View Full Version : A Saturday Morning Deer Hunt

05-01-2011, 09:43 AM
It's been over 2 years since I've been deer hunting. My Game Council Restricted Licence lapsed and although my rifles are more ready than ever the family and a lack of access to deer properties has also been a factor. Then at a party on Thursday night a mate who has teased me with pics of tons of deer invited me to go with him on Saturday morning. No licence and a new baby meant I said no sadly.

But when I told the missus she was amenable so long as I wasn't away for a weekend. And on Friday morning it suddenly came to me that the Game Council will do express processing for people wanting to hunt. Sure enough I called them, the emailed me a renewal form, I filled it out, scanned it and sent it back and by 5pm I'd been emailed a letter of authorisation to hunt. I love the Game Council. Unlike the Motor Registry and the Tax Department and almost every other government authority, whose job it seems is to obstruct and infuriate applicants, the Council wants to HELP hunters do what they love.

But I digress. So I called my mate and it was on! I'd like to say I was quickly organised and got plenty of sleep ready for the 4:15am pickup on Saturday morning. I didn't. Our new baby girl wasn't keen on settling, it took ages to locate all my hunting gear after moving house last november, and then my 3 yr old son woke up at 3:15am screaming from a nightmare and took half an hour to settle. But, 1 1/2 hours of sleep under my belt I jumped in and we drove out.

The prediction said rain 60% and only 1mm but it drizzled all the way there and continued to until about 10am. A heavy mist was also sitting all over the fields. It was encouraging to see a herd of a dozen does with a buck as we drove in the back way to the property but first light came later because of the heavy cloud and mist. When we finally got out it was really wet under foot and my boots and the bottoms of my pants were soaked in about 15 mins. Fortunately I was wearing excellent socks and good thermals so I wasn't cold.

We stalked along and glassed about but there were no deer to be seen early on. We did get within 10 feet of a fox before he suddenly realised we were there and ran like crazy. It's good when you get that close as it means you're being stealthy but the poor visiblity and lack of game in the locations he's seen them numerous times before was disquieting for my mate. Plenty of roos but nothing else.

Here's my mate, camo'd up. The poor visibility is obvious.

Throughout my mate was saying "This weather is a pain and so is the mist." At that point, having remembered my past experiences in the field, I said "Ummm, sorry, you brought a rain god hunting." We both had a chuckle and then began to climb to higher ground in the hope of coming across bucks on the high ridges. It was a sod of a climb and slippery the entire way.

Roos in the mist.

Yours truly camo'd up.

Heading up the ridge.

We finally got to the top of the main ridge and took a break for an apple and a drink. It was surprisingly windy despite the fact the mist was still solid and it was cold right up there. We then hiked along and around 11am the mist began to lift.

Finally a good view as the mist disapates.

I was surprised to see how high up we really were. But my feet were now completely soaked and my socks were rubbing my right heel and forming a blister. Constant glassing revealed nothing but roos and even when the sun finally came out around midday there was nothing. Tons of droppings.....sheep, roos, wombats and deer, but no game. My mate had a bit of a tanty at this point and stomped about in frustration but nothing came up. He even apologised that he's misled me that nailing a deer would be easy and that it was his fault. I was philosophical. I've come back from a number of hunts with zip and it's good exercise and always educational.

So we turned and began to work our way back to his truck. Then, in the broad sunlight only 200m away from the truck we spied 3 does in a treeline only about 150m away. I dropped onto my butt, stuck my 8x57 on the shooting sticks and had a bead on the biggest doe ready to drop it. My mate said "Woah, woah, just let them settle....." and then they fled up the hill and crashed away into the timber! :rolleyes:

I turned to him and said "Y'know how before you said it was your fault I hadn't shot a deer? Well now it's STILL your fault I haven't shot one!" :grin: He shrugged and smiled sheepishly. But I wasn't infuriated or frustrated. And he was perplexed as to why we'd only seen 3 deer in the light and they were skittish as all heck. So we trudged back up to the truck and took a load off and a long drink.

He said "How about we drive about and see if there are any about you can shoot?" At that point the fatigue dropped on me and between it and my blistered feet it was almost too much for me to get out and open gates. I kept nodding off and could barely hold a coherent conversation. My mate said if he hadn't known I was so tired he would've thought I was drunk. But we found roo carcasses without legs all over the place and it was clear what the problem had been. A professional roo shooter had been out during the week, banging away and killing roos all over the place to stop them eating feed and getting meat for the farmer's dogs. The deer were terribly spooked and although none had been shot they weren't hanging about.

So we'll head out in June and try again. I actually really enjoyed the morning. We did a hard 9km up and down hills in 7 hours and with packs and rifles. Based on the amount of wildlife which wasn't spooked we moved quietly and effectively. You can't pay for that sort of exercise. I also proved to my mate that I'm a safe and thoughtful hunter who doesn't complain or chatter. I've spotlighted with him before but on foot on his property it's a different situation and that can be a deal breaker. Plus he now feels he owes me a deer. ;)

05-01-2011, 09:26 PM
Good story Kombi.

Mystery to me why he had you hold when you had not seen that much all day.

05-01-2011, 11:52 PM
I was a tad surprised too. But he said afterward that in every other experience the deer there had settled. He was really stunned when they suddenly ran.

