Willis Macbeth – A High Country 12

April 10, 2014

We bounced through the rough farm trail through the North Otago farm that I was lucky enough to have been invited along to hunt on.  I don’t often hunt private land, but when offered it’s rude to turn it down! It was a family affair with my cousins Andrew, Sam, and Jonathon making up the crew.

The first evening Sam and I hunted a gully and saw a few deer including one stag which showed a bit of potential but was too quick.  The wind had been shifty and had made hunting difficult.

In the morning we hunted high and used the elevation to our benefit.  The first gully had a few roars echo up to our vantage point; we couldn’t walk past this so we went and inspected the commotion.  We soon spotted one of the stags making most of the noise down in the gully and planned a stalk to get us right in range. My XTR Extreme Hunter in tussock brown was perfect for this open tussock country as we got in to about 100m undetected.  It was my shot but the stag wasn’t quite what I was after but Sam was more than happy with it so did the honors.

11 pointer
11 pointer

That evening we scoped out some new country which was on the neighboring conservation land.  Three stags were roaring down in the gully about 800m to 1500m away.  We watched on as two stags paced up and down next to each other for a while. I thought it was going to be a fight!  Further away way up the mountain was another bigger stag which looked quite impressive; the spotting scope brought him a bit closer but still hard to count points.  I guessed he was a 14 with his forked back and beautiful lower tines.  Worth checking out tomorrow when I had more time!

Glassing the stag
Glassing the stag

Broken sleep full of dreams of a monstrous 14 pointer was disturbed early the next morning.  Back at where the beast was spotted the evening before I was dropped as the barren countryside was slowly lit from the east.  The katabatic winds were doing their thing, which made approach difficult as the wind was heading downhill towards the stags which hadn’t moved far during the night.  I had to stay put until the sun hit the face I was on so the winds would turn and allow my stalk to take place without getting my scent all through the area.  I picked a route which took me down several hundred metres into the creek, then about 700m vertically to the top of the mountain which my stag was bedded down under.  It was a grunt, but all was going to plan as I summited the hill near midday, about 5 hours after setting out.  I still had to locate the beast, which I was fairly confident wouldn’t have strayed far from his favourite bit of tussock.  The wind was blowing uphill as I crept ever so slowly down towards where I thought he was.  It all looked the same, but I was confident I was in the right spot.  I soon spotted him bedded down below me at 370 yards on a 30 degree slope; not an easy shot for someone that doesn’t claim to be a long range shooter!

Stag where I took the shot from
Stag where I took the shot from

 

The shot
The shot

I got all my gear set up.  I couldn’t get any closer without being detected so now I just needed to wait for the right opportunity for a shot. An hour and a half later he stood up for a stretch.  I put the crosshairs where they needed to be (0.9 MILS at that range) and shot squeezed off.  To my surprise he was pole-axed! Stoked.  He was a very respectable 12 pointer (I had realised he had a couple less points that first thought when I got closer), but still worth the effort.

Where he fell
Where he fell

I still had a big mission to go; I had to drop about 500m then regain about 300m with the head and a bit of meat in the heat of the day.  That’s all part of it though.  It was too hot for my XTR extreme hunter jacket but tied loosely around my neck helped stop the blood of the head drip all over me which was a bonus!

The walk back
The walk back

 

The walk back
The walk back

 

Stag shadows
Stag shadows

Happy hunting.

Willis


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WAIST
HIPS
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10
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110cm / 43.3"
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82cm / 32.3"
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