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Thread: Victory! (First Deer)

  1. #1
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    Victory! (First Deer)

    Went out early yesterday morning, the wife and I, for a planned 3 day (2 night) trip in the hope of seeing a deer or a pig. It was a great learning experience (mostly with what not to do)!

    Nothing seemed to go right to begin with, starting with about 4hrs more of a slog to even get to the boundary of the hunting block due to trying to avoid wet pants crossing a certain river! This involved plenty of backtracking along with a good old padlocked gate on an 8ft high fence on the public walking track. That made me want to take bolt cutters in my pack next time. Not fun climbing it with 20kg's of gear, and it was definitely on the track as the markers were right before and after it. Anyway...

    After finally reaching the block we were pretty much stuffed, so decided to set up camp not far into it - at a nice looking little spot next to a stream that fed into the river. It must have been about 30mins or an hour after we set up the tent and sleeping mats and unpacked everything that we realized how bad the sand flies were! Dear god...this made the fly season where I work in Aus look like playtime. There must have been hundreds if not thousands on our tent alone, a good portion of them managing to get inside each time we took diving rolls in/out before quickly zipping it up again. The repellant we had did jack fuck all and never have I so badly wished for a small can of mortein, just to nuke the tent before bed if nothing else.

    Check out this photo of our tent when we were taking it down (it was even worse before we took the fly off):

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    That evening about 7pm while the other half was taking a nap I went out for a bit of a look. I didn't rate my chances and would've been stoked with seeing a hare or rabbit for a bit of target practice. It was glorious being sand fly free as they seemed to leave me alone even moving slowly as I was. I wandered up the stream, moving very slowly and stopping lots to use the rangefinder to glass. Didn't go far and turned back once the bush crept up to the bank. I went back down to where we'd set up camp and headed further into the block along the river. I must have only gone about 200 meters and I was looking back along the opposite bank of the river when I saw a few hundred meters away....what is that? A fucking cow? Nope....you've got to be shitting me! I grabbed at the rangefinder desperately, and behold...there stood a deer ambling up to the river for a drink. Not a care in the world. I slowly ducked down among the long grass and ranged it - 325yds. A lot further than i'd ever shot before (120yds with a 22) and this 308 was still a virgin. I was on a ledge over the river about 10 meters below, and it was a straight drop, so there was no real hope of getting closer. I'd just started to go through my options while crawling right up to the edge of the ledge (about 5 seconds after seeing the deer). When I used the rangefinder again to check on things there were suddenly 4 deer! Three of its pals had wandered out of the bush to join in the drinking. They were also heading off downstream and woudn't be in view for much longer if they kept that up.

    Here's a picture of the shooting location so you can see what I mean. My budget paint skills have circled where the deer was in yellow:

    Name:  Shooting Location.jpg
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    I whipped the rifle out and quickly chucked the bipod on. I used the trusty Leica again and the deer that was presenting nicest was now 406yds. Two were ass towards me a bit closer and the 4th was behind a log further away, almost around the bend in the river. From playing with my ballistics app (iStrelok) I knew that 400yds was the 3rd line down on my scopes reticle at 15x zoom. So I went to 15x and placed that third line on its left shoulder. At some point i'd taken the safety off and worked the bolt to put one in the chamber, but I can't remember exactly when. The adrenalin was pumping and my hands were trembling. I gave myself a few seconds to breathe and then slowly squeezed the trigger. The shot rang out, and almost before i'd registered that i'd fired I saw the deer go down as if hit in the brain with a sledgehammer. I couldn't believe how fast it dropped, and neither could the others by their reaction. There was much looking at their downed mate and looking around. A little bit of trotting and then more looking around, and finally they thought, "fuck this," and all bolted into the bush that was a few meters away. I remember thinking at the time that I could have got two more while they were pissing about. It was probably only 10 seconds before they took off, but for some reason I expected them to be gone a lot quicker than that. I sure wasn't greedy though - I was stoked with 1! I knew it'd be more than we could carry too. I had another round in the chamber and had my crosshair glued to where I could see the downed one spasmodically kicking. If it got up it wasn't going to go far! I stayed there like this for a good minute just making absolutely sure. The X-Bolt 308's virginity was well and truly busted!

