On the 24th of March I headed North to meet up with my mate Joel for a week chasing stags. Although by most standards it’s a bit early for the Reds to be roaring, a fair bit of experience with this little bit of Doc land told us that they’d be getting into full swing by the end of the month.
A seven hour drive later I pulled up to Joel’s and after a quick catch up it was a few hours sleep before the big drive in-land the next morning. We pulled up to the car park at about mid day and put pedal to the floor to get in to our camp spot, hidden away on the distant hill side-before dark. After a hard 5 hours of bush bashing we reached camp and set up the bivy. Although we bumped in to quite a few deer on the way in things were pretty quiet and I couldn’t help but wonder if this long summer had put the roar back a week or two. Waking up to the sound of moaning stags during the night put my mind to ease and as the sun poked in to camp the next morning it was a rush to get ready and in to the action.
It didn’t take long to get things going as I gave out a roar from camp to try and get an idea of where to head, and a loud reply boomed over the rise from no more than 50m away. We left everything but the gun and video camera and bolted over to check it out. With camera rolling and a shaky hand a beautiful 11 pointer crested the ridge in front of us. Although it was tempting he was left to walk despite strong Brows, Beys and Treys, his tops were pretty weak and he was only young with great potential.
We went back to camp to grab our gear for the day and continued on down in to the main Basin to check out two more boys that were roaring well. A few swirling wind issues and some error on our part found us trapped between the two boys with the breeze now flushing towards the angrier of the two. He soon shut up so we were left with an easy decision to move in on the other stag who was now acting a bit cagey. Another blunder on our part meant we didn’t spot him until we were no more than 10m away from him staring down on us from atop his pad. He was a scrubby 8 with a good healthy body so the call was made to take him out of the gene pool and take care of the camp meat for the week. As I lifted the rifle he started to bolt but sadly for him made the mistake of stopping to take another look and 150 grains of lead was slid into his shoulder. He ran 20m or so and dropped so a few photos were taken and it was back to camp for the afternoon to catch up on some rest.
Another nice 10 point head was roared up on the way back, but again he showed some great potential so was left to be seen again. Over the next few days things slowed down a bit and although we got in on another half dozen or so more stags, nothing quite fit what we were after and we were starting to get a little bit down on things. On the second to last day we headed way up the back valley where Joel had shot a big 12 with his bow the previous year to see if we could find the remains. Although he put a good shot on and found gallons of blood he never managed to recover his trophy so we set out to try another search. After a good hours hunting around we gave up and sat down for some afternoon tea. A roar was put out and a nice strong grunt was replied from down the end of the terrace. Another roaring match and we closed the gap until once again the wind changed on us and we lost our target down in to the thick cover. By this stage we were starting to get really frustrated but things were about to change.
Another hour up the valley we had a response with some real intent. Another reply 10 seconds later and this time he was much closer. This boy was seriously angry and was set for a fight. After a bit of coaxing he broke out of scrub and came charging in. Joel only had a few seconds to make the decision and mid-stride, released the firing pin. A 7mm to the neck and he dropped like a stone. Although yet again he wasn’t the big boy we really wanted he was a very old stag and was never going to get much bigger. A unique 10 pointer, he was cut up and carried back to camp.
The next and final day we managed to roar up a couple more but we had too much to carry out as it was and nothing serious presented itself. So we packed up camp and started the long slog out.
A decent start to the 2013 roar for sure but plenty more hunting to be done so hopefully the next one will have some heavier timber to show.Good luck out there and be safe.
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