I had planned to have a fair bit of time off in the roar, and thanks to my flexible contract, I was lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time in the bush.
My first adventure was 21 & 22 March with Adam. We spent a night in the tussock looking for an early starter. Saw a few and one stag testing his vocal cords from a distance, but nothing worth a closer look. From here I spent four days looking for stags with my mate Nigel deep in the Southern Alps, targeting the more open country early in the roar, trying to catch one out roaming. We had a good trip, seeing some nice animals including a 11 pointer around the 250DS mark and a 13 around the 270DS mark, but both were a fair distance away, and didn’t appear to be old stags.
The next day I went back in with my mate Boone, and spent three days getting a wet arse, chasing ghosts. We did however see one beaut stag which the daylight ran out as we closed the gap.
I then spent a week at work, before Easter when I went east and met my mate Phil. Poor planning meant we bore the brunt of a horrible nor-wester on some exposed tops, and got blown back to the car, where we made plans to head west to one of my secrete spots. That we did, and the next day saw us with stags roaring all around us in the thick West Coast bush.
An exciting stalk got me in range of a nice young 12 pointer which fell to the .270 in an exhilarating roar battle between Phil and it, with me sneaking in.
The next week saw me back in the bush with Brett for three days of miserable weather chasing the elusive West Coast bush stags. The poor weather made hunting difficult. They weren’t roaring well, and it’s never much fun with a wet arse in the bush.
We saw a few and I shot one young stag that was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and didn’t show me his antlers properly!
The next week cleared with a cold southerly and was followed with a few nice cool days. Too nice for work. I took the Wednesday off and visited on of my local jaunts. First light saw me stalking the flats, still too dark to make out anything that wasn’t standing right out in the open. The early fog lifted and I came to the end of the flats. I jumped up onto a small terrace and let out a few roars to no avail, but I did get a wiff of a stag. Coming back down towards the flat, I could smell him even stronger. I popped back out onto the clearing, walked about 20m out and there in the middle of the riverbed was a stag. He was looking straight at me at about 150m but head to toe in Veil, he didn’t seem to concerned with me and carried on as he was. I rushed for a rest, and caught him with a bullet as he quartered away, unfortunately the shot wasn’t my finest and he was soon back up on his feet running for the bush. I shot at the back of his neck as he ran away was unsuccessful. I tracked the blood and marks into the bush and soon caught up with him and put him out of his misery. Not the ending a majestic animal deserves, but we all try to get it over as quick as we can.
I’ve spent 34 days in the bush so far this year, thanks to an early retirement, then a flexible job. Now back to the grind. I hope everyone else had an awesome roar.
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