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Thread: Epic afternoon hunting roaring stags

  1. #1
    Member JoshC's Avatar
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    Epic afternoon hunting roaring stags

    I spent all last week hunting in South Westland where I had an pretty good trip looking for roaring stags, but that yarn can wait.

    Yesterday afternoon I had a epic hunting mission with a good mate. He'd been nagging me for a couple of years to take him out and show him some roar hunting at its best, but due to other commitments over the last couple of years we'd never been able to tee something up. Late on Tuesday night I thought we might get a bit of a crack at a hunt the next day - in the afternoon after I'd done some work. So called him and asked if he was keen...pretty sure I heard his gun safe opening as he hung up the phone!

    After an early start and pretty hectic morning running around catching up with contractors, we were finally heading north to an area I knew would hold a stag or two at this time of year. We were headed up the hill at midday, with a good couple of hours slog ahead of us before we hit the head basin I was wanting to look at.

    I've always been a firm believer that deer are where you find them, and as stupid as it sounds I think like a deer to try and work out where they'd hide in certain conditions. A lot of people say hunting through the middle of the day is a waste of time, but some of the best hunts I've had have been in the afternoon - this would soon ring true!

    Even though this area was reasonably popular public land, that is pretty accessible, I've always managed to find deer in this valley. It seems that most hunters head right past it on their way to 'better' country. I really hoped that this hunt would produce the goods. Being a blustery day and fairly cold I suspected the deer to be held up in this basin out of the wind and in the cover of the thick scrub. And given the barometer was dropping fast and shit weather was imminent, the stags should be vocal.

    Well, we had only just scurried through a saddle into the valley and sat down among the shelter of some rocks when I heard the first bellow from somewhere down below us! Over the course of 5-10 minutes we heard at least 5 different stags roaring their heads off! This was about 2:30pm! Within minutes I'd spotted the first stag, a nice wee stag holding 2 hinds. He was staring intently below, which quickly lead my eyes to an old stag I'd run into before.

    This old 11 pointer I stalked in May last year, when he was roaring his guts out and holding 4 hinds. I had left him on the basis he was only 11 points and had short but heavy antlers - I thought he might improve. But it seems age has got the better of him and his antlers are smaller this year, a brow is either missing or broken and he carries a heavy limp.

    We watched him limp around roaring his head off, wallowing and thrashing bushes. I had a bit of fun roaring at him and managed to bring him into 500m, but he'd budge no further. We decided to drop in on him and have a crack, but being an old stag, he soon busted us mid slope and walked off into the bush. I wasn't too bothered, I kind of didn't want us to shoot him anyway!

    The old 11 from last year - looks tired this year

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    Once we'd been busted, I opted to sit tight and glass for the other stags we could hear roaring. I soon picked up a young stag snooping around a hind a couple of guts around and above us. We could hear another stag roaring in that near vicinity but couldn't locate where he was. After searching the nooks for this stag he finally stood up out of the scrub and was only 20 meters from the hind the whole time! It's amazing how they can hide in monkey scrub and tussock! He looked ok, and warranted closer inspection, but was a wee way off.

    "OK" stag

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    Stalking him would mean there was no way we'd be home around 6pm like we'd told our wives ...so I whipped out the sat-phone and sent a quick message to my better half. "Stags going beserk - be home late". I got an instant reply... "FFS. Have fun!". Got to love the woman who understands my obsession

    We sidled up and around trying to get height on the stag, as the updraft was strong. We traveled largely out of sight for a good half hour, when an almighty roar from below us caught our attention. Hunkered in the tussock we glassed for this 'new' stag and we rewarded with the sight of a bloody nice stag hustling some hinds around a patch of beech. He was moving fast and within moments disappeared into the beech below us - I was gutted to not have got any photos or footage of him as he was an awesome stag, best I've seen this roar by far.

    Now we were in a predicament, short on daylight hours, a potential trophy stag in the bush below and another good one we were hoping to have a closer look at. What were we to do? I decided it best to edge on the side of caution, and sit tight for another precious half hour and see if the big boy showed himself again. But alas, no amount of roars from me (or other stags) could bring him out. The allure of a hot hind kept him safe in the end.

    Back to the plan, and we scarpered up some scree and onto a ridge where we'd hope to get a look at the last stag we were chasing. While clambering though a gut of head high scrub we bumped a hind, who promptly started barking her head off! We hid from her, but she moved off straight towards the stag we were stalking! Then we were gutted as we watched her meet up with him and his girls and they made it quickly down into the heavy scrub below. Bugger!

    Busted by this girl!

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    By now we'd put the "stalk" on 3 separate stags, and things just weren't happening for us - but we were having a ball all the same. My mates boots were giving his feet arseholes - he had two massive blisters, and my knee was burning after a tumble on the coast last week, the sun had set by now, we'd had no water or food all afternoon, so we thought best to head off home. But we were determined now, given the stag action we'd seen all avo, that we had to find one last stag. Extending our glassing focus to across a large gully, we eventually located 2 hinds feeding in a sheltered hollow. We soon spotted a stag bedded down in the tussock, and without a second thought we were up and bee-lining it for him.

