Damn nuisance - just spent an hour typing up a yarn and it disappeared on me when I pushed the save button ...!!??
So, on with version two..........
Ross and Hamish have returned from their Fiordland jaunt safe and well, if a little skinnier for the experience. They were lucky enough to get an awesome run of good weather which enabled an extended trip and stay on the tops. I think the plan was to fly camp for one or two nights at a time but since the weather held, they did a six nighter. In the end they pretty much ran out of tucker, except for boiled venison, so it was back to base before the scurvy set in !!
Hamish culled an old hybrid stag with uneven antlers. Ross managed couple of nice 'bush' reds with solid 12 and 9 point antlers. The 9 pointer must have heard them mucking about as they waited in the fog for a chopper ride home. He obviously decided to hurry them along, and headed for camp with mischief on his mind.
Unfortunately for him, the boys heard him coming, and he only got a one way chopper ride for his efforts.
I had a quick viewing of the photo's from their trip and man they covered some ground ! On one occasion they spied a distant spiker in a steep gully that looked like good camp stew. They got the animal, but it took them a full day to reach him, including an overnighter on the way. Distances and terrain are not what they seem by all accounts.
They also watched a small mob of reds feeding on an extremely steep hillside, with a huge sheer drop off just below. Good country for tahr but not Uncle Bry I suspect.
My nephew Stewart (Hamishs' bro) invited me out to his secret spot on Wednesday, in an effort to stock up the freezer before he moves to Wellington. I was all for it especially as Stewart, father James, and third bro Angus, had got a few pigs and a young deer the day before. James reported seeing a stag that he thought might be a go-er for the bow, if weather and wind were right.
So, daylight saw us moving off from the truck and heading along the farm track to gain access to the more 'animal friendly' country a few hills away. It was immediately apparent that the wind was going to push along behind us if we stayed low in the creek area, so a quick bit of mountaineering soon had us atop a nice ridge which ran between good nice looking valleys, complete with plenty of scrub gullies and clearings to glass.
Stewart soon announced the sighting of a stag, and another deer, some 300 metres distant. They were feeding just out from the bush edge and were likely prospects, if we could narrow the distance, and get a better angle on them.
I contemplated a sneak with the bow, but soon flagged that idea as I would have to return to the creek, and the wind would be blowing straight up to the animals. Meat was the priority so the glory would have to wait.
We did our best land crab impressions along the ridge top until we were around the 200 metre mark, and worried about the wind again. We could now see a total of six deer including another stag, so Stew got set, ready for a crack at his first 'real stag'.
Soon enough the .270 boomed and a stag faltered in the distance, a few more steps and a follow -up shot, had him heading for pastures greener.
We watched the other deer charge around a bit, obviously unsure where the danger was. All but one soon found the safety of the bush.
The last animal, a spiker, decided to trot down the hill along the bush edge............more or less straight at us. I quickly commandeered the .270 and duly topped up the freezer as he passed by some 70 metres away.
It was all fist pumps and grins from Stew as we approached his prize. He was stoked and the camera did a wee bit of overtime recording the moment for posterity - not to mention Facebook !
I got Stew to take a couple of snaps with me and the spiker with the bow prominently displayed. These were for Robbies benefit - my arch rival in the game of 'first deer with a bow'. We'll tell him the truth eventually (like if he bothers to read this), in the meantime I bet the bottom lip smashed into the ground when he got the phone photo !!
Anyway, we got things tidied up and the left overs went onto the buffet for the local porkers to find and dispose of in due course.
Back at the truck we headed for the chiller at good old Roscoe's place. Bad news on arrival, it was chocka full of pigs, deer and dog tucka in the form of an old cattle beast.
Dilemma time.........hot day getting warmer, the last thing we needed.
I managed a quick entebbe into the house and rang the guys at Premium Game to see if they could help out. They were more than happy to help however they could, so, decision made.
Normally we would only take meat for sausages/patties etc in but I had tasted one of the goat salami's a couple of weeks earlier and it was awesome. Stew was keen for salami to take north so we decided to take both animals in 'as is' and get the experts to deal to them.
It was a bit embarrasing arriving with the deer still in 'bush' condition but the guys soon whipped off all the untidy bits and duly dispatched them into the chiller to await the knife.
A great bunch who I hope enjoyed the thank you Heinie's after work on Friday !
Next trip is groper fishing on Anzac Day with local legend Dave Fishburn. Ross and young Angus are on the team for this effort, so Mr J Hickey esq, better get the weather right.
Hopefully a couple of photo's attached soon.
Nice Bow shot Spiker... reckon there is a Tui ad in this one.
Stewart Cochrane and his first stag.