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June Hunting with BJ Holdsworth.

June 30, 2014

June came around quick this year, where the other five months went is anyone’s guess.

I like hunting the Winter months especially June, the cooler climate as animals on their feet needing energy to keep warm and replace what may have been lost during the rut.

I needed venison for the freezer my preference is Fallow and female so with the bow in hand and clad in Veil I shot out to a great little valley we call Wild Dog Gully.

It was all too easy there was a deer  she grazed 60 yards distant, I needed another 20 yards and what cost me was a lack of patience, breaking the smallest twig with my right boot had her on high alert, she couldn’t see me but her instincts told her to bolt and that she did, had I just waited she would have eventually come through and well inside my shot range, bugger! I went home vowing to return a.s.a.p ..

Just three days later I had a few hours spare, I got into the timber and this time I had a plan to cover a well known game trail, it had worked in the past so was a no brainer, I got in seemingly unnoticed had the wind right and quickly ranged the trail below me through the gap in the shrubbery, my chance would come right on dark just one hour later.

A young skinny buck first got the ticker going then a spike both I let walk, both needed to put on a bit of weight and could one day make a trophy. My selective hunting paid off–just when light was getting scarce I nicely spotted doe marched along completely oblivious to my hiding, when she hit the gap in the trees I let a grunt go, she stopped offering me a 25 yard chip shot, one I totally butchered, my shot went high she bolted un hit and I sat there in the deafening silence cursing my hurried adrenaline assisted blunder. Not been under the pump myself for a while and just not concentrating and dealing with the effects of a flooded conscience mind would be my best excuse, a problem I have had to deal with my entire bow hunting career.

There’s only one way to deal with it, get back on the horse grit your teeth and hold on, Failure is a big part of life and its a big part of bow hunting I was doing the Hula not the Haka and I had to get my act together, I had a hoodoo to sort and had a plan to sort it.

First it was hares, they are plentiful here and in winter they are on high alert getting one close enough is a challenge and it builds pressure, making the shot at often long distances like 50 yards is not easy so perfect for training in a high pressure situation.  My success boosted confidence but I had a plan to have a crack at a few goats, for me they are the perfect animal to train on and always need culling on our property, getting a young billy at just over 40 yards was all I needed I was totally back in the saddle and there was space in the freezer for some prime fallow Doe.

Training for bigger game Hares make great practise.
Training for bigger game Hares make great practise.
Goats are the best training for larger game.
Goats are the best training for larger game.


So the next chance came with a few hours up my sleeve and I headed out, I would hunt a north facing slope the wind worked that side well and being June the Fallow feeling the cold would be tucked in there protected from the polar winds.

My plan was easy, stalk to the clearing and sit and wait, the least opportunity to make a mistake possible “still” hunting where you know animals will hopefully come onto you is just that let them make all the moves and ambush them..

When the sun disappeared and deer o’clock stuck I had a slight sinking feeling that it wasn’t going to happen doubts crept in as fast as the light faded, finally my heart got ticking along when a faint bit of movement appeared just 20 or so to my left, a Chocolate Doe slowly cautiously mooched out of the cover with a young animal in tow, I couldn’t move for fear of getting busted I waited with a keen arrow nocked. Finally what seemed like ages later she turned to have a scratch I drew my Mathews bow held and fixed the pin on the sweet spot before slowly exhaling and squeezing from my back , the arrow left and struck exactly where it was meant to, deer exploded everywhere five others with young uns burst out from around me barking and hopping around, my doe piled up just forty yards distance and all her company bolted in random directions, I had my doe, beaten the demons of failure and most importantly had some fair venison for the freezer.

My favourite bit of Hunters Element gear for bow hunting right now has been the Veil facemask or “Buff”, it rocks, comfortable and designed to fit any mug it’s perfect for bow hunting I wont leave home without it, face concealment is important when bow hunting it also will keep your neck and face warm and has been well used this winter thus far.

Finally I had my doe .
Finally I had my doe .

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