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Normal Topic Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy (Read 3476 times)
MikeB
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Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy
Jun 14th, 2015 at 6:15am
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Five Weeks Solid

Free at last, five weeks til i had to get back to work I loaded up the Landcruiser and rattled off down the road.

First stop – The Ruahines – and a little rain

The first few days were great, hunting roaring stags, although they were not going exceptionally well, at least the odd roar was floating through the bush.

Robin and I managed a good stalk on a roaring stag however after finally closing the gap, Robin had somehow managed to uncock his rifle or something and we got a clack instead of a boom. I almost fell over laughing. Bugger.



Another morning i got up to chase the roaring stags, the old man was disgusted i was going to leave without breakfast so opted to stay behind.
I was climbing a ridge toward two roaring stags but as daylight came, they both shut up.

I was leaning against a beech tree after delivering a growling roar, trying to match the sound i had heard from the lower stag earlier in the morning, listening intently when i heard it. That tell tale sounds that an animal is close. A single, quiet crack of a twig. That noise has put me onto plenty of deer and im sure plenty more to come until i am too deaf to hear it.

Hiding behind my massive beech tree rifle at the ready i stared, looking, waiting until it happened, an antler swung slowly out from behing an equal size tree to the one i was hiding behind, look at all of those points! My heart rate jumped, this looked like a shooter for sure. Standing there only 35 meters from i could see one antler and one half of the stags face, i gently slunk back behind my log, and gave a long low roar as i slowly eased my rifle up and peered around the tree, at the same moment, the stag obviously concerned that another male was trying to encroach on his territory took a step and leaned out from behind his hiding place, my scope found its mark, at the base of his throat my faithful Sako put him down with devastating force. He poleaxed into the ground and made no attempt to recover.
As i always do, i took my time in getting to him, i watched him, ensuring he was down, before raising the bolt on the second round i had instinctively chambered. Getting closer to him i was astounded by the thickness of the timber. This was not like any Ruahine red stag i had ever seen. It was thick, far too thick for a mans hand to wrap around. With beautiful heavy pearling, dark stained timber and Ruahine forked tops a real bush stag.





Stags home


I sat and admired him for a long time, I always dread making the first cut on such a beautiful animal. I feel guilt, what right do i have to end his life. This slowly subsides and i begin removing the head, the hind legs, the back steaks. Some madness stopped me from taking the headskin. Never mind, i will find another.

Now the work begins, biting off more than i could chew i attempt to carry out both back legs at once, along with the head, my pikau and the rifle. This herculean effort does not last long. Tumbling downhill multiple times into holes hidden in the crownfern. I did stumble over his big wallow on the way out.



Wandering into camp i saw that Robin and Dad were back already, they had heard my shots an were wondering what the hell had taken so long. I assured them i was simply in no rush. The sight of the antlers stirred up something in Robin, this was his stomping ground, it had been many many years since he had seen a head like this come from the area. Although his 30 year absence from the country helped with that. They agreed it was a fine head for the area and i was mad for not taking the headskin. Never mind. After much admiration the leg was hung in a tree, the head was propped by the fire and a back steak was thinly sliced and then cooked in a generous helping of butter in a hot pan on the fire. It was tough, but delicious. Dad had only a few small pieces, having no teeth doesn’t help where fresh rutting stag back steaks are concerned.

Second Stop - The Lewis and a whole heap of rain

After nearly missing the ferry and leaving my eftpos card in Wellington which presented a few problems i made it to the carpark and convinced the pilot to drop me way up on the tops about thirty kilometres in so i could meander my way out over ten days or so. I got one good day of hunting in before the forecast four days of gales and rain hit which drove me off the tops, but at least i found something to take home.

Chopper in



Dead on his wallow



Would have liked to find him alive



Camp





I also found this which must have ruined some poor hunters roar. Had only been shot a day or so before, someone must have blown his antler off, or shot him not realising he had broken it fighting. Bugger.




After a rude reception at a hut down in the river i opted to walk another few km downriver and stay in my tent for three days in howling wind and rain rather than share the hut.

While camped out in the rain i managed to get out for a few walks between the torrential downpours and bagged a small 9 point red. I was pissed off that i had pulled the trigger on him as he had potential to grow into a good head but the change in diet was welcome. I was already sick of dried pasta.

The young stag had come in to check me out whilst i was climbing a ridge along a heavily used game trail. There was a huge amount of sign in this area and i wish i had spent more time up there. I was doing my usual trick, leaning on a tree listening and waiting after giving a roar or two when i heard a stick crack and saw an animal making a beeline for me. He stopped only ten or fifteen meters away and i tried to make his head out in the brush. I could see one antler with five points and initially thought it was not too flash, but then he broke and i gave a grunt to stop him, he whirled around but i knew i had only a moment so pulled the trigger. My first inclination had been right, it was too early in his life to kill this animal.



After three days and nights in the torrential rain i legged it out to the next hut downriver. Crossing the somewhat higher than normal river with venison, and two racks of antlers strapped to my pack was a bit nerve racking on my own.



