Just recently I went for a quick overnight solo mission up a big valley east of the divide. Having never explored this valley, my plan was to spend the evening cruising around to try and locate some mobbed up bulls.
Heading out when you know the forecast is for worsening weather and that it’s already pissing down on the West Coast always gets me a little dodged out about those big East Coast rivers. Some seriously strong wind gusts made the glassing pretty unpleasant and trying to use the spotting scope a nightmare. As you can see from the below video the waterfalls were defying gravity.
The usual hour or two before dark I started to see a few animals and finally found a mob of 10+ bulls with a couple that looked worthy of a closer look. Quite a way off to the side of them was a lone ranger bull that really appeared to be solid and mature, the wind just made it impossible to be sure.
Spring Bulls – We all know that this is a great time to be able to compare bulls and really pick out the big boys. But it’s also too easy just to shoot the biggest bull without thinking too much. Biggest or not you’ve still got to decide if that bull fits with your objectives. There’s no point in adding yet another 11 or 12 inch bull to the collection just because he was the biggest in the mob. And let’s not be greedy, there’s no need to shoot more than one bull just because you can. All you’re going to do is make the struggle home even more real.
The plan was to start climbing at first light. So after a super windy night with a bit of rain I was up and heading to cross the river at an easy spot I’d already picked out where the river splits into 3 braids. Crossing the first two braids I knew the river had come up quite a bit, crossing the 3rd one was still on but certainly was going to be a bit of an undertaking. I could see that it was still raining in the headwaters and wanting to spend a good 4 or 5 hours on the other side had me pretty concerned about the return journey. Getting myself and the dog across at the moment was going to be tricky enough, so after a bit of deliberation it was back to pack up camp and come up with another plan.
Around 100 people drown every year in New Zealand, about 30% of these involve rivers.
With not much of a “B” plan in mind and being quite tired from a windy sleepless night I started to slowly head home doing quite a bit of glassing along the way. Seeing a few animals, but nothing on the public land that was worth chasing.
Overall even though my plans were spoiled by the river it was still a worthwhile mission getting to see some new country. It’s a bit of a no brainer to not push the limits with rivers, especially hunting solo.
Check out the below clip of a mob of bulls. The zoom on the Sony WX-500 blows me away for a camera you can fit in your pocket.