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  • 8 Post By JoshC

Thread: My roar report summarized, for those who prefer to read & see photos...

  1. #1
    Member JoshC's Avatar
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    My roar report summarized, for those who prefer to read & see photos...

    Tapped this up on the iphone last night for my friends on FB, so thought I'd copy and paste it to here for you fellas. Bit of light reading for your ANZAC day.

    I suppose it goes without saying that without the sacrifices our war vets, past and present, have made, we probably wouldn't have the freedom to do what we love to do today...and that includes roaming the mountains.



    Yet another red stag roar season is slowly winding down. The peak is most certainly done. Considering I had ‘no plans’ other than a week or so set aside to go ‘somewhere’, the roar was pretty sweet this year.

    Pre-roar was spent doing a couple of reconnaissance missions into mountains I know like the back of my hand. I have been hunting them for many years now. We saw some great animals and Scott took a chamois buck of a lifetime home with us...well over 10 inches in length, amazing spread and at least 13 years old. A real trophy.

    Strangely, the lure of hills you know so well is just as strong as the hills you don’t know so well. The animals are still there, in slightly higher numbers this year I think too. And they still frequent the same guts and gullies many hunters ‘walk past’. It’s great to go back to certain spots and see the stags you let go last year, the year before or even three years ago in one stags case!

    The roar rolled around and stags started doing their thing. Hunters hit the hills like sheep on a paddock of new tucker...early like always. And some were certainly successful...some ripper stags popped up on my newsfeed daily! As the calendar ticked into April, stags could be heard roaring on most outings and I decided to hit the hills. Several after-work or day-off trips ensued, and animals were abundant but the old stag one dreams of wasn’t seen.


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    One particularly cold and windy evening I drove up a river bed and climbed high into the mountains, over into another catchment, and like music to hunters ears, heard stags roaring as soon as I crested the ridge. At least five, all in one beech basin, fringed by scrub and tussock.

    I sat patiently up high like a hawk, and glassed down, knowing it was early roar and hinds would be out to feed soon...stags would follow. Sure enough within an hour, four of the five had shown themselves. And all four had potential to be a great stag, but they lacked age, and size. The fifth showed himself right on dark, as we expect of a mature and well educated animal. I immediately saw he was pretty good, and made the decision to run out of sight, through a couple gullies and close the 1500m gap to within shooting range.

    Darkness was well and truly upon me by the time I’d got within range, but high quality optics gives the hunter that last five minutes of light we so often need,and I picked the stag up making his way quickly back toward cover...he’d busted me. I’d love to say with one shot I dropped him, but no, just to get the adrenaline pumping even more, I missed the first two and and with one bullet left in my mag, managed to pull off the clean kill shot needed as he hit the scrub, and the hunt was over.

    Shooting any animal stirs a vast array of feelings and this was no different. There was the initial feeling of catching ones breath, then elation, then remorse, then comfort in the fact you know you made a clean kill on a mature animal...then the realisation that, shit, I’m in the middle of some mountains, with a 150kg animal to break down and carry out by myself, and now it’s a hour after dark. Lucky for me I have a loving and understanding wife...who has dinner waiting in the oven for me when I roll in the door in the early hours of the morning!!!


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    A few days went by and the weather forecast looked average to say to least. Plans we had were thrown out last minute as snow began to fall, and we chose to chase the sun ending up on the West Coast! Pete whipped us into a roar ballot block in the headwaters of a famous river with his helicopter. He’d not long left when we bumped a roaring stag.

    There’s something about hunting the West Coast, it has an allure thats hard to describe, much like Fiordland. But it’s not because the hunting is easy, it’s much, much harder than down south. The country itself is really hard. Maybe it’s the sense of adventure, we’ll probably never work it out, but I guarantee we’ll still long to visit the place for years to come.

    A few days were spent crashing about in the bush, scaling steep slips that lead to the tussock line, crossing glacier fed rivers and stalking river flats that saw only minutes of sun each day from now through to late spring.

    We saw enough deer to keep things interesting, as well as the other ‘things’ that make hunting such a unique and interesting hobby. A stag or two roared on and off and our keen eyes picked up a couple that would make the hairs on the neck of any hunter stand on end! They’re still there...somewhere.

