Freezer Fillers

Spring is a great time of the year for gathering all the delicious wild foods New Zealand has to offer. First on the priorities list is filling the freezer with venison, which is a must have for any respectable hunters summer BBQ's.

Having my brother home for a few days I managed to jack up a new spot rumoured to have a few deer poking about. After the  3am start to make it up the hill for first light, found that we were completely fogged in was a little disheartening. Hunting the open Central Otago terrain is extremely challenging with next to no visability.

Patiently we waited in the tussocks praying for the fog to lift. Soaked from head to toe and no sign of the weather clearing it was time to pack it in and head for home. As we trudged back down the track we were lucky enough to spy three deer in a most curious place. Out in a dam three deer were happily swimming around without a care in the world.

Thinking this would be all too easy we planned a stealthy approach. Despite our best efforts to come in under the radar the deer knew something was up and exited the dam making a swift bee line towards a tight gully. Thankfully a quick change in tactic and we were perched on an intercepting ridge just in time to see them emerge below. A barrage of gun fire from the boys, two red skins down and one for next time scampering off up the gully, perfect!

Two velveting stags in prime condition, obviously thriving on the new spring growth. After forcing the boys into a photo shoot I gutted and packed the deer ready for the young bucks to shoulder up and head for the truck. Thankfully it was all downhill from here and despite a wee roll around in the creek it was  a fairly easy pack out.

The goal of this trip was to fill the boys freezers,  and a couple of fat young stags have certainly done just that.  Now we can spend the rest of the year focusing on finding mature bucks, bulls and stags.  

Meat is a main driver for a lot of kiwi hunters,  we always try and get this job out of the way in the lead up to christmas and in area's where we can get the whole carcass home.

The boys made a valiant effort getting the stags off the hill and before long we were on our way home. Hunting is the easy part, caring for the animal and butchering it tidily is a timely tedious process but well worth the effort for a full freezer.

Cheers to Jamie and Bradley for coming out for another successful hunt looking forward to the next one.

Jason Searle