Rolling up at the front gate, it was great to meet up once again with my mate Alex. I was here to try my luck for a nice fallow buck and a few foxes with my new Mathews Helium compound Bow.
My first morning, we headed off towards some nearby properties and, heading into the hills, it wasn’t long before Alex spotted a doe and a fawn. There wasn’t a buck with them so we carried on further into the hills. Taking a breather a fair way into the property, we suddenly hear a buck grunting in the next gully, so off we went in search of him. After what we thought would be an easy stalk, an unseen doe and fawn spoiled our approach as they ran down into the gully and that was the end of that. It was starting to warm up, so heading back across an open flat we were both surprised to see a lone buck circling a large eucalyptus tree, softly grunting as he went about his business. He was no monster but as I hadn’t taken a buck with my bow yet he was fair game and the stalk was on.
Covering the first 100 meters was easy. Then came the crawling through wet grass. Closing the gap to forty five yards, I could see that he had a scrape under there somewhere as he was grunting constantly and thrashing saplings. He only had to step out and he was mine. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve said that and it hasn’t worked out. Well, true to form and without warning, an unseen doe decided she had had enough of the young buck and decided to vacate his scrape, slowly trotting off up the hill taking the buck with her. Oh well that’s bow hunting for ya. I’ve well and truly come to terms with the disappointment of things like this happening as it happens more often than not. Slightly dejected but still happy with my stalk we headed back to the truck for a well earned rest. That afternoon, we watched the Country Vs City footy match at the local footy ground and over a few too many beers we made plans for the following day.
Arriving at a different property at first light we were keen to glass some open country for a buck and after a short walk we were looking over several mobs of fallow. Most were does, spikers and an immature buck so we moved on. Next thing Alex spotted a young buck feeding under a tree about 500 metres down the hill. After watching him for a while a better looking buck finally showed himself and wandered in under the same tree. I was keen to have a crack at a buck but he was in an impossible place to even attempt a stalk with the bow, it would be a task just getting close enough with a rifle.
Alex was keen to see me ground something so even though having shot better bucks in the past I decided to take him if I could with my .30-06 which Alex so kindly carried for me. Slowly making my way down the open hill was fraught as there were wallabies all the way down between me and the two bucks. Covering a considerable distance I came face to face with a large buck wallaroo who decided to hop right up and stop only five feet away eyeballing me. I thought he would never look away, but finally he slowly moved off. With my Swarovski EL rangefinder bino’s, the buck was ranged at 210yds. Deciding that I had pushed my luck far enough, I steadied myself against a tree. Taking a deep breath, the crosshairs centered on the bucks shoulder and slowly I exhaled, squeezed the trigger and then heard the solid thump of a good hit. The buck took off out of my line of sight. Slowly we headed into the gully and through the binos I spotted him in the bottom of the gully belly up, he had only traveled 30 yards before dropping. Upon reaching my fallen trophy I picked his antlers out of the grass and they were nice, even and very wide with turned in tops and nice even palms. I was very happy to have taken a representative buck for the area while with my mate Alex. The photo shoot finished and some meat and the head in my pack we headed our way slowly back to the truck.
After lunch in town and a short rest we headed back to the same area to whistle for a fox. Cresting a nice open hilltop we set up and had a whistle without success and then the rain set in nice and heavy. We huddled under a tree until the heaviest shower passed then set up to whistle again in the slight drizzle. With an arrow on the string I gave the nod, Alex blew on the Tenterfield whistle and almost instantly a large vixen shot out from a hollow log just 15 metres in front of us and stopped just as quick, looking right at Alex. Luckily I was ready and drew the bow as soon as I saw the movement. Centering the sight pin on the small front on target that was half obscured by a rock I released. The shot was on the money and the fox danced around mortally wounded, drawing again, another arrow was sent through both lungs but it wasn’t needed as she was dead in seconds. Then Alex said “Here comes another one” and we got ready; but this fox which was a large dog, smelled the dead vixen and knew something wasn’t right. Circling, he caught our scent and the game was over.
