Josh Lloyd – Winter Sika Stags

July 18, 2012

With the winter really starting to take hold here in the Hawke’s Bay and the frequent weekend roadend trips not cutting it, a couple mates and I thought it timely to do a mid-winter fly-in trip for sika. After a last minute change of plans at the helipad we were off to a spot none of us had been before with high hopes and a chopper load of hunting gear + the usual helicopter afforded luxuries. 

Day 1 we all split up and hunted separate bush creek systems. Ben reported missing a good sika stag on a slip after watching it for 5 minutes until ‘buck fever’ became too much and he took a shot while it was partially obscured by scrub. Bugger

Tom found some good country with open bush terraces that he planned to hunt for the remainder of the trip.

I lucked out bumping into 3 separate deer in the bush with one of them standing still a bit too long: 

Day 2 I hunted with Ben. We spent a long day in the bush and eventually bumped into another small 4pt stag in a bushy creek. Ben was in the lead and took a well placed neck shot at about 15yards dropping the stag at our feet.

Day 3 I again hunted alone in a different area. As soon as I reached my chosen area I began to see a lot of sign. Following some very fresh prints up out of the river onto a terrace I saw the flash of a sika rear disappear off the other end of the terrace back down to the river. I quickly gave chase knowing he couldn’t see me anymore. I sprinted to the end of the terrace and down a steep face onto the river then around the corner. The deer can’t have been too spooked as I came round the bend in the river to see him moving slowly through a logjam. I took a shot while standing in the middle of the river and dropped him where he stood.

A quick dig into my day pack for the essentials revealed I had left a pouch back at camp containing my camera, good knife, torch and other bits and pieces. Oops. A rough butchery job was done with my small pocket knife and some photos taken on my ‘Barrel cam’. 

Hanging the stag on the side of the river I pressed on upstream conscious of the fact I had no torch. No drama or need to be out too late today though as not far upstream I came off the river over a small rise and caught this guy having a late breakfast 

More butchery with the pocket knife and photos with ‘Barrel cam’ and I made my way back to camp with a very heavy load. 

2 Stags getting a free ride back to camp on dry feet thanks to the Hunters Element Gaiters 

The rest of the trip was a good reminder of what Winter can be. We were stuck in the hut by a rising river and our chopper was 30 hours late due to high winds and heavy rain. Needless to say the few hunting mags in the hut got a good reading cover to cover a couple times over. 

Cheers for now, 

Josh


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