50 Tips For The The Roar NZ | Back Country Cuisine

50 Tips For The The Roar NZ

23 March 2022


Willie Duley - NZ Hunter Adventures

What if you could take a decades worth of New Zealand roar hunting experience, soak it up into a giant camo sponge, and then squeeze out all of the good stuff into an easy to digest, one shot hit of information?

Well miracles like these can happen because we’ve been lucky enough to extract fifty of the best roar hunting tips from The NZ Hunter Adventures legends, Willie and Greg Duley.

This essential information is hard earned and built off the back of being deep in the hills from late March to May, year after year, while the stags, bucks, and bulls all fire up for the rut.

Check them out, make some notes, and hopefully there are a few game-changing tips in there that will make your roar this year a successful one.


  1. Mature stags that are holding hinds will not always come into a roar until you get right into their territory. When right in close, turn your head away when you roar to make yourself sound further away or even just break the odd stick and stay quiet and watch and wait.
  2. Cover the ground at a steady pace roaring regularly into catchments. Let your voice do the walking. Always be aware that a stag could come in to you silently while doing this so keep your eyes peeled.
  3. Gain a bit of height to help hearing and so your roars carry further. Keep away from rivers and streams and any noise that will stop you hearing roaring stags.
  4. Big stags can turn up on river flats at first and last light so check these out on your way to and from a hunt. Keep your scent off them though.
  5. Where possible, target stags that are roaring rather than stalking wallows etc.
  6. If two stags are roaring really well, sometimes it is better not to make any noise and just stalk in.
  7. When roaring in a stag, make sure you are concealed and with a good view of your shooting area with reasonably clear shooting lanes, especially downwind of you. That is often the direction a stag will sneak in from. Have your rifle up ready (pointed safely with bolt up) and keep movement to a minimum.
  8. Watch out for hinds!
  9. Stags can show up anywhere, especially subordinate stags.
  10. The first stag you see is not always the dominant stag, they are often surrounded by ringers.
  11. If it is a young stag with a head that will be a ripper in a couple of years, let it go. If you need the meat shoot a yearling or a hind.
  12. It is safer to stay together when roaring up a stag with a mate. One can roar and the other can take the shot. If the stag is cagey and won’t come in, then the two hunters can work together. One stays back and roars and the other sneaks in. The roaring hunter must stay put and not even load his rifle if he has one (which he shouldn’t) under any circumstances!
  13. Always presume it is a person until definitely identified as a deer. Watch out for life like recordings that can fool both stags and hunters. Identify your target!
  14. Hunt the mid level spurs that flatten off.
  15. If after a trophy stag, research what heads have come out of various areas. History has a habit of repeating itself.
  16. In tight bush on a stag roaring well, only move when he roars. It will help cover any sound you make.
  17. If hunting open country, keep your scent out of the good areas and watch from a distance.
  18. Roar lots early in the roar – when stags perhaps have yet to find a hind. They are more likely to come in if they haven’t already got one.
  19. During the middle/peak of the roar when stags are likely to have hinds, they will be far less likely to come in, especially if a hind is cycling. Use their replies to pin point their location then stalk in on them.
  20. Start with a basic stag moan to see if you get a reply. When you do, begin to work the stag up by intensifying your roars. When in close to a stag and he just won't come to you, try using a hind call. This call can often be far more effective than an actual roar!
  21. If a stag replies once or twice then shuts up, stay where you are. More than likely he is quietly sneaking in on you. (We have seen this happen lots).
  22. If you know a stag is coming in get ready! They often come in much faster than you are expecting.
  23. When roaring in a stag in the bush look for tops of antlers rather than body. Very often it’s the antlers you’ll see first.
  24. If sneaking in on a stag that won’t come to you, watch out for the lesser, outrider satellite stags/spikers.
  25. If inexperienced at roaring go out to a deer farm and listen. Try to imitate the sounds.
  26. Don’t be too ashamed to use an electronic caller, especially on Sika!
  27. Where there are hinds there will sooner or later be a stag, but you might have to wait a while for one to begin cycling!
  28. Don’t use the weather as an excuse. When they are ready to roar they will roar regardless of the weather!
  29. The big boys roar earlier than most expect.
  30. If a stag is roaring without you having to keep him going, then don’t roar!
  31. Never put him off until tomorrow, if he is going well and the wind is suitable, get him now. You never know what will happen with the weather, other hunters etc if you decide to leave him till later.
  32. Just because he has stopped roaring doesn’t mean he’s buggered off. Often a loud “Woof” will get them going again.
  33. Don’t be afraid to spend time up high in the dark pin pointing roaring stags for the morrow.
  34. If you see a good one and muck him up, odds are he will be back in the same place the following year.
  35. Look for fresh stag sign, as the stag may not be far away. Be alert around wallows or tree rubs.
  36. Aim to be in the stag’s area at first light or last 2 hours of light.
  37. When you get a response, reply back with a similar sounding roar.
  38. Use wind to your advantage and close in on stag as quick as possible while he's roaring.
  39. Get into within 100-150m from stag and roar again.
  40. Shake trees and roar and finish with a grunt - make it sound like you are in his domain and ready to fight.
  41. Don't move and be patient, only moan if you have too otherwise you may give away your position.
  42. When you are in your hunting area roar every few minutes as you move along as often a stag will be where you least expect it. Roaring regularly will minimise the chance of walking past a stag or inadvertently walking into one.
  43. Regular roaring may alert another hunter that a human mimicking a stag is in the same area.
  44. If you hear sound or see movement, shape or colour assume it is another hunter until proven otherwise beyond all doubt. Think about this often during the hunt and remind yourself. When you see an animal assess its gender, age and antlers. If you’ve taken the time to do that then you’ve established it isn’t a human.
  45. Roar from places where you get good coverage over a large area. If there is no wind roar from spurs and ridge tops working your way along, roaring regularly on both sides. If there is wind up top this will make it difficult for your roar to be heard by a stag and to hear an answer from the ridge top. If it is blowing try and climb down out of the wind on the leeward side of the ridge and sidle roaring as you go. If you do hear a stag then you need to nut out how to approach him into wind.
  46. Carrying out a set of antlers or an animal on your back can be perceived as risky as another hunter may think it is a deer walking through the bush. Wearing a high visibility garment is sensible and if you are carrying an animal or head put the garment over the animal. Carry antlers, tips facing downward. It is safer, more comfortable and makes negotiating thicker bush a lot easier.
  47. If you are able find out if other hunters are in the same area then do so. Ask at the DOC office or check with land managers. Are there other cars parked nearby and if there is consider going somewhere else.
  48. A deep, loud, long and angry roar does not necessarily equate to a bigger stag with the bigger head. Check out the puny roars also.
  49. Control buck fever. Know how to recognise it in yourself and have a strategy to counter it. Mine is: “STOP”: S top - T ake time to control your emotion - O bserve for as long as it takes to positively ID the target beyond all doubt - P lace the shot with care
  50. And lastly Druncle’s tip - take a silly brother-in-law or a young nephew with you to carry out your stag!

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