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Thread: Rangitata Thar Mission

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2020

    Rangitata Thar Mission

    An old mate visiting from the north island was keen to check out some thar country so equipped with some sage advice from the forum and a keen 15 yr old who has hunted the area extensively we headed up Bush Stream in the upper rangitata for a quick overnighter pre Xmas.

    Managed to get the 2wd to the road end - glad it was dry though, some pretty decent ruts to navigate. Met a group of bow hunters coming out who assured us there were animals about so shouldered the pack and set off up the river feeling hopeful.

    Walked in for around an hour before spotting the first animal - a carcass hung up in some trees on a bluff - don’t know if it was DOC, a long distance snipe with no retrieve or a moment of clumsiness by the Thar.

    Stopping for lunch on a nice little knoll the keen eyed young fella spotted a young bull stretched out in the shade of a tree around 500 yds away. Knowing he has taken animals at longer distance we decided to let him have a crack with his new 7mm RM. He lined up but missed by a couple of feet and had to watch as the target and several of his mates tore off over the ridge. Good lesson to take the time to stalk closer and spend some time at the range to get comfortable on a new shooting stick.

    Found a nice river terrace to set up camp and decided to follow the group of thar we disturbed earlier. Walked up river to get downwind and started to climb up a creek. Young fella leaped up the hill leaving us old fellas puffing in the dust. There was some good cussing when he led us up some dicey knife/edge ridges but managed to get into the tussock edge. Was just getting our breath back when 4 thar popped over the edge of a little basin and started grazing across the slope. I reached for the rangefinder and realised I had made the rooky mistake of forgetting to stash my rangefinder in my pocket rather than the belt pouch and had lost it somewhere on the climb. Bugger. Was just getting the two rifles lined up and another two thar popped up and spotted us. With all the animals now alert and moving young fella managed to drop one before they reached the ridge. I left them to dress it out while I back tracked to look for the lost rangefinder. Having no luck and confirming there was no way I wanted to go down the face we had just come up I returned back to the lads in time to load the pack. Made a plan to climb a couple of hundred meters higher and sidle across to a big scree slope near camp. Some rain was forecast so keen to get off the steep stuff before it hit. Old Mate had the delight of discovering Spaniad and shorts are not a good combo and as he grunted up the hill there were a few choice remarks about the sanity of chasing goats up mountains.

    All was forgotten when we surprised another couple of young bulls in the next basin and he and the trusty old 308 dropped one on the spot with a shot to the chest. By the time we got over to it the clouds were darkening and it was starting to spit so a quick gut job and young fella volunteered to strap the animal to his pack, we agreed hoping it might slow him down a bit. Hoofed it up and over the saddle to the scree and got down to camp just in time to beat the rain.

    Next morning dawned fine so got packed up encouraged on by hoards of sandfly’s. Decided to check out some terraces on the way down so trotted off through the river. Almost hot enough to make the river crossings enjoyable.

    Dumped the packs and sweated our way a few hundred meters up through matagouri scrub (another new experience for old mate!). Got to the terraces which while looking like perfect country with lots of feed were devoid of any sign of animals.

    As per Murphy’s law as soon as we sat and started glassing across the main valley we spotted a group of 6 animals grazing a scree slope opposite, then another 3 decent looking bulls and one lone big bugger camped out near the top of the hill. We would have had a good chance of getting onto them if we had opted to head up that side of the valley but had to be content with watching them for a hour before it was time to head for home.

    Overall a good trip, will def head back and will be a good batch of thar sausages for New Years. Cheers for the advice from the forum.

    PS in the unlikely chance if anyone happens to find a leupold tbr rangefinder up Bush Stream let me know.

    PPS if Santa has made your old rangefinder redundant and you are tempted to part with it also let me know!

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    Trout, Brian, Tikka7mm08 and 16 others like this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Thanks for making the effort and writing up a report, looks nice looking country and glad you seen a few animals about always makes a trip more enjoyable.
    Jake77 likes this.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Good mission
    Thanks for the report,well done
    Jake77 likes this.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Looks good there, I shot my first tahr up Black Birch Stream back in 1990, sure is a neat place. Great report Thanks.
    Jake77 likes this.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Gutted for the loss of your rangefinder, always a pain to forget something but even worse to lose it. Still came out with meat in your pack though
    Jake77 likes this.

  6. #6
    Member craigc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Upper Hutt
    Good yarn.

    I wonder how much gear has been left dotted around the hills. I personally know of three good knives and two range finders!
    Jake77 likes this.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Southern Alps
    Not only the hills,i use to be a fly fishing guide for about 15yrs.Walk about 450ks a year on river banks and edges.Found a few pocket knifes,tins of flys,hook plies.Odd jacket or parka which fell out of packs,coils of fishing nylon,dark glasses.A wallet which had been out on the river about 15yrs,still with about $40 in it and ID cards.I actually managed to return it to it owner in Christchurch.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    South Canterbury
    Nice to hear a report back Jake. Nice creek to spend time in up there. Shame about the rangefinder. I'll keep an eye out if I'm up that way.
    Jake77 likes this.



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