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Thread: First public land deer - fallow in the blue mountains

  1. #1
    Still learning JessicaChen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    First public land deer - fallow in the blue mountains

    After a fair few tries getting deer on public land and feeling like a failure every time I went home empty handed, yesterday I finally succeeded. It was supposed to be a rainy couple of days so I was prepared to get a wee bit uncomfortable. Managed to get black gully so it was really nice staying at the black gully domain huts RIGHT on the doorstep of this block. It took about ten minutes of searching before I found a good spot to head into the guts of the forest. Despite there being some light sprinkling, the ground was dry and covered in twigs/branches. The loud crunchy steps were frustrating. It felt like with every step, all deer in a 50 meter radius would have been alerted.

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    An hour of walking passed, and suddenly I hear something within 20 meters crash away into the distance. Damn. My heart was racing as this was actually the first time in my life that I got close enough to a deer to hear it crash away. I thought to myself that I really had to slow down and take a good look around me if I wanted to have a single chance of getting something. 1 more hour of walking, and another crash. The failures of my past attempts began to race in my mind, and I wasn't sure if I was ever going to succeed at bush stalking. Pushing my doubts aside and wanting to make the best of the opportunity to be in this forest, I REALLY slowed down. Each step so slow and calculated that it actually fatigued my muscles in a weird way, and it was hard not to wobble when slowly lifting and grounding each step, while also trying to scan to the gaps between the trees for unusual shapes or movement.

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    After a couple more hours of extremely slow and careful stalking I found a nice fresh deer bed. The ground was nice and soft, a good way to quietly sit my bum down for a moment. I sat and looked around for a few minutes when suddenly in the corner of my eye, i see a black shape moving. Oh shit! It was within 20 meters, and I didn't hear a bloody thing. As i lifted my rifle up and looked through the scope, I see her head poke out from behind a tree trunk, then she stared straight at me. She looked incredibly beautiful. I aimed between her eyes and took a shot. BAM!!! (The below image is the exact spot i saw this deer, I drew a black shape to show where she was)

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    To my dismay, i saw her turn around and leave daintily, hearing her move through the bush toward higher ground. Defnitely not the behaviour of an animal that was supposed to have its brains blown out, which would involve a lot of thrashing. My heart sank. I must have missed... but i checked the area out anyway for blood just in case. No blood. I looked around the area and dipped into a little gully with a ton of supplejack. No deer. I mentally beat myself up over missing a headshot of such a close target. I may have moved the gun a little too much when pulling the trigger, or maybe I bumped the scope at some point without knowing. Whatever the cause of missing was, I was disappointed but also excited. Being that close to such a beautiful animal in its own turf and staring it face to face for the first time was exhilarating as a rookie hunter.

    At this point it was one and a half hours till sunset, and I contemplated giving up and going back to camp. I wondered if deer would be around anymore after that loud gunshot. I stood around and moaned for a few minutes, trying to figure the best route out of the supplejack infested gully.

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    A few bouts of crawling and getting caught on bush lawyer... and im finally climbing up and onto a small spur. I wasn't paying as much attention to going slow at this point, as I didn't think there would be any deer in the immediate vicinity. At the top i took out my phone and looked at the topo map, seeing which way was the best way out. I had a little more than an hour before it would get dark, and I wasn't a fan of bashing through bush in the dark with a torch. After mapping my way out, I figured I could have a go at getting a deer on the brink of dark, as I was fairly close to a path that I could travel easily in the dark.

    I went back into alert ninja mode. Very quiet, very alert. About half an hour later, ~50m in the distance between a tiny gap in the trees I see the black shape of a deer grazing. I raise my rifle, but she disappeared. She was only there for a couple of seconds. I kept looking through the scope hoping she would appear again between that gap. A 30 seconds pass. I make a decision to take out my caller. It was a whitetail grunt caller and I wasn't sure if it would work, but i blew through it once. A grunt. Then I raise my rifle again. A few seconds pass and the deer appears again, moves toward me, then turns perfect broadside. BANG. She falls, and another deer in the distance crashes away.

