Retiring from back pack guiding / The best stalk of my life.

The time has come I feel for me to quit while I am on top. My body has been superb to me all my life but there comes a time for everybody when they need to step back on the physical exertions. My time has come

I will still be available for heli hunts and I will back pack myself for myself. While not living in a hotspot region of New Zealand hunting wise, I am proud of my record of delivering success to most, and would be close to all if the few had shown a little more fitness.

I have just returned home from a hunt that included a stalk that must be the best of my life……….

She didn't move a muscle from where she was bedded down

We had hunted the stream, for the best part of the morning with wind in our faces/muzzles and now it was time to get out of this shaded area and climb high for the sun drenched slopes. No sign of the roar thus far was to be seen or heard. We started contouring with a variable wind at around 11 am and at 12 we stopped for lunch. Slightly more invigorated we continued on in what to be honest was looking more and more dead bush.

A while later and whilst following the contours some meters above a creek, the wind pushed for a fair period of time into our faces and Wilson showed a bit of interest but it lacked consistency, and would drop off and then push gently at our backs. The Katabatic air flow though remained constant, coming up from the creek.

I decided to take the dog at his word thinking an animal was present ahead, but not knowing at what level it was at. The Katabatic wind would tell us if we were going past the animal, so long as we were not on a direct level with it or indeed below it. I dropped our elevation by a bout twenty meters and then proceeded on that level carefully through the thick bush. After some minutes I saw a patch of something in contrast with it surroundings. It was tinged red, but I could not for the life of me identify it. I looked away almost dismissing it, but again I was drawn to the form. I took a half step to my left and followed the patch with my eye to a neck and a head that was looking straight at me. I smoothly brought the rifle to my shoulder, noting the deer twitch whilst doing so, thinking it was going to bolt. I shot the hind between her shoulder blades at next to no distance away. She was bedded down in an area no bigger than her form, with her rump toward me in the midst of thickish bush. Her head faced (originally )toward a trail leading to a prominent ridge.

In summary she had bedded herself down in thick bush and with her back to more of it , her vision would have been concentrated on the more open bush ahead of her and the trail that led to the ridge to her front.

I had come from the least expected direction. Luckily for me I had picked the elevation that I did, so defeating the one weapon in her arsenal left to her. Her nose!

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