Red Deer hunting

Some long for the scent of maple trees,

Some for the scent of Oak

While others yearn to smell once more

Scent of Manuka   smoke…….. 

The .243 goes marching on it would seem indeed!, despite the tears of despair from the white wear, I had no option but to take this monster head! out of the gene pool

Well the Remington goes marching on it would seem.  My go to bush rifle the Sako vixen in .222 is temporarily languishing in the safe whilst its scope is away at Leupold having a warranty check.  After 40 years use, I thought it was time to check the ole girl out.

The freezer is groaning!

Where the hind fell, alongside the Remmy 700 in .243












Cramming more venison into an already healthy freezer!  The more I use this Remington 700 in .243 the more I regret not getting one earlier in my career.  The reason I didn’t of course was because there were no gunsmiths around to do the half cock in the seventies. Thanks to Dean Maisey though this has been rectified and along with the oh so sweet Timney elite trigger, It is a delight to use.  So much so that I am now thinking seriously of upgrading the stock to an ultralight Macmillan and then maybe I might develop an almost religious fervour toward it

Red Hind taken in Autumn











Approaching the roar and it is early March, which sees the wily stag in his best condition for obtaining venison from.

165 grn Accubond in .308 cal at 350 meters











This time it is Spring venison.  Three yearlings enjoying the lush growth in the early A.M. only to be interrupted by the report of a .243.  Now they are two

Remington 700 and Ridgeline Pikau.     Two back steaks, two boned out rear legs, liver and kidneys later- job done.











A Winter hind taken from close range.  One of three, the others a stag and another hind left without a backward glance

Remington 243 and meat for the freezer











A Howa in .223 cal. in the hands of Amos Rand accounted for this healthy Spiker recently. Most of the best cuts of meat were recovered too.

Amos with good sized spiker taken at 156 meters











Half decent stag seen recently but left alone.  He was roared in from some distance and has now just smelled the rat and is seconds away from high tailing it away.








16th May and it seems the rut is still going in some faraway places. This stag succumbed to a 165 Nosler Accubond at 180 meters whilst making advances to one of three females.

Every man’s dream- to cash in whilst pursuing one of the fairest sex

13 year old Declan Henry with his prize stag shot in a river bed from high above . The stag came in response to our roars.  He was slightly unlucky too as there were 4 hinds attended by a lowly spiker just up the way which we had sneaked past and would have been his for the taking had not the .243 spoke with such authority.

Declan sitting astride the beast where he fell

Dean with his second of three stags taken for the trip.  An overhead plane kept us in suspense as the stag blended in with the cover for some time before emerging out of the bush

Dean with stag shot from a branch platform a ridge away.  Rifle used was a Forbes 6.5 x 55

Arron with the rewards of the hunt.  The stag was on a mission to confront another of his brethren when intercepted by Arron and his Blaser rifle.

Arron with roaring red stag shot with a 6.5/284

Bewilderment and confusion reign supreme as these two register the disappearance of one of their number.  They sort it out in the end and exit the scene safely.


Battered ,bloodied and bruised but unbowed, Brent relishes the moment.  It is late in the day and there is more work to do and we know it ain’t gonna do it itself!……….

216 meter shot across a scrub infested gully gets it’s reward. Note the new Vortex binos used to good effect.

Brent Maxwell posing over a red hind shot at 162 meters with his Tikka 7/08.  His second deer for the trip and providing him with plenty of venison for his freezer




This years Xmas venison



Dean Lindon with stag shot en route for meat.  It certainly took the pressure off our food supplies for the next six days.




stag taken during the roar 2015. His demise from the gene pool is not going to make anyone grieve his absence.




David Haines with stag taken from 180 meters with .243 and 95 grn. projectile



A stag seen many times over the years and not getting any better antler wise- nor will it now!

xmas stag 2 12-17-2014_102935


A hind taken for meat in September  and it is the venerable triple two that has its wicked way once more.


This yearling taken for meat on a recent Chamois Hunt

165 Accubonds are not catch and release!




This boy was in the wrong place at the wrong time!  Cos he certainly ain’t no wall hanger.


More venison recovery this shot taken off my movie camera captures the second and remaining spiker gobbing off- not liking the fact his mate has just disappeared.  He is lucky he just doesn’t know it is all!

second stag 3 barks


A well executed    stalk and shot saw Paul down this young stag

Paul pose 3 cropped

[A trip beset with problems finally came good and the sun at last shone on the team.  Paul is a man to shoulder the heavy packs with and climb the high ridges.]

This stag was the mate of the “Lucky one” above Paul.

Too much guiding and not enough venison recovery saw me out to remedy the problem

Too much guiding and not enough venison recovery saw me out to remedy the problem


This is where I heard my first Red Stag roaring somewhere down in the low cloud. Photo was taken in the Tararua Forest park Main range between Maungahuka and Aokaporangi bivvy

These guys were photographed after I almost jumped on top of them in deep tussock. It was a mad scramble into my day pack to find my camera before they disappeared. “12 deer and a chamois” story has the full description.  Nelson Lakes.

