Pic: Gary Walton/Sporting Shooter

The running dead: Search for the lost sambar


As usual with sambar, not a great lot goes to plan.

It’s not hard to drop your guard on the way back to the camp after a long day’s walking and stalking. It’s what happened when my son Benn and I hunted one last gully just before dark. Deer time.

It was a steep face and with Benn down lower I was hoping I would put one up for him to get a shot at.

A sambar stag materialised in front of me. No fanfare, no announcement, no noise, he was just there.

At an uphill angle and about 120 yards away there was no way he was going back downhill so I took the shot.

A gentle squeeze on the two stage trigger sent a 215gn Woodleigh on the way. The shot was good and the stag went down in a cloud of dust and sticks as he kicked around madly.

Next thing he was up and off.

I put some toilet paper in a tree where I took the shot from and went to look for him. There was plenty of blood around but Benn and I searched until it was too dark to see, but to no avail.

Somewhat despondently, we headed back to our camp, intent on finding him the next day.

This we did. He was about 50 yards from where he had been shot and had gone over a small cliff.

Typical sambar, they don’t know when to die. The running dead.


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Garry Walton

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