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Hot Topic (More than 30 Replies) Quality Time (Read 5132 times)
8pt Sika
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Quality Time
Apr 17th, 2013 at 9:57pm
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For 23 years I have spent the opening weekend of the duck season with my dad. Last year was the first time that we didn’t shoot together on the Sunday, which was due to me being hospitalized. If you know how passionate I am about duck shooting then you will understand that I was knocking on deaths door to miss that day with my dad. I have a pretty close relationship with my dad and he has always supported my passion for hunting and brought me up around hunting starting from a very young age. He understands that hunting is in my blood and essentially the reason for living.

Unfortunately due to a bad back and the result of a life time of smoking, dad hasn’t joined me on many trips for deer. I found it a bit frustrating at a younger age when dad told me about all the hunting he had done over the years and experiences he’d had but that he wasn’t able to get out with me much. But early last year we made a pact to try and get out more together.

We took a week off together in the roar of 2012 and joined the masses in my usual spots on public land but it was difficult to get into the better spots without being too hard on dad. He did do bloody well though and after a couple of hunts was getting around fairly well, but needed a couple of day’s recovery after a day on the hill. We didn’t have much success but it was still bloody great to be out hunting together. In that time we also managed to visit a couple of places that dad had spent many a time in and would point out various spots that he had shot animals 30 odd years ago.  Names of hunting companions since passed on were often brought up and stories of success, hardship and practical jokes played on each other were relayed as if they’d happened yesterday. It wasn’t really about getting an animal for us at the time; it was about sharing quality time in the hills together.

After that the months rolled on again and we didn’t really get out for a proper hunt for quite some time. Dad was not confident that he could handle the walks we had done previously but I was determined to get him out again.

Late last year through a lot of hard work I managed to gain access to a property with a few red deer. It started out as just shooting the odd rabbit which was quite enjoyable for dad and I and pretty easy going. Eventually we were given the OK to have a hunt for something bigger and I was really keen to get dad a deer. It took us a couple of trips to get onto some animals but finally we outsmarted them and dad managed to take a big spiker with a tricky shot on the move. Words cannot express how great it was to be out hunting together and have some success. It was handshakes and smiles all round and we sat down beside the beast to reflect on the hunt. Dad stated then that if he never shot another deer again he would be happy knowing that his last was a great experience with his son. We set up the camera and got some great photos which I will cherish forever.



After a few photos we got the spiker ready to carry out. It was a big animal but we didn’t have too far to go back to the vehicle. Dad insisted that he have a go at carrying it which at first I told him was ridiculous but then I realized it was something he just had to do for old time’s sake. We managed to get the deer up and he got a little way along before we had to swap jobs. It was bloody heavy for me so I can only imagine what sort of pain it was going to give him for the following days but I totally understood what it meant to him and respected that.

The new year rolled around and dad was keen to get out hunting again. For quite a few years he has always said that he’d love to see me shoot a nice stag. We got the opportunity to hunt on the property again but didn’t see much. It seemed as though the animals had moved off elsewhere. We hoped that perhaps when the roar came around we might have a better chance at locating them.

Fast forward to the 29th March, I arrived home around midday after spending the first period of the 2013 Wapiti ballot in Fiordland. I called around to catch up with my parents and while there had a talk to dad about how he wanted to spend his week off work. He was keen as mustard to get out for a hunt so first thing the following morning we headed off.

We parked up the truck just as daylight was breaking but it was too dark to see in the bush. Instead we set off to go look at a bit of an open gully. Dad was itching to try out his new electronic caller so I finally gave in and said to try something not too aggressive. He hit the button for the “locator” call and we carried on glassing. Within a couple of minutes I heard a bit of noise not far ahead of us and carefully lowered my binoculars to see a young stag standing about 80 yards away. I lifted the binos again and inspected his small 6 point head. I carefully turned to dad and we agreed he was too small to shoot. I soon traded binoculars for video camera while dad got carried away with the caller. Before long the stag came a bit closer then moved off, then came closer again and eventually moved off back into the bush, not really sure what we were.



By now it had got lighter so we decided to head around into the bush and go check out a wallow and sneak in with the wind in our favour. The approach was slightly tricky as it was extremely noisey under foot. We decided to stop short of the wallow where there was a place to sit down and watch over the wallow from a distance. We setup on an old log and I let out a lazy moan with my roaring horn then got ready with the rifle, just in case. Only a minute or so passed when I saw an animal approaching up ahead through the scrub. As it was coming from roughly the same direction that the 6 pointer had been, I figured it would be him again but slowly raised my rifle anyway. As the animal came into my scope I immediately saw a large trez tine and got a hell of a shock. I carefully whispered to dad that it was a different stag. With quite a lot of scrub in the way it was hard to determine how good the head was but the lower tines of his left side looked good and heavy. The stag moved closer towards us and paused briefly trying to locate where the roar had come from. Dad was behind me with binoculars and excitedly whispered “it’s at least a ten”. There was no chance of a shot where he was currently standing so I had to wait with rifle up at the ready. The stag then moved towards a small gap that would be the last chance before heading into really thick scrub where a shot would be very unlikely. I had my crosshairs waiting at the gap and as the stags shoulder appeared with a clear path through the gap I took the shot. Instantly the stag bolted to the left into the thicker scrub. There was a small amount of crashing and then it went silent.

