Oh Deer! A New Zealand Niche Market.

The U.S. is overpopulated with deer. These wild animals have a tendency of running out into the middle of a country road or being hunted by sportsmen and sportswomen in the fall and winter seasons. In New Zealand, there is a different market for the lean mammals.

Deer Genetics NZ
Don answers questions about raising his trophy deer.

The OSU crew stopped at Deer Genetics NZ to learn about his business in raising red deer for trophy stags and velvet production. Don, owner of this profitable business, shared some secrets and facts to his success in raising the deer.

NZ Red Deer
  • New Zealand’s terrain and climate is ideal for raising deer with his 1,000 acres.
  • 2,500 fawns were born and raised last year.
  • Deer are handled, vaccinated and artificially inseminated with a selective breeding program.
  • Does are bred only 6-7 years before replacement.
  • Red deer have the fastest growing antler in the animal kingdom — they reach full growth and are removed at 60 days.
  • New Zealand is one of the only countries who can harvest antlers from a live animal.
  • Antlers are removed to harvest the velvet for export to Asian countries for medicinal purposes.
  • Live deer and semen are exported across the world because of the valuable genetics.
  • Deer Genetics NZ has bred five of the world’s number one racks. 
NZ Red Deer

All in the Niche

The agriculture industry has made quite the transition to meeting needs of niche markets. Hunting is a sport and leisure activity, but raising the deer still serves the agriculture industry for some venison and velvet. 
When I returned home, I told my dad we should start raising deer. He was a bit skeptical about that one, as Ohio is covered mostly by white-tailed deer! Plus, the fencing and housing is a large investment of its own. I guess we will have to leave this business to their great ROI.
It is amazing to me the impact the demands for the velvet and genetics had, and proves that niche markets are a great way for small businesses to attain profit. The U.S. does the same thing for many of our agriculture and non-agriculture products. What will be next? 
Now, I just need to keep searching for my niche to start a business…