We first told you about the trophy rusa deer hunting on Mauritius back in 2008 (see Article 2159). Mauritius, located off the coast of East Africa beyond Madagascar, is a vacation paradise with five-star beach resorts and renowned big game fishing. It’s one of those rare destinations where you can take a nonhunting spouse and family for a tropical vacation and easily get in some quality hunting. There are 40,000 rusa deer on Mauritius, and the annual harvest is about 18,000 a year. These are pure-strain Javan rusa deer that have not been exposed to other varieties or species that could interbreed.
What occasions this reminder is that we just learned of a second operator there offering hunting for Javan rusa deer. This past Feb. we visited with Wes Hixon of Wes Hixon’s Outdoor Adventures & Travel (706-657-3527; www.weshixon.com) at the Safari Club International convention in Las Vegas. Hixon is working with Ivan Charoux, who operates hunts on two separate private properties, one on the west coast of Mauritius, the other on the east. Both have perimeter fencing but no subdivisions. Each requires different techniques and offers a different hunting experience, as the deer have adapted to the different terrain and conditions.
The east coast of Mauritius is hilly and receives more rain, so it is covered in dense brush. The property there encompasses 8,000 acres. Typically small herds of 20 to 50 deer do not move in the morning but come out in the afternoons to graze. Hunting is in the afternoon by walking and stalking. Although you can take a Jeep to high ground and walk mostly downhill, the terrain requires you to be physically able to navigate hills.
The west coast property covers 13,000 acres and is flatter, featuring acacia trees and savanna-type bush with lots of grass. The flat terrain is easy to navigate and the deer are often in big herds of 200 to 300. Hunting there is by walking and stalking or from stands along feeding areas and travel lanes. Charoux also conducts driven hunts with 30 to 50 hunters and beaters. More than 100 animals are typically shot, with each hunter allowed two rusa deer and two wild boar. Hunters are posted on elevated stands for drives.
According to Hixon, hunters should be able to take gold medal stags measuring 34 inches and more. The season is from June until the end of Sept. for driven hunts and until the end of Nov. for spot-and-stalk hunts. The rut starts in mid-July and runs until the beginning of Sept. There are no bag limits. Expect shots of 50 to 200 meters. Charoux personally guides clients 1×1 and tries to get clients 100- to 150-meter shots.
Mauritius is a popular vacation destination, servicing one million tourists a year. It is a well-known beach resort and golf destination. From the US, hunters fly into Johannesburg and connect to Mauritius. European hunters can fly direct. Mauritius has a tropical climate, which means you can hunt in short sleeves and shorts. Summer and winter do not vary much, with the temperature between 24º and 30º Celsius (75º–86ºF).
Charoux guides both rifle and bowhunters and offers several packages, but he can also customize trips. His seven-night packages for one rusa stag up to 34 inches start at $5,400. That includes accommodations at a bed-and-breakfast guesthouse. Other packages include golf, daily massages at a spa, plus all beverages and liquor. You can also add additional deer, big game fishing, sightseeing, small game and wild boar hunting. Stags larger than 34 inches are not difficult to find and are charged on a sliding trophy fee scale. Charoux can place hunters in four- and five-star beach resorts, which would be ideal for hunters traveling with a beach-loving spouse. He plans to eventually build his own lodge.