I stood up and looked at dad to see a proud grin on his face. I wasn’t entirely sure what had happened, but the shot had felt good. The gap was pretty small and he was on the move so it wasn’t an easy shot. I hoped that the bullet had gone just behind the shoulder into the lungs which would explain why he ran. We cautiously moved forward to where the stag had been standing. The direction he had headed was towards an overgrown dry creek bed. I headed down into the creek bed while dad stayed along the top in case it had gone around it. I was starting to doubt my shot a little bit, especially after the hiding my rifle had got in Fiordland, but I was still sure the placement was right. I carried on through the thick but low scrub then saw the unmistakable patch of deer skin and immediately signalled dad to its location. I approached carefully, not knowing if it was down for the count. As more of the deer was revealed I couldn’t help but look over and see a nice set of antlers sticking up out of the scrub. Cautiously I moved in and touched the end of the rifle muzzle on the stag’s eye and got no reaction. I could now let out the excitement and dad was beside me within seconds. We could not really believe what had just happened and just stood there in shock with smiles from ear to ear. Our goal had been achieved and it couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. Dad shook my hand, just as I had shook his the year before with his spiker. We were absolutely over the moon and nothing could have brought us down.

There was no way in hell I was going to be able to carry this stag out whole as he was a huge bodied animal. Unfortunately the tops of the right antler had broken off not far up and most likely in late velvet, but it was still a very nice head with strong timber and I was bloody happy with it. I was keen to take the head skin as it was in good nick and could be useful one day. Also it would have its own special story that would go with it.

I really wanted to get a good photo of dad and I with the stag, so we took the time to get a nice photo and then began the task of caping out the animal and then ferrying all the meat back to the vehicle. As we headed off through the scrub loaded up with antlers and meat we relayed the hunt over and over again. I thought back to when I was 5 years old and dad and I sat in a little hutch with an air rifle, waiting for sparrows to come land. And now here we were, almost 25 years later out in the bush together, dad still giving the odd bit of guidance like he has since I was 5 and just as proud of me at my success like he was 25 years ago.



Life can throw a bit of shit at you at times, but you’ve got to remember the simple things and truly appreciate the quality times you have as they won’t be around forever. One thing is for certain though, the memories will live on forever - you just have to get out there and create them first.
  
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hairy
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Re: Quality Time
Reply #1 - Apr 17th, 2013 at 10:04pm
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f**ken Brilliant.  Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool  Loved reading that.
  

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chris
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Re: Quality Time
Reply #2 - Apr 17th, 2013 at 10:16pm
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+1! just awesome mate! Cool
  
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Re: Quality Time
Reply #3 - Apr 17th, 2013 at 10:21pm
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AWESOME read! thanks for sharing that... i am sure all fathers and sons can relate to that story...
  
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Re: Quality Time
Reply #4 - Apr 17th, 2013 at 11:44pm
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What a brilliant story and great photos.Get your dad out as much as you can.My dad turned 85 last December,1st summer he couldnt whitebait or salmon fish and he misses the times we had on the rivers.
  

Shot a few deer,caugth some big trout and salmon
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Re: Quality Time
Reply #5 - Apr 18th, 2013 at 12:21am
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Excellent story, well told & very true!
Best story in the competition so far I recon, but then again I would be biased!  Welldone Rex & Jim
  
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Re: Quality Time
Reply #6 - Apr 18th, 2013 at 12:54am
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Cool
  
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Re: Quality Time
Reply #7 - Apr 18th, 2013 at 1:50am
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bloody great story jammie good on the both of you
  

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Re: Quality Time
Reply #8 - Apr 18th, 2013 at 5:57am
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Great read mate...lifelong memories there.
  

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Re: Quality Time
Reply #9 - Apr 18th, 2013 at 6:36am
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Top read there mate Cool

Watch the spiders so you don't miss Duck Shooting with your Oldman this year Wink
  

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Re: Quality Time
Reply #10 - Apr 18th, 2013 at 7:58am
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The spiders I can handle, but the blood poisening had me by the balls..
  
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Re: Quality Time
Reply #11 - Apr 18th, 2013 at 9:34am
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Great read Jamie.

I can relate to your upbringing and know exactly what you mean by special memories.
Me and cole have been busy repeating history and its just awesome ! Smiley
  
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Re: Quality Time
Reply #12 - Apr 18th, 2013 at 4:48pm
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Your story brought back a flood of great memories that I have from hunting with my dad.  The years go too fast but the memories stay forever.
  
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Re: Quality Time
Reply #13 - Apr 18th, 2013 at 8:35pm
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Very well written.
By the end it wasnt even important how big the stags antlers were; It will always rank as a treasured trophy.
  
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Re: Quality Time
Reply #14 - Apr 19th, 2013 at 3:52am
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you brought a small tear to my eye mate, my farther is long gone to better hunting grounds now but my memories are as clear as if it was yesterday we were hunting together, thankyou for the write up mate, simply awesome.. Wink
  
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