Monday, April 21, 2014

Dad and Brandon's Visit: The Hunt

My Dad and Brother-in-law came to visit, and the only real plan was to hunt red stag. Luckily, Poss came through and had us all set up out in the bush with an awesome campsite and was kind enough to guide us through the bush and 'roar' at the deer relentlessly.  You see, the prime time to hunt red stag in NZ is late March/early April, and this time is called The Roar because the stags actually make a low rumbly roar sound when they get all fired up. Pretty crazy, really.
So after an unfortunate flight delay, the guys arrived, and we set out for Pleasant Valley:

Worthy of the name, I'd say. Seems quite pleasant. It is a large sheep and cattle station in the Southlands at the edge of the Takitimu Mountains.

The first day was pretty cloudy, so you couldn't really see the mountains in the background. But they were there. If you don't believe me, ask all of our tired legs if there were mountains, because they were painfully aware of them.

This is the terrain we hunted. Native Bush. Primarily beech trees with moss covering everything and ferns all over the place.

Dad taking a breather.

Brandon and Poss listening for the call of the wild...stag.

As it turned out, our first two days, we didn't even hear one stag. But that doesn't stop Terry Scherder from killing one. No Sir-ree. You can run, but you can't hide from Sure-shot Scherder.

Dad's deer!

Profile view. We had walked MILES for this thing. This was near the end of Day 2 of not seeing or hearing anything, then this guy just appeared out of nowhere.

Family portrait.

They were so excited to dress this deer!

Taking out the backstraps - prime eating.

Brandon got to carry out the hind quarters. If he'd known how this was gonna go down, he would have learned a new technique for gutting the deer out the side instead of between the legs - thus he would have saved the legs from being all gross when he put them on his shoulders.  But in the thrill of the moment, that didn't really come up, so Brandon got a bloody deer butt to sit on his shoulders. Next time he'll know better! But to be totally honest, I don't think it bothered him too much. We all had a little more pep in our step at this point, even with the added cargo.

Kind of a bad shot, but actually the best I've got about the terrain and how we got this deer packed out of here. There were times it was like walking up a vertical cliff. but we made it!

Brandon getting a cold drink from the creek, which is actually completely safe to do here! 

And before we knew it, we were out of the bush, and back in the valley, heading back to our camp, deer in tow!

And that ended Day 2. I actually had to go back and work at the clinic for a couple of days, so they stayed out with Poss. As I fully expected, they all got along just fine, so I was not worried about that at all. They did hear a few deer on days 3 and 4, but no more trophies. The evening of Day 4, I came back out to camp after work, and this was the view that greeted me as I entered Pleasant Valley:


And Day 5, we were at it again, hoping for another deer. We heard a few early on, but they all got very quiet very quickly, so it was another day of walking through the bush. This stuff is actually really difficult to walk in. We took turns falling down. At one point, I fell on my butt, and just slid down the hill for a few feet before getting my feet back under me and just kept walking, never missing a stride... 

Another snack break. Snickers Bars and these One Square Meal Bars I found here were our lunch/snack staples.

So after our last day of hunting we returned to camp and packed it all up. But before we did that, I snapped a few pics to show you our Home Away From Home (or in my case my home away from home away from home!)

three room unit with 1 bedroom, 1 dining room/bed room, 1 kitchen.

Pretty luxurious, really. Note the carpeting! We also had a propane heater in the dining room.

the kitchen.

Camp. Pretty sweet set-up. The bathroom was behind me in this picture - a chair with a hole cut through the seat sitting over-top a sewer pit.

So after 5 grueling days, we came away from Pleasant Valley with 1 Stag, 6 tired feet, and about a million memories of our 'first' stag hunt in NZ.

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