Sako Vixen .222 is the rifle and it is a red deer hind in summer . Location would be the Tussock/Harkness area of the Kawekas early eighties.

This stag was shot in the late seventies when I was camped at Winchecombe bivvy in the Tararuas. He was hiding in a small patch of bush and after lobbing stones in and calling on him to put his hands up and that he was under arrest he eventually strolled out into the surrounding tussock.

There is a little spot just off the track from Neil Forks to Maungahuka that Gary Hansen once showed me while we were culling in the Tararuas. And this is it being as productive as usual. Hind and Bambi down and “Jake” inspecting the troops.

Red deer stag, Ruger .223 and “Jake”. Walls Whare region of the Tararuas meat shooting in the late seventies

This time it is a spiker and yet another carry out

“Max” inspecting a downed hind in Kaweka country rifle is the Sako Vixen

Red stag clobbered with a Mauser .270 in the Alpha area of the Tararuas

Ditto area from above photo with the same rifle. I remember distinctly that this was my first tail back on the job after a long xmas break in Australia.

Snuck up on this feeding hind in the middle of winter only for my auto camera to focus on the bleeding tree to the left !! Never mind I enjoyed the stalk and it’s a pity about the photo. I got more as she spashed across the river……

Watching the two escape after dropping the spiker with Sako Forester .308. Nelson Lakes.

Raging snow storm on the tops and I spied this Red stag having a siesta in more sensible weather and location…….Left him in peace.

This specimen tried to hide from me behind this big rock. Ask yourself?

Hind taken at 180yds

Just back from a three day fly camp on the tops and I have to report no roars or sighting of stags. I came out on April 1st………..mmm makes you think eh? Previous years I have found the roar to be well on the way from around the 20th March and even earlier !Full story below under hunting trips.

New country to recce in time of the roar

Young stag wrong place wrong time.

Young stag holding a hind and bambi in the roar of 2008. Came across them all feeding on avalanche debris regrowth.

Spiker taken on sheltered side of ridge.

Young deer selected out of four in September feeding on tussock recently realeased by snow cover.

One oclock in the afternoon…tut tut

Steep downhill angle and I held too low. She went down for keeps but no room for error. Silly girl should have had her head down at that time of day!!

Red deer hind on the brink

I managed to tail her before she went over the side. NZFS Kaweka ranges

This head fetched a tidy sum in the late seventies

Ting a ling went the cash register when this boy was seen. Not to be sniffed at in the seventies probably made more wages on this head , than I did all week at work.Vixen .222 is the rifle

Hind down; shot barely a hundred yards from flycamp

Red deer hind makes her escape across the river

Master stag and challenger are now out of the picture [literally

Hinds look back for the last time before exiting the high pastures in favour of the bush sanctuary.

Mother and yearling..”whats going on then”?

Spiker and mum disturbed by me whilst they were having a late breakfast. Better off here I would say as the adult men folk were getting a hammering on the tops by the choppers.

Lachlan Stewart with his first deer after a memorable stalk

Was an easy carry to the car

A bit further to carry this babe- so didn’t-just the best parts

He lies where he fell and must have had a few years of uninterupted “good life” going on his general behaviour- a part of it was obvioulsy the ole hormones playing up-being as it was that time of the year because the ladies were not acting stupid at all.

Yearling hind taken on an evening hunt


In New country and this animal was selected off a map!  Goes to show experience plays a big part no matter where you hunt

where he f

Taken after an unseasonal snow squall in the early morning

A long stalk was needed to take this youngster

The next day this yearling was selected out of three others for meat for the freezer

Feeding high up in the tussock

Animals feeding late in the morning after a couple of days of mist and clag

taken for meat

Young animal shot at 153 meters

Range was 311 meters

A yearling that loitered on the bush edge for too long during the roar and was taken for meat

providing meat for the chamois hunt

These two were spotted on the morning of the second day of my winter headskin trip-luckily for them venison was not on the menu.

Just goes to show they are not always on the  sunny faces !!

Yearling temporarily misplaced from momma pays the priceAnother yearling and much the same scenario

The glorious .222 with yet another tail

The deadly Barnes 53 grain TSX gains another notch of respect

Stag in velvet sampling the good life atop a spur early in the morning.  Took some photies-he might still be there !

This guy provided the camp meat instead

After a blisteringly hot day this guy came out in the cool of the evening.

Success at last

Hamish with one of the two stags taken late in the evening

He is the one who was holding the hinds in the foreground

A Spiker makes his escape from a high alpine basin in late July. His 6 pointer mate that was with him had already departed – I failed to film him as I had not pressed the “record button”-durgh!  Chamois were the target for the day so these guys get to stay off the endangered species list.

spiker 3


Some meat for the freezer- ya just have to go bush to be able to bring a decent load out

Snapshot 3 (3-01-2014 9-02 a.m.)








‘nother one bites the dust’…Stag where he fell after succumbing to a 53grn Barnes TSX



Matthais with his first ever Red deer

Venison sorted for the trip. One of six deer sighted

Venison sorted for the trip.
One of six deer sighted