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    I was dizzy with excitement as I walked toward where i saw her fall. It took a while to find her as it was further away than i expected, and I am pretty bad at navigation... but eventually i see the dark grey shape. I think deer are absolutely beautiful creatures and this fallow was no exception. I admired her shape and the color of her fur. Those spots! As sad as I was to take a life, I was excited as a predator to get a kill. I looked at the time, it was late, and getting dark quickly. Oh dear. I grabbed my little wee opinel and attempted to gut. Cut around her anus, cut the neck to release the trachea, and then to the guts. Working with little light left, I made a terrible mistake. The stomach was punctured as I attempted to cut the membrane behind the organs. SHIT. It was a mess, it was dark, and I couldn't find my headlamp. Wait.... where is my headlamp? I packed it didn't it? Double shit. I began to panic and prepared the deer 'backpack'. I studied a few youtube videos on how to make the classic kiwi deer backpack to carry deer out, but I cut it wrong and it failed to hold up so i used rope to hold the legs together instead.

    With a huff and a puff i lifted the deer from the ground onto my back. God she was heavy... i usually debone the animals i usually hunt (goats) to carry out a lighter load that is easier on the knees, but I could not do that here with little remaining light. My backpack was too large to fit into her cavity, so I put my pack on the front. It was a struggle to get my rifle onto the deer's legs, and then look at my phone to see which direction to go. As I struggled through the bush toward my destination, the path, I could feel my back and legs failing me. My lungs were exploding. I was sweating, rain started to fall heavy, and my glasses were fogging up. As I stumbled into some bush lawyer and supplejack and got scratched up, I made the hard decision to drop the deer to focus on my safety, i.e. to get to the pathway. I was too worried about getting out of the rainy wet shitty bush to the point I was unconcerned about my venison. It took another 20 minutes of stumbling around to get to the pathway, half an hour after sunset time where there was just a hint of light left. The rain was pouring, i was without a headlamp, but I had my phone light. It was a long, dark, wet, and uncomfortable hour-long tramp back to camp, smelling like blood and guts, with no deer.

    Halfway back, i suddenly realized something so simple... I could just return the next day to get the deer. My kill was not wasted after all! I suppose in my panic I forgot that very basic logic. Camp was comfortable. The fireplace was set, i cleaned myself up, I made some noodles + porridge, and I cleaned my poor soaking wet rifle next to the fire's warmth. I was SO grateful that I had the hut and not my tent. Oh and guess what, my headlamp was in my bag the entire time, tucked in a corner.

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    The aching in my feet made it chore to get to sleep, and the rain on the roof got a bit loud at times, but eventually i got to sleep and woke up to a wet foggy morning. I wondered if my deer would be edible after being left on the ground in the bush overnight, especially with the cavity tainted by stomach contents. With the aching in my legs I wondered if I should just go home and forget about the meat... but this was my FIRST proper public land deer that I got all by myself, I had to suck it up and get her. So I did, but without all of the heavy extra stuff that was in my pack the day before. I took an easy route in on the edge of pine forest. Easy, but very crunchy. Good thing I wasn't stalking. Ended up spooking another deer.

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    I knew roughly on the map where I dropped my deer, but I wasn't sure if I could actually find this little deer among the shitty bush that I dropped her in. Thankfully the shitty section of bush with all of the vines and bush lawyer was quite isolated and distinct, of course I just so happened to run into it earlier. And there she was! I was so happy to see this delightfully stiff wet headless corpse. Because rigor mortis had set in, it was very difficult to wear her as a backpack compared to when she was freshly killed. Incredibly uncomfortable on the shoulders, blood circulation to my arms was minimized resulting in pins and needles. Ouch!

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    When I finally carried her back to my vehicle, the relief and satisfaction was immense. The two and a half hour drive home was pure bliss and content. At home, it was still overcast and drizzling, but that didn't stop me from getting to work butchering. I wish I had a proper place to store and hang a whole carcass for ageing, or a place to properly butcher a large animal, but alas... i settled with my wheelbarrow and my fridge. I wanted to get the prime cuts into the fridge as soon as possible. Hide, forelegs, backlegs, backstraps, and scraps for mince were salvaged. The ribcage shown below shows where the bullet penetrated the animal, quite high in the ribs, and the exit wound was in the base of the neck.

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    Nice butchery space huh! I will be keeping an eye on the meat as it fridge-ages for a couple of days before I divide them into specific cuts. Not sure if I could go to a shop to get them vac packed for wet ageing? I have also salted the hide to prepare for a tanning. Overall I had an amazing experience, and learned a lot as an inexperienced hunter from this event. Welp, time to go get back to the reality of sedentary work to make money and pay the bills, quite a difference from being out there in the bush.
    Last edited by JessicaChen; 14-04-2021 at 11:48 PM.
    gimp, jakewire, Tahr and 78 others like this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Well done! I know exactly what it's like and getting one out of that block is not easy. The deer are hunted damn near everyday and are super alert. Good work.

