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Thread: 1st Blood

  1. #1
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    1st Blood

    This little chap came home with me last night. Finally, after 64 years.

    I'll write full details tomorrow.


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    Cheers
    Phil

  2. #2
    Hunter gatherer dannyb's Avatar
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    Awesome Phil, very happy for you mate !

  3. #3
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    Nice one! Looking forward to the story...

  4. #4
    Hunter gatherer dannyb's Avatar
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    Sharon looks suitably impressed to mate, give her my regards

  5. #5
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    1st Blood - The Detail.
    First off I apologise to those that don't like long posts. I get behind a keyboard and I at times get Writers diarrhoea.

    Right, now for the detail.
    Where I am currently living is in the Canterbury foothills surrounded by farms. As daily exercise I often go wandering all over the hills, with farmers permission of course and without a rifle. The area gets a reasonable number of poachers and farmers are very wary of any guns on their properties. It seems to be a common feeling that if they give permission to one hunter, in short time there is two and then more either because the first hunter tries to bring his mates or he tells stories of his good luck and then others decide that they too should then have the right to have a go.


    Anyway, I was in one such farmers top paddock about three weeks ago and just happened to be looking at the damage that the deer and pigs had been doing to fence bordering some private forest land when he turned up. In this instance I had got permission to walk on this farm from his wife and had never met him before, though knew him by sight. We started talking about the damage that was being done to his fences by the animals as they came out of the forest at night when he asked was I planning to come and have a crack at them. There was almost an accusatory tone to his statement. I was a little taken back. I assured him that no, I wouldnít go anywhere near a farmers property unless I had there express permission, more so with a rifle, as I value my FAL to much. Obviously he liked my answer and believed me as next thing he was inviting me to come up and have a go as he was tiring of constantly repairing the fence. Game on. There were two conditions though. 1/. I let him know in advance when I would be there, 2/. It was to only be me, no mates. His reasoning for the second condition was an OSH consideration. He reasoned that it was harder for someone to get shot on his land if there was only one person there. I couldnít argue that logic.


    So, I had four days off coming up after a night watch so we agreed to me having a ďcrack at themĒ - his words - in three weeks time.


    The paddock that I was going to hunt, as already mentioned, boarders private forestry land. It is 376 meters in length and varies from 150 to 200 meters in width, I know this from putting the SNDWAY laser across. It is rolling hill country and has a drop of about 30 meters from east to west with some small gully features in the middle. I planned to sit high in the northeast corner under the lee of a stand of pines where I could look out over the field and more importantly had an almost un-obscured view down the fence line bordering the forest.

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    My plan was to get there well before sunset and sit comfortably in a camp chair under a piece of some shade cloth stolen from my wifeís garden with my rifle but on my lap and the forestock resting on a bi-pod made from crossing to tomatoes stakes and securing them with tape.

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    It all worked out pretty well actually. I was there by 06:00pm on Friday evening and set myself up as planned. I had a commanding view down the fence line for all but about 20 meters where it dipped into a gully. I played with the bi-pod and felt confident that I could take a shot while still sitting in the chair at most points of the field in front of me. The thing that impressed me the most with the bi-pod was how steady it was. I was sighting up hares at 250 meters and felt confident enough to think I could even get a shot into that small a target.


    Anyway, there I sat glassing and hoping that I would see something before it got too dark as I didnít have the flashiest of equipment and didnít rate my chances of being able to see anything through the scope after night fall. The rig I have is a Remington 783 in .308 topped off with a 3-9x40 KonusPro scope that I picked up on Trademe for $98 and a Gunworks Maximus suppressor hanging out front of a 19 inch barrel. I am shooting Winchester PowerPoint, 180 gr. For binoculars I have a $120 pair of Tasco 10x40. Adequate equipment for hunting on a budget during the day but definitely not the setup you would desire for night shooting.


    Sunset came and went and I kept on glassing taking note of the fast fading light trying to decide when it would no longer be ethical to try taking a shot at an animal. That deciion point came at 08:20pm. With an slightly overcast sky and no moon I took my last sweep over the field with the binoculars thinking that I was at the end of tonightís hunt and that I would be packing up within five minutes to go home. Well, exactly the moment I was having this thought with my binoculars stilled glued my face, leaping over the fence from my right into my field of vision like Rudolf Nureyev making his entrance as the Prince in Swan Lake, was this young deer. Shit, I wasnít prepared for it. All of my senses and attention had be closing down in anticipation of packing up and trudging home in the dark, and there he was bounding into the paddock in front of me. My heart rate suddenly went from a resting rate of 55 bpm to 155 bpm. It felt like it at least. Double shit; I didnít even have a round chambered being safety conscious as I am. The effort of trying to chamber a round ever so quietly, keep an eye on the deer and stop my physical shaking made me think the odds of getting this chap were definitely stacked against me. Hell, I didnít know if I would even be able to see him through the scope in this light. Round chambered, leaning forward on my seat with the rifle firmly in the bi-pod and squinting down the scope I had lost sight of him. A slow scan of the gully edge in front of me I spotted the antlers as he slowly started walking back out of the gully to higher ground again. He was now moving left to right across my field of vision. The bottom half of him was obscured by the brow of the gully. Slowly he moved forward climbing out of the gully picking at bits of grass as he went. He finally got to the point where he was broadside onto me and the point I wanted to aim for, just behind his right front shoulder was just coming into view. And then he stopped. Slowly his head turned and he was looking at me. He must of sensed me in the fickle breeze and was now trying to workout what this shape was he was looking at draped in garden shade cloth with a black barrel protruding out of it. That must have been the last thoughts that he ever had. I realised as we eyeballed each other at 75 meters it was now or never; already I had taken up the first stage of the trigger. The rifle bucked, the blast echoed around the small valley startling me a little; I hadnít expected it with the suppressor. The deer had disappeared from sight. Quickly I scanned the edge of the gully, its exit points, the small hill behind it. Couldnít see him. Shit, had I missed, at that close range. Throwing off the shade cloth, fumbling to load another round I left from my chair only to get a few meters and realise that I didnít have a torch, it was now dark. Quickly returning and fumbling for a head lamp I set off again very conscious that I had a round in the chamber. I put the safety catch on. I wasnít going to get another shot in this light and would only need another round if I needed to finish off a wounded animal. I noted to myself then that that was being hopeful. I really believed that this chap had bounded off down the gully and back into the cover of the forest while I was still trying to bring my rifle back into line of sight from the recoil.


