|December 1, 2009, 04:38 AM||#1|
Join Date: January 6, 2005
Location: NSW Australia
Petes New Rifle- First Deer Hunt
the first part of this epic has been moved to the "Art of the Rifle" category. Probably because it didn't have any hunting in it Anyway, this part of the story will be different, it has hunting.
I've covered the part where the rifle and caliber were selected and how Pete strove for ultimate accuracy out of his new rig. This part deals with his first deer hunt. Pete has primarily hunted wild pig in Australia. He's got an agreement with a few property owners out in the west of New South Wales to hunt on their property. To take advantage of this, Pete will drive for between five and six hours to get to his preferred locations and either use a hut on the property or sleep in his swag. For the uninitiated, a swag is like a sleeping bag made of canvas that rolls up for portability. Modern swags are like personal tents with a small roof and insect screen around where your head is. Pete has taken many many wild pigs, primarily for trophys or simply as a pest control. In the process of looking for pigs, he's also dispatched numerous foxes, goats and feral cats. An example of the latter was stuffed and mounted and sits on his living room wall!
A few years ago, a new type of hunting license was introduced in New South Wales called an "R" license. This license permits licensed shooters to go into designated state forest areas and hunt selected native and feral animals. Pete obtained his some time ago and chose an area of state forest not too far from home to mount his first deer hunt. This would also be the Sako's first outing.
Pete chose to go alone, mainly so he could take his time and do things the way he likes. Even though it was cold and raining when he left, he was undeterred. On arrival at his destination the weather hadn't changed one jot and it looked like he'd be in for a pretty rum time. After the trip I remember him saying "the weather doesn't bother me if I'm out there hunting. I just don't think about it".
Having studied up a bit on Fallow Deer, Pete set up camp and then headed off on the trails to see if he could get a feel for the area. He came back hours later, soaking, cold and hungry but better informed. Whilst out in the forest he'd heard and seen nothing of an actual animal but he'd seen the signs of them. With night approaching he cleaned up his gear and made a meal before turning in about eight or so.
The following day, he headed off early to walk the trails again. After covering a few kilometers, in the rain, he remarked later that he knew he'd chosen the right gun, it was a good field gun, light and easy to carry for long periods. Pete was really hoping that a full day in the field might throw up an opportunity or two but it was looking pretty hopeless by mid afternoon. But as he came over a rise he spotted something exciting. A couple of prongs sticking up from the grass in the distance. Going in to stalking mode Pete approached with maximum stealth.... it was working, the prongs were still there... he approached more closely and had a peep through his binoculars, still there! More ground was covered and the distance became shorter and shorter but still no full view of the animal. "It must be lying down" he thought. Closer and closer and then
It was already dead
It was a carcass, a week or so dead, of a decent buck with a fairly decent rack that someone had just left. After this disappointment, Pete headed back to camp and had a re-think of his expedition. No sign of any live deer, just this dead one and the rain was still coming down as a cold, irritating drizzle. Even Petes stoic "weather be damned" resolve was crumbling. So he cut his losses without ever firing the Sako and headed home.
So the first trip was a bummer but the next one , in spring, turned out very differently.
"A firearm in the hands of a citizen is a danger to government. A firearm in the hands of a criminal is of benefit to government" Anon.