Matt Rice (2)

I harvested this hind on Saturday morning, 3rd October at a popular Kaweka Doc Hut (fly in trip). It was a ‘lockdown delayed’ trip and just happened to eventuate on a Foundation organised Management Hunt weekend.

We had flown in a couple of days earlier and had spent most of the time in the open country, with relatively warm weather for that time of the year. A lot of country was scoped, right up until dark, with few animals seen in the open. It was still a bit early for that spring growth, but also the big ol moon may not have helped.

I spent this day in the bush aiming to get a meat animal to take on the trip out. While stalking up a mossy, open ridge, with the wind all over the show, I heard a wee yap just back behind me down off the ridge.

Creeping over to the side of the ridge, I felt a strong breeze blowing up and it didn’t sound like the deer making the noise was far. It was pretty thick, and I was hoping it would make a move for me to spot it, but I eventually got a bit impatient and crept in further.

It had stopped calling at that point. Fern (my dog) was indicating a certain direction also. Sure enough, I spotted part of it and went in even further to identify it properly. The whole time the wind was perfect, and it held its ground until I was able to take the shot.

She was in poor to average condition and appeared to be just by herself, with no sign of milk. There was a small foetus tucked away about the size of a small possum. I’d call it condition score 2, about 20kgs and her jaw was well developed and worn, picking 6 or 7 years+.

A look at her stomach contents revealed a mix of broadleaf and beech litter. There were some big broadleaf trees not far along the face from where we were.

It was the only animal we took in the end, but we all had an awesome time. There was a fair amount of birdlife in there – Tuis, Robbins, Fantails etc. I also had a Kaka fly over me and saw a pair of Whio in the stream just below the hut. We will definitely be back.

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