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Been a busy few weeks Part 2.
So, there we were cutting up the last deer and hatching our plan.......
It involved removing distractions like the 'meet and greet', the 'pre hunt ' hunt with the kids etc and going back to the basics.
Sunday morning BH texts the owner to tell him we would be up after lunch and also to say that we would head straight up to where we planned to hunt and that we would call in at the house on our way out to say hello. There are 2 ways to get to the rear of the farm, one involved driving past the house, the other involved driving up the northern boundary to a position where we could stalk to where we knew the deer would be heading to in the afternoon..We took the northern route which involved driving up the steep northern boundary to a position where we would have about a 2k walk to the chosen area. The weather gods were smiling as the wind was steady from the east which meant that we would have the wind in our faces once we started walking.
After parking up we put our packs on, loaded up the rifles....( Both 7mm08's) and commenced our stalk to a bushy knoll that overlooked a horse arena that had a crop of Plantain on it. The stalk commenced from the time we took the first steps away from the Suzuki. Although we split up somewhat to check out all the gullies and basins we remained within touch visually and communicated with hand signals. The stalk was designed to bypass horses and cattle and minimise our presence to other wildlife like peacocks ( which when disturbed, let out a piercing call to alert all other critturs that something was afoot). We finally got to our Bushy knoll, sidled around it under the cover provided and located ourselves on the eastern side of it with the sun behind us and the wind in our face. Even managed to find a gap in the tree canopy which allowed us to lay down in the sun. Our stalk was so effective and stealthy that we had rabbits and parakeets within a few yards that were completely unaware of our presence. Here is a pic of the area looking west.
The big dark bushy knoll is the one directly behind the horse arena which is marked with white markers and we were about half way up it in the centre. Behind me when i took the above pic was a belt of Pines where we knew the reds would be laying up.
Here is a pic I took from the eastern edge of the horse arena looking east........
Both pics were taken after the action was over btw. ( Apologies for the quality as I used my cellphone......at least I didnt get my feet in the second pic lol)
By the time we got set up it was approx 3.30pm and we knew that the reds were in the habit of coming out around 4pm. All conversations were carried out in whispers and we took it in turn to cover the approaches with our bino's. At about 3.58pm BH nudged me with his elbow and pointed at the edge of the pines which were about 280m away............and there was a Red spiker standing just on the edge next to a pine tree with his nose in the air scenting and looking around. He stayed there for 2-3 minutes and then slowly walked towards us. He cleared the 5 wire fence nonchalantly and slowly walked directly towards us. I remained focused on him while BH continued to scan the pine tree edge. Again Bh nudged me with his elbow and whispered that there were 2 more reds about 3 rows back in the pines just standing and observing the area. I continued to watch the spiker which seemed hesitant but not spooked as it made its way towards the arena. The 2 in the pines moved slowly from left to right but stayed in the pines. When I finally picked them up in the bino;s they were stationary and although they were some distance away we could see that they were much bigger than the spiker. We had already ranged the area while setting up and I knew that the far edge of the arena was 108m away from our position. 4-5 minutes later the spiker had closed to within 10 metres of the arena fence where he then stopped. In the meantime, the 2 in the pines had their survival instincts working overtime and decided they didnt want to hang around. ( Not sure if you guys know this, but older bucks and hinds often send younger animals out first while they sit and watch to make sure everything is safe) The 2 in the pines disappeared from sight and the spiker turned around to look back to see where they were.
By this stage I had my rifle on my pack and closed the bolt fully and lined up on the spiker. He stayed still long enough for me to reposition my pack to make it steadier ...........and holding on the back of his neck, I slowly squeezed the shot off............
The sound of the shot was echoed by the sound of a good hit, and at the shot, the spiker reared up in the front and fell over backwards. A couple of kicks as his muscles relaxed and he was ours. While I was watching him approach he looked quite ragged and skinny but after we collected our gear up and walked over to him he got bigger and fatter until when we got to him we revised our opinion of his physical state.
It took both of us to roll him over.The 120gr psp had struck exactly where I intended it to, about halfway between his head and shoulder on his neck and dead centre.
We faced him downhill and cut his throat then I 'pumped' his back legs a few times to force blood out of his neck arteries.......bit like giving CPR. We then field dressed him, found a stick to hold his stomach open and dragged him into the shade of a lupin bush to let him cool down.
Here is a pic from the spikers position as he approached the bushy knoll. As you can plainly see, the position of the sun and shade gave us a perfect spot to sit........and despite all the rumours, conspiracy theories and official reports, there were two shooters on the knoll!
Part B to follow...........
Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....