    As I came to the edge of the gully I scanned its length seeing nothing. He had gone. I decided to move down the gully to the fence line and look for any sign. I had no doubt this was where he had gone. I un-chambered the round and put it in my pocket. As I walked into the gully I saw a patch of brown in a small clearing of short grass. At first I had difficulty in comprehending that what I was looking at was the deer I had shot. I fumbled for the round again and chambered it in case I had to administer the Ďcoup de grasí but no, he was dead. Still very warm, but dead. It appeared that he had just collapsed where he was shot with no further movement evident. God, I was elated. After 64 years I had finally shot my first deer. But at the same time I was sad. I had just taken the life of a magnificent animal. All he was doing was just trying to be what nature had intended him to be; to be a deer; to feed, survive and breed. He had no comprehension of the great damage he and his kind were doing to our bush and other species. I have to admit, I enjoy the challenge of hunting, but if it were not for the damage that these animals do to the balance of our ecology I could never bring myself to shoot one. I see them as a magnificent animal and I respect them, so contributing to keeping their numbers down doesnít come without emotional cost to me.


    Getting a little wussy here for most real men, so moving along quickly.


    In wrapping it up, I went and got phone signal so I could tell the wife that I would be a little late as I had to dress this beast out. I was only to be pleasantly surprised to be told that she had four young strapping German tourists at home having a meal and that they were keen to come and help out. Within an hour five of us were wrestling to get the deer off the trailer and strung up in the shearing shed. Sharon, my wife and I then went to work not finishing up until after midnight. He is now hanging in a sheet in the pens awaiting butchering tomorrow. Sharon is determined that she is going to butcher him with me assisting. It going to be a big job. I donít know how heavy he is but all dressed out I still canít lift him on or off the hook on my own. I will keep you updated.


    Just before I fiiish, a quick analysis of the shot that killed him. When I took the shot I could just see the spot I wished to hit just above the brow of the gully, though I feel I instinctively came up and inch or two for fear of the bullet getting tangled in the grass on its travel to that spot. Then two basic mistakes I made in my haste to pull the trigger. I was shooting downhill on a slope of approximately 35 degrees; I should have been aiming low. I didnít so the shot would have gone high. The biggest blunder was the rifle is sighted in for 200 meters, so at only 75 meters the bullet would still be going high; again I should have been aiming lower again, but I didnít. The end result? A very lucky shot on my part. The bullet entered about 2 inches below his spinal column and exited the other side with very little expansion. However, it caused massive damage to what ever organs were there and damage to the spine and spinal cord above it. I feel the poor animal was dead or as close to dead before he even hit the deck. Bloody lucky on my part. Any higher and I may have only superficially wounded him or missed him altogether.


    Another couple of weeks, if the farmer is still keen, I shall try again. In fact talking to him yesterday when offering him half of the beast, he declined as his freezer is already full from another deer that he received from one of his other farms, but he did express an interest to having half of one of the pigs up there.


    Cheers
    Phil
    GWH, Scouser, Boaraxa and 9 others like this.

  6. #6
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    When is a spiker no longer a spiker?

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    This is the head of the little chap I shot on Friday night. What is he? Spiker? Young stag? What age would someone hazard a guess at him being?

    I am quite ignorant on these matters but wanting to learn.

    Cheers
    Phil

  7. #7
    Member Tahr's Avatar
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    Highish pedicle but a bit of width/maturity to his snout. If he was older I would have expected a longer face. Looking at his pic (above) he is filled out but not rangy. Not high in the withers. I'm saying 4 year oldish. But its a guess.

  8. #8
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    for a young animal, check how many big teeth he has
    "you belong somewhere you feel free"-Tom Petty

  9. #9
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    From the pic, which is hard to see well on my shite phone it appears to be a 6. Quite young, maybe second year growing more than spike antler so 3 or 4? Maybe a bit younger. (Although I am probably wrong).

    Pedicles are still very high. Certainly not a "spiker". Genetics or injury will be why the left is not as strong as right.

    Good stuff regardless @Phil_H.

  10. #10
    Member Boaraxa's Avatar
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    Well done , get into it

    P.s you should keep the head it will be a nice reminder for you .
    Preacher and dannyb like this.
    The Green party putting the CON in conservation since 2017

  11. #11
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    Great write-up, I enjoyed that.
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  12. #12
    Member sambnz's Avatar
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    Well done Phil. Entertaining story to read!

  13. #13
    Member mawzer308's Avatar
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    Nice work Phil, looks to be around 3-4yrs old. Keep at it.

  14. #14
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    Congrats on your first deer Phil. Great story to go with it too.

  15. #15
    Member Max Headroom's Avatar
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    Phil, congrats. My first deer came to me a month ago, I'm 53.

    Some of us have to wait longer, it seems.

 

 

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