Thursday, July 7, 2022

Friendship and fallowship

Pete McIntyre has a soft spot for fallow deer and is one of a handful of commercial breeders.

At Benio, midway between Tapanui and Gore, he runs 350 does and 20 stags, selling 100 spikers each year to outfitters who eventually release them on to game estates.

Pete, a keen hunter, took his first tentative step into fallow farming following a hunt in the nearby Blue Mountains, rescuing a doe fawn and bringing it home to bottle feed. He bought a North Island stag and started slowly building a herd. In 1986 he and long-time hunting friend Alan Stewart. of Leithen Valley Trophy Hunts, realised there was an opportunity to supply a better type of fallow and bought an imported Hungarian herd of 35 does and five stags. Five years later they bought a Danish herd of 12 does and four stags.

“We’d done our research and wanted to get the best we could,” Pete says.

They’ve used AI four times over the years to help build the breeding herd. A programme was started when they secured semen from Koros, a high-scoring stag, as part of the Hungarian herd purchase. Between 70 and 80 does have been artificially bred each time and although not used for the last three seasons, AI will be used again in the future.

The ongoing goal is to go “bigger and better” breeding stags with antlers of good length and palmation.

“We’re hunters and we know what we like and basically it’s what other hunters like.”

Pete is responsible for day-to-day management and follows an easy care system.

The predominantly Hungarian herd is run on 20ha of the McIntyre’s easy rolling property. The Danish are separate from the Hungarian animals and both groups are run in extended family mobs. Stags are run with does from March until they cast their antlers in October. At this stage they’re brought into the yards and sorted, with the spikers delivered to outfitters.


Pete and a Bambi-cute newborn which weighs 4kg.

Pete McIntyre says that trust and good relationships have been important in building and maintaining the fallow trophy breeding business. He and Alan Stewart forged a friendship and business relationship through hunting pursuits and continue to work in well with each other. Their goal is to keep improving what they breed and Pete says good relationships with others in the industry is helping them do this. “The people I supply often help me source bigger and better stags … relationships and trust is everything in this industry.”

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