View Full Version : Advice on hunting stags in thick bush

phil mcwilliam
April 21, 2008, 03:59 AM
I was hunting sambar deer(between red deer & elk in size) in a thick scrub gully in alpine country. I heard a noise down gully & had stalked within 15 yards of the noise.It was then that the branches of a tree in front of me started to move, as a stag thrashed its antlers on the far side of the tree. Because of the dense scrub around the tree I could not see the stag. The wind was in my favour but the last 10 yards to the tree was lightly covered. A faint game trail led from the thick scrub where the stag was thrashing its antlers, right past me. I decided to stay put & wait & see if the stag would proceed along the trail towards me so I could take a shot. After a minute the thrashing stopped . I purposely broke a stick ,hoping the rutting stag would come to investigate. I then slowly stalked ahead through the thick scrub to the far side of the tree, but the stag had gone. Judging from the height of the rubs, the size of its tracks & the size of its droppings ,I had missed out on a big one. What should I have done differently?

April 21, 2008, 07:50 AM
Probably very few here have experience w/ that type of stag. A few questions came to mind.
Was it during the rut? If so, then your idea of simulating another stag with the branches might work. More aggressively perhaps?
At 10 yds, my experience w/ elk is that once you've gotten that close, if the shot does not present itself by his movements then you are probably screwed. Any movement by you will most likely be detected causing him to leave.
Is there a female noise you can duplicate to bring them in? Works for elk.
Lastly, the idea of setting up on a game trail is a decent one. It would require a lot of time in the field scouting for the right spot though. If in an Alpine gully as suggested then you would have open country around it to set up an ambush also. Might have to have a helper drive them out though.

April 21, 2008, 10:01 AM
Another think that will work for Elk, But not as well for white tail is to move right in on them, Be ready for the shot, and remember anything a bullet hits will affect its flight path. A shot that you might think couldn't have missed, could happen in just a few feet because of interference with brush.
The 12ga. slug is the most forgiving load for brush hunting "IMHO".
Shooting through twigs (pencil size) was tested in the video "Fire Power"
even the .50BMG would tumble after hitting twigs. I do not remember if the 12 gauge was tested.

Lawyer Daggit
April 21, 2008, 10:32 AM
It is hard to say- as soon as the Stag became aware of you were done for, as you are aware, they have a seeming ability to melt into thin air.

I agree with the idea of waiting by the game trail and trying to ambush him.

Without giving anything away in respect to this big Sambar's domain, are you nunting in N Victoria?

Jack O'Conner
April 21, 2008, 02:32 PM

I snuck up on this elk bull last September. He was more interested in thrashing the tree than anything else. But I had no license for this zone and was unarmed.

If the animal is not observed, there is nothing to do except wait for a shot. I'm not sure if red stag calls are available commecially which replicate their roaring and challenging sounds.


April 21, 2008, 05:10 PM
Wow thats a great picture!

phil mcwilliam
April 22, 2008, 05:07 AM
Yes, elkman06 it was during the rut. Although unlike most species of deer I hunt, Sambar will rut at different times of the year, but in my experience the first cold snap brings them on. The only female sambar sound I know is similar to an airhorn, and as an alarm call I think that would scare a stag away at short quarters. I've heard of hunters hitting old antlers together or even grunting, but I don't know how these tactics would have worked. Gbro, I would have moved in, but the final yards would have been impossible to move through silently. I guess I'm just frustrated at being close enough to hear a stag thrashing & snorting & then have him vanish on me. Yes Lawer Dagget, I am hunting in the Victorian National Park,(licenced) about 10 miles in a straight line from a ski resort- forgive me if I don't provide a map.
I keep telling my mate we are wasting our time hunting in such thick bush, but occassionaly we get lucky. The attachment shows a Sambar stag I took a few years ago in the same area, & gives some idea of the thick bush I'm refering to.

April 22, 2008, 03:10 PM
Nice pics Phil and Jack,
I would say patience will be your best friend here. Raking antlers and or sticks can sometimes bring elk right in. I wish I had harvested every bull that I have been that close to. Sometimes the shot just doesn't present itself. We tend to hunt elk about 20-30 yds apart so that the caller(behind) can bring the elk in closer to the shooter(up front).

April 25, 2008, 06:58 AM

That's pretty heavy brush; a lot like many areas in Alabama.