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Thread: First time in the Blue Mountains

  1. #1
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    First time in the Blue Mountains

    I was lucky enough to get the Rankleburn block in the Blue Mountains over the weekend. My son has been on at me for a while to take him out, so it had been a pretty long six weeks of “how many days now Dad!?” This was to be only my fourth trip out hunting, the first with me being “in charge”. So with my wealth of experience and my son’s wildly high expectations we set off..!

    It’s only a couple of hours drive over there, so not bad at all. Within the hour I was having to listen to “are we nearly there yet?”. We found the beginning of Manuka Road and set off to where I thought the entrance to our block was, put the combination in that DOC had provided the day before – no good. Lock wouldn’t open – shit… Decided we’d try another access point and see if we could work our way round to the Rankleburn block, if we got through that gate ok. Next gate the combination worked, great, must be the right one. We drove around for about an hour trying to find our block – it was a nightmare and I was getting more and more frustrated. To make things worse we had limited petrol and every five minutes my son would chime in with something equally witty and annoying!

    Eventually we found the right road and I was confident we were nearly there. Another ten minutes and we were at the end of the road where we’d be sleeping that night. Being able to sleep in the truck and hunt from it straight into the bush was a massive bonus. We decided we’d get everything sorted and go out for an evening hunt. The bush was pretty much as I had imagined it – pretty easy to get around, quite steep but manageable.

    So off we went. I don’t know what other’s experiences are with taking their kids out – I’ve read a few tails lately on here but not sure whether my experience matches others… We walked to a decent spot where I figured we would wait for a while. We could see a good distance and there were a few bits of clearing. The very limited patience of an eight-year-old waned after only five minutes – “can we go now?”, “shall we look over there?”. I pretty quickly resigned myself to the fact that this was going to be an unsuccessful trip in terms of getting an animal, but being out there and having my son along was of more importance.

    We moved about a few times – patience running thin on several occasions – until we got to what I thought was a good spot. I explained that would be our last place to hang around for this hunt, but if we gave it a little time we may get lucky. After maybe 15 minutes a deer appeared. It got on to us straight away and bolted – pretty cool to see though!

    We had a couple of hunts the next day but not a lot happening. I could have sworn I heard a “stomp” but didn’t see anything – it was also at the time of some incessant talking so I may have been mistaken!

    Driving out of there we got about 2 minutes up the road from the block we were hunting and spooked a deer which ran across the road into some pretty dense bush on the other side. We ended up leaving out of the first gate we tried which we couldn't get though... Cheap locks and having to withstand the elements probably make them a little temperamental...

    Unsuccessful in terms of getting an animal for the freezer, but massively successful in terms of having a great time and being out there. Also successful seeing a couple of deer. Whoever had the block earlier in the week had some success as you can see in one of the pics below.

    Can’t wait for the next one and thanks @Boaraxa for the tip on Garden Gully – will definitely be checking it out – just hope I get a bit of success in the ballot but I’ll be putting my name down for February!
    Attached Images Attached Images        
    Wildman, john m, TimeRider and 5 others like this.

  2. #2
    Throbbing Member Dorkus's Avatar
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    Very cool. Being out there with the young fulla is what it's all about.
    Matt-j likes this.
    “The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.” - Thucydides 463BC

  3. #3
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    Good onya, I've taken my boy there too. A redhead about your kid's age in fact. One word of warning, you can't be in there after dark. Or at least you can't hunt after dark and you can't camp. It's written on the back of your permit. You don't want to be confused for a poacher and you don't want a poacher confusing you for a deer or pig. If you want to do overnighters, you can hire a cabin at the Deerstalkers Lodge, or hire a wee cabin at Black Gully.

  4. #4
    Member Boaraxa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YosemiteSam View Post
    Good onya, I've taken my boy there too. A redhead about your kid's age in fact. One word of warning, you can't be in there after dark. Or at least you can't hunt after dark and you can't camp. It's written on the back of your permit. You don't want to be confused for a poacher and you don't want a poacher confusing you for a deer or pig. If you want to do overnighters, you can hire a cabin at the Deerstalkers Lodge, or hire a wee cabin at Black Gully.
    Good write up sounds like a good time was had bet the young fella wont forget in a hurry , after reading above thought id better read the back of the permit ..don't think iv ever looked there before , my bad it does say no camping that's a bit sad really , I see they are tighting up on what gates you can & cant use now as well , had a little argument with the doc lady over that seemly we cant even use certain public roads lol i had cattle flat last week lady was trying to tell me i couldn't even drive over the rankleburn !!

