Major win for world-class stag
Members of the South Canterbury North Otago branch of the Deer Farmers' Association certainly don't do things by halves when it comes to hosting what is rated as the biggest competition of its kind in New Zealand, the annual velvet and hard antler competition.
They not only staged their 24th competition, but got record entries as well with 100 heads and 40 hard antler heads submitted for scrutiny by the judging panel.
Organising the competition takes more than 300 hours of volunteer help to run and is growing every year.
Event convenor Murray Coutts said the South Canterbury event showcased the genetic gains the deer industry had made in the past decade.
"Some of New Zealand's best velvet is produced in our region," he said.
"The entries provided a fine display of winners, many of which will go on to the national competition to be held in Invercargill on December 10."
Although several species of deer heads and hard antler material were submitted, including red, fallow and elk/wapiti, the competition is "open", which means all deer species compete against each other for the ultimate prizes.
The event proved to be a bonanza for pure warnham entries with first and second won by sires with these bloodlines.
Sovereign II, owned by Chris and Debra Petersen of Sutherlands, took the ultimate honours with an entry weighing in at 655 .
A second warnham sire, Norton II, owned by Clive Jermy of Stanfield Bushy Park, filling second slot with a weight of 564 .
Mr Coutts said Sovereign II was considered one of the world's top warnham stags.
"He is rated amongst the top three in the world," he said.
The competition is certainly not a photographic event with entries judged on inches of antler.
"Each head is measured and the final points are tallied," he said.
Judges for the competition were fulsome in their praise for the lineup they had to score in the competition saying the weight gains and quality achieved by local growers was on a par with the best heads in the country.
Mr Coutts said the South Canterbury event showcased the genetic gains the deer industry had made in the last decade, but there were supporters of the competition who warranted a "big thank you".
"Running an event such as this also relies on the support of sponsors and we are very grateful for the support we receive from sponsors who provide thousands of dollars in prizes and semen," he said. "They certainly make the event possible."
More results from the competition:
Open supreme elk: First, Donald Whyte Farming entry 18.66kg; second, John Faulkner entry 17.9kg; third, Angela Whyte entry 15kg.
Open red: First, Donald and Kathy Hudson, McCaw, 10.16kg; second, Peel Forest, Walton, 11.84kg; third, Hayden Roberts, stag 142, 11.16kg.
Four-year-old red: First, Ari Settel, stag 145 green, 7.82kg; second, Craig and Shanye Cockburn's entry, 8.42kg; third, Martin and H Rupert stag 09116, 8.44kg.
Three-year-old red: First, Rooney Farms, Mr Ed, 6.11kgs; second, Whyte Farms stag W yellow 608, 7.04kg; third, Whyte Farms stag 658, 6.45kg.
Local red: First, CC Jones stag 4253, 8.8kgs; second Donald and Kathy Hudson, McCaw 10.16kg; third Hayden Roberts, stag 142, 11.16kg.