    After that I began the quick walk back to camp, dragging the wife out of bed and telling her i'd got a deer and to come help. I received the slightly dubious reply of, "Really?" but, moving on from that, it probably took us 45 minutes to negotiate our way there across a stream and then both sections of the river - even though it was only about 200-300 meters from camp. That was ok, I knew it wasn't going anywhere. It had fallen into the water, I could tell that by the splashes it made as it went through its death throes, but I could also tell that it was very shallow water.

    Here's a picture of it when we arrived:

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    The bullet went in through the left shoulder and out through the right side of its neck. Impact was slightly higher than where i'd aimed, but still happy with the result. The exit would was wide enough for 2 or 3 fingers and it felt the same as far as I bothered to reach inside. If I had more time I would've liked to go digging around for fragments etc, but I must say the 168gr MatchKing did its job well on this occasion.

    It was probably about 8pm when I fired, and light was fading fast by the time we got there. Head lamps were on for the butchering task ahead. I dragged it to a rock shelf in the middle of the river and immediately knew there was no way I was carrying this thing out. It was an effort for me to even drag and I couldn't guess at the weight. The most important thing I learned on this trip was to pack far fucking less. I probably had 30kg's of gear including my rifle. My wifes backpack was full also, and she had the 22. I nearly wanted to leave our 5kg Warehouse tent behind when it came time for the trek out. We've had it for years and never used it, and i'm never carrying the fucking thing again. So a new tent plus leaving the kitchen sink at home and the meat side of things should go a bit better next time.

    Anyway, I set to with my extremely average skinning and butchering skills, but what better way to learn!? I took both back straps and the meat from one shoulder, and then it started to rain. Being a complete novice I had visions of rising water levels and us being swept away from our little rocky island in the middle of the river. I took the meat off one of the back legs and figured that's about all we would be able to carry out anyway. After that it was back to camp for a fire to try and dry out my boots. My wife wore gumboots and I will never hear the bloody end of it i'm sure. Especially since I said that I didn't want to wear gumboots for 3 days for fear of blisters, and I got blisters and she didn't. Those boots are going too - old work boots that aren't up to the task.

    We walked out today, and crossed the river that we initially pussy'd out of. There was a couple of dicey moments where the current nearly got the better of us, but hell if we knew it'd save us 4hrs the day before we would have done it then too!

    I'll be hitting ya'll up for advice on the meat. It was rinsed in the river and then bagged and was in my pack for 24hrs. I've just cleaned any remaining bits of grit off and it's now in the fridge as I saw somewhere on here about aging it in the fridge. Let me know what to do with it from here. Freeze it now? Age it and then freeze it? Just let me know.

    All in all a great trip and I learned a hell of a lot. Hope you enjoyed the read if you bothered, and I don't blame you if you didn't!
    Last edited by MattyP; 28-12-2013 at 11:49 PM.

  2. #2
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    nothing like popping ya cherry .....good stuff. Age in fridge but keep meatsuspened so dosen't sit in own juices. Age for bout a week. others on here might have a better idea..
    MattyP likes this.

  3. #3
    Member JayColli's Avatar
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    Awesome write-up of your first successful hunt! Sounds like you had a great time, even with the girlfriend there ha ha. I took mine along the Routeburn track and after that she vowed never to enter the bush again.

    I know what you mean about taking too much gear... My first multi-day hunt in NZ was into the Tararuas and I only used half of what I had so humpin all that gear over Reeves was a hard lesson learned.

    Looks like a great spot to spend a few days soakin it up. Any more pics?
    MattyP likes this.

  4. #4
    ebf
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    Congrats, nice feeling huh
    Viva la Howa ! R.I.P. Toby
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  5. #5
    OPCz Rushy's Avatar
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    Bloody good write up and good work. A week in the fridge will age the meat well then trim the sinew off and cut into steaks. Enjoy. Oh and the next time back out there take a bulldozer to that gate.
    MattyP and initiaz like this.
    It takes 43 muscle's to frown and 17 to smile, but only 3 for proper trigger pull.
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    Rule 7: Avoid alcohol and drugs when handling firearms

  6. #6
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    Contact Walking Access NZ about that gate, they have area reps that will look in to it and sort it for you if it is in fact on an unformed legal road. Dont expect anything from DoC - they dont recognise ULR's! Congratulations on the deer, good job.
    Hunt4life and MattyP like this.

  7. #7
    Almost literate. veitnamcam's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your first!:thumbup:

    Great write up too, how many sandflys to you recon you drank and ate ?

