First hunt for 2019

Von Gruff

KNIFE MAKER
I met my good friend Foster at the gate to the 25000 acre station where I have a key to the locked gate and after transfering his gear to my landcruiser we headed off up to the first stopping point at the saddle. Having seen deer on previous visits in this basin with its gully system we unlimbered my 6.5x57 and Fosters AR 300BO and set off round to the first vantage point which probably does not convey the type of terrain that is here in the NZ high country with the mataghouri and spaniard that leave you with myriad spike marks up and down the legs by the end of the day. It is just not possible to get to where we wanted to go without pushing through some of the waist high mataghouri (always dodge the spaniard though) unless we spent a great deal more time and endless detours to get around to the set of rocks where we can see the valley in front of us.
This particular area has one gully system that is all within about 300 yds and so anything seen is going to be a reasonable shot but the face goes off with more ridges and gullies that are all too open, so stalking is just not going to be possible if anything is seen, which happened to the case this trip.
We saw the first 3 fallow deer, a doe with last two years young in tow at 450yds but heading away toward another two small groups going out to over 1300yds with 7 seen all together. We may not have had a shot oportunity but sitting there on the rocks and glassing them was a very nice start to the trip.
After returning to the truck we set off round to the bluffs but stopped at the first observation point

You can see the fresh dusting of snow that came through in the previous few days and while it may be mid summer it is high enough here that the wind coming up from the southern ocean often brings a bit of the snow with it.
For the goats I take my 6.5 Grendel-Max and so we walked down to the first of the observation points over this part of the property and saw the first of the goats for the trip. A small mob of 6 was resting in the sun with a couple of the younger ones wandering about among them. They were down about 100yds and the steepness of the slope and fresh legs did not warn of what it would take to get them out after they were shot. After Foster and I were both settled he offered me first shot and the nanny of the group had a big white patch on her side so that was my first target and then it was on, with goats moving in different directions making it a quick reload to get on to the next one which for me was a very pretty mottled grey one, then black one and by this time any remaining goats had decamped. Foster was not pleased with his shooting and didn't report a hit so it was the climb down to gather the ones I had shot.
When I got down there I got another shot at one on a track so that was four and while I was field dressing the firsts two with my mati and buffalo horn mini skinner, Foster bought up the fourth one and set off looking for the third one and while he did see some blood he wasn't able to locate it. This mataghouri is sometimes so thick that you can be within a couple of feet of the animal without seeing it. I was confident that I had got 4 with the four shots but as sometimes happens had to leave one for the hawks
While he was looking for mine he managed to see another one and his 300BO accounted for it so while he was dealing with that I started the climb out with the three I had
We finally made it back to the truck and set up the skinning rack and the boning table and I got the first of the two little ones hung up and skinned. I take the back straps and tenderloins then take the shoulder off and bone it out (one of my boning knives) before cutting the back legs off with a cleaver and leaving the carcase for the birds and worms. I only take the usable off the hill and with 6 one liter salt water bottles frozen in the chilly bin (salt water freezes colder and thaws slower) there is room for meat this way and when I get home there is only the bagging and freezing to be done. Had to split the back legs as I forgot to take the meat saw with me but that is a minor detail and takes little time or effort.
 
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Von Gruff

KNIFE MAKER
After getting the meat all stowed in the truck and the gear away we went round to the bluffs and stopped for lunch before going for a look into them hoping that the mob we had seen earlier had wandered round this far but while we saw two they were too far away and still moving so we sat and watched a native falcon hunt for a while before it perched on a rock about 50yds away so it was a pleasant way to spend some time enjoying the late afternoon warmth. We decided to go round to the old stone hut and its catchment which required us to go back to the saddle where we went to the look for the deer and as this was only 30 minutes from the gunsmith we drove back down the track and out to his place so I could go over the next stage of the work he is doing on a VZ24 action for me.
Then it was back up the hill to the saddle and onto the old stone hut track. This is a track to test the driving ability as it is very steep in parts and heavily rutted with a 3 to 5 mph speed about all that can be done for the most of the 40 to 50 minutes it takes to get round to the hut with big elevation changes on the way, both up and down. Settled in for the evening and woke to 5C or 41F and while many of you are in mid winter this is our mid summer so the drop in temp is noticable. We left it till about 8am to go for a look as goats are creatures that like warmth and often wait for sun up to start moving but ten minutes from the hut and on the far side of the basin we saw a pair of goats that were about 300 yds away with good cover to get to just over 200 where Foster said it was probably too far for his BO (or maybe his confidence) so I got a bead on the first one and it dropped to the shot. The second one was still there but had moved off another 40-50 yds so it was a slightly hurried shot. Foster was able to see the bullet contrail and said it was a good hit but just behind the ribcage. The goat walked over the ridge so we set off to recover them and when we found the second one it showed a liver shot so both being very nice (and butter fat) 2 years olds


I had a good supply of meat for the freezer so with them dressed out and in the chilly bin we made ready to leave this wonderfulll part of the country with 6 goats in the bin so when we got to the edge of the basin and the start of the uphill track I took one last short video to show our happy place and we headed off back down to the locked gate where Foster transferred his goat and gear to his truck and we headed for our respective homes.
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
Wow, awesome hunt Garry, and beautiful country.
I talked with a couple plumbers here in Tampa bay that are from your neck of the woods and they were telling me about a possum problem over there, what's up with that?
 

Von Gruff

KNIFE MAKER
The possum is a vermin species that is decimating parts of the native forest. The govt doc (department of conservation) and for that read greenie muppets airial drop 1080 poison all over the place with lots of by kill. I saw it best said a while back that in 1970 we had a serious problem with 70 million possums destroying the forest so they started the big 1080 poison campaigns and now we still have over 70 million possums and lots of dead wildlife as well.
Put a bounty on the possum and the problem would be alleviated but like all greenie run outfits dont want that solution or NZ hunters having any input plus they only like guns when they are going to cull deer, tahr and chamois numbers that are the backbone of the hunting guide business and bring a lot of offshore hunters and big money earner for the country. A big cull was going to happen (with wildly inaccurate numbers of animals)a while back until the hunters, guides and all associated business (lodges, feed places etc) here organised a huge petition that had it stopped. One of their choppers with two shooters and pilot crashing helped shame them into stopping it as well.
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
I looked up them possums and man, they sure look different from the one's we got here.
our major problem here is feral hogs. I bought property 16 years ago and one thing I looked for was an area with no hogs.
unfortunately I have a 180 acre hunt lease next to me and those bone heads threw hogs out there, that promptly found my deer feeder and set up home...chasing all the deer away. luckily myself and the neighbors were able to kill them all off.
their fun to kill and eat great....as long as there on someone else's land. :confused:
 

Von Gruff

KNIFE MAKER
All our animals have been at pest levels and have been the subject of massive culling programes at various times. Can be devestating to the land as they over populate an area.
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
Wow Garry...that is STEEP terrain...beautiful but steep! I've gotten used to hunting flat land...don't think I could hunt in your neck of the woods...
Thanks for sharing.
 

Von Gruff

KNIFE MAKER
Wow Garry...that is STEEP terrain...beautiful but steep! I've gotten used to hunting flat land...don't think I could hunt in your neck of the woods...
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Ted but a lot of rest stops can take you into some country you might otherwise not venture into.
This is a video from a previous hunt where we are glassing the faces off the bluffs and where we are sitting it is over 1000yds almost straight down to the creek. We sometimes get onto little mobs in the top of this area
 
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