    A few good lessons in there for you too.

    Thanks for the write up, brought a smile to my face.
    JessicaChen likes this.
    "The generalist hunter and angler is a well-fed mofo" - Steven Rinella

  3. #3
    Rocks in his head Joe_90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Central Otago
    Good going! I enjoyed reading that thank you.
    JessicaChen likes this.
    If you can't beat them, beat them.
    They will be expecting you to join them, so you'll have the element of surprise.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    western australia southland born
    Really enjoyed reading your story. Very well written. I could feel the rain running down my back and the aches and pains. Congrats on your well earned success.
    JessicaChen and Moa Hunter like this.

  5. #5
    Full of shit Ryan_Songhurst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    South Island
    Good stuff! Its been super dry around here and we really needed that rain so Im glad you brought it with you! Fallow been a bit slow on making some noise this year, they were going pretty well on the 10th April last year. Its been really warm (and dry!) which may have something to do with it. Heard one having a half-hearted attempt at croaking at our place at the northern end of the Blueys, and nothing fullstop at our other farm on the Southern end, we have one crop paddock in particular on that place that the deer love as its tucked right up into the bush and has bush nearly the whole way around it so I guess they feel safe getting a free feed and not having to get too far out into the open to get it, have consistently seen a group of up to 16 Does and young ones out on it in the evenings but no buck, surely hes gotta set up shop around there soon though!
    270 is a harmonic divisor number[1]
    270 is the fourth number that is divisible by its average integer divisor[2]
    270 is a practical number, by the second definition
    The sum of the coprime counts for the first 29 integers is 270
    270 is a sparsely totient number, the largest integer with 72 as its totient
    Given 6 elements, there are 270 square permutations[3]
    10! has 270 divisors
    270 is the smallest positive integer that has divisors ending by digits 1, 2, Ö, 9.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Mid Canterbury
    Really enjoyed the read.

    Damned good show.....well done.

    Your tenacity and dtermination has paid off.....as I think most of us here sitting back in our armchairs following your journey's have always believed it would.

    JessicaChen likes this.

  7. #7
    Member Chur Bay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Great story. The real work starts once you have an animal on the ground I reckon.
    JessicaChen likes this.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Tasman bay NZ
    Wohoo Well done.
    Great story, enjoyed the read.

    Its amazing how many times you stop moving and then see a deer.

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    I hunt, therefore I am.
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Tai Tokerau
    Nice write up.

    Protip. a gimbral and bit of rope don't take up much space and make butchery proper easy. if you hang em by the hind legs, start your gut-cut at the sternum. Once you can get two fingers in, do that with your knife point between and basically unzip em, guts fall out.
    Also would be easier to make a call to leave it hanging and walk out and come back.
    JessicaChen and Micky Duck like this.
    Quote Originally Posted by 308
    not smart enough to be useful
    Diligentia Vis Celeritas
    Life Advice

  10. #10
    Almost literate. veitnamcam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Great read and well done.
    A few lessons learned and a first public land deer
    Thanks for posting.
    JessicaChen likes this.
    "Hunting and fishing" fucking over licenced firearms owners since ages ago.

  11. #11
    Member wsm junkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Northern Rangitikei
    Cool write up and great result
    JessicaChen likes this.

  12. #12
    Member outdoorlad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Well done, fallow are great eating. You will have learned a lot from the experience.

    When bush hunting, when you are in a good area with sign slow right down like you did, I try to stop by a tree to break up my silhouette as well as having a tree to lean my rifle on for a shot, I avoid headshots as Iíve missed more than I have made over the years.
    Shut up, get out & start pushing!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Good shit awesome story congrats on the deer will taste bloody good. Nothing beats bush stalking
    JessicaChen likes this.

  14. #14
    Member Nathan F's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Deep South
    JessicaChen likes this.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Hunted that block once before. Had only walked into it along a formed trail for 5 mins, stopped and looked around, only to find two fallow looking at me. Needless to say, they were gone in an instant. Real sneaky buggers that get hunted a lot!

    Did a Hunts course in the Blue Mountains around 2000 I think, and the guys that showed us how it's done certainly took their time getting around the block. Slow, slow and slower still and wait for the deer to appear.

    Thanks for the write up!
    JessicaChen and Micky Duck like this.



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