I chopped enough wood to last a fortnight and spent the next few days hunting around the area, crossing the river a few times a day meant i was constantly fairly wet, but the dry warm hut helped with that.

The fire was primo after being huddled in my tent in the pissing rain for days on end




At least i ate well after shooting the smaller nine pointer



The walk out was the usual affair, more bloody weather. I had a number of close encounters here but couldn’t close the gap on any decent stags, bugger it all.



Really wanted to blow some geese over but the fly fisherman 300 meters away might have got a hell of a fright.



Three with one shot woulda been good fun



Third Stop – Canterbury and ice and snow

Next stop was another area in Canterbury, it was during the cold snap and down in the low minus of degrees. Bloody cold, had a great battle with a roaring red up close and personal for a couple of hours but he managed to get away without me seeing his antlers. Story of the trip...



Fourth Stop – Wanganui with just a little rain

I then headed to Wanganui to chase fallow for a few days, saw a few stags but i was at the tale end of their rut and didn’t manage to find anything anywhere near the real trophy class. Left a good few to grow bigger though.

This guy was absolutely knackered from rutting, was dozing and falling asleep, hard case to watch



Wee bugger



These two were onto me



This guy was getting there



Stumbled over a couple of sambar



Snapped this pic mid honk



Will go chase this guy with the new bow i think



A little off target species



Posers



Waiting for the season



How to guarantee a stag won't hang around his wallow for a while



Went out for a pig hunt and ended up shooting a wee fallow. We spotted him so i grabbed the rifle off dad, raced down the hill and stalked in to 30 meters from this young stag and popped him in the neck. I wanted some venison salamis made and this one was too handy to let go.

Bloody good bunch of jokers



Last Stop – Kawekas and a heap more rain

I skinned this one back at dads place with a beer and the next morning made a dash to puketitiri to rendezvous with Chris Crosse from East Kaweka Heli. Having had such a good time in the last chopper i thought bugger it, ill treat myself to another one, the overdraft can handle it. Chris was much cheaper to fly with, $400 return which is very affordable for a one man band.

He dropped me up at the Harkness Hut in the pissing rain, another new area for me and i had a good few days exploring the place. This was the last week of April and the sika should have been going for it, but there was very little activity. It did not help that five hunters had been in there up until the day before i flew in though.



I did see a young yearling/fawn on the track which i probably should have bowled over, but that momentary pause to see if there was a stag with it buggered any chance of that up. Still it was great to get the lay of the land in a new area.

Big split rock above magpie creek



Overall I had a bloody good time, got a good head out of an area with historically poor timber and generally had a ball hunting five weeks solid. A little less rain might have made it a more enjoyable affair, but hell, once your boots are wet, they’re wet.


Autumns here, the stags are roaring

It's getting colder, every morning

Tonight I'm leaving, to my other home

Where birds and deer and wild things roam

I'll traipse the hills and climb the mountains

With pack and rifle, old friends and hounds.

Searching for the wild call

The fallow grunt, the red deer roar.

And if I fall and break my neck

Spread my ashes, near an gin clear creek

I'll be at peace, let my rifle rust

While the deer I chased, stand in my dust.



Winters coming, the stags are roaring

I'll be up the hill, come early morning.

  
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Re: Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy
Reply #1 - Jun 14th, 2015 at 10:25pm
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Wicked pics and write up mike.
  

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Re: Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy
Reply #2 - Jun 15th, 2015 at 6:54am
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Sweet thanks for posting.
  

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Re: Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy
Reply #3 - Jun 15th, 2015 at 7:20am
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Good read good pics your really livin the life. Smiley Smiley
  
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Re: Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy
Reply #4 - Jun 19th, 2015 at 10:08pm
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awesome report dood. what a mint roar! Cool
  
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Re: Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy
Reply #5 - Jul 4th, 2015 at 10:12pm
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Wooow what a trip and great photos,team effort there.
Well done guys.
  

Shot a few deer,caugth some big trout and salmon
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Re: Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy
Reply #6 - Aug 11th, 2015 at 6:17am
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Amazing pics mate. Gotta love NZ
  
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Re: Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy
Reply #7 - Aug 19th, 2015 at 9:55pm
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Nice one, thats a cracker head for the Ruahines
  
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Re: Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy
Reply #8 - Sep 8th, 2015 at 6:32am
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Epic!
  

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Re: Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy
Reply #9 - Sep 9th, 2015 at 6:18am
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Well worth the read, loved it. Nice head too!!
  

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Re: Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy
Reply #10 - Sep 21st, 2015 at 12:53am
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awesome one mate
  
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Re: Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy
Reply #11 - Sep 23rd, 2015 at 10:40am
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Inspiring stuff, great photos, keep up the good work 👍
  

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Re: Five Weeks Solid - long winded, rambling and photo heavy
Reply #12 - Nov 1st, 2015 at 2:50am
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Awesome read. Thanks for the post bro!
  

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