I shot my stag before the roar. He was exactly what I wanted, so other than my
hunting with my English mate, Harry, I planned nothing except renovation
work on the house. Easter Sunday rolled around and I got a phone call from my
mate, Russell. He wanted to go hunting and he wanted to find a stag for his
missus, Erin. Erin is a very keen and able hunter, but fairly new to the sport.
I have been lucky enough to share the moments of all of her first animals; her
first deer (a fallow yearling), first red deer, first pig…and I was there with
Russ to pick her up when she stumbled out of the scrub after an evening solo
hunting…the night she shot her first bit of antler, a fallow buck. Before this
roar, she had not shot a red stag, and by god was she amping to give it a go, so
I figured my weekend plans could quite easily change…I was getting bored of
“Rightyo.” so I left my lawn unsown and headed for the place
of deer with Russ and Erin.
We found ourselves roaring at a scrubby face which held at least four stags, but
nothing wanted to show itself until right on dark. A young eight point stag
braved the open country for only a few moments…just long enough to see that he
wasn’t big enough for Erin.
We left the deer to it, and went home empty
handed…but keen as mustard to get back in there! We had to wait a whole week,
but were back amongst the deer on the following Saturday afternoon.
I agreed to take Erin into the thick stuff, and try to roar up a stag for her up
close and personal, while Russ headed off in another direction to look at some
clearings where we had seen deer before. We had no idea where Cow was
though…but he wasn’t out with us this time!
Nearing the top of the
hill, the deer sign started getting a bit thicker on the ground, so we pulled up
for a few quiet moments before I let out a roar.
“There!” said Erin. I
knew she hadn’t seen the deer, instead she was pointing in the direction of the
ridge where a stag was roaring his nut off. We’d really started something by
announcing our presence, and I could tell that Erin was chomping at the bit to
head up there.
Erin was holding her .243, and I was holding my 30.06. I
had a memory flicker of a stag all roared up and full of adrenalin taking off
with a bullet square in his shoulder, so I asked Erin if she would fancy using
the cannon. She was straight into it; it is identical to her rifle…just a
touch bigger so she was confident. Until this point we had left our rifles
unloaded. I checked her rifle, left the chamber empty and put it on my back,
then instructed her that I was happy for her to chamber a round, which she did,
keeping it on half bolt and carrying it with her hand tucked under the bolt like
a pro she lead the way quietly and carefully up the hill.
When we reached
the clearing on top of the hill where we’d seen the eight pointer on the
previous weekend, we were greeted with the sight of a curious spiker. He had no
idea what we were, so I reached for my camera. I took a little video then
changed my camera to a photo setting and let out a wee roar. The spiker got all
nervous then curiosity got the better of him and he came closer to the bush we
were hiding behind…he got to less than 15 metres we reckon.
I hadn’t thought about it when I roared, and got a
hell of a surprise when an angry solid stag appeared, obviously wondering who
dared come into his territory and challenge him.
“Shoot that!” I said to Erin
as I trained my camera onto him.
“What, the spiker?” Erin asked.
“No! THE STAG,”
I replied. The stag came closer and perfectly on cue he turned side on as Erin
closed the bolt, took aim and let him have the full force of the 30.06.
stag reared, hit in the chest but behind the shoulder. I watched in horror as he
took off and headed straight for the bush. It was getting dark, so I instantly
knew we wouldn’t be finding him that eve. We searched though, but returned to
Russ in the pitch black empty handed. Erin was down to say the least, but I
assured her that the stag was upside down somewhere, and not to worry too
The next morning Russ and Erin headed off in search of Erin’s stag. I
couldn’t make it early as I had hungry sheep to tend to, so they replaced me
with their pup “Oggie”.
The rest of the story I had to hear, not experience.
It goes something like this;
After searching fruitlessly for several hours,
the pup was let to lead the way, and after only a wee while it found some blood.
Russ and Erin then let the pup lead them down onto a huge game trail…and
that’s where the stag was found, dead as a doornail.
The first I got to see of it was when they
turned up on my door step. He was huge, bigger than I’d thought he would
be…and 12 points.
Here is Erin holding him on my deck (note the now sown
lawn in the background
)…she is scratched up, covered in blood…but well chuffed. Good girl!
What a cool roar…another momentous adventure
to relive over and over throughout our lives.
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