Well as some on AHN know I’ve just been on a trip across to New Zealand to hunt red deer. This trip came about after discussions with ‘the Hossack’ co-owner John Angland, who I met at the Wild Deer & Hunting Expo at Rutherglen in February. He extended an invitation to spend a few days with him to experience hunting at the Hossack, and an experience it was.... My trip has only just been completed in the second week of May and the red ‘roar’ had just finished a week or so before my arrival.
This is a large cattle and sheep property, 20,000+ acres, that has been for quite a while the home of some fantastic red stag hunting as well as feral pigs (including the unusual ‘blue pigs’) and they are building upon the fallow buck hunting herd. The hunting at the Hossack combines free range hunting along with estate hunting in a large rugged area that has a breeding population of reds along with some chamois that were retained from the local hills when the estate was established. This is NOT a put-and-take hunting block - it is a wild herd of unmanaged deer in a challenging game-park.
At the Hossack we stayed in very well maintained shearers quarters with 240v power, hot & cold running water and proper beds. A well organised dining and kitchen area with Stephen (my guide and chief cook) cooking up a storm for us; with cooked breakfasts and delightful gourmet dinners.
On Friday arvo, after checking my rifle was still shooting where I aimed after the flight, we headed out for a look. In the space of a few hours we had located and shot a boar, saw a promising ten-point free-range red and observed some of the terrific red stag and a herd of chamois in the estate.
The next day Stephen and John continued to show me around the farm as we studied reds, fallow, pigs and chamois. I was really enjoying this trip and just seeing these animals was enough of a reward.
That evening John said to come with him as he had a job for me to do..... So off we went, entering the game-park area, John said we would find a stag to shoot!! We parked the cruiser at the top of one of the many high ridges and began to search and glass for a stag that I could take. The reds were moving all over this ridgeline from one gully to another and from one end to the other. We spooked a few younger promising stags and quite a number of hinds. Lots of eyeballs were onto us!! Then we spotted a couple of likely stags around 5-600m off and slowly feeding away. John said that we needed to get in closer so off we went around the hillside out of view of the two stags. All was going well until a couple of hinds spotted us in the tussock. They eyeballed us for a few minutes before departing around the hillside at ninety degrees to the stags.
Finally we had got to within 200m of them when John asked if I'd like to take the stag on the right..... I thought my offer was to come and shoot a cull animal so I was a bit taken back with the offer. Quickly gathering my thoughts I said ‘hell yeah’ and settled in behind a small pine tree using my pack as a solid rest for the Kimber Montana in 270WSM with the Leupold 2.5-8 scope set on 8x. It took some time to settle in as the tussock grass was interrupting my line of sight but finally everything felt right, all I needed was for the stag to turn broadside. As he did I quickly took aim and planted the Federal factory-loaded 140gr Accubond fair into his ribcage. At the shot the stag stumbled 50m downhill right into the middle of a patch of the worst matagouri. We rushed up and waited to see if the hit stag would run out the other side, so I could put another pill into him if required. Secretly we hoped he would because he would be difficult to recover if still in the matagouri....
It was getting dark pretty quickly, so with little action from within we started searching for the stag. As we skirted the perimeter of this entanglement John sent ‘Tess’ his Jack Russel in and although it took a couple of goes she finally gave a yap that indicated that she had found the deer. This pinpointed where we had to get to and when we finally crawled to where the stag was laying stone dead we couldn’t believe the body size of this bloke and the antler size. To say I was stoked would be an understatement!
Since the big stag was embedded in the matagourie we removed the head for a skull mount. After a few snapshots and the recovery we headed back to camp to show the stag off to the other boys in camp. We celebrated with a few drinks that night and I wandered off to bed pretty late but satisfied with the events of the day.
The next day we spent travelling to the far end of the property to have a fish and for John to show me as much as possible in the time I had available. It was a most enjoyable day with mild sunny weather, great company and a terrific place to explore. We ate marinated hare backstraps for lunch that we had taken with a moderated .17HMR under the spotlight, egg and bacon pie and smoked salmon on biscuits.
On the way back we spotted a couple of young boars on the hillside and decided that these guys were causing too much damage so we interrupted their evening bringing them both down. The first shots at the two were complete misses at standing animals at 200m then as they took off I managed to bag them both on the run as they came to within 150m, confused by the noise of the rifles.
The hare population at the Hossack has to be seen to be believed.... These pesky little varmints can do a lot of damage to young trees and grasses. On a couple of evenings we spent an hour or two spotlighting with the .17HMR having an absolute ball head shooting them for the table. This was some enjoyable time spent with new mates and we all enjoyed the social shoot.
As I mentioned before I went on the invitation of the Hossack as I will be booking hunts for John; for Aussies wanting to experience a quality red deer hunt in some of the most spectacular and demanding terrain you could find. Free range hunting is available for reds, especially during the rut and chamois and they can be both spotted high up on the scree faces together. The reds can also be found down lower in amongst the matagouri and beech forests. Fallow are also available free range and I saw some very promising bucks. The Hossack has a guarantee that if on a free range red stag hunt you don't get a trophy stag for whatever reason you can take up the offer to hunt the last day for a twelve-point minimum stag in the estate at no additional cost.
At this point I would just like to thank John and the Hossack for a wonderful and enjoyable trip. It was hard hunting, easy hunting and we had lots of different things to do at Hossack but most of all it was loads of fun. I would highly recommend this trip.
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