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  • 20 Post By Jake77
  • 1 Post By Tahr

Thread: Xmas venison

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2020

    Xmas venison

    With the beaut forecast over the weekend I negotiated spousal approval for a quick overnighter into the foothills the weekend before xmas. This was contingent on taking dog and boy to give Mum and break. Boy 8yrs has been on a few decent multi day walks so figured time to test his mettle a bit. By 4pm we were leaving Chch heading to some DOC land in the foothills I’d seen a few animals in previously but not managed to get any on the ground.

    As usual the co-pilot was chattering non-stop, it had been a couple of hunts since we got any animals and he was quite convinced his new camo jacket was going to make the difference. We pulled into an empty parking lot empty aside from one other obviously hunters wagon. Was a bit of a worry as there was not much easy ground up there and tough to share with another party. Oh well, an armed tramp wasn’t the worst way to spend a gorgeous windless night. Chucked packs on everyone and headed on up the track.

    The walk to the intended campsite involves a fairly steep grind up through the beech forest, and as usual had to keep on giving the hurry up to the boy who insisted in trying to beat the wasps to the honey dew. Wasps are not too bad on the track thanks to the volunteers who run vespex bait stations each year.
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    A couple of hours in we ran into the owner of the wagon at the trail head who was on his way out after a run so was looking good to have the place to ourselves. With a bit more cajoling and bribery reach the summit without too many stops and headed into the flats and the intended grassy slopes I wanted to hunt.

    Was just leaving the tree line to walk through a large tussocky clearing still chatting away, in hindsight a bit careless as I’d never seen deer in there before, when 100m away a decent stag pops his head up out of the scrub on the far edge to see what all the commotion is about. I shushed the boy quickly and called the dog back who was having fun jackrabbiting through the long grass. With a wind steady from the side neither dog nor deer has a clear scent and while obviously on alert the stag wasn’t quite ready to bolt so as stealthily as I could I crawled for an open spot where I could get a clear shot. Was using a relatively new rifle so not confident to try an off-hand shot so managed to get a rest and was just closing the bolt when the stag decided things were not quite right and bolted for the bushline. On the way he spooked another even bigger stag we hadn’t noticed - he was already sporting a very decent rack but still in full velvet and only gave us a glimpse before he too leaped off. I tell myself it was probably for the best as either of them would have been too big for me to haul out all the meat and might make for an exciting revisit in a few months - but still a bit gutting!

    With evening coming on we pushed on up the track accompanied by 100 questions around the theme of ‘why I didn’t shot the deer’ and a dog very confused why we weren’t tracking the very interesting scent trails. Made it to the campsite half and hour further along the ridge - nice little sheltered clearing on the bush edge and dumped the camping gear and headed out to glass the nearby scrubby flats. We were loosing light fairly fast but soon picked up a mixed group of 4 animals at around 250m, unfortunately all close to skyline and no rests to allow a shot over the scrub so had to watch them graze off into the gloom. Things were cooling off fast by now so headed back to set up camp and get a feed going. Boy and dog both keen to get into the tent so hit the hay to a choir of local possums.

    Next morning we got up pre-dawn and fortified by a couple of muesli bars quietly geared up and pushed out through the dewey scrub. No animals handy to camp this time but the wind was blowing pretty good which tends to keep then in the sheltered gullies. Spotted a spiker sidling round the hill ahead of us buy again stymied by lack of a shooting rest - might need to get some walking poles I can rig up as a shooting bipod. Watched the spiker trot off to the bushline reassuring the boy there would be other animals out. Kept on pushing up the ridge through the remains of what look like an old a Totara forest. Obviously burnt log ago - maybe by early farmers? This time of year it provides a deer magnet with areas of decent pasture and low scrub over several large north western facing slopes surrounded by beech.
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    Sunrise was casting stark shadows over the folds of the landscape now and I was starting to think it might be another dry trip as we sidled round into the third gully with no animals seen when dog started winding hard in the breeze that was coming up the hill to us. We snuck a bit lower to see over the next brow and sweet! - a mixed group of hinds and yearlings browsing on the steep scree below us. Got the boy to have a look through the binos and set him up with the dog back behind we while I lined up the rem mag. Ranged them at around 300m - awkward shot lying across the slope in some old pig rooting and buy the time I got a bead on them most animals had grazed in behind some foreground scrub. Waited a couple of minutes before snaking down slope a bit further for a better vantage point with some helpful ‘why don’t you shoot that one dad’ ‘you better hurry up dad’ comments stage whispered down from the expert stationed above.

    Set up again on a mature hind still obviously in fawn I decided one in the hand was better than hoping one of the yearlings would give me a shot. Squeezed off a shot - unsuppressed it echoed impressively around the valley and the hind dropped on the spot. A half dozen other deer scarpered down slope for the bush edge and I was just standing up to wave the bay down and a confused spiker wanders out looking confused about all the commotion. Now this is the point at which in hindsight I should have been sensible but with an excited 8 year old hopping up and down beside me I decided why not and lined up and dropped him as well.

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    Keen to beat the sun and get back for breakfast I boned out the hindquarters and back steaks from both animals and loaded the pack. Hind was a big girl with decent amount of fat on her so had a good weight on as we heading back up to hill to camp. Boy led the way happily discussing the hunt with me sweating my ring out behind. There were a fair few stops to ‘admire the view’ but eventually made it back to camp and got some porridge and hot chocolate on while I packed up the tent.

    With all the gear now packed I was again questioning the wisdom of taking two animals but too late now so loaded up and and started the long walk out. After a fair few rest stops was a good feeling to make the parking lot about 4 hrs later, even the lad must have been tired as we had about 20 mins of silence for the last part of the walk. Hit the road with a well earned stop at Macca’s on the way home. All up covered 27kms in 24hrs, pack was around 45kgs - not as heavy as it felt walking out in 27deg temps! Freezer looking decently full though I am giving away a fair bit to help make space for the next trip in the new year. Lad is retelling the hunting story to anyone who will listen suitably exaggerating the size of the deer and hills in fine fashion.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Southern Alps
    Good effort in the heat,enjoy yr venison.

  3. #3
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    great writeup and good on you for getting the young fella out with you...memories are made of this.
    enjoy the venison.

  4. #4
    Member stug's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Oxford, Canterbury
    Well done, nice spot up there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Sure is a "Deery looking area" great write up and well done on the big load of meat. I think your boy will be hooked for life.

  6. #6
    Valued Member 7mm Rem Mag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    North Otago
    Well done, good getting out with your son. It is hard to resist shooting 2 but glad you got them out. Well earned meat, enjoy
    When hunting think safety first

  7. #7
    JLF is offline
    Member JLF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2021
    Alvarez (ARGENTINA)
    I love those places to hunt.
    Thanks for sharing.
    There is still gunpowder left, the Grim Reaper can wait.

  8. #8
    MAC is offline
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    thanks for the write-up, good read, I'm taking out my boy next week for a hunt - hopefully get him onto something.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    South Canterbury
    What a great descriptive read. I love stories like this that remind me that shooting 2 deer on a backpacking trip is never a good idea.

  10. #10
    Member Flyblown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Highly enjoyable read, thanks for posting.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    As good as it gets.
    Nathan F likes this.



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