Hunting has always been a huge focus for me, I was born into it and I'm no doubt going to still be doing it as long as the body will allow. Having been reasonable successful over the years, my passion has turned to introducing new people to hunting.
There is a tendency with hunters as they become more experienced, to focus more and more on achieving their own goals like getting a certain sized bull Tahr for example. Well here's a challenge, why not take some time to introduce someone new to the sport? After all, someone took the time to introduce you to it right?
The rewards are still there, you may even get more of a kick out of than you think.
Over the past few months I have been working alongside my buddy Drew McBride to get 'Poppy Hunter' into the hills chasing animals.
Poppy kicked off her transition into hunting with style, taking her first deer with a beautiful 280m shot. Although we couldn’t trick her into taking a few nibbles out of the heart she didn’t hesitate to throw the deer on her back, refusing any assistance on the way back to the truck. Needless to say she received the nod of approval from the boys.
Recently Poppy hit a milestone celebrating her 30th birthday. This got Drew and I motivated, the idea being to get her into Thar country before those hips give out as she’s not getting any younger! (sorry Poppy). So it was set, we loaded up the trusty Hilux right on dusk and made the journey up the river to Station hut. By the time we arrived the girls were half a bottle of wine down, the cards came out and going to bed didn’t appear to be an option.
Having spent half the night arguing over who was the king and who was the asshole I was the only one out of bed in the morning tracking down Tahr. They didn’t take long to find so I began the task of kicking everyone out of bed and strangely I enjoyed the obvious pain last nights card game had caused some people.
"There's no better way to shake off a bit of dust, than climbing directly up the nearest steep hill side"
We drove down the valley a little way getting on the right side of the wind. From there we snuck into a tight gut concealing us from the Tahr and began the journey to tops. Drew and I agreed it was probably best not to let on too much about how high the animals actually were. Determined as hell Poppy pushed herself to the limit getting up there, climbing in that terrain is no easy feat.
We pulled off a perfect stalk, the Tahr were only 150 meters up the hill grazing away oblivious to our approach and all Poppy had to do was pull the trigger. I set her up on a rock to gain some elevation over the tussocks whilst Drew sorted through the bulls finding the big boy. Once Drew had picked out a suitable target the 7mm spoke and the projectile found its mark sending the bull down hard. Hi fives all round we cracked it!
I could tell looking through the binoculars that he was a very mature bull. Poppy had just earned the envy of practically everyone I hunt with claiming not only her first bull but a 13 inch monster at that. The reality of what Poppy had just accomplished all but went over her head having no notion of how sought after these big mature bulls are. I feel it’s only fair for Drew and myself to claim half the bragging rights on this one.
After forcing Poppy into a photo shoot we sent her scurrying off down the hill to tell Courtney all about it. Despite not being in full mane yet we all agreed this one was going on the wall so with Drews assistance we carefully caped him out. The thickness of the skin on these beasts makes it particularly hard to make long consistent clean cuts. For any future Tahr hunters out there it pays to be prepared for this as you don’t want to mess up a nice head skin by not having the right tools to do the job. Having a way to touch up your knife is a dam good idea.
We took the stroll down the hill pretty casual it was still early in the day and where in the world would we rather be. Poppy didn’t even make the Omarama pub before her exploits were published on Facebook trolling every hunter on her friends list. Chuffed with her achievements she couldn’t stop banging on about what she wanted to hunt next. I do enjoy introducing other people to hunting but I'll have to admit I'm a little jealous of this one. Congratulations, maybe you can guide me on the next one!