Well after our great walk last weekend the young fella and I decided to go back up the hill for a early morning wander and see if we could work out what the stags were doing as I was so puzzled last time out.
we got our gear ready last night and dragged our sorry butts out of the flea scratcher at the ungodly hour of 4.45am and parked the car at the base of the hill by 5:30am not bad going I thought. I strapped on my racing bullers and away up the loopy track we headed in the moonlight. The young fella took the lead and it was a pleasure to see(well sort of anyway it was black as the inside of a cow in places) that he was confident enough to stride off up the trail. We left the torches off and made good time up the hill. about 30 mins from the car I gave a low groan through the roaring horn and bugga me daisies I got a reply from further up the hill, not a earth shattering roar just a short quiet moan.
woo hoo finally a south island stag who will talk to me
Ive been down here since 1990 and thats the first wild stag Ive heard
. when he let out a secound groan I had a fair idea where he was so we raced off further up the track to get above him as I thought as it was just on sun up the wind would soon shift to an uphill breeze
not even Al someone forgot to tell the weatherman that part as the wind stayed the same way all morning. nevermind we moved around abit and stalked around below where we thought he was. about every 30 mins we would hear a single moan but that was it
and he wouldnt reply to me again either
never mind we kept the ol chin up and kept trying to locate him. up and around we went to a wallow from last week and a moan floated down from above us and a little around the hill
we stalked uphill and thought we had him pinpointed but no joy either till I looked down and found a 40" cast antler which is huge for a red stag. 5 points and it was on the way back as the tops were not as good as they would have been on a younger animal. the cast could have been there for 3-5 years as it has some moss on it but is still very solid and heavy as my lad can tell as he carried it all the way home
. we now had two noise makers as we raarked up the odd tree with the antler aswell as roaring to try to get a reply but to no avail as the stag had shut up and didnt moan again
never mind we kept stalking around as the bush is primo country, not too steep and quite open manuka/kanuka type bush with plenty of feed underneath we came too a good roaring pad with heaps of tucker for the hinds to eat and reakon that the crafty hua must have been there when we first heard him. we found a complete stag head well both antlers and skull were there and we could put them back together it was a good head too 11 points with good size but abit uneven. that had been on the ground for a long time as it was green with age n moss but with the cast antler shows the bloodlines must be good in the area.
we stalked right down that spur and when the young fella started to drag his feet I called it and headed the huge 100yrds back up onto the loopy track and we headed home. we were never more than 5-600yrds away from a busy tramping track that gets used most days of the year. we will get back up there for another look as its just such an easy place to get to and doesnt look to have alot of hunting pressure. the boy was chatting all the way home and has his cast antler to show for the day. we had a ball I just love taking my kids out in the bush I just hope I can get an animal before he looses interest not that he is showing any sign of doing so. we got home by 12 noon just in time for the great easter egg hunt.