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tikka Traper
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He Shot our Stag
May 20th, 2013 at 7:02am
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Arriving at the road end late on Friday night, only to find a tent already pitched at the place I normally camp, I continued on to the car park, and walked back to the tent to have a parley with the squatters in it. I did not want to be stalking the same country as them the following day; so we came to a mutual agreement as to the areas we would each be hunting in the morning.
Well before dawn I left the tent, and used my compass to keep my bearings in the darkness. The only trees visible were in the small pool of light that my head lamp spread around in front of me. With half an hour until bush would start take on form in dawns welcoming light, I felt safe knowing that I had the valley to myself. When I hit the ridge that led down to where James and I had chased a stag the previous week I stopped to let out some roars.
Getting no replies from the stag, I started sidling upstream giving out some challenging roars as I traveled toward the head of the watershed. As dawns glow silhouetted the far horizon, my roaring had gone unanswered, so with the stags that live there not showing any interest, I decided to pull the pin, and turned for home. As it was still early I decided to try my luck elsewhere, with the other party hunting further in it would have to be in a different area altogether.
On the way back to camp I would be walking through the same bush that I’d already been in that morning, so I didn’t waste any time and set a good pace for the road end. While crossing the second ridge I was startled by a voice that hailed me from further up it. This turned out to be another hunter who had arrived at the road end after I had left there. He had checked in with both tents, only to find them empty, so he continued on with his planned hunt. This turned out to be the same hunt as I was on, albeit 40 minutes behind me. He had heard my roaring and was coming down to stalk what he thought was a stag. I was thankful of him being a Contract goat culler, having solid and safe hunting skills.
We sat and talked for a while about what deer had been roaring in the area, and what our, and the other parties planed movements were for the day. While we talked we heard what sounded like yet another party roaring down the ridge bellow us, so I used this as my cue to depart for less crowded forest, passing a well-used wallow on the way back to the Ute.

A similar thing happened to me in the same valley the year before. Only this time it was two hunters who had fly camped on the forks ridge, across the main valley. They were sidling down to cross over the river and come up to my roaring, giving out some roars as they came. I had an uneasy feeling that the roars I heard didn’t sound right and were made by someone, then shot rang out, they had got six point stag that had come down to their roaring.
And the day before that, Stu and I were chasing a stag further up in the head waters, when we heard another party coming down the opposite side of the valley, roaring at the very same stag. We were a good half hour ahead of them and right on the stag at the time. We didn’t get the stag, and beat a hasty retreat in the other direction.
But let’s get back to this year.
I packed up my tent when I got back to the car, and went to continue the hunt for a roaring stag. After arriving at my new spot, with no sign of any other hunters in the area, I settled into my stalk. This was an area that I hadn’t hunted for a few years, but I had some good chases on stags here in the past. When roar hunting I normally travel at a good pace, while keeping near the tops of ridges, to cover plenty of country, stopping to roar when cresting a ridge or after finding a scrape or fresh stag rubbing.
I hadn’t heard any stags reply to my roaring, and when I was crossing through a broadleaf gut on the way home, I bounced a hind, as she was unsure of what I was she started barking at me from up near the ridge top. After getting my camera out I gave a couple of fawn calls, to confuse her more. She then started to cut around to get above me trying to get my wind, so I stalked up toward her. I got a good look at her but she bolted before I managed to get the video camera on. I prefer not to shoot hinds in the roar, my ex deer culler Uncle Tom told me a home truth once “you won’t get a stag if you shoot hinds’’.

