Mike Gibson – Backpacking for Sambar

December 04, 2013





A few weeks back I hit the Victorian Alpine country in search of the elusive sambar deer. Its quite a mission heading down from Sydney to the Alpine but well worth it for its spectacular scenery, mountains and ever changing sambar hunting. I try and get as many of these hunts in as time permits as the sambar do give you a hunt like no other in Australia.

This trip was a little different in that there were 2 new fellas to the scene Tristan and Beau. Both on their first backpack hunt and even better their first back-country sambar hunt. So a plan was made for some easier country that led into some bigger country as the 5 day hunt progressed. Plenty of lessons learnt along the way as we set a good base camp and chased these deer that don’t come easily.

After a long 12 hour drive down with little sleep we headed into to the first campsite that I had picked on the river so that we had a good water source whilst we searched out where we thought the sambar would be. I had been there the year before and took a nice stag so had a good feel for the area. I picked a different camp site this year as I wanted to explore the bottom half further as it looked like it had potential.

The first day was meant to be quite a light one, after a long drive and no sleep. This soon changed when sambar were glassed on the first face we looked at. Being hinds me and Tristan decided on a big mission as we were still fairly fresh and climbed higher looking for more country. In no time we spotted a nice 24 incher but he was bedded 1.5kms away.

A plan was etched and 6 hours later hes was in the bag and all captured on video. It was a long, exciting and rewarding hunt and being his first sambar stag, one that he will certainly remember, but that’s his story to tell.

After finding most the sign high, a fly camp was made and more quality stags were spotted. The scenery from the top spike camp was enjoyed as we experienced 4 seasons in one day with plenty of stag sign surrounding us.

Opportunities were passed up on quality animals in hope of something real special, something that has to be done to try and get one of the big boys from the mountains.

I cant wait to get back in there with some more mates that haven’t experienced this type of hunting. Hopefully see them get the same buzz Beau and Tristan seemed to have enjoyed. Its an addictive deer to chase and the country they live in is even more addictive.

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