    If your goin to leave meat leave the shoulders- all best steak meat is in the back wheels.
    kokako, Maca49, Gibo and 1 others like this.
    "Hunting and fishing" fucking over licenced firearms owners since ages ago.

  8. #8
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    Good write up, enjoyed, just like being there, excellent result. Should have hung it on a pole and carried it all out,hahahahah
    Boom, cough,cough,cough

  9. #9
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    Well done Matty. Great story and great result. Looks like a lovely spot you've found. I'm sure you can't wait to get back.

  10. #10
    R93
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    Not bad, smoking your first deer at 400yds!! I would never have dreamt of being able to do that when I managed to get my first. Don't think rifles shot that far back then
    veitnamcam, Munsey, Mac and 3 others like this.
    Do what ya want! Ya will anyway.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by veitnamcam View Post
    Congratulations on your first!:thumbup:

    Great write up too, how many sandflys to you recon you drank and ate ?

    If your goin to leave meat leave the shoulders- all best steak meat is in the back wheels.
    Put it this way - while butchering it I had my jacket sleeves rolled up and face sock down (forgot about it in the excitement). I probably ate 50 and constantly had the taste of blood in my mouth and was coughing like a cat with a fur ball. I remember trying to console myself that the blood was probably my own as they seemed to prefer me to the bleeding, half skinned, still warm corpse on the ground. What's with that?! Not that I'm complaining about them leaving my meat alone!

    I am ssoooo glad we took face socks and were completely covered. Even had gloves we wore the whole time. We both still got eaten alive and have red dots everywhere. My wife reacts quite badly to them and has welts over her whole body and her face looks like an acne ridden teenager hahaha.

    She's tough I'll give her that. Nearly broke her leg when a rock (more like a boulder) rolled on it in a riverbed. It was almost as big as her and rolled down on top of her. She almost avoided it but it caught her right leg and nearly crushed it. She was screaming in pain but handled it pretty well. Bloody lucky as I couldn't budge it to begin with. I quickly dumped my pack and with the adrenalin pumping managed to lift it enough for her to get her leg free. A very bad bruise right on the ankle bone but she was able to walk on it still (although pretty uncomfortably)! Nearly thought we'd have to use the brand new PLB!

    Here's a pic of it - the rock is the big one at the bottom:

    Name:  Boulder.jpg
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    Oh, and I was intending to bone all four legs but the rain, sand flies and weight got the better of me.

    I'll put up some more pics.
    Last edited by MattyP; 29-12-2013 at 09:49 AM.
    veitnamcam likes this.

  12. #12
    Gone But Not Forgotten Toby's Avatar
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    Congrats on the first deer. Ripper of a shot too!
    VIVA LA HOWA

  13. #13
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    Here's some more pics!

    The swing bridge we used at the start to avoid getting wet. All well and good, very pretty, but as mentioned that decision cost us about 4hrs and we won't be doing that next time:

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    A view of the river as we slog it out walking upstream. Earlier on and still on the track - you can see the red marker post on the left:

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    A view of the river further up as it widens out:

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    Here's the creek next to where we camped - looking across the river to the hills on the far side. You can see our cooker set up in the bottom left as it boils water for some Back Country Cuisine. Not bad stuff, I must say:

    Name:  Creek 2.jpg
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    And lastly, a fire to finish it off! My sexy boots and socks can be seen getting partially dried out. I almost cooked them and steam was pouring out, but it was still wet boots for me the next day when we walked out. Blisters gallore:

    Name:  Fire.jpg
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    Oh, and thanks for the advice with the meat. What sort of coverage would you use in the fridge? I can raise it up so that it drips dry and doesn't sit in its own juices, that's no problem. Do I cover it with glad wrap?

  14. #14
    Almost literate. veitnamcam's Avatar
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    I wouldn't cover it,unless you have already cut into steaks?
    "Hunting and fishing" fucking over licenced firearms owners since ages ago.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by veitnamcam View Post
    I wouldn't cover it,unless you have already cut into steaks?
    Nup, still in its main parts. Ok, so drip dry with air? What about pots with steam holes in the top for air - that do the job? I've got a couple of those huge pots that have big steaming inserts on the top, so I can put the meat in those and it'll drip out into the pot underneath, and I could put the pot lids on too.

 

 

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