Axis deer originate from Southern India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, but can now be found throughout North America. These beautiful deer are golden brown in color, with white spots covering their hide. They sport long, backward slanting forked antlers, and can live in a variety of environments, from dense forests to open evergreens and grasslands. This extreme adaptability is cause for their widespread nature and ability to flourish in all manner of environments.
Where To Hunt Axis Deer
Axis deer have been introduced all over the world, from Hawaii, to Australia, to Texas, and nearly everyplace Axis deer are found offers quality hunting. However, some of the best hunting is found in Hawaii. Three of the Hawaiian Islands hold axis deer, those being Maui, Lanai, and Molokai. The axis deer on these islands are free range, but nearly all of the hunting land is privately owned. Because of this, deer numbers have exploded, offering hunters many opportunities at quality bucks daily. Places like Texas and Florida also have good numbers of axis deer on fenced ranches. These ranches have very high success rates and utilize a variety of techniques that can be tailored to hunters of all skill levels and interests. Australia, on the other hand, offers hunts more similar to Hawaii, with hunters glassing large herds of deer in open terrain before stalking in close for a shot.
Axis Deer Hunting Techniques
Axis deer are extremely spooky, with excellent eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell. In addition, they frequently congregate in groups, which only adds to the difficulty of hunting them. They are typically found in open grass areas near thickets, which works well for a spot and stalk approach. Here, hunters will often find a high point in the terrain and glass the area for deer. When an animal is spotted, the hunter will then stalk into shooting range. When using a rifle, hunters only need to get within a few hundred yards to make a shot. However, when archery hunting, this process can be much more difficult. Frequently, hunters do not see other deer in-between them and their target animal, and will bump them during their stalk, ultimately spooking their original target.
Axis Deer Regulations
Due to the fact that Axis Deer are largely non-native to most of the areas they are hunted, regulations are usually very relaxed. Because of this, most areas do not have seasons or bag limits, allowing hunters to chase Axis year-round. Most often, hunters only need to purchase a base license to hunt the deer. For example, Texas offers discounted “Special” licenses if only targeting exotics. Hawaii does require that you apply for a license and has seasons that correspond with each weapon class when hunting public land, but private ranch areas allow for year round hunting without the need for tags. Australia does have specific seasons for the deer, often beginning in early spring and continuing through the summer and into August. These regulations vary based on the region, so make sure and check with your local outfitter for area specific rules.
Axis Deer Food Quality
Axis Deer are an exotic species, with origins far from some of the most popular hunting regions for these animals, adding to the allure of a hunt. These deer are highly spooky, as they were originally hunted by big cats like tigers in the jungle, and provide hunters with a unique opportunity to test their stalking abilities. In addition, Axis can be hunted close to home, offering the experience of an exotic hunt at a fraction of the cost. Finally, they are some of the best tasting game animals around, so hunters are rewarded with fantastic table fare after their hunt.
If hunting in Hawaii, you are also providing a service. Axis deer have become extremely over-populated, much like wild pigs in other areas of the world, due to the lack of predators and abundance of food. The only management policy for the deer Is through hunting, and the thinning of these herds is vital to the survival of the native plant and animal populations on the islands. So, not only do you get to experience an incredible hunting trip and return home with some of the best meat on the planet, you are also helping protect the ecosystem on these islands.