James Grant

With empty spots appearing in the freezer it became imminent a hunting trip was needed, the date was 08/09/20 and the weather was spot on- cool temperatures with no wind.

I picked my boy Logan up from school early and we scooted up to the western edge of the Ahimanawa range for a poke around.

There was a small bit of deer sign present with fresh prints finally spotted in the soft damp soil and five finger plants freshy chewed Infront of us – enough to keep our senses on full alert.

After an hour of careful bush stalking had past, I had just lifted my right leg over a fallen ponga tree when Logan whispers “Dad, dad, dad”.

I slowly spun around to see him eagerly pointing across the gully into a small dark gut. He had spotted a deer walk through a small opening.

We waited patiently and sure enough a hind emerged, browsing as she went. We had time to have a look around her and it soon become clear she was alone.

She finally presented a nice clean kill shot and she was taken without any issues. After the shot we sat quietly for 5 mins to see if any other animals broke cover but there seemed to be nothing else around.

                                       Logan sitting with our prize

As we arrived at the hind it was pleasing to see she was in good condition with a nice filled out body and a plump arse. It was great to inspect our quarry properly and have my young fella involved to check out the animal more intensely and the surrounding area we harvest our meat from- as I would normally have a quick butcher up and move on, probably missing a lot.

She had a dry udder with no milk present, her winter coat was in superb condition and obviously kept her toasty warm throughout winter helping her hold weight.

With no yearling at foot or close by she may not have had one last year- maybe explaining why she was doing well, on the other hand her yearling possibly became the victim to the last poison drop as we came across two rotting deer carcasses lower in the valley or hopefully another hunter harvested her.

I’d put her condition at 4.5 out of 5 with a light layer of fat over her hind quarters and a nice amount of fat surrounding her kidneys.

She had a foetus the size of a medium sized possum on board.

There were a couple of marks within the uterus but to be honest I struggled to be certain that they were birthing scars.

After removing her jaw and inspecting, we put her age at 3.5 years old.

We had turns at lifting the carcass and put her weight at around the 40kg mark.

Inspecting her cheek pouches showed a bright green leaf looking similar to broadleaf- we followed her animal trail back from where she appeared and there was a lot of small broadleaf seedlings chewed down- her paunch was full and looked like a mixture of broad leaf and fresh leaf litter.

So, to some up this hunt we enjoyed studying this hind/area in detail- we believe she was doing very well considering it was the end of winter, the area is holding a good amount of food and shelter for the amount of deer present.

She will be turned into some prime summer BBQ steaks.

Thanks for reading

James Grant

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