A mid winter hunt with Outdoor Quest TV from Canada
Posted on 29/07/2015 by Gerald
Having hunted the South Island in recent years TJ and Vanessa were on the quest for a couple of unique deer species that are found only in the North Island, the sika and sambar. On a 10 day hunt we managed to shoot a very respectable sambar stag and a real beauty sika stag along with a monster red stag and fallow buck.
Vanessa took the red stag and fallow buck with her buck measuring 32.5 inch length main beam making it an absolute thumper. Vanessa's buck come near midday during a break in the rain. While it was on the bush edge TJ spotted it's massive palmation like a couple of big hands waving out "I'm over here". The wind was all over the place as we waited for a shot opportunity. While assessing the situation we decided to take it immediately when the chance appeared and when it did it happened fast in the end with the buck moving purposefully towards greener pastures and nearly out of sight. The buck turned out to be a real old battler with heaps of character and huge palms, a very pleasing outcome.
On Vanessa telling me that she liked unusual trophies I immediately had a red stag in mind for her, if only we could find it. The particular stag lived a hermit like existence only being seen a handful of times each year. The stag was old and tended to live in an area which was difficult to hunt as the wind always tumbled and churned in the broken valley system where it had been seen in the past and we hoped to find it. Just before dark during heavy rain we spooked the stag which took us totally by surprise as the wind swept across the top of a ridge into the unseen area to our right. The stag also unsure of our position also and bolted down and across in front of us stopping briefly on the bush edge giving us just enough time for Vanessa to say "yes that will definitely make me happy". Giving the stag a bit of a break from any hunting pressure in the hope of it coming back and settling down again we were back 3 days later in the snow. The sun was out in the late afternoon with small patches of feed available we spotted the stag along way off. It's massive rack was unmistakeable with the naked eye even at 500+ yards. We stalked in to around the 150 yard mark and set up for the shot. Knowing the history of this area with the wind problem and the stag in this terrain things got rather intense. The shot looked high and the stag was gone in a second into the bush. Dark fell upon us and we decided to come back the next day where miraculously TJ spotted the blood trail...... The tracking of this stag was epic with the outcome well worth the sleepless night before.
TJ's quest was for a sika and a sambar with both proving to be challenging but we were very fortunate with both considering the conditions. The sika stag was first for TJ under very wet conditions having seen it and a number of very good stags earlier we made a decision later one afternoon as to which one we'd go for. After glassing and filming a couple of very nice stags that were coming out to feed late afternoon we moved on to hopefully find the chosen stag. In a downpour we spotted it under 200 yards away..... The sambar stag we spotted the day before right on dark working his hinds keeping in mind mid winter is the rut period for the sambar. The following morning we were back in position before day break but no sambar were to be seen. After changing viewing locations a number of times and after midday with the sun out a mob of sambar started appearing on the ridge top opposite us. The stag was included in the bunch but for nearly an hour he never gave us a chance for a shot until hind caught scent of us and departed taking the rest with her. The stag came into view ready to depart into a neighboring property when TJ took his chance....