The steep climb over with, I was breathing hard,but was now on the backbone of the range heading South. There was plenty of snow about, witness to the fact with every step I was crunching ankle deep in frost encrusted snow.Looking west, where the chill wind origins lay, the menacing sky told a story. Heavy laden gunmettle grey clouds charging my way, by the second, enveloping features, rending them invisible. Twenty minutes further on , I was caught up in the swirling mists and sleet.
Pack off and salloppetes and crampons retrieved.........A tad further on after negotiating a steep ice clad slope, I decided to descend down the sheltered eastern side. Almost immediately I was now out of the wind and even the sleet had abated. Whiteness everywhere ,with occasional upthrusts of rock in shades of black and grey, overcast and drab skies, with intermittent blue patches, was the setting for the day.......Approaching a deep crease in the terrain, which turned out to be the birth of a creek, I followed the contour ever downward. Still high in the snow covered tussock and still some way from the bush edge, I spied movement.
Four deer were in the creek gut a couple of hundred yards below me. It was the usual story, one , no two, three and four picked out with patient use of the Leica's. They appeard to be feeding on the exposed tussock, that snow had recently slipped off, I guess it was the nearest to silage.......Using the snow for once to my advantage, with crampons facing down hill, and sitting, I commenced a controlled slide of around a 100yds undetected to the lip of the gut.
Pack off and Sako Vixen rifle rested atop, I picked up one of the spikers in the 4x scope. Range around the 100yd mark, cross hairs under control...squeeze....kabaalm thud. The .222 's report in the mountain vastness, was like a slap against skin in it's quietness, the thud of the 53 grn Barnes h.p. projectile hitting home seemed far louder. He was sick, still on his feet, but only just, he was going down. Before any suffering could kick in I did not hesitate, and planted another 53 grn., this time in his neck. He went down poleaxed.
I watched the remaining two hinds and spiker for sometime, [they can be seen in the picture, double click your mouse]barking and pacing around, looking for the source of danger, and wondering what had happened to their fallen mate. I did not move from my concealed position until the last of them had disappeared into the distant bush.