.
 

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Sweet Swede.

Never tried the shotty on deer but i will back you on the swede. If you do your bit that old girl will kill anything down here. I converted a mold to make 178g. hollowpoints and they do disgusting things on there way out of a pig. cheers chester.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I wonder why venison is'nt imported from New Zealand? I believe a lot of the lamb here is imported from NZ - I think the last leg of lamb I made came from NZ. I also know most of the jerky sold here as "Elk" is actually "Red Deer" from NZ. I would certainly be a buyer of some good steaks.
When you say the price of Venison has bottomed out - how does it compare to say beef and veal there?
With all the types of Deer in New Zealand - is there a generally agreed on ranking as to the quality of meat from the various deer?
 

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Sika? Almost sounds like Sitka Blacktail.....Id like to give them a try.
I've poped off quite a few Sitka Deer with the little brothers .223, and never more than 50 feet away at that. Triple canopy Rain forrest and steep hills on the little islands of Alaskas inside passage.
Built like big Greyhounds and easy to pack back to Mom....

But thats in Sitka Alaska, when I get that far south, and visit family.
 

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Most of the venison was taken by Germany,they were the biggest export customer.The velvet went to asia,where it is popular as a aphrodisiac.Elk are known here as Wapiti,so the jerky is probably made from that rather than Red deer.Can't say I know what venison costs as I have never brought any.You find with sheep that the meat is usually better from younger animals,rather than by breed and I suspect the same is true with venison,that and what they have been eating would likely determine the quality of their meat.
 

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We did cut one up that had been taken with a 220 Swift that was more than adequate for the job Grant.
PM me if you are on Awesome..
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Lets see if my scanner works! Old pictures - 15-17 years old. Like em as I'm thin, and damn handsome! First two year hunting there! You can see in the third picture that one is soaking wet - had to wade in water to retrive it. The forth picture is before the season opened - Sika eating on the Rangers front lawn. The first two pictures show yearlings, and the last picture shows 2-3 year old does.
 
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