With the current winter conditions and a generally not so friendly snow pack down south, we thought the timing of this video was quite good.
Tahr hunting can take you into some pretty serious terrain. It's one thing to be an experienced hunter, but it's a whole other game having an understanding of the objective hazards associated with alpine travel.
Most hunters at some point will end up learning the hard way about shooting animals in unretrievable positions, and even after that lesson it's still easy to misjudge the terrain and do it again. What happens next is usually walking away pissed off at leaving an animal on the hill, or hanging on by your finger nails scaring yourself stupid. Most people will usually only do the scare yourself stupid bit once.
The below video shows a bull of a lifetime in some super serious terrain. Filmed and narrated by Hugh Bagley, it really highlights the type of predicament you can easily find yourself in.
Everyone has different abilities and comfort zones and it's all too easy to get excited and all of a sudden find yourself well outside your comfort zone. With most alpine hunting injuries and fatalities being the result of a fall, it's pays to have a healthy respect for the terrain, gear required and your own abilities.
-Plan your hunt well, there's no way you want to be in terrain like this with darkness approaching.
-Have the right equipment and know how to use it. The usual bush hunting gear probably isn't going to cut it if your caught out in a storm on the tops, get the best apparel you can afford. An ice axe AND crampons are a basic necessity in alpine terrain (and not the little instep type crampon's, these are better suited to icy car parks). If you need the tools then look here https://shop.pointssouth.co.nz/collections/black-diamond
-As always be prepared. A PLB and enough gear to survive an unexpected night out is simply a no brainer.
-Objective hazards. Whats above and below you? Rockfall potential? Avalanche conditions? And are the conditions changing as the day heats up?
We found a good example of this early in the 2016 rut when we climbed up a bunch of steep country at first light and in firm snow. The day turned into a scorcher which completely cooked the snow pack and had roller balls running all over the place. We had no choice but spend the day on safe high points and ridges until the temperatures dropped again and we could climb down just on dark. Without understanding the significance of the cooked snow pack we could have very easily found ourselves in a bunch of trouble.
Another classic is that spring avalanche cycle, we've all seen the piles of debris and smashed up trees and scrub. Most of these avalanche paths will run every spring, and you don't want to be climbing that gut when it does.
If you missed the above the snowline NZHunter episodes, they are really worth a watch. These boys show pretty clearly the skills and gear required to move safely in that type of terrain.
If your looking to start venturing above the snowline, the Mountain Safety Council is a great starting point for information on some of the courses available.
Check out the snow conditions and weather before you go Avalanche Advisory
At the end of the day it really is just a shaggy goat and certainly not worth risking your neck over.
Stay safe out there