Hi guys,

Really of the subject this one but as you might know I am a pretty avid hunter as I am fisherman. To be honest I love the outdoors and am at my happiest waist deep in cold water, holding onto a baited rod or on top of the hills looking for animals. It’s a healthy life style and one which was in grained into me and will stay with me for life.

You may also know we offer hunting services especially for meat animals to kiwis , a great father son adventure which everyone should experience at some point. I have access to private property which ensures we are safe at all times and never over hunted which results in success. I rarely hunt this access myself but try and get of the beaten track to areas I may have never been – part of the beauty about it.

The ROAR is still on and has been on for a couple of weeks now, some areas of NZ may be earlier or later than others but generally for Red Deer it will be the first few weeks of April, considered to be a dangerous time to be walking about the bush due to the amount of hunters you may encounter. There are plenty of good buggers out there but occasionally accidents still happen due to over excited hunters that have been in the bush for too long.

I have hunted this Roar with my Dad and man we have covered some bush over 6 full days of walking about not really achieving too much. We could have rolled the odd meat animal but when you have Stags in the mind you tend to hold of and hope that the big boy is just around the corner. On one of our very first days I saw and scared what looked to be a large animal which then gave us an area in which to target as I knew he wouldn’t go too far especially if he had some ladies in the area.

The next four outings saw us with nothing really, I was starting to think I had blown the opportunity and the Stag might have moved on deeper in the forest away from blokes like me. This time of year we call the Stags in with  a caller, a bit like calling in ducks but a deer call obviously. They can react quite well to these calls as they think another male is competing for their ladies, quite often they will turn up out of nowhere angry and ready to fight -thus being when one should knock them down before they work out what you really are.

Obviously things are pretty dry this year and this was a reason why the bush was hard to hunt and the animals wary of visitors. On the last day I was lucky and mist and rain covered the valleys, it was perfect for hunting and perfect for a beast to Roar. It was a pity my Dad had decided to call it quits on the hunting and stayed in bed as what unfolded that morning I will remember for quite some time.

I couldn’t see more than 50 metres in front of me due to thick fog and pouring rain and by 8am I was another 20 kilo heavier with sodden clothes and drenched boots. I was starting to weigh up my options and decided to check out one more valley before I left for home and gave the season away defeated. I approached with all the usual precautions making sure the wind was in my favour so animals which may be in front of me cant smell me. I took position behind a tree stump and let go a locating ROAR which to my dis belief was answered straight away by an animal.

The hairs stood up on my neck and I roared back which he replied again straight away and was getting closer to me very quickly. This went on for a few minutes until a beast of a deer walked through the cutty grass and ToiToi , it was the animal that I had spooked a week before. Through the mist and rain it was huge, a massive deer with huge antlers which was soon staring right at me wondering what I was. By this stage every hunter will know the ticker starts to go a little quicker and many hunters loose the plot and totally muck up what should be a straight forward thing to do. With my head racing, hands shaking and deer in my sight I squeezed the trigger which dropped this trophy to its knees. This was a close quarters hunt and he was dead when I reached him. Marvelling at his beauty and size I took the time to take in what was a pretty rare, cool moment. The next 9 hours totally sucked as I battled with every bit of bush, hill, mud, stinging nettle and cutty grass trying to get this thing back to my truck. Looking back now totally worth it and would do it all again in a heart beat. One thing may have made it better, wish Dad was there (to carry it, lol) and take some better photo’s.

As you can see this is not one you shoot every year, I am told that I may not see another deer that size with perfect symmetry on the antlers as this again which made the decision to have it mounted easy. The taxidermist agreed it was one out of the box and should score a 300 DS which is very high for a wild animal in NZ. Twelve months will pass and I will receive this guy back in all his glory just as the day I saw him step through that mist and I bet he will make my heart thump just as hard once again.

Hunting is by no means easy. Hunting is not for everyone and I respect others views on killing animals etc but I certainly find it rewarding to provide for my family and friends and know exactly where the food that I am eating has come from.

Hope you enjoyed something a bit different, Oh…the trout are running too!!!!!

Andrew