    Covering the 1200 meters between us and him was done pretty quickly, especially given the 3-4 creeks we had to get through (which we stopped quickly in and guzzled back water nearly drowning ourselves in the process) and the scrub that was waist high doing everything it could to slow us down. Soon though, we were in stalk mode. The stag could be heard bellowing at another young stag that had appeared over the ridge line above us! Sweat pouring off us, absolutely rooted, I got old matey to chamber a round in his 270 and then we crawled the last 50 or so meters to a spot we hoped we could get a shot before he spooked. With the rifle in front, I had to keep hissing at him to keep his bloody shiny head low until the last possible moment - we were not stuffing this one up!

    The wind by now had done a u-turn and was right up our backsides. I frantically pushed him up the ridge till after what seemed an age, we saw the stag standing broadside at 70 meters. He was in full roar and as it always does, it looked bloody impressive. A hind only meters from us now, saw us straight away, barked twice and was immediately in full flight. But it was too late, the bullet was on its way and had found its target with a perfectly placed shot through the shoulder. The stag lurched, stumbled a few meters and heaped up in a dry creek! What an end to one of the most epic roar hunts I've had!

    We made our way over to the stag, and found him to be a nice 11 pointer, probably 4-5 years old, but by far my mates personal best stag. To say he was stoked was an understatement!

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    After a quick photo and butchering session, I threw the meat in my pack, and head on his shoulders and we started the grunt out towards home. It was a slow slog, but after nearly 3 hours we hobbled back to truck, and arrived home well "late". The short afternoon hunt had turned into a 10 hour, 15.6km, mission in the mountains! But man it was fun! Can't wait to do it again

    And the roar is just cranking up...

    Please stay safe and identify your target beyond all doubt!

    Cheers
    Josh
    Last edited by JoshC; 06-04-2017 at 11:54 AM.
    I'm drawn to the mountains and the bush, it's where life is clear, where the world makes the most sense.

  2. #2
    Member stug's Avatar
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    Nice!
    JoshC likes this.

  3. #3
    Member Dino's Avatar
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    Awesome as always!
    JoshC likes this.
    "If God wanted us to be vegetarian....why did he make meat taste so good?"

  4. #4
    Member Scouser's Avatar
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    MATE!!!!....what an awesome yarn.....as always, well done on your mate getting back with blistered feet and his trophy....EPIC
    JoshC likes this.
    While I might not be as good as I once was, Im as good once as I ever was!

    Rule 4: Identify your target beyond all doubt

  5. #5
    Member madmaori's Avatar
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    Bloody good yarn as usual , epic bet you're mate was pumped!
    congrats
    JoshC likes this.

  6. #6
    Sending it Gibo's Avatar
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    Legendary!!
    JoshC likes this.

  7. #7
    Member chainsaw's Avatar
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    great yarn, thanks for sharing
    JoshC likes this.

  8. #8
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    Cant wait for another yarn bout your West coast trip, better include this little slip!

    Cheers
    JoshC likes this.

  9. #9
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    Top notch story and a great result despite the set backs, well done.
    JoshC likes this.

  10. #10
    Member Sideshow's Avatar
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    Awesome Josh!
    Got to love this line, "my better half. "Stags going beserk - be home late". I got an instant reply... "FFS. Have fun!". Got to love the woman who understands my obsession "

    Man I'm so with you here JoshC! Been trying to book a block on Stewart island, sly wife asks which ones are good?
    Then gets me Kelly's block prime time for next year, can't wait!
    Coming up with a return surprise to better that is going to take some doing.

    By the way well written! You tell a good story. I hope you put them in a folder and make up a little book for your kids to enjoy.
    Looking forward to the West Coast adventure!
    Pointer, JoshC and Gibo like this.

  11. #11
    Caretaker jakewire's Avatar
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    Hellava yarn mate, really enjoyed it.
    JoshC likes this.
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  12. #12
    Member deepsouthaussie's Avatar
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    You got some real writing talent Josh. Hope you combine them all into a book someday. Bloody good yarn and Stag!

    Sent from my ALE-L02 using Tapatalk
    JoshC likes this.

  13. #13
    Member craigc's Avatar
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    What can I add that others have not already stated... another great piece of writing.

    I'm interested in your satalite phone; what type and are the replies from you wife instant? The ones that my wife uses at work appear to take sometime to find a satalite and I don't know if texts are that instant.

    I'm going to head out now for a listen/look; you've inspired me!

  14. #14
    Member JoshC's Avatar
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    Cheers for the comments guys.


    Quote Originally Posted by craigc View Post
    What can I add that others have not already stated... another great piece of writing.

    I'm interested in your satalite phone; what type and are the replies from you wife instant? The ones that my wife uses at work appear to take sometime to find a satalite and I don't know if texts are that instant.

    I'm going to head out now for a listen/look; you've inspired me!

    The phone I have works on the iridium network and while its a bit bulky, it is light and works bloody well. Texting and calling is no problem, and providing I have sat coverage I'll send and receive text messages instantly. We camped in a steep gully last week in South Westland and did not have an issue getting out with calls and messages then either.

    https://www.iridium.com/products/details/iridiumextreme
    I'm drawn to the mountains and the bush, it's where life is clear, where the world makes the most sense.

  15. #15
    Member Gapped axe's Avatar
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    bloody good yarn and pics, as all ways fella
    "ars longa, vita brevis"

 

 

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