We took a few Pics of my fox as it was the first fox I had shot with the bow for quite a long time. Trying many spots, luck wasn’t with us for the rest of the afternoon as no more were sighted. The next day we had foxes on the brain, so Alex took me to a great spot where he usually gets good numbers, sometimes up to 12 a day. Arriving at the block we whistled numerous great looking spots without success. Noticing 1080 fox poison signs on the gates it seemed they might have got a good kill. Whistling all day only once did we get a fox to come in. It was another nice size vixen and she came in from a distance. At 15 yards Alex stopped her with a little squeak and my arrow smashed home dropping her on the spot. I was glad that I had made the most of our only successful stand.
Cresting another hill goats were spotted in the distance, so we decided to have a closer look to see if there were any sizable billies. Crawling right into the middle of a small mob, there were no really big goats but Alex got some pictures of me stalking the largest billy. Closing in on a second mob, we could see that it was a bachelor mob with some nice billies, so the stalk was on. Alex told me these goats get culled regularly and are very flighty, so taking a couple with the bow would be a real challenge. I began a stalk, making it to around sixty yards easily then the cover ran out. Slithering on my guts, I reached a small sapling around twenty five yards from the now lying down billy then waited for him to stand and move clear of the goat behind. Drawing and aiming around the mid rib area as he was quartering away I released and the arrow smacked him right were I was aiming. Making a mad dash he only traveled 60yards before dropping. Alex was impressed at how quick and humane the bow and arrow really is in the right hands.
Then Alex spotted a larger billy in another mob, so after some quick photos we headed off after him. He was there, but lying down amongst some small billy’s which were looking in all directions. After another stalk on my guts I was 20yards from the biggest billy but only ten yards from the closer goats. Having to stand to get a clear shot, slowly I stood up, drawing the bow at the same time. The small billies spooked but the big fella stood up and looked around at what had spooked his mates and that was his mistake. A razor sharp Wasp Boss broad-head punched through his lungs and he was down in 20 yards. He wasn’t as big as we first thought but was still 34 inches wide and went 103 DP’s. Pictures taken we headed home very content with our afternoon’s hunt.
Next morning driving into the property a couple of rabbits darted off the track and stopped thinking they were safe, coming to full draw I settled the twenty yard pin high on the closest ones chest and fired. It was a good shot through the chest and he went nowhere. That’s the beauty of hunting with a bow as you can take the shot at small game while not scaring away larger game close by. We soon saw a few fallow including a nice buck and after standing at full draw waiting for him to step out from behind some bushes for nearly five minutes, suddenly a doe spooked, taking him away and out of range. That was very disappointing as I had been unlucky with the deer with my bow this time. Having had an easy 20 yard shot at a spiker, the arrow hit a twig in front of the young buck’s chest causing it to deflect going harmlessly over his back. I had also spent two hours on my guts covering around 500 yards following a really nice buck only to step on a twig as I stood up behind a tree. The buck was about 50yards and within distance for me but he was now looking right in my direction and I was unable to draw without being detected. As a consolation Alex got some great photos of me stalking the buck on hands and knees and a couple of the Mexican standoff we had at 50 yards at the end.
On the last morning we decided to call a few more foxes on our way back from stalking fallow. We ended up having an excellent day on the foxes getting eight different foxes to come in to the whistle including three at one time and two at another stand. From four opportunities with the bow, I only missed once and it was a 30 yard front on shot, but the other three weren’t so lucky. My trip to Alex’s patch had come to an end and I was more than happy with the game taken. A big thanks has to go to my friend Alex for being so patient with me while stalking with the bow as I know he nearly froze that morning while watching me stalk the big fallow buck for over two hours. The fallow had eluded me with the bow this time, but hopefully there will be another chance next Rut to hunt the New South Wales foxes and fallow.