A week in the Poo.

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    Posted: 19 Apr 2013 at 6:46pm
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As soon as we took off I realized we were heading the wrong direction, Our Pilot said it was a nice day for a tiki tour and proceeded down the desert road, over kaimanawa road and tree trunk gorge, over the Urchin and past Umukarikari, up Little Waipakahi Stream. Radio in to Air traffic control “passing the needles block at 700ft”. We continued down the Rangitikei River, up Ecology Stream, out the top and over Te Wetenga dipping the wing so we could look down one of the tributaries of the Mangamarie river before flying down over the saddle along the tops to Makomiko and down gold creek before turning up the Ngaruro passing the Boyd strip, through Waitawhero Saddle and down the Oamaru river, over the Mangapapa Stream and East Creek before touching down at our destination for the week – Otapua Stream. What an awesome way to see allot of country on a bluebird morning!

 

I’ve hunted this block at various times of year previously and there has never been a shortage of animals. Last time a week on my own in August I shot a yearling and saw 14 other deer on my walk about, Beginning of March last year with my brothers we saw over 30 deer between us in two days.

I’d preached about this place to my hunting mates for the week, Paul and Anthony told them unbelievable tales and convinced them our freezers would be overflowing by the time the week was up. I should have known better than to count my chickens aye!

The Clearings were dry and brown, minimal fresh growth, even Stag clearing was brown. After a quick look over the handy spots for a deer I decided I would head off into the bush.

Jackson has been doing really well on the deer stalking over the last year, as you would have seen from my previous stories. He’s honing his skills and we’re beginning to work quite well as a team.

We were heading for the eastern corner of the block, having back up options to counter wind and time as I was unsure how long it would take. Heading in on the top track we reached the high point and Jackson was showing interest in the breeze, there was a track to our left and a nice open spur in front of us with the wind in our face, this wasn’t one of the back up plans but it would do for now. Hunting our way down the spur through nice open Beech, every leaf crunched, every twig crackled, nothing was quiet! The dog was still keen and as we dropped in elevation, a large clearing opened up to our right, Jackson would sneak forward in his not so quiet Labradozer way and sit while I caught up, he was telling me there was a deer close, real close, we waited it out and tried our best but I can only assume it had heard us closing in and made for safer refuge.

As the spur closed out and the bush deteriorated, I decided we’d sidle back towards where the track should be, as Murphy would dictate there was no shortage of fallen trees entangled in Bush Lawyer, with the dry conditions and the mid morning temperature already heading towards the mid 20’s it made negotiating this debris exhausting. Eventually we intercepted the track and going was easy again for the next 100m where the markers ended, a quick look at the map and a compass bearing had us heading in the right direction – 970m 86° and up 220m would place us on the middle ridge, there was no sense in hunting while there was no fresh sign and the animals obviously fairly close to water. In just over an hour we’d passed our point and had begun dropping over the other side, sign was abundant although the makers were absent. Jackson was keen on the ground scent but there was nothing on the breeze, we persevered for a few hours before calling it quits and heading for the hut arriving back late in the afternoon.

After bacon and eggs for lunch, I was ready to head back out for an evening hunt. The food and relaxation is my favourite part of a fly in trip and I always try to make the most of it. This trip I saved the team from a full week of freeze dry, just add water instant type camp food with home made venison sausages with real mashed spud, boiled fresh veges with cheese sauce, slow cooked venison shanks in a tomato puree on rice, and to end the week, hand cut fries and double crumbed and deep fried cubes of eye fillet, I let them sort their own lunches but the dog and I had a kilo of bacon and a doz eggs to get through so it was b&e pitas muesli bars and fresh fruit for lunch each day.

As each day passed still not seeing deer, I was imagining having to tell everyone that I’d spent a week in the bush and not even seen a deer. Ant had seen a hind and fawn on the southern end of the graveyard on Monday night, he and Paul had seen some goats on the runway, and another deer in the spotlight. Paul had seen 3 or 4 on the edge of the Manuka on his way to Cowboys clearing and I had seen a total of 0! Not even a crash of hooves or a squeal.

I was almost completely drained after a couple of very late nights, early mornings and enforced insomnia between the two. Listening to the 747 idling by the door at night and my big walk about during the heat of the day may have taken it’s toll too, but I wasn’t giving up yet! I selected a few essential items for my day pack and dragged myself to the top clearings yet again.

As soon as I reached the lookout I scanned the immediate area to spot a deer feeding less than 20m from where I had just walked through!!!  She was moving almost as quick as my heart was beating, and disappeared before I even thought about taking a shot, 10 mins later and this one moved demanding my attention,

With no rest and scrub in the way the best I could do was try and take a photo as evidence that I had seen at least one deer for the trip. She must have seen me move to put my camera down, as when I looked back she was also gone. Half an hour passed, continuously watching the area I had last seen her when I noticed in the corner of my eye something out of place, a deer in the stream having a drink, the rifle was ready to go and I had a good rest, she’d just turned slightly away, in behind the shoulder and out the chest on the off side usually drops them on the spot and saves all the useable meat. This time nothing felt good and at the shot she took exit left at high speed.