05-02-2011, 12:40 PM
as usual, a good write up my friend. Glad you got out with all that is going on!
I dropped onto my butt, stuck my 8x57 on the shooting sticks and had a bead on the biggest doe ready to drop it. My mate said "Woah, woah, just let them settle....." and then they fled up the hill and crashed away into the timber!
I still cannot wrap my head around that! what did he mean by settle? up in my parts, you shoot when you get the bead on them or you may not get to shoot! I would also think you are experienced enough to make that decision yourself my friend. BUT, a good time was had by all. although, there certainly seems to be alot of whining about all the walking you did:greentongue:, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt:yes: At least you will get to go again. God Bless.

05-02-2011, 03:53 PM
I agree with David. Another great Kombi thread. You write well and take some beautiful photos Kombi.

I am not suprised that you were able to sneak up on the game you did see - I was struck by how effective the camo gear was; the grey toned camo your friend was wearing was a particulalry good match to the background in the photos you posted.

I noticed the time of the original post - little girl not sleeping eh?


05-02-2011, 06:53 PM
It did sorta surprise me when my mate told me to hold but usually the deer calm down and go back to feeding. We had no idea until later on why they were scarce and so skittish. He was also concerned that one at the back was a buck and that I nail it if possible. I had the benefit of seeing clearly through the scope and that made a lot of difference. When he dropped over yesterday out of the blue he was still annoyed about the morning and said next time not to listen to him and to drop the bugger. He also gave me a great Leupold range finder that he says he rarely uses now. So I can't be mad with him. Not only did he take me to his secret access property where only 1 other mate has gone, he's generous to a fault. I didn't even mention in the first post that he came over on Friday arvo with a $40 roll of his own camo tape and helped me cover up the shiney stainless bbl on the Mauser.

The camo was quite effective. Like my face mask? A square of woodland camo drill cloth bought from Spotlight (a fabric shop) with some twine on each corner and tied behind my head. :D The pullover was made by my mum with fleece fabric bought from there and I have enough of the drill to make some pants or a bib & brace. My mates gear is Real-Tree I believe.

The post time doesn't really reflect any thing but that I'm a night owl but no, Tia is not sleeping well, at least not during the day and evening. She's lucky if she sleeps for more than an hour and can't be happy awake. It's pretty tiring and the missus is wondering if she has a sore tummy. Pray that she settles. We're both getting fed up.

05-02-2011, 07:00 PM
She's lucky if she sleeps for more than an hour and can't be happy awake. It's pretty tiring and the missus is wondering if she has a sore tummy. Pray that she settles. We're both getting fed up.
that certainly can be tough my friend! all 3 of my boys got up every two to three hours of the night for almost the first year of their life, and all they wanted to do was eat. I can only imagine every hour. You have my prayers! God Bless.

05-02-2011, 07:16 PM
It seems to be ok at night but it's the fact she can't stay settled for more than about 15 mins. My 3 yr old isn't helping. She was in one room asleep and I heard her make a little sound and then he was being silly and jumping up and down so that ruined any chance of her dropping back to sleep. And our almost-2 yr old has decided that he doesn't need an afternoon sleep. He yelled the place down at everything. Your busy and he comes up to you with a little car and pushes it at you. You say "That's nice, I'm just a little busy, I'll play in a minute," so he screams like mad. Then you put his sandwich on the wrong place on his plate....so he screams the place down. Or you put too much or too little juice in his cup. So he screams the place down. See a trend? Finally my wife said "Right, yell or not you're going to your bed." Well, he yelled, but after 10 minutes of earsplitting screaming all went quiet and 2 hours later when he got up he was tons happier. But it doesn't change the fact that his crying upset Tia every time.

05-02-2011, 07:49 PM
Ah the joys, it will all work out. You have an uncommon Missus with some common sense.

As to the mate he does sound first rate.

05-02-2011, 08:57 PM
My missus is a "top bird". I was punching well above my weight when I married her. This was her logic on me going hunting on Saturday morning:

"While it's good to have you home because 4 little boys and a baby are a handful anything that cheers you up is good because it makes you happier around the house. And if you're happy then things are much easier."

I ask you, how many wives would prescribe to that? Most of my mate's wives, nice as they are, just say "Suck it up and stop being grumpy - you're staying at home because they're your kids too." Truthfully I wouldn't have minded if the missus had said "No way, Jose'!" but I'm always a ton happier, even when I come back with nothing.

And yeah, my mate is top guy. He's single so he has a lot of time on his hands and hunts alot. But whilst he loves his hunting it's quite obvious at times that a nice wife and a couple of kids are something he'd prefer over unlimited hunting time. I'm very aware how lucky I am in that department. Even though 2 of my sons have Autism Spectrum Disorder and tend to live in their own little bubbles God has really blessed me and I'm constantly thankful of the family and lifestyle I enjoy. I should really endeavour to act like it and be a bit more cheerful.

05-06-2011, 01:40 AM
Sounds like a good day out Andy.
And it's great of your good lady wife for approving the leave pass too.

From my own experiance hunting fallow, letting them settle mean letting them get away! :antlers: Be quick on the aim... and quicker with the trigger! . If they suspect anything they will run. Probably didn't help having the place shoot up before though.
Get out again and see how you go. Is the rut still on there?

Jorge in Oz
05-14-2011, 05:47 PM
Great story and pictures Andy. Deer hunting is very exciting and the fact you only get one shot, it is also very challenging. It has taken me four outing before I scored my first deer. I quickly posted my hunt and didn't realise you had been out also. I didn't take many pictures when I went out as my friend moves at a fast pace during the hunt and there was not too much time to take pictures before the first stag showed himself. As 22hornet said quick on aim and quick with the trigger is the way to go.