Chapter two, shooting the breeze

kiwi hunter

Well-known member
Jul 21, 2013
My second try for a bull tahr with a recurve. Halfway into my camping spot I took a rest up on a hill and sat facing the large valley bottom that I normally rest at by a wee brook, and right where my resting spot is where a group of 18 bull tahr, mainly younger age, they were milling about, possibly discussing my bad odour. Now this did not look good for my hunt, at least that was my opinion.
I'll just go to the highlights as my memory is a bit deflated. First day I chased a bunch of bulls in the matagouri(unfriendly stuff), I did one and a half circuit of the valley and on the second merry go around I spotted three bulls up on a open terrace, so I should be able to get very close by keeping below the terrace level, and so it transpired, I got to around 11 paces, drew the bow and the bull walked forward behind some tussock and a small matagouri but I could still see his middruff and instead of waiting for him to walk out into the open I felt positive and let drive, God only knows where the arrow went but the bull took off like the devil on his tail, he stopped around 50 yrds away and I couldn't believed that I might have missed and fully expected the animal to keel over. His mates vacated after the target and they zoomed off across the creek and up the side of the mountain, certainly no indication of a hit there. So I missed at point blank range.
Ah well let tomorrow be a better hunt. I had mentioned in my last post that I needed to be up on the right hand side of the range umongst the flax. So climbed up there and spend a fair bit of time sunbathing a seven deer hinds had positioned themselves very well to repel invaders. Now there is one mini gutter in there the seemed to attract good mature bulls, there were three there. After the deer fed below me a couple of the bulls wondered away separately leaving the desired animal still hiding in the crack of the hill. Up the hill I went but unfortunately the wind picked up and all my hard work revealed Nada.
Now at the base of the hill is a lovely little terrace and on it was a bull all alone, a doable stalk right there I say.
I sneaked down the watercourse and up under the beast to pop up about 14 paces from my intended kill. I missed the first one and again I missed the second go as well, now most sane people would smash their weapon to bits but not me, a sucker for punishment. I had a good look the bull and somebody had taken a shot previously taking one eye and one horn from him. I can't even kill a halfblind animal. Never mind there are still a few days to go and up and atomant.
Next morning at daylight I snuck up the valley
To just miss out on putting a stalk on two deer. Whilst standing under the matagouri to break up shape I spy with my little eye a bull above me heading around the side heading towards the forks of the creek, but no he put on the afterburners and crossed over to the other side, climbed about 70 meters to a high bench where by the looks of it there was delicious short sweet grass and herbs. I laid out the topography in my mind, and marked a flax bush my target. I got there but my clothing made a scraping sound and he was onto me but not too overly spooked. I could watch him thru the flax. Got my feet right and drew back as I raised my body to clear the flax with the arrow but it wasn't the best of situations, still I figured that the arrow would slink thru a bit of tussock and I'd have my bull in the bag. Now how the hell do you miss a target at 12 paces when yesterday I was drilling the bullseye at 17. Mutter mutter.
This fella didn't hang about, last seen mountain climbing at speed.
Ahnever mind there's time still, if I can drill the mark at 17 I must get a connection next time for sure, come on nobody can be that bad surely?
It rained that afternoon and thru the nite but cleared before daylight and froze the sox and water spots on the tarpaulin. I hugged my sleeping bag till the sun hit camp and then jumped out to stand on the terrace above camp looking around, at one stage two birds come screaming over from the other side of the valley, ducking and diving, the second one being about twice as large and intent on a warm breakfast, they went around me then headed back to the other side but the pursued one turned back and dived under the tarpaulin, so there im not the only one to miss out.
The falcon flew up the hill and hopped on a rock hoping his prey would leave cover.
So I'm on the hill now watching the animal movements, after a while I returned to camp and grabbed my gear. I wanted to go up the valley and come in behind any bulls the came down to the bottom for the sweet grass and whatnot, but unfortunately the wind came up again so I climbed up on a spur and sat around for a bit then as my eyes started to droop inmade my way down to a single matagouri tree and had a kip there.
I need a break here.
I believe this is how you ramp up the suspense, after the nap I sneaked to the edge of the terrace which gave me command of the creek bottom below, lots of tussock and matagouri with pockets of lace bark trees and some bits of clear areas. The wind was still being a pig and looking upstream I see three bulls hightailing for the hills. Not I need to say that I'm pretty deaf and tahr make a whistling sound as a warning sign but it's too high pitched for my ears to pick up, but the actions of other animals tells me what's happening. Now looking downstream I see a lone bull, a tailend Charlie, coming out to the grass erea but quickly diving back into the brush. He did this several times but something was annoying him, this would of been the three bulls up the hillside whistling. I was praying that he turned around and came back up the valley as all signals were saying it was too dangerous downstream, and lo n behold he heard me. Now I shall describe this animal, he was my answer to a traditional hunter, good bases, wide up top to the tip of his ears, and about 13 inches in length minimum.
I slithered my way down to the bench on my bum till I was out of sight, ran about 75 yrds and nocked an arrow, went into sneak mode expecting him to come along the base of the terrace below me, the tension was enormous, I kept bobing to the edge but no bull, there was one wee lip from his area to mine of about 1 1/2 metres, I couldn't see him but the I smelled him, where or where could he be, there right in front of me in a hollow behind a small bush. I jumped down below the terrace lip and got set up keeping an eye on my bull of lifetime, as I saw him push his had thru the scrub and just about hoist his body up onto the level I'd been on I foolishly stood up drawing my bow back, so here he is about to step out of the crap onto a nice clean area and as soon as I stood up he stopped in his tracks half covered in matagouri, I could still see a good portion of him just that some scrub covered the critical area. With a compound it would been easy to hold and hope he exposed more but how can you miss at 10 paces, well I can actually start writing a book on missing a short range. He took a hurried sprint to the back of the terrace and stood in the rubbish scratching his head as to what had just happened, I waived my glove at him from my crouched position, but after a while he starting heading upstream, now at the end of the terrace it narrows and has a nice little clearing so as he's strolling I'm running below the lip of the terrace and get there first, I jump up but this time wait for him to clear the matagouri, he takes two steps forward and stops right in the clear at a frantic mind calculated 25 paces, so here I will tell a story about a problem some of us suffer from, it's called premature release. The bull departed into the scrub and im sure I heard a snigger. I found the arrow, about four yrds in front of where the old boy had been standing.
Did I smash the bow, no of course not, there was another day tomorrow.
For an evening hunt I went downstream after deer, the wind was still a bummer so I went right down and come up the base of the hill that had good clear and patches of matagouri. There were two deer up on the side about 20 yrds but had the drop there. I sneaked up under the bank in cover of the matagouri till coming to a clear area.
Last bit I promise.
So here I be down on one knee watching the lovely grassy area hoping a deer walks up to within shooting distance but no. It's a stupid young hind walked out onto the riverbed at 70 yrds and it's all open as and mainly gravel n rocks. She picks here n there and then starts coming down to me, there was a wee depression just before me but unfortunately no growth there so so walks right up keeping an eye on the optifade clothed thing. She stops to my left at 90 deg but as i slowly start to raise the bow she shoots off back upstream to tattle tale on me. It's not often 20 deer single file up the hill at 70 yrds.
I decided then and there to walk out next morning before getting into more embarrassing situations.
But the good thing is I'm still capable of getting close to a quarry and at 74 still can hunt alone. Got to be positive.
It sounds like an amazing hunt even if you haven’t connected yet. Good luck!