After pleasantly having the area to myself the day before, I was back to hunt there again, as dawn broke I thumbed a round into the breach of my .308 and started up the ridge. Two hours later while having muesli bar break, and sounding off a few roars, I heard some noise off the side of the ridge I was sitting on. I looked down to see a hind sneaking up toward me through some pepper wood; she caught my movement and bolted.
I followed where she had gone down across a small gut, and came up onto an open spur, half way up the spur two hinds stood side on, looking down at me. It was my last day in the bush, and after not hearing any roaring that morning, I chose to shoot the larger one for meat. I walked up to bone her out, and as I started to hang the first back leg in a handy tree, a stag roared about 200 meters further down the valley. He roared twice more as he vacated the area, there’s a lot to be said for home truths.
A week later I was back in the area, this time I had company. My hunting mate Stu had joined me for the weekends hunt. There was some deer sign, but stag rubbing was conspicuous by its absence as was roaring stags. We were three quarters of our way around our hunt, when from a ridge ahead of us we heard a stag roar, then a second roar. We cut around onto the ridge the stag was on to get some height advantage, and stalked down toward where he had last roared. But we were caught out by one of his hinds, who started barking at us, and the mob was gone. So it was off back to camp to ready ourselves for the following mornings hunt.
With another fine windless day ahead of us, and an early pre-dawn start put us near the top of a prominent ridge by the time it was light enough to shoot. We had been giving out challenging roars since shortly after leaving the quad, as yet we had no replies, we continued on up the ridge. As it flattened out we heard a distant roar, from over the side, up toward the main creek. The stalk was on.
Making for the stag, we stopped regularly, roaring, and getting good replies enabling us to locate him again, and close the distance between us. He was further up the valley on the side of the ridge we had been on, and we were making good progress in the open bush. The roaring was getting closer now, only about 100 meters away. For safety reasons, while Stu follows me he has an empty chamber, so as this was to be his stag he worked a round into his breach under the cover of a loud roar I let out. More roars floated down from the small ridge opposite us, so I gave a couple of low moans, and said to Stu that I thought that he might just come in for a look.
Sitting on the side of a small creek looking up toward the stag, I was planning our next move, waiting for his next roar. Once we had located him again, we were going to cross onto his ridge, and close in on him through the open bush.
That’s when it happened; a shot rang out from up toward the stag. Through his disbelieving gritted teeth Stu exclaimed “you’re joking’’. Silence followed, and we knew we’d lost our stag; some SOB had beaten us to it.
I whistled out, and got an immediate reply from about 80 meters away. We went up and found a confused hunter searching for some sign of the stag. He felt that his shot was good, after seeing the stag walking through the ponga gut he was in; he took his shot, hitting the stag behind the shoulder. It ran down past where we were now standing, but as yet he had found no trail. Looking a few meters further on I found some blood; from there he found a good blood trail leading to the stag that was lying dead, further down near some pongas.
He recounted his travels that led him to be in the same patch of bush as us this morning.
Having flown half way around the world just to hunt roaring stags, he had spent the last 10 days with his mates at Lake Waikaremoana. Hunting had been hard at the lake, although the stags were roaring swirling winds and wet weather had conspired against him. By the time they left his three mates had one each, but no stag had yet fallen to his rifle. That was to be the end of his hunting trip, as he had a wedding to attend before he flew home.
While he was about to get ready for the wedding, he received a phone call from his farther. Who convinced him instead to join him on a hunting trip he was going on, giving him one last chance at a stag. They had stayed the night at a local farm house, and come in from the farm back on quad bikes, stopping to listen at different spots along the way. He’d heard the stag from his bike and stalked down toward it, as he got close he said he heard another stag further away, this was us. His own words were, “as I got close to the stag, I could feel the excitement welling up in my throat’’. He was over the moon at shooting this stag, as it was two years since he’d shot one.

His father was up on the track somewhere and we could hear the quads engine. He said he was going to go up and get him, when I jokingly said that “I’d hack the hind quarter off while he was away, and shoot through with it”. He must have thought I was serious, as he wouldn’t leave his prize after that, and just started calling out loudly to his hunting mates.
After taking some photos of the stag that could have been ours, we left him to his eleven point stag, and hunted our way back to the quad. Still feeling unnerved at what had happened that morning, and I wondered just how safe my sport was.
  
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chris
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Re: He Shot our Stag
Reply #1 - May 20th, 2013 at 7:25am
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crikey! i wouldn't be hunting that country myself. good read, cheers.
  
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yogi
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Re: He Shot our Stag
Reply #2 - May 20th, 2013 at 7:57am
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Doesn't sound like a great place to hunt with all that competition for a stag. Fairly unnerving hunting there.
  

Just got to keep on chipping away!
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Re: He Shot our Stag
Reply #3 - May 20th, 2013 at 10:06am
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Great yarn. The roar can be spooky!  Smiley
  
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Re: He Shot our Stag
Reply #4 - May 20th, 2013 at 9:44pm
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One to keep you thinking, good story, well done.
  
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Re: He Shot our Stag
Reply #5 - May 20th, 2013 at 10:26pm
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I hate areas like that where you keep on bumping into other hunters.  For me, it's an area to avoid!
  
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Re: He Shot our Stag
Reply #6 - May 20th, 2013 at 10:52pm
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sounds like the pureoras!!!
  
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ethos
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Re: He Shot our Stag
Reply #7 - May 20th, 2013 at 11:11pm
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Good yarn thanks. Too much human traffic!
  
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green hill
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Re: He Shot our Stag
Reply #8 - May 21st, 2013 at 9:10am
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What are you guys talking about , there must be 50 plus forum members that deal with that kind of scenario down Clements/kiko every year they just don't add so much detail into there reports... cheers for the write up mate  Cool  .
  
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Re: He Shot our Stag
Reply #9 - May 23rd, 2013 at 5:04am
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Quote:
What are you guys talking about , there must be 50 plus forum members that deal with that kind of scenario down Clements/kiko every year they just don't add so much detail into there reports... cheers for the write up mate

sounds like a good reason not to go there Roll Eyes
  
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Re: He Shot our Stag
Reply #10 - May 23rd, 2013 at 8:41am
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I seem to find more people in the pureoras than I do down kiko
  
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Re: He Shot our Stag
Reply #11 - Oct 28th, 2013 at 5:42am
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I've been hunting for a year now and I've only bumped into another hunter once while off-track actually hunting (not back at the hut or anything) and I've been out a fair bit, including five days over easter. Certainly would be a bit unnerving to have what you experienced. But bumping into someone is always good reinforcement that there are other hunters out there and make sure to identify your target.
  
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