Oh deer! Stag swims Marlborough Sounds

A daring stag has been spotted making a 400 metre swim across the Marlborough Sounds over the weekend.

A deer takes a swim across Queen Charlotte Sound in the Marlborough Sounds. Photo: Colin Aitchison

Colin Aitchison was out on a friend‘s boat in the Queen Charlotte Sound on Saturday when they spotted the stag off Arapawa Island.

“We thought it was a log at first, but obviously when we got a bit closer it was moving quite fast…and we saw that it was a stag, and that was definitely a first for us.”

Mr Aitchison said the stag swam about 400 metres before it lept back onto land and disappeared into the bush.

“It was pretty choppy as well so I was quite surprised that he‘d taken the leap.”

Mr Aitchison said possible explanations for the swimming stag was that it was mating season and it had smelt a doe nearby, or that it had been chased off the island by hunters.

He had been going to the Marlborough Sounds since he was a child but had never seen a stag on the island, let alone in the water.

“Quite used to seeing all sorts of things out there in the water, but definitely not a pair of stag antlers,” he said.

A stag swimming across Queen Charlotte Sound. Photo: Colin Aitchison