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On the tops

On the tops

Winter time

Winter time
Time for doing


'Begin doing what you want to do NOW ! We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand- and melting like a snowflake'

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Echos from the past 7

Paul & Fran outside Ngaawapurua

From the diary..................Kaleidoscope of thoughts .
Looking for new territory to hunt, myself and Paul Roupee Van Der Voorte, one mid summer afternoon were pouring over, our maps to ascertain our roar campaign. We decided that there was a huge area, that has been largely overlooked for ever and a day, and that being the case it needed to be recee’d as soon as possible. And what was wrong with tonight. A one nighter .
we were already packing our rucksacks, and by three p.m. we were on the move, The only reservation I had was that I was running two dogs my own, a red merle [Toby] and a Waimaraner, my then wife’s dog, [Gelert]. Feeding the two of them was becoming a chore; to say the least, however the five of us hit the trail, and it wasn’t long before we put the first deer up.
I slapped it amidships, with the trebly, and it kept going. I then left my pack with Roupee and proceeded to trail the wounded deer.
The next sighting had me again getting rounds away, two in fact; one definitely connected the other a miss. , The hind slowed perceptibly but still kept going, this concerned me somewhat, as I only had a mag full, the rest of my ammunition was still stowed in my pack, which I’d left behind with Gelert, roupee and his dog. Fran.
I was at the point where I was going to lob that rifle down the next waterfall I came to ,when the deer reemerged from the bush. Looking decidedly the worse for wear, she was side on. The cross hairs were on where the neck meets the chest kaboomph, the ordeal was over, down she went . The look Roupee flashed me on my return, said it all, he added words too, “what the #### are you playing at?”
Shortly after that we happened across two sika hinds. Toby and Fran stood their ground The deer somewhere in a scrubby gut ahead. Roupee and I edged forward, Sako’s at the ready, when who trots passed us at a rate of knots,?...... yeah that imbecile Waimaraner, Gelert. He didn’t stop till he was amongst them .Deer in all directions, curses and more hard stares from Roupee. That was the final straw as far as I was concerned.
”Grab Toby” I muttered I’m taking Gelert for a walk. I had to repeat myself once again as Roupee obviously hadn’t grasped my meaning.
Kaabooomphh, I savagely pulled back on the bolt the empty case spinning wildly in pursuit of a fast departing canine. One less mouth to feed I thought darkly.
When I returned Roupee had a firm hold of Toby. His Vietnam pack on his back, our eyes met briefly and no words spoken as I struggled into my ‘Nam pack.

We were not disappointed with the fly camp, there was deer sign everywhere, I got three and Roupee two, and we resolved to return when for the next roar cycle. Then with any luck the place would be crawling with deer. It was also interesting, to note that the deer here were predominately red deer.
Events have a habit of not turning out as you’ve planned, and so it was in this case. Half way through the season Roupee took up a position elsewhere in the forestry. So when the roar was well and truly established, I was by myself and my thoughts were running towards that area of bush. Two jokers stumbled into Te Pukeohikarua about this time and their names were John A and John.B
We yarned the evening away, John A mentioned he hadn’t shot a deer in his life and was hoping this trip would sort things out. I quite liked the two of them so invited them over to the fly-camp with me the next day, they readily accepted.
We arrived in the saddle with about two hours of daylight remaining
Some camp meat was definitely on the agenda so, John [B] and I slid down opposite sides of the saddle we were camped in. I hadn’t traveled far when the guttural grunts and groans of a stag had me on red alert, he was extremely close, and it wasn’t long before he plodded into view. He made his way down to a small creek moaning and groaning all the while .It was at the point when he was about to let a full out roar. I settled the cross hairs of my scope on his atlas joint. I squeezed the last few ounces of pressure on the canjar trigger. After the report the stag was still on his feet, but his tail was wagging furiously and he was walking in tight circles. Amazed at his reaction to the shot I stood watching for a few seconds, before finishing the job with my second round. . Later inspection revealed all; my first bullet had gone straight through his mouth into the back of his throat. Obviously missing the spine, but causing enough pain to confuse the animal. John [B] scored too. Two deer, things were certainly looking promising.
The fire roaring on my return was a welcome sight and fresh backsteaks already in the pan was an even better, welcome. As the shadows started to lengthen, so did the yarns, and it was three hunters awash with anticipation, that finally turned in that night. All that was needed now was for the weather to hold .
The weather dawned the same as the previous, overcast Grey and dismal with a slight breeze. In short, perfect.The three of us headed away, in a northerly direction. Following the ridge, it wasn’t long before Toby became agitated, and started winding his head off. Just off the ridge proper.
I whispered to John [A] you want to shoot yourself a deer? There’s one not far off. I pointed in the direction of where the dog is winding. He immediately slipped the bolt of his .303 home and silently headed off the ridge in a crouch. It took some persuading to coax Toby to follow me, eventually he trotted in behind.
Next John [a] decided he liked the look of a prominent spur leading off into open looking beech. Which left the dog and me, and we carried on some way before heading into our neck of the woods.
We in time came upon a large flat open stretch of ground soft and mossy underfoot.There was great visibility in the open beech forest, and plenty of fresh sign underfoot. We had been pussy footing along for a good half hour, when I detected some movement ahead. Over a hundred yards anyway, it was two hinds, then three and finally four, and right behind was a stag hard on their heels, urging them on at a slow trot. I thought "hello", they must be on to us, side stepping to the right I sought a rest on the side of a tree, lined up the leupold on the stag and Kaboomph!

They all went into a faster trot, at the sound of the report, and also temporarily out of sight, the very next instant. The, first one then all five were heading my way, sprinting directly toward us, with every yard that was being eaten up I expected they would veer off. They obviously hadn’t a clue where we were, at thirty yards the .222 barked and the first hind faltered, stumbled and fell. The rest came on. A touch of self-preservation entered the equation and I made sure a tree was between me and those inward flying kilos of venison. At ten yards on a different target, kaboomph, and around 50 kilos nose dived into the moss. They went around the tree left and right, I swiveled left and then right working that bolt in a blur, blasting 50 grains in two directions in as many seconds. Then dropping the stag from behind with my last round, taking him in the spine. The only target still on her feet was one of the hinds, although I’m sure was hit but making off at some speed none the less, and the dog was in fast pursuit.
After 20 minutes or so Toby returned in a lather, but no amount of coaxing would get him to return after the hind, to what I was reasonably sure to have been a kill. By the time he got back however I had tailed all four of the deer, and taken what meat we needed for our stay. I’ve only once before observed deer being totally confused by either sound or smell. That was in the Tararua Forest Park, hunting in a NW Wind, a solitary deer came from absolutely nowhere at a run, and all but knocked me over. It took three shots to down her too. But obviously it is as hard on deer, in a blustery wind as it is a dog to pinpoint exactly where that scent is coming from.
I tailed another two deer that day bringing the tally to six.

I was amazed when John [A] recounted his experience of when he left us after Toby was winding so well. How he came upon three hinds and shot all three! How many people get three for their first deer? so I was pleased for him. And with John [B] getting two, not a bad day by all accounts. Thirteen tails for one day’s hunting is good in any body’s language. The boys were due out in a couple of days, at the Boyds airstrip, so we packed up and I accompanied them over to tussock the next day.

Me flanked by the two Johns at Tussock

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view from "Riverstone Cabin"

view from "Riverstone Cabin"
Hope River