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Winter Bull Tahr (June 2007) MacKenzie Country

Winter Bull Tahr (June 2007) MacKenzie Country

Francy and I headed out on the last week of June in 2007 for an overnighter into some tahr country with no shortage of snow. Aside from that, we couldnt really complain about the weather because it was a pearla - Blue bird! And not a breath of wind.

Once we got up to our campsite I spotted a bull on the opposite face, he was standing on a spur in the snow. So out with the binos and the spotter and we soon came to the conclusion that he was a mature bull.

Francy and I glassed for about an hour picking out several more groups of tahr, most of which were bulls.

So it was a matter of prioritising which ones we were after, and how we would approach them in the open snow. Our campsite was literally bang smack in the middle of bull tahr!

As agreed, Francy was to pick out the first animal, and seeing as he was intent on getting a 13inch + he selected the bigger one of the group. They were about 800m away from camp and it entailed sidling into a big gutter and using the gutter to keep out of sight as we snuck into 100m from the bulls. Enroute to the bulls, we put up several nannies, and juvenilles so we were concerned that hey may run around the face and spook the bulls. So hot on the pace we pushed on through the snow, which in places was just over knee height - but mint powder so it was easyish to walk through. (Nothing worse than a hard crust layer on top, and feathers underneath coz you lose momentum each time your foot punches through the tops layer).

Anyhow, we got to an outcrop of rocks and couldnt see our bulls; they had moved! We were setup ready to shootm but we had to find something to shoot at first. I spotted a nanny and kid cutting across the face about 300m above us, and thought that our bulls may have joined them, so we were keeping an eye on the horizon when Francy noticed the bulls shuffling onto a ledge about 100m in front of us, looking weary about something.

Francy identified he was going to shoot the lower bull, and a second later his 7mm-08 boomed.. Almost straight after his shot, I let strip with the 25-06 at the other bigger bull and it was all on!! Francy's tore off down the face followed by mine which reared in the air like a horse before galloping off, and then bolted across a face for at least 200m before I managed to fluke a shot to the face. Meanwhile, Francys bull sucked up about 3shots from his cannon and was still on his feet, so I put two into him aswell [one to the shoulder and one to the neck] and he still was kicking about!!! We couldnt believe it, this bull was not going down!

Francy's bull measured 12 5/8 inches

So while he had something to eat I headed up the hill to my bull which was about 150m higher up the slope. Seeing as I havent really shot any bulls with beautiful winter capes, I decided to cape him out for a shoulder mount. He measured 12 1/4inches, but I was still wrapt all the same as I have only shot two good bulls before. As usual I took plenty of photos...

So after the field dressing, we headed back to camp to do some more glassing for bulls on the faces behind the tent. Once that sun went down it got really cold, and by about 4pm the sun was gone burger and our wet clothing began to freeze. The bottom rear end of my tahr anorakt turned into a board of ice

Despite being one of the colder nights on the hill, it was warm as toast in the sleeping bags (thankgod for 4season goose down) I wouldnt want to take anything less than 4seasons otherwise it may have been stiff board Jamie ;D The snow under the tent cushioned us for most of the night, but it slowly sunk down until it felt like we were on frozen solid ice.

In the morning we got up to a mint sunrise and spotted a couple of bulls on the same faces as the night before. Francy and I stalked in on them and shortened the gap to 210m. Francys bull was broad side on when he let strip and thumped it in the shoulder... that didn't do much though as the bull started pulling himself up through the snow so I let strip with a shot, followed by a second shot from both Francy and I. There was no doubt the bull was well hit, so I decided to wait behind and guide francy in on his bull. After an hour or so [there was a terribly steep gutter between us and the bull] Francy yelled out that he'd found him dead ontop of a knarly face. Unfortunately we didnt get any photos of that bull, but Francy caped it out and later we found he also measured 12inches.

After packing up our gear and strapping headskins to the packs, we headed back out towards the vehicle. A few hours later and we had the truck heater cranking!! I slept like a log last night thats for sure!!

From Right to Left, My bull 12 1/4 inches, and Francys two bulls 12 5/8 inches and 12inches respectively

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Comments

Michael PritchardSunday 1st January 2012 - 11.46am
Good stuff.One reason to keep out Heli Hunting.I assume DOC land?Just filled in your petition.

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