New Country to Recce In time of the Roar

The map showed a tarn on the bush edge it also showed that the contours were not overly huddled together.  The map also revealed that there was plenty of area both north and south of the tarn that was viable in terms of accessibility……. I was on my way.

I left the track after some hours at the point I had mentally marked when consulting my map a day or so ago. I wanted to use a ridge on the true left of the creek I was following for ease of ascent.

This was not the creek that led to the tarn in question but instead a neighboring one which looked slightly easier to ascend. I would then hop over the ridge to the tarn when I gained the tops.

The trouble was I was not carrying any water and before long the ridge veered away from the creek and it wasn’t too long before my thirst knew no bounds. There was nothing I could do but descend into the creek and quench my dry throat and then carry on following the creek to the tops. The creek soon became vertical and progress was slowing. Time was also running out as the daylight began to dim. There was an hour of sunlight left and the shadows were quickly lengthening. I could see the tops however and the creek was beginning to give way to long steep scree slopes on either side ….

The sun had disappeared behind the western ranges and twilight was upon me, it was time to rummage in my pack for my head torch. Bugger!…….. the batteries were flat. I had meant to turn the middle one out of the three the wrong way round so as to avoid inadvertently switching the damn thing on. Well too late for that.

It was now time to try and find somewhere close at hand so that I could lie up until morning. Trouble was it was all on end. Filling my kettle in the stream I climbed up a side scree onto a scrubby little spur and fossicked around until I found a small place for my pack and my back. I spent the night with my legs draped over my pack. It was not 4star.

The sparrow was a long way off twitching its backside and the stars were still twinkling in the sky as I stuffed my sleeping bag into the vacant pocket in the base of my Macpac. Funny how at that time of the morning when the light is poor that it seems to make the heights above look even higher and insurmountable. So it was and with a slow and determined plod I began again my climb to the tops.

The sun was up and casting shadows when I first set eyes on my tarn for the first time. What a thing of beauty it was too. Sheltered from North, south and east winds it looked ‘the’ place to camp.

The camp site

I quickly found a flattish peace of ground and threw my pack off and left it while I explored into the northerly basin over a small rise. The morning was getting on but I decided a bit of glassing from a prominent vantage point would pass the time until lunch.

Nothing doing after an hour’s walkabout and an hour’s glassing, so I returned to my campsite and erected my fly and set my bedding out and made myself a much need cup of tea. I wiled away the afternoon fine tuning my site and gathering water. Around four o’ clock I set out in a southerly direction to glass some inviting ground I had seen on the way in. I was tucked in under the skyline in the shadows and to my front was the bush edge then a flat area with more bush and with open patches throughout it. I was focusing on one of the open areas when a hind materialised and I followed her progress until she disappeared back into the scrub. The range finder said she was 650yds away. Logically the way she was moving I thought she would again show in a clearing a lot close to my position which I ranged at 450yds., but although I waited until just after 6pm she did not reappear.

The next morning I was up early and packed my dehy breakfast in my day pack and made quick progress to where I had been the evening before.

Let the glasses do the walking

Quickly ducking over the ridge with a strong N.W. wind up my rear I snuggled in and quickly glassed the open areas with no result so started on my breakfast. Some more work with my 8×20 Leica’s which still drew a blank and so it was plan B. That was to carry on and cover the clearings on foot and then carry on and bush hunt the day in a Northerly direction. I had made around 150yds progress when I spied the hind only this time she had a bambi at foot. Now this is the time of the roar so the bambi was pretty big.

She looked decidedly uneasy and was fidgeting and stomping her front feet, I froze until she disappeared behind a stand of trees, and then I made haste to cover the ground in her direction to cut the range down. I paused at a berm like feature which gave me a commanding view over the large clearing behind where the hind was hiding. No sooner was my pack on the ground and the rifle nestled into it and she reappeared still decidedly edgy. I wasted no time to send a 130 grn. TSX Barnes on its journey. The resounding thwack resonated back to me a split second before the dull report reached my ears and she was down.

Hind Down

The distance was ranged at 180yds and a comfortable shot for the Sako. The Bambi hesitated for some minutes before melting away into the bush.

The Clearing

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