I had a weekend organised with my girlfriend Anna. We were off to South Westland to get up on the glaciers, catch up with some mates and just have a good relaxing weekend. I threw a minimal bit of hunting kit in the car though….just in case. Amongst the gear I did pack was the Hunters Element Prime Winter gear. I hadn’t had a chance to really test it whilst I was away in the Northern Hemisphere for our winter, and it can be cold at this time of the year on the glaciers! We were going to be staying with some mates, one of whom is a keen hunter-a bow hunter. Ben is his name, and his girlfriend Marj gets on well with my Anna which sometimes works out well.
We turned up latish on Friday night, driving over from Christchurch to Franz Josef after work. When we walked in the door, I had a map thrown straight in my face. It was pretty obvious that Ben was keen to get out for a looksie in the morning. So far his deer stalking with the bow hadn’t bought home any venison-although he’d taken 3 chamois with it in the last year. His Mrs. reckoned venison was needed…which gave us an excuse to be gone by 5am the following morning.
We headed to a spot both of us had seen deer before, but not a single beast was on the fresh spring growth on the river clearings. Plenty of sign was there though! And on the way home we ran into a couple of slippery creek chamois.
“Mate, I reckon we should head down the next river”, Ben said as we got close to the car.
“We’ll be in trouble”, I said-but that was the extent of my argument after the excitement of seeing some chams, so down the next creek we went.
Chamois sign was abundant-and there was a bit of goat sign lurking in patches of the riverbed too. Ben had never bow shot a goat, which was one of the main reasons for heading down this particular creek…we’d given up on the deer for the day, and just wanted to explore some new country. I kept my eye out for a chamois-and wasn’t disappointed-I do love South Westland creek bed chamois hunting! I didn’t get a shot though, I only wanted a big buck-and as luck would have it…we saw one. He was onto us though…
Crossing the river for the one hundred and first time, Ben stopped me. I looked up to see two goats standing on a rock only 15 yards away. Ben knocked his only arrow (South Westland…no archery shops, yet plenty of rocks to break arrows on and bush to lose them in…) as the goats stood and watched. With a careful aim, Ben sent an arrow straight through the lungs of the white nanny on the rock. She leapt a little, and then bolted her final 15 steps before collapsing. Ben and I searched high and low until we found the arrow prior to collecting his goat. A hand shake and congratulations was had, before we noticed the other goat standing just inside the bush-30 yards away.
“You shoot it mate”, Ben said…then offered me his bow. I was quick to accept the bow, and pass him my rifle-I’ve only taken a couple of animals with a bow so far, and Ben was quite content with his nanny. I quickly strapped on the release aid, knocked the same arrow that had just passed through Ben’s goat, then utilising a big rock to hide myself, closed the gap to twenty yards to the grey nanny tucked in the bush. I drew, stepped out from the rock, took aim…and just as I released the not so cunning nanny turned to bolt. As the arrow flew I watched in horror as she changed position. I was very lucky, as the arrow struck her in the back of the head. It was a fairly instant death, but…not a great shot! I was in two minds as to how I felt, but took the clean kill as a lucky bit of experience gained.
“Mate, a goat each”, Ben was thoroughly stoked.
We grabbed a photo, then butchered the beasts to carry home-another 101 river crossings. I was pretty happy with the performance of the Winter Prime layer by the way. I had been soaked all day, yet hadn’t got itchy or cold. And at the end of the day I was amazed how dry the Prime layer was-it didn’t smell either! On the route home we saw a few more goats-but left them alone for next time-including this young’un.
another 101 river crossings… Ben carried the goat meat and the bow
Yes, we sure were in trouble with the girls when we turned up after dark. They were not amused! Anna got over it pretty quickly when I called in a favour with another mate over there and got her in a heli and onto the ice the next day though-
and we saw a chamois!
A good weekend! Next weekend should be too…at the Sika show!
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