Winter Hunts, By BJ Holdsworth

September 06, 2014

Well Winter has dragged on but a glimmer of hope finally peeked though the clouds and the corresponding warmth changed the colour of the hills to a rich emerald green , after three days of rain it was all the excuse I needed to go hunt.

I managed to have two good recent hunts with the bow, lucky hunts where I had fortuitous options, the animals had no idea I was there and they were close, on both occasions under 30 yards..

The first hunt was for Fallow, I had a real lucky break , after spooking a small bunch I had the option of cutting back, around and though some bush and waiting, for once there was no wind, and with the deer thinking I would be way back where they had busted me I decided to wait it out using the native vegetation and VEIL pattern to hide—I just sat and waited..Only ten minutes later I saw movement, the trio of deer slowly mooched left to right wary and wide eyed but well within my shooting distance, I was crouched with an arrow nocked ready for them to pass though a gap in the shrubbery..When the first Doe came through I still had to wait my heart was hammering this was only 25 yards, as soon as her head went behind a fern she paused, I drew my Mathews bow, holding the pin on he her vitals I settled and released that arrow–everything went mad after the shot the remaining two deer ran straight back past me I could have just about reached out and grabbed one they were so close..My hit deer had gone but a bloody arrow and a wee blood trail led me to a very dead Fallow doe, a perfect eater..   DSC02239    DSC02259

An observant person will notice the good looking pack resting on the Fallow Doe, that is my Contour pack it was with me on that hunt and many others, its a great pack to bowhunt with for a lot of reasons but the big reason I love this bit of gear is because I don’t even know I’m wearing it— its that comfortable–I can draw a bow (which requires big movement with your shoulders) and there is no restrictions, its streamlined shape and width means I can push through the shrubs and not get tangled up too, lots of well designed pockets, will take a hydration bladder, good secure straps and a panel which will keep it off your back which will really shine in the warmer months we are hopefully heading too and its in my favourite colour, VEIL…I wish this technology was around years ago when I got many a broken arse hauling my gear around the hills!..


The second lucky hunt was with a Red Hind, I have been training a bit recently for a Bowhunt in the US it’s really important for me to have a grip on my nerves and have no bad baggage when it comes to bowhunting form, as bowhunting is quite the head game I don’t want to waste the fortunate opportunity of hunting Whitetail in the mid west with friends especially as I know they are letting me hunt a very nice valley in which I have a good chance of getting a deer..

I had seen this bunch of Red Hinds frequently they were feeding along each evening from a block of pines we have here, they had formed a pattern which would suit an ambush but I had to wait for a South wind, as we all know a South Wind is not our favourite wind direction in Winter but for once I was very receptive of the slightly weak frontal system that rolled up the coast ..

With the wind direction sorted and a few big sessions of hurling practise shots under my belt I sat behind a big willow tree, its trunk near to half a metre in width not perfect cover but all I had so what happened next was just a lucky break nothing else.

The first red hind came through, I had pre ranged the trail they were using it was 26 yards from the base of the tree, I was ready–this was as good a chance I have ever had on Red Deer, with her head up I had to wait until her right eye could not spot me, Deer can see 300 degrees I was smack in the middle, I decided it wasn’t going to work so I leant back drew my bow behind the tree slowly leant around, it was really do or don’t and I got way with it, sending the arrow right though her heart–this was an incredible hunt for me I have been busted at 60 yards so many times by Reds to get away with that movement, (albeit slight) at less than half of 60 was a chance in a thousand, I actually looked at her right eye when I found her dead 50 yards away to see if she had problems with it but it looked o.k….Lots of Venison in our freezer now soon it will be time to fire up the Bar–Be….bring on Spring!


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