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A Good Day in the Urewera: by Bill McLeod

19/06/2021 11:13 AM | Bob McMillan (Administrator)

We had been hunting in the Maunganuiohau for a month or more. When we first got into the bivvy Kelson and I discussed which areas we would work in as the only efficient way to hunt was to split up. Kelson said he would try the area immediately north of camp. I chose what turned out to be a very ordinary spot, over the Otaunoa range on the upper slopes down to lake Waikaremoana. The climb to the top of the range was a bit of a gut buster. Took me an hour and a half when I first started but my times gradually improved to where I could do it in twenty minutes when I went hard. I got a few deer but Kelson was ahead of me with his tally when we changed areas. He hunted south while I dropped off the range further north of where he had hunted. My tally immediately improved. I was enjoying my hunting.

 One day, after a quick climb onto the range, I looked for a feasible route down the scarp face. The scarp face provided very few opportunities to descend, what wasn’t vertical was overhanging. Found a way down and started carefully hunting through the bush. Saw a deer in a little clearing, made the shot. A deer sprinted away to my right and disappeared into the bush. Carefully following where it had moved, found a blood trail so tracked it down through thick bush.  Found it. Tailed it then looked for the bullet wound. In the shoulder. Funny, I aimed for the neck.

Went back to where the deer was standing when I shot and there was another deer, dead as. The shot was in the neck.  The second deer was behind the first when I fired and I didn’t even see it. Beauty, two tails, one shot. Impressive for the little 222.

Hunted down the same ridge and saw a movement. Yep, it was just a bit of a deer’s head, a long shot for in the bush. The ground between me and the deer was all wrong for stalking in on it so I had to try from where I was. Standing shot, open sights on my rifle and just a tiny patch at the back of the deer’s head to shoot at. Make your best effort. Made the shot. Nothing. Scrambled round to where it had been, found it dead as, clean head shot. Tailed that one. Made my way across the next big gully to a ridge. Followed that and saw an open clearing, quite extensive in size which was very unusual for this part of the Urewera. Across the far side of the clearing saw two deer. This was a long shot but I couldn’t close the gap because they were in the open. Careful bead, made the shot. They both bolted off but I saw my one had been hit. Went across and tailed that one. Four for the day. Dropped down to the river terrace and started making tracks for home. There was a blazed trail from our bivvy down to the river, just a few knife hacks into the odd tree, and I was hoping to cut onto that. Making my way over a bit of a hill, a deer popped up in front of me. Shot it and some more popped up. Got another one. Tailed them then put the pace on. Thankfully, cut the blazed trail then climbed up the ridge to our bivvy. Was an excellent day and put me comfortably in front of Kelson in tally which I kept up till we finished the block.

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