After securing my first two stags for the roar last weekend I decided with the pressure off I could afford to try a different area. This was to be in a very public spot so I decided to head up the night before and sleep in my vehicle to try and secure a patch of bush. I wasn't holding my breath though given it was Easter weekend.
I only decided to go up that night at the last minute late in the day so didn't end up getting there till midnight hoping to catch four or five hours sleep. Well the first two hours were restless as a couple of vehicles with spotlighters onboard drove past me. Finally around 2am I must have dosed off until I was awoken at 3:30am by footsteps.
I peered out my window thinking there might be a deer out in the moonlight that might want shot only to instead see two people with headlights on. I yelled out to them and they came and had a yarn. It really is a small world as they turned out to be the sons of my boss. They'd broken down earlier and were walking out. After helping them out by the time I got back to bed it was 5am. Time to get up already!
After a quick breakfast I was off into the bush in the darkness trying to get a good way in before sunrise. A little after 7am I heard my first roars for the day with two animals going but a long way off. Nothing handy to me so I headed in their direction. A little while later I could hear the odd twig snapping indicating a deer was coming my way. I stopped and got my lighter out to see which way the fickle wind was going. No sooner had it given me an indication I heard a bark from a stag and saw a flash of antler tips heading off from the downwind direction!
A short while later I came across this wallow:
Moving on to the next stag I found that in this area the roar didn't seem to be in full swing yet as the roars had gone silent after only a ten minute burst at sunrise.
The day was pretty quiet and I was struggling given my lack of sleep and the steep hills further tiring me out. There was no sign of hinds anywhere and apart from finding signs of two stags in the area I wasn't holding much hope for getting some meat. In need of a recharge I donned my headnet and gloves and had a sleep.*
Two hours into my sleep I was awakened by a woodpecker having a go at my head. Turns out those friendly bush robins which follow you aren't that friendly and don't mind pecking at your head! By now it was 2:30pm and I needed to get going if I was to look at another spot before having to get back to the vehicle.
I headed to a series of north facing ridge systems I had identified on the GPS hoping to find the animals where there should be a bit more tucker.
Not long after arriving there and slowing to a snails pace I saw a head and neck appear from between to bushes at around 60yds. The resulting neck shot meaning a lot of nice yearling meat for the freezer:
It should taste better than the small amount of meat I'd taken from the stags last weekend. I pressed on thinking I needed to cover the ground and do a bit more exploring of this area hoping to come back in a few days time. By now it was 5pm and the two stags from the start day started up again miles away from me and too far to get too before darkness. I gave a few roars anyway hoping for something handy but the only sign was of hinds and no handy response to my roars.
With a little over 1km of bush between me and my vehicle I gave out one last roar and had an animal come in for a look. Not a stag but a good sized hind that was obviously looking for a mate. Again as per earlier only a head and neck were available so another neck shot and suddenly I had a problem:
My full pack in the photo had a boned out yearling in it weighing just enough already. I should've thought more about this when I raised the rifle but I didn't and so the next two hours was spent carting meat back and forth to the vehicle. It might have been only 1km but it was a steep climb and I was spent by the end of it.
So now the freezer is overflowing with two stags last weekend and two hinds yesterday and I've still got eight days leave to use up! Apart from going fishing for a few of those days it looks like I'm gonna be giving away quite a bit of venison if I'm lucky enough to keep going at this rate! Good problem to have I say.