    One morning it started raining about 6am...I don’t like getting wet, so opted to chill in my tent drinking cuppas till it cleared. Scott is as keen as they come, so he went and got a wet arse. As forecast, the rain stopped, Scott got back, we had a bite to eat and then headed up river to where we’d heard stags roaring the evening before. Deer love the sun after the rain.

    A fairly uneventful stroll in the warm sun up the river had us eventually bumping into a hind who had the same plans as us...a stroll in the warm sun. We had an awesome time, within a stones throw of this deer who’d clearly not seen or smelt humans before...she hung about for ages, and after getting bored and trying to sneak off, we looked down river only to see her following us up the opposite side! Amazing interaction.

    Rounding a bend in the river, a slip basking in sun screamed deer and sure enough a stag with impressive looking antlers was making his way across it. Unfortunately for him, we caught him out and we had a cracking old west coast stag joining us on the journey out. An old stag who I dare say had eluded the odd hunter and more than the odd helicopter!

    I’ve hunted the coast for several years and this is actually the first deer I have shot there, opting to pass up many young or smaller stags I’ve been fortunate enough to bump into, and being outsmarted by a fair few...so fair to say I’m more than happy to have found this old fella.

    The rest of the trip was spent frolicking in the hills, exploring ‘deerie’ looking spots, roaring at stags and being reminded too often that we’re very very insignificant in such a massive and awesome landscape. All too soon Simon arrived on a frosty morning in the Squirrel and flew us out to civilisation. Ugh.


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    I drove home, repacked, got a decent nights sleep, and waited for Nick and Glen to turn up. Then back into the mountains we headed. Exploring a familiar spot for a couple of days produced a few animals, including some cool young stags.

    A wet 12km circuit was done on the second day, with only the odd distant roar being heard or any seen deer being miles off. Heading back out to camp, we found some other guys had beat us to the valley and were camped right in ‘deer zone’, hence the small amount of noise and relatively few deer sightings.

    On the final evening we boosted it over the hill to find some fresh country and were rewarded by roaring stags and plenty of deer out in the open. It’s a great thing to sit and watch silently and observe deer doing their thing naturally.

    The older stags don’t show themselves often, but an old boy eventually sauntered out into the open right on dark. We roared at him he got pissed off and decided to come sort us out. We found a chance, cut the gap, and set up on top of a bluff overlooking the stags territory. With fading light I picked him up sneaking through the tussock. He stopped only to let out the odd challenge of a spine tingling roar.

    Time poor and with pressure on in full view, we had no option but to hope the stag walked within range in enough shooting light. As Nick tried desperately to find his crosshairs on the stag in the gloom, he chose to make the difficult call to unload his rifle and let the old boy go unharmed. That feeling is one I’m pretty familiar with these days, but it is arguably as good if not better than the feeling of taking the animal, and it was a couple of wary by satisfied hunters that under the light of headlamps wandered back to find Glen and go back to camp.


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    So the roar is over, but the fallow bucks are croaking, the waterfowl season is upon us and the tahr rut is just around the corner. Who knows where the next adventure may lead, but there’s a few in the pipeline so here’s to the rest of the year ahead

    Cheers
    Josh.
    madjon_, 308, roberto and 5 others like this.
    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 Micky Duck's Avatar
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    great read,thankyou for sharing it .

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    Awesome, south island trip definitely on the cards - you have some amazing country and animals down there.

  4. #4
    Member JoshC's Avatar
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    Thank guys. Double post for some reason


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I'm drawn to the mountains and the bush, it's where life is clear, where the world makes the most sense.

  5. #5
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    Awesome write up mate. And bonus points for typing that all up on an iphone almost as good as the story itself.

  6. #6
    Member Sideshow's Avatar
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    Nail! Head! Done it again buddy funny how a few weeks looks so small when put on paper!

    God will only know what your editing room floor looks like waist deep in the story's and photos of the ones that didn't make the cut our too uncensored to make the post
    Thanks again @JoshC thanks again
    It's all fun and games till Darthvader comes along
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  7. #7
    Member JoshC's Avatar
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    @Admin are you guys able to delete this thread, its a double for some reason
    I'm drawn to the mountains and the bush, it's where life is clear, where the world makes the most sense.

 

 

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