NZ mountain hunt. 2 weeks by backpack

ozyclint

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Apr 27, 2012
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gday folks,
myself and two buddies, paul rea and mark pitts recently returned from a pack in and out tahr and chamois hunt in may. we hunted the west coast of the south island of New Zealand.
WOW, we had a great time. it was 100% better than last years trip. we went to the same catchment but hunted a different range than last year. saw heaps of chamois but not so many tahr. they were further along the range. however we still saw some and i made a couple of stalks and got to within 20 yards both times. story later. overall weather was good. got fogged out few days and a couple of days of snow and rain.
we are yet to swap pics via sending each other CD's of burnt pics. when i get them i will post some up. paul and mark might chime in too with their own stories.

may i start with just one picture.
it says a thousand words..........


more to come.............
 

Jager

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Beauty pic mate, NZ's game animals certainly live in amongst some brilliant country. The mountains of the West Coast are hard work, but well worth the effort.
 
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ozyclint

ozyclint

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last year we walked along a trail by the river but this year we headed up a side creek to get to the tops. it took us 2.5 days to get to the bushline and start hunting proper. we saw chamois in the creek but it isn't very trad friendly sort of hunting. the bush is super thick and the terrain in the creek is boulders and boulders. rifle and wheel bow guys hunt successfully in the creeks but you only see fleeting glimpses of chamois usually so it makes it hard for us.
this is us ready to roll. the destination is the background. from left- myself, mark and paul. some of these pics are theirs so credit goes to them also for the pics.



which way?
just keep going up.


this is the creek we walked up. lots of boulder hopping and scrambling. it's way steeper than it appears, about 30-45 degrees.


this is a swing bridge on the trail up the river. awhile after this we went up the side creek. no more trails for 10 days until we returned.


pushing to the tops



camp the 2nd night, still ascending the creek to access the tops above the treeline.
 
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HellsCanyon

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What a way to spend some time with good buddies! Thats better than any backpacking Europe trip I've ever seen.... ;)

Mike
 

Rick Seymour

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Awesome. :)Did not see where you had your stick in that first photo. :rolleyes:What you shooting? Also, does some government come up and check out the bridge yearly or is there a sign "Cross at your own risk!!:p Keep it coming..................and thanks
 
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ozyclint

ozyclint

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yes rick the DOC (dept. of conservation) maintains the trails and bridges on their land. i failed to mention this is a public land hunt, all you need is a free permit. we all hunted with trad bows. i had my bob lee recurve, mark had his ACS longbow and paul used a stalker longbow.

some of the chamois we saw in the creek on the way up the mountain.



here's another pic i like. it was a clear moonlit night on the 2nd night. i played around with the time exposure function. this is a 5 minute exposure, no flash.





we made camp in the tussock at the end of the 3rd day. a quick peek over the ridge behind camp revealed a nice bowl. who should be there.... mr bull tahr, catching some rays before the fog rolled in. (center of the pic)
 
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ozyclint

ozyclint

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returning to camp after a days hike to some tahr. got to within 20 yards of a mob of 6 nannies and one good mature bull. getting a shot proved unfruitfull. my only cover was a knife edge ridge. i was stuck behind it at 20 yards. the only way to get a shot was to pop up from behind a boulder, totally skylined. they were either going to stand there for a second and let me shoot or flee.......they fled. it was an awesome experience. the terrain as usuall proved to be the hard part. getting close wasn't the problem if the topography allowed. once you were close enough it often worked against you. getting into an undetected shooting position with a stickbow in this kind of terrain is often impossible. but if you keep putting yourself into the right places at some stage the planets will come into alignment. determination and persistance...........



this is me all rugged up ready for a days hunting.


mark takes in the scenery.



this where we camped as viewed from the ridge above camp. the tents are circled. it looks alot like 'machu picchu' i reckon. that's what we called it.
this is the view of camp as seen from my position in the previous pic


mark on top of machu picchu.



this lot of pics will have to do for now. plenty more to come and it gets better....................................
 

Becca

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Awesome pictures and story! Some parts of NZ look alot like Alaska...we would love to do a trip down there someday!Thanks for sharing with us!
 