 

Once Jackson and I got down to the stream where the deer had been standing everything looked the same and there was nothing to identify where she had been exactly, the wet thistle seeds all looked like clumps of deer hair, there was no slip or splash marks to indicate where she had left the stream and most importantly no blood! I kicked some water up onto the bank and within seconds it had absorbed into the dry ground like a sponge. Walking up and down the middle of the stream I picked the most likely looking spot in reference to my shooting position and started a search, Jackson is usually great on the ground scent but even he was confused with the amount of fresh sign amongst the scrub. I walked back and forwards looking for any sign of a running deer, run marks, slip marks, fresh, bent and broken branches, blood, nothing! It was like the deer had vanished. Then as I decided to push back that little bit further I spotted a white rump on the ground, I was on my hands and knees crawling through a scrub tunnel, Jackon moments later hit it at full speed and gave it a shake! The shot was good and executed as planned, she’d only made it 25m before she’d expired. The blood had run down her front leg, which is why there was no trail to follow, and I found the projectile lodged in her Jaw, that’d make me run too!

After some photos and the dirty work I carted her back over to the track and climbed up to my look out and waited 45mins till dark, no more deer showed up and I made it back to the hut well after 10pm.

 

 

Finally we had something hanging in the meat safe and the other guys were keen to come up to the newly named “hotspot” early next morning.

Up before the sparrows could even think of farting we were fed and on our way back to the top of the block with Paul in front, under instruction that if I caught up to him I’d ankle tap him (how’s that for motivation) and we were there in no time.

Ant had decided he’d head back up to Cowboys clearing and check that out as the sun hit it, and while he had no luck Paul had spotted our first deer almost immediately, a small stag in velvet feeding through the turpentine wood clearings.  He wasn’t confident in taking the shot so I gave it a crack, unfortunately I hugely underestimated the distance and when we worked out the trajectory later my bullet would have hit the ground about 1m in front of him. Paul called a miss but I still headed up and spent over an hour searching for any sign of a hit, I just couldn’t believe I missed such an easy shot! Hanging my head in disgrace I shuffled back to the hut along through the top clearings and left Paul to it. He spent the whole day on the look out and managed to see another 6 deer, that’s less than one an hour! He did tip over another hind later in the day that Ant was there to video but that was to be the last deer taken for the trip.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFuv7Zw5pDw&feature=player_embedded

 

We had an awesome week, good food and great company. Swimming in the river most days to cool off and laughing over the ever-entertaining memories of past hunts and planning future ones.

Hunting isn’t always about the animals you shoot but the good ******* you share your adventures with! Long may it continue, cheers guys!

 

Working hard to get the easy ones.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote tugboat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2013 at 7:32pm
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Looks bloody awesome, im picking the huts quite close to the river?
Awesome clearings are they also close to the hut?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Blair_D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2013 at 7:49pm
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Yeah, it's an awesome spot! It's bordered to the west by Porinui and to the North by Lochinvar? then theres acres of manuka to the east between there and the Footyfield. There used to be heaps of deer in there, though over the last year Porinui has cut down all their trees and the deer like the new growth better next door  (i walked the polled route one evening in November and counted over 70 deer!) .
Depending on your fitness the Mohaka is between 15 and 45mins to the south, and Otapua Stream runs through the middle of the block about 200m from the hut at the closest. 
The clearings run up either side of the stream, closest to the hut is about 200m and it's about 30mins walking to the top clearing once again depending on fitness. 

Heli Sika operate these blocks now, if you ever head in there send me a PM and i'll pass on any helpful tips i have. 
Working hard to get the easy ones.
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Nice trip guys ,was tossing up about going in there soon that video just made my mind up looks like it could be a great mid winter spot . Some nice meat for the freezer 
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I was in there 12-17th August last year: http://www.fishing.net.nz/asp_forums/few-days-away_topic82378.html and it was hard work, saw a few deer but it's definitely not a mid winter spot. I'd aim for December-March for a freezer filling trip there. 
Working hard to get the easy ones.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Rusky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2013 at 8:03pm
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Choice as usual Blair! Thumbs Up  (14 more sleeps for me - not that im counting Wink)


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Cheers Adam. Where are you heading to man? 
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I'm bloody jealous originally from gissy you really do have it all with hunting /fishing crays ect good on has stuck in oz jim
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Your not excluded because you live in Oz Jim. Get yourself a ticket and get into it! Wink
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Originally posted by Blair_D Blair_D wrote:

I was in there 12-17th August last year: http://www.fishing.net.nz/asp_forums/few-days-away_topic82378.html and it was hard work, saw a few deer but it's definitely not a mid winter spot. I'd aim for December-March for a freezer filling trip there. 
Just read this, another bloody good report, is this the otupua hut as well, has the hut been upgraded?
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Interested why you say its not a mid winter block Blair .I know we only see a few photos but would have thought that with the bush right down to the clearings like that ,it would be ideal to pick them up on the edges catching the sun warming up and coming out for a sweet feed of grass . Shelter from the wind on the edges but plenty of good warming winter sun . Just my thoughts really interested in why you say it would not be a good winter block 
            
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Cheers we were over there in march but we did a different mission on the kingies but while I was over there was keen for a feed of venison but had to settle for king fish snapper mussels...I was surprised to be told that there's no deer left in the coromandel area that sucks!?
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Originally posted by tugboat tugboat wrote:

Originally posted by Blair_D Blair_D wrote:

I was in there 12-17th August last year: http://www.fishing.net.nz/asp_forums/few-days-away_topic82378.html and it was hard work, saw a few deer but it's definitely not a mid winter spot. I'd aim for December-March for a freezer filling trip there. 
Just read this, another bloody good report, is this the otupua hut as well, has the hut been upgraded?

