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, October 23, 2008

Piggy in the middle

Your some shooter boss!!

From the Ngaawapurua hut; I was , hunting quietly along, when suddenly the whistle of a sika deer, had me grinding to a halt. Somewhere above me, and to the right I guessed, fearing to move too much, in case I alerted her further. I imagined her big ears swivelling around, like radar, and her nose silently questing the air. Again and again her whistle’s rang out. I reached for my shepherd’s whistle around my neck, and give vent a reply. Instantly, she replied again, and this continued for some minutes, with me peering upwards, in the vain hope of catching a glimpse of her, I tried to keep my movement to a minimum to avoid the big three....sight, sound and smell .The breeze, which was ever so gently blowing up the hill to her position.
Then below me another whistle, signalling another deer had joined the party, I immediately shut up and left the two of them get on with it, with me in the middle. Some tense minutes passed when eventually a scuffling of leaves, just below my position had me on alert. The scuffling was progressively getting louder, until the whole of the animal materialised against the backdrop of scrub, she was still whistling and looking up hill . She was about fifty or so yards away from me. The treble two was up and spitting flame, the deer rolled out of sight. Instantly ejecting the round, I dashed forward, seeking an opportunity for a shot, at the original deer, and was not disappointed, movement caught my eye, and I could see the hind racing away up hill, driving home the next round, and taking a bead on a fast retreating rump brought it’s just reward. After the report I was satisfied to see the inert form, slackly slump to the earth..
Buzzed by a hawk
Hunting from the Tussock hut, one evening, I was in the heads of the Mangatainoka river,plying my trade as a forest service “gun”.I was working my way carefully down one of a myriad spurs, in that hinterland,when a rush of air, causing some buffeting signalled me to instinctively duck. For the moment stunned, I looked about me to locate the source. That's when I saw the bird come straight at me. Thinking it would flare away when it recognised me, I stood my ground. Nothing like it,it was me that flared away, almost throwing myself down onto the ground,to get out of it's path. Before I had half recovered it was at me again, this time from my blind side, with the talons narrowly missing my head, and screeching, I was forced to duck again. It climbed steeply this time, and in a tighter arc made to return it’s attack, I had just enough time to stand up ,and note the sharp intent in the piercing yellow eyes ,as my unblinking aggressor sortied again. Down he swooped ,aiming straight for my head. This time however I instinctively raised my rifle vertically at the very last moment, there was a sickening thud ,as the hawk made contact with the cold unrelenting steel of the barrel, and in a mass of wings body and feathers, rolled off the spur some yards ,and momentarily lay quite still. I was rooted to the spot, emotions not yet surfacing ,half bewildered by the events of the last few minutes.Then movement, the bird raised his head ,and like a prizefighter,shook it a few times ,to get his bearings,extending his legs ,blinking once ,he then opened the span of his wings and lifted ,gaining height quickly ,and disappeared into the dense canopy overhead.
I quickly made strides out of there,noting the geography ,and promising myself I would not return.I suppose there was a nest with young ones near by, and the bird was just protecting his little bit of space. However having seen the film The Birds.......
Mishap at Tussock

After a number of hours travel in dense bush it was nice to break out into the golden tussock in the headwaters of the Harkness river. Toby and I were making big strides for the hut ,which is securely nestled hard up against the bush edge in the north western side of the park.
Tussock hut, the place conjours up many memories, mostly good, but in this instance.......It was post roar and I was doing really well, hunting wise. I was super fit, and loving every minute of my work, I had my six week tally of forty tails already, and I was only into week five, everything was going well....... I should have known.
I had travelled through from Te Puke and arrived at tussock around midday there was one guy in residence and he was a pretty morose sort, partly due to his lack of success, he had been here two days previous and up till now had shot nothing. He claimed the place was all shot out, I frankly looked at him in disbelief, as I’d averaged a week at least every month since the season began at this hut, and there was always plenty of deer left after I had gone !!!!
I was then determined to prove to him that there were plenty of animals about. The words echoing in my ears as I reached for the door handle “you are wasting your time”,
I shot two deer that night, he glanced at my belt as I entered the hut, and saw the two sika deer tails hanging there.
He increduously came out with the comment you were just lucky!
I hadn’t eaten all day so I decided to ignore this man’s comments and proceed to prepare myself some dinner. Feeding the dog first, I then asked him if he needed the fire for a while. “No she’s right mate ,I’ll have a brew later”, put it on now if you like, I replied, again he was adamant that he was happy to carry on reading his paperback for awhile.
I was nearing the completion of my cooking when a voice came from afar, is that brew ready yet? I said I’m nearly finished but I’ll put some water on the edge of the fire at least it will get a start eh?,
A few minutes later the same question ,then again a few minutes later, I was quickly moving things about meat and onions in the camp oven potatoes in another billy etc. This guy was getting to me now so I got his billy and put it on a hook directly in the main heat of the fire, and then went on to concentrate on my dinner. Unbeknown to me ,in my haste I had not checked the various hooks hanging by the fire, and the one the billy went on was inverted back to the stalk ,to that the handle was just resting on the wire, and not were it should be- in the groove! The water was now boiling I must have shook the horizontal wire, because the next I knew about anything, was that scalding hot water was all over my stocking clad foot, in agony I peeled the sock off, and raced down to the stream, to immerse my foot.Man that water was freezing, but did just the job, I must have been in the stream about half an hour or more before I thought it safe to return to the hut, and even then, all night with alternate bowls of water, firstly warming one bowl at a time with my red hot foot.
The next morning my co resident went a hunting I stayed were I was with my bowls. During the course of the day, I developed a blister easily the size of a soccer ball My mate returned in the evening, and took one look at my foot, and exclaimed, with some meaning “I don’t care what you say, I’m off to Boyds tomorrow, to try and get some help(Boyds, being a hut on the Kaimanawa side of the Ngaruroro river, which also hosts an airstrip. It generally does quite a bit of traffic )
Fair play to him he was away first light the next morning Mid morning saw the arrival of the hughes 500, the doctor on board raced into the hut made a quick assessment, then told me I was on my way to hospital, and asked ,me what did he have to do to tidy up..For instance these things as he made to throw them in the fireplace. He was referring to my forty odd deer tails hanging on the food cupboard door .NNNNNNNN OOOOO, I shouted horrified, those smelly things you have in your hand are my wages, I explained.
Toby was wondering what the hell was going on , as he was uncerimoniously stuffed in the back of the chopper. We landed at Taupo hospital. I was asked shortly afterwards what I would like for breakfast. Eggs I replied ,anything with eggs [they were easily the most thing I missed during those long trips}They took to my blister, ....after my shower of course, with a pair of scissors, then put a dollop of cold cream over the wound. I was in hospital for a week and during that week whenever that cream fell off I would scream in agony , as the fresh air attacked the footI would be in agony

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view from "Riverstone Cabin"

view from "Riverstone Cabin"
Hope River