We had travelled in last night for a one nighter,flycamp,leaving the series 3 in the small car park at the end of the road
It was early April and the roar was on in earnest, slipping through the familier saddle ,in the Haurangi’s forest park, with my dog Toby,at my side , we were pussy footing down the true left side of the valley .it was typical Autumn weather , cool overcast and very quiet underfoot, in short perfect hunting conditions
.It was still only mid morning, and I had that feel good optimism,almost like an insight into the days events, there were a few stags moaning quite aways down the valley,though things were generally subdued ,untill a stag on the opposite face gave voice to his frustrations , with a loud anguished roar.
I was on the verge of changing course to have a crack at him, when matey boy let loose his replyclose to my right,it was such an agonised,stomach renching call,and so loud in the confines of our dense forested world that the hairs on the back of my neck stood up to be counted .He followed that with ,three more roars before he subsiding into grunts.
.I eyed my dog up suspiciously ,and felt I could read his thoughts, he was wondering his fitness level whether or not he could manage 3,300 ft.per second, in pursuit of that noisy stag, cos he knew that the sako .222 that I was carrying was capable of 3,200 fps.and after all, he only needed a little leeway. He seemed to register the look of menace on my face,because , he just fell in behind, when I moved forward towards the source of the goans
.The roars were continuous now ,there were two stags across the valley going well ,but our boy was manic,and we were close enough to hear the scrub being bashed about too. The dog was particulaly unhinged, and I was by now concentrating as much on my dog ,as I was the beast we were converging on. Intense concentration with every footfall, and only moving when the stag was either roaring ,or wrecking the surrounding bush The silences were so few and far between, that progress was swift .The pungent odour of the animal was everywhere, despite this though I was on constant alert for the presence of hinds ,none were seen.
Finally a small rise was all there was between him and us, and now his roars were bcoming quite deafening. Toby’s eyes were starting to roll in his head. I had already cuffed him numerous times ,on his bony head,with the end of my barrel ,but now it was time to grab hold of his neck in a vice like grip. We edged the final few yards, in time to witness the stag lay back his head and give vent to an almighty bellow, Picture this with his shaggy mane and black underbelly and you can see the scene before me .
He then proceeded to thrash the surrounding scrub with vicious intent, in one fluid motion I released the dog and swung the .222 vixen up ,the stubby barrel coughed once, and the beast fell forward with his own momentum...... neck shot ,in mid groan. The dog was part of the dead animal in a flash. Almost before he had touched the ground .Yeah you couldn’t fault old Toby’s enthusiasm..
Noisy when it rains................