hunting link

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 8

Te Puke...Venison tops...main range in background

From my diary......Some days that have stood the test of time.
Te Pukeohikarua; A sika hind leaps from her bed in front of me, a few bounds more and I could see she would clear the spur directly ahead. The finely balanced Sako. 222 was up in an instant the cross hairs desperately seeking her fast departing rump. Kaboomph, ....then a deathly silence she had vapourised, gone.
I quickly make my way over to the spur and to peer over, ...nothing ..not a sign. Just a small creek meandering around a corner and silence, everywhere else the contours were going uphill. The creek was the only flat gradient around.
It seemed "untrod" from my vantage point. Just gurgling away minding it’s own business, as it journeyed it's way around a steep looking spur.
I made my way down into the creek itself and looked closely and there was no discolourment in the water. Nothing to indicate any passage of cloven feet. But I reasoned if the shot was half good that surely this would be her only escape route....... I pressed on.
I was progressing through tight bends in quick succession, then coming out of the second bend in the creek, I happened upon a complete pile of intestines that lay heaped tidily on the rocks, I closed in on the pile, They were steaming and still warm to the touch.
. There was however no sign of the beast, that lost this vital load of equipment.
A further ten or so yards to the next bend, in this tightly confined creek, and now I was feeling confident, but I admit a touch puzzled.
I continued on and sure enough around that very next bend lay the inert form of the hind. Completely gutted as if from a very sharp knife.
On reflection it seems she must have leapt over an obstacle, the very instant I squeezed the trigger. The bullet would have seared along her abdomen enough not to gut her instantly, but with her leaping and bounding away, the pressure of her
Stomach contents on the already badly cut belly, spelt death.
Another episode from Te Pukeohikarua
The white patch of a sika deer’s rump has me on full alert, as it bounds quickly away. The” snap shot”, when sika hunting is a very useful weapon, and if you can master it, will provide you with a lot more venison in the freezer. Cross hair, sight picture and trigger squeeze as one in a millisecond. But where had he/she gone? Only a few yards of bush left, in the general direction of the deer’s travel, and I came upon a track much like a man made one, so well was it defined. Following along I presently came to an enormous drop on the right hand side, a waterfall, and a huge pool at the bottom, a fearsome plunge. I peered over non-the less, then gingerly made my way back. The track wound on and steeply descended, along the edge of the waterfall into the creek bottom. Now it became clear to me, that this must be the deer’s equivalent to our highways. This would be their only means of transporting themselves down this fearsome drop. Operating on the theory that an animal when hard hit will pursue the avenue of least resistance, I followed on. Scanning the area ahead, often I glanced into the pool at the bottom of the cliff, thinking, if the deer was hit hard enough it could well have gone over. But no sign of disturbance could I see. Reaching the stream, I began to follow it slowly, the water was clear, then all of a sudden it became discolored. My head swiveled around, and directed itself at the pool, and there in the middle, was the neck and head of a sika hind. With no attempt at further movement she was content to just gaze at me, a single shot from the .222 ended her misery.
This one from the Manson;
A bit of background first; My then wife, "Elevina" flew into the Boyd hut to be with me for my last week of my six-week stint. I met her there; we spent the night at Boyds then I took her through tussock, on to Harkness, where we spent a night or two. Ngaawaparua was our next office, followed by the steep climb to Otutu for a few days. Then on to the Manson hut for a couple more.
Otutu bush hut
It was on the Manson that this story is acted out .
My forty tails were achieved just before Elevina arrived. Forty was always the target I set myself at the beginning of each trip, so the pressure was off, in hunting terms.
Nevertheless it was time I got off my butt and did some hunting; having had a 5/6-day lay off.
It was an easy sika I missed, way over on Spion Kop, it was a steep angle downhill shot and I aimed too high on the animal, resulting in the shot going over the top. My heart was still not in the hunting ......not surprising I guess what ,with my wife living with me. I turned for home not long after that dismal shot. By the time I had the Manson hut in sight the light was fading fast, at the same time I realised I had drifted off the track, so abruptly changed course.
In Elevina’s words, apparently she had been watching my progress from the hut. I had been on a collision course ,heading for five red deer, when I abruptly changed direction. They had not seen me and I hadn’t seen them,
.Was what she breathlessly told me when I arrived back. I replied that they might be still there in the morning, not really believing it though.
I awoke at dawn the next day, and waited patiently for the light to improve. With 8x20’s in hand I then went to the doorway to scan the surrounding terrain. Sure enough although the deer had moved somewhat during the night, they were still right out in the open, and were now directly across from the hut, and there they were all 5. All in close proximity to each other. The range was about 500 yds. Thumbing six rounds into the little Sako, [will take seven, at a pinch] knife belt on with spare ammo. And instructions to hold on to Toby. I couldn’t always afford the luxury of leaving the mutt behind but was going to make the most of this one. I slipped silently out the door and down the steep slope, got a last bearing on the deer, then slipped into the bush. The deer would now be out of sight of me for a good 20 minutes, so priority no. 1 was get the wind right. Then later I could concentrate on the silence and stealth. Bit. My target was a large rock which when I set off, was some 30 yds. higher up than the deer where feeding. So it Elvina climbing up from Otutu
meant climbing past the animals, out of sight in
the bush gulley, topping out on a large spur with the large rock hiding my approach.
Upon reaching the rock my heart was hammering in my chest, partly from exc ursion and also from the excitement of the stalk. I took a few minutes to control myself, then edged around the boulder. I could see four then after a few minutes number five emerged from the edge of the bush.
Down on one knee and braced against the hard flat surface of stone. I then selected the first target, which was the furthest away. The stag had just recently emerged from the bush. Then I mentally, went through the sequence of hits. This done I then settled the reticule on the broad red chest and squeezed. Kaboomph, solid hit but the deer turned and walked toward the bush, and disappeared. Mentally cursing for not going for a neck shot, the cross hairs swung on deer 2 Kaboomph too far back, and I reprimanded myself. I was aware of the other animals now scattering, but was forced to hit deer 2 again Kaboomph down he went this time. Deer 3 was flat out when the cross hairs finally found him; I was standing by this time. Reticule slightly ahead, Kaboomph, the deer was still running, working the bolt frantically, spinning the spent case out and away to the right. Kaboomph, I was running downhill before the stag hit the ground. To my left another deer flat out going directly away. Kaboomph, I thumbed six fresh rounds in, and headed for the edge of the bush. It took a few minutes but I eventually found the downed deer. Number one. Three out of five! I was not happy at all. And felt sure I had nailed at least one other. I looked over the intervening ground towards the Manson, and sure enough Elevina was outside looking over. So I called for her to send Toby over. Some coaxing from her and yelling from me had the desired effect. The mutt got over a lot quicker than I did, but he could not help me. I blamed the fact I had not hunted for a week and lost that edge. For when shooting with a .222 you have to be controlled and accurate. The time it took giving deer that extra round contributed to the poor performance.
It was the last day of my trip, and I was due out at Kuripapango, we decided to walk out via the river, as there had been precious little rainfall, in the last few weeks. We were half way into our journey when we disturbed a hare on a sandy beach. Toby immediately cut off his escape route, and bit by bit forced him into the shallows where he broke his neck.

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view from "Riverstone Cabin"

view from "Riverstone Cabin"
Hope River