Red Stag Re-Cap

For anyone who purchased the “Queens of Camo” 2015 calendar, the following story goes with the picture featured in August, which is myself, and my New Zealand Red Stag. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted for me. My friends, family, and even people I don’t know helped to “share” and “like” my picture, which in turn, has brought me to this website where I am so very lucky to now be a part of the QofC team. I am honored to be able to share my stories of not only my hobby, but my passion, with the very people who helped me get here. I appreciate every one of you! Thank you!

Lindsay Fraser is the man behind Fraser Safaris; a meticulously run outfitting lodge near Christchurch New Zealand. Lindsay would be the one taking me on what turned out to be one of the most memorable hunts of my life. As most of my “Non- Canadian” hunts, I was part of a planned group trip with 5 friends. Day one was spent sighting in our bows and getting used to the guns provided by the lodge. I was using Lindsay’s 25-06 instead of my crossbow as I didn’t think I would get a successful shot because of the steep, hilly terrain. Lindsay took us touring around the area, showing us hunting land options and looking for stag. When we were spotting stag antlers without the use of binoculars, it didn’t take long for everyone’s excitement to build! After we got a feel for our surroundings, we headed back to the lodge to have supper and one more good night’s sleep to recover from jet lag and to get ready for the big days ahead of us.

The second morning, after we had all had a coffee and packed some lunches, we headed out along the neatly manicured, winding roads. Eventually we came to a vibrant green meadow that stretched out for miles until it reached the base of a very steep, towering hillside. (These are some of the same mountains that provided the setting for the “Lord of the Rings” movie.)‎ ‎ Without even glassing the area, we could see the shine of two sets of antlers in the grass about 400+ yards up the hill. Lindsay and I were both watching them through our binoculars and discussing their attributes. They were both nice stag, and both would score well over 350. ‎ Lindsay told me that either stag would be a great option and that if ‎I decided to try to hunt one, we could begin the hike to attempt to get close enough for a shot. After a bit more discussion, and the option of not one but two amazing animals, I decided that there was no time like the present and we headed up the incline to the right of the stags. I was quite focused on the stag on the left as he was a bit more unique and not so “typical”.
**One thing I will interject here, is that there is no treadmill in North America that adjusts to match the incline of the hill angles in New Zealand. And if I ever go back, I will be taking cleats or spike shoes of some kind!**

‎ We made it about 150 yards in the direction of the stag when they both became aware that they had company and stood up. This gave us an even better view of what they had to offer. I still preferred the one on the left so we carried on just trying to move fast and stay low. ‎ Although I cannot say how long it took for us to get on a level spot within shooting range of the stags, I can say that it was a sweet relief to be able take my pack off and sit down! The stags were below us now in a valley that spanned over 100 yards. The “right” stag ‎was heading up the hill at the base of the valley, and the “left” stag was no longer visible. I instantly felt discouraged, and thought that I had lost my chance at the stag that I had my heart set on. Panning from the higher bull and back down trying to find the lower one, proved to be futile. My attention turned to the higher bull, he was a good size too, and would also be a great “first” stag. We had had a bit of a rest and caught our breath to get ready for more climbing. As we stood up, movement below us in the valley caught our attention. It was the stag I was looking for! We crept low up a small hill to where there was an area of tree cover and glassed him again, he was close to the bottom of the valley heading straight for a draw that would bring him directly across from us if he stayed on course.

After a few minutes, the stag started running. If he made it over the next hill, we would have to hike all the way back down into the valley and up the other side. We would be lucky to even spot him again after all of that. Luckily for me, he paused on a ledge and looked around. I had the rifle ready with my crosshairs on him and decided that now was as good a time as any to take a shot. I pulled the trigger and the bull began to stagger, he tried to continue up the hill but fell a few steps later! After a huge sigh of relief on my part, a series of hand shakes and high fives, it was time to go check out this beautiful beast. (Funny how the backpack and rifle sling didn’t seem to be as heavy as they were twenty minutes before! ) When we finally reached my stag, I was overwhelmed with how thick his horns were. He had really thick bases, and no broken points‎. To me, he was the perfect bull, but I may be a touch biased in that department! We moved him to a spot that wasn’t so steep and set up for pictures before we started the big job of getting him out of there‎. (It was about this time when the rifle/pack got heavy again!) I couldn’t stop smiling the whole trip back to the lodge! The guides scored my stag for me, and 383 was the final verdict.

That night after supper and conversation by the fire place, I laid in bed exhausted and wore out from the day. At the same time, I was excited for what was in store for the rest of the week. I still needed to climb those hills once again to go after an arapawa ram! ‎ ‎
I would like to give a kudos to Rion White of Orion Taxidermy in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for capturing the beauty of my 2013 New Zealand Stag in an awesome shoulder mount that I display with pride in my home.
Photo: Lindsay Fraser and I with my 2013 Red Stag.

Jan 27, 2015 | Category: Blog, Deer hunting, Sherri's Corner | Comments: 1

 

One comment on “Red Stag Re-Cap

  1. Jesse

    Well written piece, but did you get to shoot any orcs, balrogs, or even a hobbit? Those would be some trophy pieces.

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