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Tahr hunting in the Whataroa River 2007

Tahr hunting in the Whataroa River 2007

Report from May 2007

Four of us preparing for our 4day hunt in the headwaters of the Whataroa, May 25th - 29th. After a few months of planning, some family friends from Australia got together and came across the ditch to have a crack at some tahr.

Ian, Bruce, Kevin and myself prepare for pick up by James SCott, at the Whataroa car park. And after a quick chat with the pilot, we were away

This was to be where Ian and I camped, while Kevin and Bruce hunted slightly down river in an area we planned to stear clear of.

The weather was mint on day 1, so we pressed on up valley from camp to check out the headwaters in search for some bull tahr.

The bluffs were covered in snow, which made glassing against black and white. After a while it was like looking a black and white pixulated tv ;D

after about an hour of glassing I spotted the first bull of the trip, up in the bluffs next to the scree/rock fall. There was a group of about 8 of them [2bulls and 6 nannies] so we made a bee-line in their direction before the weather changed.. which it did within about 40minutes.

Anyway, Ian and I made our way in the direction of the group of tahr for a better look - even through the spotting scope at 1.5km it was difficult to distinguish how big the bull was. Then the weather started to change and we were clouded in before we could get to the tahr.

We waited and waited under the set of bluffs for about 2hours while it was raining, hoping for a window in the cloud to present a shot - but when it did eventually open [for 40seconds] we could only see two nannies. When the cloud closed up again, we headed off back to camp, beaten by the weather gods. Ian got bloody cold, so it was straight into the sleeping bag for him while I whipped up a good brew and some sausages to go with vogels bread. eeewe beauty!

Day 2 started off fine! so we headed straight back up the valley to where the two bulls were seen the day before. I found a great route up a side creek. We pushed pretty hard so we could get onto them before they started climbing up for the day, and got into position by about 9.30am.

The weather started packing in again, and the cloud wofted up the valley in thickets that lasted up to 10mins before you could see 100m again. This worked to our advantage as we used the cloud cover to get into a shooting position. Once I was happy with where we were, we waited until the cloud cleared. Ian got setup and likewise did I/ We had agreed that he would take the first animal...

Well as soon as the cloud cleared there was our bull feeding on the vertical face in front of us!! Unbelievable. A boom from Ian's 270 and the tahr dropped off the bluff onto a thin terrace, and stopped!! BUGGER - Here Ian's pointing to where he fell - the first terrace at the top of the bluff that sidles into the bluff where the snow is holding.

I tried to get in as close as I could to it to retrieve it, but didn't like the risk - so took a few photos of it through the spotting scope as proof. ONce we were happy that we had tried all possible options, we headed back down to camp feeling a little disheartened at the thought of wasting what we thought was a trophy bull.

Looking back into the bluffs where Ian's bull lay. That night it rained and drizzled until about midday on day 3.

Despite the rain and crap during the day, I left Ian at camp and headed straight up into a gorgey chute and positioned myself until dark hoping for a bull to feed down out of some nasty bluffs. I had spotted him the night before and decided to give him a crack. I climbed into position until it got too hairy, and waited until last light.

Not wanting to descend the tough bit in the dark, I cut back down the chute and lay waiting in the tussock faces below the bluffs. Sure enough the nannies started feeding out into the bluffs in front of me on fading light. I waited and waited and waited until it was Bloodydark, and the moon came out - NO BULL!!

Starting to get really cold I put my head torch on and made my way down the faces back to camp. It wasn't too hard, but the monkey scrub in the dark was a real pain - I couldn't tell how big some of the holes were, nor could I see properly because the scrub kept knocking my headtorch off! would have been worth it if that bull came out... That bull must have been only minutes away from popping into view - if only I had a spotlight!!

I left camp before light on Day 4, but I had nothing to worry about weatherwise, because it was blue bird above - an absolute minter! I got to a set of bluffs just on change of light and glassed for about 20mins before spotting a bull on his own. He was down pretty low (1350m), but already on his ascent up high for the day.

Anyhow, I decided to take him despite his size after all the effort spent the previous day. I watchedhim fed up a bluff, and decided to cut under him and take a shot from below. I got to the bottom of the bluff and poked my around the corner to see him feeding on the most ridiculous ledge, so I placed a shot to the chest and sent him 120m directly down in my direction!! He wasn't very big at all, but I had plans to give the headskin to Ian or Bruce, seeing as they wanted a tahr for back home.

I caped him out and took him back to camp where we awaited the chopper

When the chopper arrived, a quick retreive and the bull from the ledge was being lowered near camp

Ian with his bull back out at the car park.

Ian was wrapt with his bull, which meaured 11.5inches. My head only measure 11inches

Votes: 46


Pat BlakeSaturday 21st November 2015 - 03.13am
Good article and photos, well done.
It looks like a nice place to hunt

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