As the year gets later and the days hotter the hunting in northern Australia kicks up a gear but the later in the year is not always the better as I found out on a recent hunt to the Gulf country of North Queensland.
The Rusa rut kicks off in this part of the world a little latter than the southern herds. Generally around July the first roars can be heard and rutting activities will continue through till early September.
I had lined up a hunt on the property where the Australian record Rusa was shot last year. The guide had sent me many photos of massive heads taken and/ or seen over the season which only adds to the excitement of such a hunt.
I was the lucky last hunter for the year and second bowhunter.
The previous bowhunter was unsuccessful and extremely unlucky. The deer shut up shop and would not roar making them nearly invisible in the scrubby bush that fills the property.
We arrived at the property at 2am and were greeted by a mob of around 20 deer at the house paddock molasses tank.
We wasted no time in hitting the sack dreaming of roaring stags…..
Well maybe it wasn’t a dream because when the alarm went off a 5am the stags were well and truly vocal.
The morning was spent locating stags and coming up with a game plan.
When the afternoon shadows grew we were in an ambush location close by to where 3 stags were roaring in the morning.
Everything was in our favour as the stags tested their vocal cords and we slowly inched towards the rutting stags not yet getting a visual on our quarry.
We were about 100m out from a water hole when a massive stag materialised from the scrub to come down for a drink. He would be known as broken brow- a victim of a long hard rut.
At over 35 inches and as heavy as a rusa stag comes he was one incredible specimen.
It wasn’t long before the first of his rivals made a presence. What first seemed like a stag missing one antler soon turned into a cull head.
This property has culled hard over the last few years and this is visible in the quality of heads now around.
I was given the instructions to take him out if given the chance.
I removed my Hunters Element Contour pack and my boots and crawled through the sparse grass all the while hoping not to be seen. By keeping my movements to when the wind blew I kept the noise to a minimum.
I made it to a tree some 50m away from the stag but as he was in a sitting position I needed to be closer to be sure of the shot. I belly crawled 15m across open ground hidden only by my Hunters Element Prime shirt and pants.
A shrubby bush was enough to cover my movement as I drew back the Vector Turbo and settled my 30m pin high.
The way the stag was laying I could see the triangle of his shoulder and smack bang in the middle of it was my target- his lungs.
The arrow travelled the 38m and slammed through the front shoulder and wedged into opposite.
In 40m it was all over.
Another full day was spent trying to get the drop on a stag that was not damaged but it was not to be.
While hunting a water course during the second afternoon I was lucky enough to get the drop on a nice boar securing him with a quartering away shot from 8m as he left his wallow.
Unfortunately I was too late to have the best chance at one of the massive stags that live on this property but I will be back next year!
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