Recently my good mate Mike managed to organise a hunt that would hopefully tick a species off his bucket list. Early in his days of hunting he developed an obsession and became consumed by the notion of hunting large animals, especially the ones that have a reputation for being grumpy and aren’t afraid of standing up for themselves.
He had harped on and on about one day getting to hunt a true wild bull, this day happened not so long ago.
After going on a fishing charter with the boys from Total Safari, he got talking to Matt about the other services they offered, particularly the hunting. Pig hunting is Matt’s first love, but it soon became apparent that there were several species of deer available to hunt as well. Mike pushed him further and asked about wild cattle. Matt said they see them from time to time on one of the properties they hunt and that something could be arranged.
Several weeks later a plan was hatched and I was lucky enough to come along on the adventure to take a few pics and enjoy what was on offer.
Very early one Saturday morning, Mike and I were standing in the dark chewing the fat in anticipation of what lay ahead of us. Matt arrived before long and we loaded up the Nissan and headed off on a long drive in the dark.
Eventually we were waiting at the entrance to the property for Matt’s hunting buddy Chris to turn up with the quad. Before long we were off down the track slowly stalking our way into the light breeze trying to find any sign of cattle that was fresh. There was plenty of old sign but nothing fresh, apart from the pig digging which was getting Matt and especially Chris quite excited.
We kept stalking and slowly the cattle sign became more frequent and a lot fresher. We had been stalking for quite a while now, checking out all the leading ridges and feed guts with no luck. We spied some goats on the face opposite us and watched them for a bit thinking about what to do next as the cattle we had come for were proving to be a little tricky to track down.
Matt radioed Chris to let him know where we were and what was going on when out the corner of his eye he spots a large bull sneaking up the track towards us from the downwind side………..
He had moved in so quickly and silently we didn’t have much time to react, as the 3 of us spun around the big black and white bull made a break through the manuka, Mike managed to cut him off and stop him in a thick stand of Manuka, with only a small gap to shoot through he planted a 240 grain Woodleigh weldcore into the chest of the beast. The sound of a solid hit returned and the bull lurched forward and started to run downhill back the way he had come. Matt raced around and managed to cut him off, he gave him a warning shot which stopped him in his tracks again, Mike rushed forward and took aim as the bull lowered his head, as if he was about to have go at the intruders in his patch, Mike squeezed off a second shot and a well placed bullet had the bull down and well and truly dead.
Instantly there were yells of excitement and handshakes all round, we all knew this was a ripper bull. I handed the radio back to Matt, who called up Chris and said “yeah mate, he’s a ripper, he’ll be a wall hanger for sure”
Gingerly Mike walked up to his prize, keeping well clear until we were all certain he had well and truly passed on.
We were presented with a behemoth of an animal, a truly awe inspiring sight.
We chatted about the hunt, the kill and finally what the hell we were going to do next.
A few manuka trees had to be cut down so we could roll the bull down to some flat ground so we could take care of the rest of the work. Slowly but surely we caped him out and took pretty much every single scrap of edible meat, apart from the offal and his coin purse.
Nearly 4 hours later and 2 fully loaded quad bike trips we were back at the truck enjoying a feed and a cold beer and having some good yarns about hunting in general with Matt and Chris. I can’t recommend the boys at Total Safari enough. Neither of us had never been on a guided hunt before, so this was a first for me and Mike. Im not sure all guided hunts are run the way these guys do it, but not 1 minute of the day did it feel like we were being guided. It felt like we had just met some blokes at the pub and were going out for a hunt with our new found friends. Matt and Chris were extremely relaxed about everything, they knew what they were doing and made us feel right at home with plenty of banter. Total Safari offers a range of hunts and fishing too, they can tailor a package to whatever you want to achieve. The prices are extremely reasonable and are well within reach of most Kiwis. The hunts on offer are perfect for someone just starting out hunting who wants to learn a bit more and get that first animal under their belt, or for a seasoned hunter wanting a change of scenery or a crack at a different style of hunting, pig hunting with good dogs for example. The boys are just starting out this business and are still finding their feet, if you want a genuine free range, down to earth kiwi hunt get in touch.
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