  5. #5
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    Getting to some blocks in the Blue Mts can be a nightmare for first timers. Even second and third time does your head in. I got smart and tried to get into the back end of Cattle Flat once and had a really bad moment with a farmer defending his land, rightfully. It looked possible and legal on a map, but turns out the legal paper road is fenced off and the road that's not fenced off is not legal. Everything needs to be updated and rewritten from an outsider's perspective. I only know the camping rule because I'd love to camp out there. Maybe over summer when the hunting is closed down. I use the Otago Deerstalkers facebook page to get quick advice what's what regarding where to get in and out etc.

  6. #6
    Member Boaraxa's Avatar
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    Yes your not wrong there even worse now there is less gates & more roads to navigate round ,Was that hill jack road ?

  7. #7
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    @YosemiteSam - Wow! I didn't know that - thanks for the info. One thing I did find a bit strange/annoying was when we had just finished dinner in the truck someone drove up, stopped and was presumably trying to figure out what we were doing/who we were, pulled past us and did a u-turn, drove about 20m past us, pulled over and got out. Went into the bush and came back out with a pig which he chucked in the back of his truck and left. The next day when we left there was a truck of about 3 or 4 guys just sat by the side of the road - looked a bit shady... I waved hello to them and they waved back but presumably both were poachers..?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by YosemiteSam View Post
    Getting to some blocks in the Blue Mts can be a nightmare for first timers. Even second and third time does your head in. I got smart and tried to get into the back end of Cattle Flat once and had a really bad moment with a farmer defending his land, rightfully. It looked possible and legal on a map, but turns out the legal paper road is fenced off and the road that's not fenced off is not legal. Everything needs to be updated and rewritten from an outsider's perspective. I only know the camping rule because I'd love to camp out there. Maybe over summer when the hunting is closed down. I use the Otago Deerstalkers facebook page to get quick advice what's what regarding where to get in and out etc.
    Yeah it was a nightmare - everywhere looks the same and whilst signs tell you the roads you are on, the maps DOC provides aren't the best and you can't find half of them. I said to my son they should have signs telling you the way to the actual block as well as the road signs...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boaraxa View Post
    Good write up sounds like a good time was had bet the young fella wont forget in a hurry , after reading above thought id better read the back of the permit ..don't think iv ever looked there before , my bad it does say no camping that's a bit sad really , I see they are tighting up on what gates you can & cant use now as well , had a little argument with the doc lady over that seemly we cant even use certain public roads lol i had cattle flat last week lady was trying to tell me i couldn't even drive over the rankleburn !!
    Ha - Cattle Flat was my first choice but I got Rankleburn which was second. I may have seen you coming in - I was in a red Surf - I passed a couple of trucks as I was driving around wondering where I was..!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt-j View Post
    @YosemiteSam - Wow! I didn't know that - thanks for the info. One thing I did find a bit strange/annoying was when we had just finished dinner in the truck someone drove up, stopped and was presumably trying to figure out what we were doing/who we were, pulled past us and did a u-turn, drove about 20m past us, pulled over and got out. Went into the bush and came back out with a pig which he chucked in the back of his truck and left. The next day when we left there was a truck of about 3 or 4 guys just sat by the side of the road - looked a bit shady... I waved hello to them and they waved back but presumably both were poachers..?
    YEP. Quite likely. I've found hours-old pig remains in Garden Gully from the night before.

  11. #11
    Caretaker jakewire's Avatar
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    Great stuff, Only been in there twice myself but sure is some pretty parts of it.
    Matt-j likes this.
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  12. #12
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    A good couple of days in the scrub with your young fella, shooting a deer is only a bonus, being there is what is important.
    Boaraxa, StagRyan and Matt-j like this.

  13. #13
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    Ha ha, the Rankleburn forest can be a bit of a maze when you first go. I've been kicking around down there for about 15 years, had it all sussed until it was all logged and I lost my landmarks! A bit like driving around Chch these days...

    Lots of great blocks in the Blueys; Cattle Flat, Rankleburn, Garden Gully and Dunn Creek are probably the best given deer numbers, size and ease of access.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dama dama View Post
    Ha ha, the Rankleburn forest can be a bit of a maze when you first go.
    Just a bit - I'm pretty sure I did a full loop of the place. Getting back out was not as bad, but still not great. Still - great trip and can't wait till the next time!

 

 

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