Stewart Island Whitetail – Cody Weller

June 10, 2016

Last month, I had the opportunity to hunt Whitetail down on Stewart Island and was treated to some awesome encounters. The first animal was a doe taken at 44m as I stalked through a huge area of Crown Fern. I was making minimal noise for the conditions and managed to spy her standing up on a log, trying to make out what this Desolve camo object was. She soon found out.

The first doe shot at 44m in the sea of crown fern.
The first doe shot at 44m in the sea of crown fern

It was the very next day that the next chance came walking by. I was set up in my tree stand over some sign. All the shuffling about to get comfortable had only just subsided when a yearling doe came walking through. After pulling off a clean shot I sat back and waited in the rocking tree as wind gusts came through, waiting for that elusive buck.

With meat now hanging for the camp to enjoy, it was time for all my focus to be on a buck. I had hit buck sign and began to piece together a plan of attack. That’s when the game of cat and mouse began. I would set up over likely areas morning and night, only to find he had been no more then 150m from my location the following day. After a few days of this I began to widen my search.

Time for a new buck. Moving into a new area with buck sign, I set up on the ground with the wind in my face and the perfect ambush was set. No more than 15 minutes into my wait, a buck came strutting in from my right and after some intense maneuvers I found myself plucking a blood soaked arrow from a small tree. His time was up. Although not a trophy, the plan had come together so I was stoked.

Confirmation of a solid shot.
Confirmation of a solid shot.

Days were coming to an end and I just couldn’t help but keep hunting the first buck. I was set up over what I considered to be a pinch-point and to me seemed like the perfect death trap. On the second to last night, I was layered up to the gills as some rank weather impacted against the canopy. The Bush coat combined with the Ranger trousers were my go-to set up on this wild day. And as I sat in my tree waiting, I was more than impressed with this combo. They were also well and truly stealthy enough to move undetected, in order to make that all-important shot at close range.

Then just on dark it happened. An animal walked down the game trail. Not wanting to shoot a doe, I tried to make out what it was but it was just too dark. I just had to let the deer go about its business to see if it carried out any rut-like activities to be able to confirm it’s gender. Almost straight away, the animal showed me signs of rutting activity and at 10m no mistake was made. It was a quick descent from my tree, only to find it was a Hummel Buck. But once again, the plan had worked making for a happy bow hunter.

Not quite the trophy I was hoping for, but the plan came together anyway.
Not quite the trophy I was hoping for, but the plan came together anyway.

I spent almost all my time with the Rugged Bush coat on, or if weather permitted I had the Crucial top on as I stalked about. All up the gear performed flawlessly, keeping me undetected and comfortably warm in some less than ideal conditions.

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