Matho’s blog: The big bucks

The big fella

The bucks were there again yesterday. A fortnight after my last visit, they looked even more settled. A very dark one that I’d watched last time was feeding way out in the open below, being a grumpy bugger and giving his younger mate a hard time. It’s a long way from the rut but boys will be boys, even among deer.

A lone buck walked across the hill below Anne and I as we watched the distant pair. When he’d moved out of sight, we carefully followed him around the face, spying more deer down the bottom as we went.

Four does hung around nearest to the thick cover of the big gully. I’ve only been down there once; it’s steep, rocky and thick with tangled scrub, an ideal hiding place.

We propped and watched, enjoying the cool morning. We hadn’t spotted the one who’d led us around the hill, but a few minutes later I looked left and there he was … following a beautiful buck with a huge, glowing velvet rack.

His ginger coat shone and the brilliance of his white spots and stripes was stunning. The antlers dwarfed everything else on show this morning. He was proud, strong and relaxed.

We watched in awe until he crossed a ridge and disappeared, his antlers leaving a lasting impression as the rest of his body dropped below the horizon. Once he’d gone, we following, revealing ourselves to the rest of the deer as we did so.

The bucks way below weren’t worried as we walked away from them. I don’t think there’s anything more skittish than a doe with a fawn and the group of females sprinted away up the gully, even though we were a good 500m away.

We didn’t catch up with the big fella.

But we will.


Mick Matheson

Footnote: a few months after this was written, we did catch up with this buck. It was a great hunt, too! Check out the video:




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.