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ozyclint

ozyclint

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paul taking in the view. his KUIU gear is perfect camo for this rocky country we were in. he is very happy with it too.


we'll just stalk in and get him right. WRONG. try getting close to this fella. the have a habit of bedding in postions that are very difficult to approach.


mark called this guy his nemisis.
he hunted him for a few days but things never worked out for him unfortunately.


tahr country-
this is the big bowl i walked across to go and stalk some tahr that i glassed. they were in the saddle on the far side. as i said on page 1 of the thread , i got to within 20m of a good bull but couldn't get a shot. i experienced the very essence of mountain bowhunting that day. the weather was perfect, the terrain a challenge, the quarry was without equal. just me and the mountains and that animals that live there. i was one very happy hunter that day.
this is looking towards where the tahr were from the ridge above camp. i got my tahr stalk on the ridge line that goes up from the left of the saddle. the tahr were on one side i was on the other.


this is looking back to where the previous pic was taken. camp is beyond that ridge. i was sitting in the saddle having a bite to eat.



one of the 2 young bulls that i glassed originally from the ridge behind camp. when i got over there i spotted the mob that i had the stalk on.



i had plans of hunting this area quite a bit over the course of the trip but after that we had a few foggy days and plenty of snow which made the trek over there too dangerous. there where a few gnarly sections in order to get over there and fresh snow and wet rocks that get frozen and covered in ice completely changes things over there. even snow on the tussock was slippery. what took you an hour yesterday in good conditions now takes 2 or more hours.

oh well i suppose i should hunt chamois instead..............
got to love the choice over there.

more to come, stay tuned..........

BTW, we are interested in what you think of the terrain here. is it simliar to mtn goat country over there? from pics i've seen of sheep country and from what i've seen of bighorn country in BC, near fernie, NZ is steeper and rockier. simliar to the goat country i've seen in the purcell mtns in BC but generally steeper. the valleys are narrower in NZ from my experience. over there you have big broad valleys. in NZ it's like you have a wall either side of you.
 
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westcoast

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Mar 6, 2012
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Great pictures Ozyclint. This valley is 40 minutes from my house. Your summary of New Zealand landscape is spot -on - take Alaskan landscape and squeeze like a concertina and you have Nz's westcoast. ( I have been to Alaska several times) By the way I am a very keen bowhunter and have helped quite a few overseas bowhunters have success locally on deer, tahr and chamois. If anyone has any questions or wants to organize a hunt feel free to send me a message- bruce
 
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ozyclint

ozyclint

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and on the 9th day we awoke to a fresh fall of snow. the weather had cleared, a welcome change to being fogged in like the previous 2 days. it was time to hunt and hunt hard. when the weather is good you must hunt. i was not going home without having hunted as much as i could. a year is a long time to wonder if i could have done more. if the weather allowed i was out there.
i had ventured far from camp over the last few days and today was no different. we had been glassing chamois the entire trip on a ridge across the face of the range we were on. none of us knew what lay beyond. all we knew was that there was always chamois over there. i decided to make a day of it and check it out.
the snow had made the tussock very slippery and it was hiding the holes between the rocks and clumps of tussock. i slowly made way down and crossed the head of the creek that we had walked up from the river bottom. then i made my up the ridge that the chamois we could glass from camp would appear from and dissappear to. my anticipation was high as i poked my head over the ridge.

more little spurs and ridges. this looked more like trad bowhuntable country. it was more broken and not so open like the bowl we had been hunting where they can see you a mile away. every time you looked over the next little ridge or in the gully you might see something. the sort of topography where you could poke your head over a ridge and if you don't see something you walk a few hundred meters and check out what is over the next one.

i slowly made my way to the next one and peered over........
straight away i laid eyes upon a lone chamois only 40 meters away. i dropped back over the ridge in suprise. "whoa, this is the real deal" i thought to myself. this could be the best chance i might get.
i dropped my pack and made a start at getting close. i had to climb down some monkey scrub down a 2 meter drop off to get on the little spur that led down to where the chamios was. once there i snuck down through some knee high brush while it was out of view in a little rock slip. i got to about 20 meters from where i last saw it then waited. i caught it's movement up towards me then it came into view and i could tell it was a nanny. then it slipped into the tussock again and out of sight. i kept trying to find her but i couldn't see her moving. then i caught movement. i almost got busted as she had fed up towards me up another little slip. she looked my way but turned around and fed back down. now or never! she was at around 13-15 meters quartering away at a steep downward angle, about 40 degrees.
i hit her a little far back than i wanted and she ran off and stood on a little knob at 30 meters. i had another shot but missed. she took off again and pulled up about 60m away. by now she was getting reluctant to move and i managed to get in and put another shot on her. she trotted off about 10m and went down. i got in closer still and not wanting to take any chances on what could be a once in a lifetime thing i put one last arrow in her chest.
then it hit me, there was a dead chamois at my feet. i couldn't believe it, a dream had been lived. i knelt down beside her, placed my hand on her soft tan fur and took a moment to give thanks to her and the mountains. the mountains are often reluctant to share their bounty and when they do it's special.
this was something i had dreamed of doing for years. more importantly i did it in the manner that i had always wanted to do it. packing in and out and with a trad bow.



glassing-

 
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ozyclint

ozyclint

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915
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Queensland, Downunder
everything has to have 2 uses on a backpack hunt into the mountains. marks descent to the snowline was made fast and easy thanks to my bow limbs.



the walk (pronounced scramble) out.


a comfortable camp.


we shall return............
 
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