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Thread: Sambar hunt

  1. #1
    Pull, Bang, F$#K!!!! Bulltahr's Avatar
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    Sambar hunt

    Sorry no pics, before I had a digital camera............




    Of all of the hunting opportunities that we have in New Zealand, obtaining a trophy Sambar stag would have to be one of the most difficult tasks to undertake, after Rusa and perhaps Whitetail. The successful hunting of Sambar in this country, as with most of the lesser-known species, requires access to good habitat, a lot of patience and as always with hunting, a fair amount of luck.
    Hard luck stories and Sambar hunting seem to go hand in hand. But sometimes lady luck smiles upon us and things go more than well. Everybody has or has heard of lucky hunting experiences, well this the story of mine.
    I was guiding for a hunting operation up the Wanganui River, where we had good numbers of free range Fallow deer of the Wanganui herd. While the Trophy potential was zero, there was certainly plenty of great hunting to be had with these beautiful little deer.
    I had taken a friend of the boss out hunting, he was looking to top up his freezer, so there was little problem in completing the task. In exchange, he was to take me out for a Sambar, as I had always wanted to have a crack at a Sambar stag. He had access to a property down towards Fielding that had never been hunted and bordered a large Pine plantation. A Sambar hunters dream, thought I. I was still guiding though and it was proving difficult to fit in a day or two to take up the offer, but I managed to find a spare Sunday and arrangements for the day were duly made. As I was due to fly out to the U.S. for the start of the Elk season in a weeks time, there would be no other opportunity to have another crack should we be unsuccessful. Well then, we would definitely need a bit of luck on my one off, one day, Sambar hunt.
    As Sambar are largely nocturnal, we wanted to be on the ground well before first light. Our plan was to be covering the head of a large gully that was adjacent to the Pine plantation. We were hoping to catch something heading back to the Pines after a night grazing the farmland.
    I set my alarm for very early and went to bed early to get a good nights sleep.
    The next morning I awoke to birds singing and the half-light of the new day. I had failed to set the Alarm clock correctly and had overslept. I cursed loudly. As far as I was concerned I had just blown a golden opportunity. I rang my hunting companion, who was wondering where on earth I was, to apologize and to tell him to flag the day. "No way!” Was his reply, he was feeling optimistic and besides we could always hunt the thick stuff.
    I quickly dressed and was soon ringing on his doorbell. We threw his gear in the Hilux and drove to the farm. It was fully light by the time we arrived so we adjusted our plans accordingly. Secretly I was not optimistic of our chances of success, especially since I had decided not to pull the trigger on anything less than a 6 point stag. With one day of hunting and the morning slipping away that was a very big ask indeed!
    However, we headed off, with the intention of glassing the large scrub filled gully from the farmland above, in the hope of catching something heading to its bed.
    We walked together, glassing very often, but by the time we reached the boundary of the Pine plantation I was sure that our race was run and that everything would have it’s head down right in the middle of the thick stuff.
    The Gully forked into two about half way to the pines with a small gorse covered ridge splitting the two smaller gullies. We decided to split up, each would walk down his creek and we would meet later at the junction of the two. With wishes of good luck, I walked around the head of the first creek and after studying the second, decided to take the far side of my allotted creek. It looked very thick going indeed so I stuck to a sheep track that wound it’s way through the tall manuka covering the small ridge. I saw and heard nothing, but as the tracked dropped off the side and down into the gully I slowed right down and started looking really hard. The track took me almost right to the creek junction, a little further up, but only fifty metres or so. At this point the ridge dividing the two creeks was only thirty metres high and as I reached a small clearing at the side of the creek, I sat down at the very edge of it, placing myself alongside a lone young manuka bush and proceeded to glass the gorse of that small ridge. Sure enough, there was the back end of what was certainly a Sambar, poking out of a large gorse bush.
    I could not see any other part of the animal, nor could I determine its sex, although I felt that it was not big enough to be a mature animal. While studying the animal, I heard a crashing of something or someone coming down my creek. “How the hell did he end up over here?” I thought, believing that my mate had somehow come right over the dividing ridge. I was tempted to call out, but refrained from doing so, as I wanted to show him the deer not 60 metres away. Alarm bells were ringing, it didn’t seem right somehow. A minute more and whatever it was would be in the clearing, so as I was already sitting down and not wanting to risk too much noise or movement, I moved a little to my right until I was afforded a little cover from the sparse little bush. I was barely getting comfortable when I saw a forked antler tip above a large flax bush at the edge of the clearing. I couldn’t believe it, here was a Sambar stag and he was going to walk right past me! I fully closed the bolt of my rifle and waited until I could see both antlers, yeap three each side and worthy of mounting. He took a few more paces until he was in the center of the clearing not more than 10 metres from me. I didn’t dare breathe. He stopped and looked in my direction, knowing that I was something, but not sure what. I had the rifle in a shooting position already and even with the scope wound right his chest filled the scope as I centered on him and squeezed the trigger. At the sound of the shot he took off downstream, with no time for a second shot I stood up and strained my ears to listen. Nothing. There was no blood, but obviously at that range I had hit him good. I had another round chambered and slowly started to follow his tracks, twenty metres on, I saw a hoof sticking out from the side of the track. I checked him over, yeap, dead alright. Elated, I ran my hands over the antlers and marveled at the size of his body, “huge” was the word that sprang to mind.
    I waited for my mate to arrive to help with the big job of cutting and carting all that meat.
    After the obligatory photos I started caping him out. At this point I found that at 10 metres the 180 grain bullet from my 300 win mag had not exited the animal. One tough customer! The rest of the morning was spent carrying all the meat and antlers up to the farm a kilometer away.
    I was rapted, one day to hunt and I had my first true New Zealand trophy animal.
    Pointer, NZHTR and Bushrat like this.
    Machete don't text!
    (.)(.) = :-)))

  2. #2
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    Awesome to hear, you lucky bugger....! What were his measurements?
    I've shot 1 Sambar stag, had an extra point (7 pointer) and real heavy timber but only 25'' in length.
    Am hoping to get back out there and score myself another goodie one of these days.
    Reading your yarn has got me keen as!

  3. #3
    Pull, Bang, F$#K!!!! Bulltahr's Avatar
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    From memory he scores 165ish douglas (Stupid, outdated scoring system IMHO) . Worth mounting anyway, left the mount at a mates place in Turua when I moved back down to the South Is.
    Machete don't text!
    (.)(.) = :-)))

  4. #4
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    Cool. Yeah I wished I'd got my one mounted.....s'pose I still could really, just need to get another head-skin.

  5. #5
    Member NZHTR's Avatar
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    Im European mounting the one i got last saturday , and decided to head back for another look next month .

  6. #6
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    Good one.....?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushrat View Post
    Good one.....?
    Skull mount ....?

  8. #8
    Gold member Pointer's Avatar
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    Nice work, what were his measurements if you don't mind sharing?

  9. #9
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    Measured 185 DS ,nice even head dark chocolate coloured antler .

 

 

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