Cheers Tugboat.
Yep both the same block. It was cut into two blocks about 20 years ago when ACT took over. When ACT lost the lease they destroyed everything they could and dumped everything else in the long drop! So the huts have all changed a bit and most have had a bit of a freshen up. Not sure what Helisika is doing with them but apparently they're replacing a few of the huts, i assume Oamaru private would be the first to be upgraded. I also heard through the grapevine they have a Squirell on it's way which will make flying around kit set huts a breeze Smile.
 



Originally posted by whiti-fisho whiti-fisho wrote:

Interested why you say its not a mid winter block Blair .I know we only see a few photos but would have thought that with the bush right down to the clearings like that ,it would be ideal to pick them up on the edges catching the sun warming up and coming out for a sweet feed of grass . Shelter from the wind on the edges but plenty of good warming winter sun . Just my thoughts really interested in why you say it would not be a good winter block 
            

They go off the grass over winter, it goes sour, they don't like walking on frozen ground either, if theres a frost or it's cold you'll find them where the sun first hits the hill (up high, not down low). Otapua stream is a valley and all the clearings in the video are on the valley floor. There are areas in there where you'll pick up deer all year round but it won't be as easy as shooting them off the clearings.

As i said, if you decide to go anyway, send me a PM and i'll give you some pointers and GPS marks to help you out. 
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Originally posted by jimreid22@gmail.com [email protected] wrote:

Cheers we were over there in march but we did a different mission on the kingies but while I was over there was keen for a feed of venison but had to settle for king fish snapper mussels...I was surprised to be told that there's no deer left in the coromandel area that sucks!?

Theres still reds in the Kaimais and Mamakus and Fallow a bit further West and South, and pork on Coromandel. I'd hope theres still a few deer on the peninsular quietly breeding up too. 
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Lets hope so eye fillet venison ....too much ...next time eh!
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nice report mate, cool vid too, lovin the dog and his bowl LOL how much training did you need to put in to get him onto the deer? i've got a 9 month black lab *****, takin her duck shootin this year but i don't really do enough deer stalking to get her trained i don't think, cool to have a companion on solo trips tho
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Cheers Prozac, Tugboat asked a similar question about the Lab in the Woodhill thread i'll quote bits out of there to save me some typing - 

Originally posted by Blair_D Blair_D wrote:

Originally posted by tugboat tugboat wrote:

Nice mate where did you get him??
Hows the dog been going for ya, how longs he been hunting?

Dogs going good, he'll be 5 this November. Been hunting with me since he was 12 weeks old. We're just starting to understand each other now - he's getting onto more deer than me.                                                        

Originally posted by Blair_D Blair_D wrote:

Originally posted by tugboat tugboat wrote:

Which mag nz hunter?
Sounds well earned mate awesome hunt, jezz the dogs take a while aye, id love to get one i never realized how long they take before they work well. You dont just by a dog off trademe and go for a hunt aye, takes alot patience 

Either NZ Outdoor Hunting or NZ Guns & Hunting. 

To be fair the first deer i shot over Jackson, he was about 6months old. 
First one he tracked on his own, he was closer to a year. 
First one he put me onto that i wouldn't have got without him he was 2 years. 
Since then we've been shooting about 8-12 deer a year. 
I'm sure the progress could have been quicker but i'd never hunted with a dog and was pretty fresh myself, so it was a big learning curve for us both. 
 

Jackson loves retrieving ducks! never trained him, he knew exactly what to do like it was programed into him! But with the short season, new rules and bull**** i'm not going to bother this year. 

If there was sound on the video you'd hear me saying "good girl, good pig, good donkey, good horse ect" You can see him anticipate the command but he won't touch it till i say "good boy" He'll leave his dinner half way through as well if i tell him too. He brings me his bowl when he's hungry or thirsty - if there's beers in the creek he'll bring me one of those too Big smile.

He's a real character, i've put more time into him in the last 4 1/2 years than most people do for their kids. 
Working hard to get the easy ones.
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Haha that's awesome, they really are mans best friend, hopefully my girl will go good on the ducks once she gets the hang of it, will take her out chasin pheasants too and try get her onto some deer if I can
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Heading to Otupua at the end of the month. Hunted it for the first (and only time) about 5+ years ago. Spent a few days hunting the gully and ridges NNE of the hut. Came across one good open face, But keen towork out where the clearings are on the block. TIA
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