With the 338 EDGE up and running and some drop chart validation work done I was eager to head out and knock something over. Not any old thing, definitely not a goat so I settled on Red deer as a worthy quarry.
was all keyed up to go but pulled out at the last minute as he had housie or bridge to play, soft.
My mate Matt 700LTR
was keen and being between jobs helped with the short notice.
The block we wanted to go into was unreachable due to treacherous road conditions, even with the chains on I only got an extra 3 metres up the steep slope so we changed plans and did a walk in with enough gear to camp out overnight.
We headed up the river and up a big leading ridge to find a campsite in the next catchment, by now it was 1pm so we had a feed then set out to do some glassing, Matt had forgotten his binoculars but it didnt matter as we worked hard glassing from numerous rocky outcrops and saw nothing but a handful of goats. Somewhat dejected we headed back over to camp. By now we had waded through huge patches of Matagouri so were cut up and it was only going to get worse
The only problem with flycamping in Winter are the long nights, by 6.30pm I had finished tea and it was getting cold so I hit the scratcher, a twelve hour sleep only interrupted by Matt who cut a few trailer loads of wood by the sounds.
Morning finally arrived and we broke camp, taking our packs out hunting with us as it was in the general direction of the truck and would save a return trip up the steep ridge. We found a primo lookout spot and began glassing in earnest, nothing but lousy goats which were simply not worthy for the EDGE to pop its cherry on.
The sun hit the opposite face and I scanned each section of ground as the sun struck it in the hope of picking up a deer. One and a half hours later I was convinced we were going home empty handed. I checked a nice face for about the 5th time when I saw a red hind pass over the top, we got the rangefinder out and it read 800 yards or thereabouts, trouble was she was on the move and getting further away every second. It became apparent that she must have been wintering in the bottom of the gully and was likely disturbed by our scent carried down by the katabatic wind shift. Soon she was out at 1000yds and with no sign of stopping we discussed the merits of crossing the deep gully below us in an attempt to get a closer shot. We lost sight of her and while making up our minds I noticed a stag on the face where we first saw the hind, he also was on the move and did not stop, eventually lost sight of him in the rough area where the hind was up valley.
We were both keen to race around a few ridges to see if we could catch up. We ditched the packs after crossing the first creek then climbed the steep ridge to avoid some nasty bluffs. After 3/4 of an hour we found a great lookout and recommenced glassing. There was alot of country visible with plenty of Matagouri so I did not hold much hope of catching up with these two again.
After ten minutes or so and the continuing Katabatic wind eagle eyes Matt spotted the hind bolt out of the creek and up the opposite face, she never stopped and disappeared into a crappy gully about 500yds away. I set the rifle up and then we glassed hard looking for her, I think the cunning old bag holed up in the thick stuff.
We both then spotted the stag come out of the creek, again it appeared as if it was disturbed by the katabatic wind movements. Not wanting the stag to disappear where the hind did I ranged ahead to a patch of manuka that the hind had ran past. The distance was 437 yards so I adjusted the scope up 6.00 MOA, zero windage.
Just before staggy hit that spot I yelled out "Oi", after a few steps he stopped in his tracks. Aiming on his shoulder I sent a 300grain SMK on its way. He jumped in the air and kicked his back legs out indicating a heart shot, he ran off not looking too good on his feet.
Matt could spot a massive blood trail which was visible in the binoculars at that range. He went about 25 yards in a circle before cartwheeling backwards into a heap. Yeehaa!!! but in the end it was just a chip shot for the EDGE
View from lookout, stag was in centre by patch of Manuka
Following the bloodtrail, he didn't have much blood left!
We picked up the stag which was a small but even 8 pointer and dragged him out to an open piece of ground free of that cursed Matagouri! The exit wound was impressive and it was clear that penetration was not a concern
The EDGE with its first
After a few pics we set to work and hooked out the backsteaks, we then boned out the back legs and got ready for the long walk back to the truck, via our packs
Matt in meat extraction mode
This cheeky bugger and two of his mates were checking us out from the ridgetop at 569yds. Still not worthy!
All in all a great trip away, bring on the next one