Sika deer is a small, beautiful animal with white spots. The bucks carry thick, branched antlers with all points growing from the same stem, typically four points on each side – rarely five and almost never six. Sika deer antlers in velvet stage are highly prized by traditional Chinese medicine, which at one point nearly led to the species’ extinction. Fortunately, deer farming appeared as an alternative to wild populations. Sika deer hunting provides delicious and healthy venison, an unusual and beautiful trophy and a challenging hunting experience.
SIKA DEER HUNTING METHODS
Sika deer are highly adaptable, and developed their own set of predation avoidance techniques that may puzzle a hunter who’s used to hunting other deer. For instance, sika deer may hide in a scenario when other deer will flee, and vice versa. They can be harvested by a variety of hunting methods, including calling, waiting from a high seat over feeding grounds or a salt lick, and driven hunt. But the most popular method perhaps is a combination of calling and spot-and-stalk during the rut.
WHEN TO HUNT SIKA DEER IN TEXAS
Sika deer hunting opportunities for introduced animals and on high fence operations are often year-round, but the hunter who seeks to harvest a trophy buck should consider their antler growth schedule. In the Northern Hemisphere sika deer shed their antlers in April, drop the velvet in August in time for the rut (which usually happens in late September to early October). In Russia the sika hunting season runs from September 1 to January 15. Most outfitters suggest that the earlier into the season the better the hunting.
WHAT IS THE COST TO HUNT SIKA DEER IN TEXAS?
The price of a sika deer hunt depends greatly on the location. In Europe, a non trophy cull or doe hunt may cost about $500 a hunter a day, but a trophy fee for a spectacular record-book animal can rise the bill into the $3,000-$5,000 range. On Texas game ranches a trophy sika deer hunt will cost about $3,000. New Zealand deer hunting packages that include sika deer may be priced at $9,000 or so. Perhaps the best bargains are Russian hunts, where for $4,500-5,500, without an additional trophy fee, you get to hunt a true wild animal in its native – and totally awesome – environment.