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Matt McIntyre heads into the Canterbury high country with a couple of mates in pursuit of his first Red Stag during the Roar season. Over the Easter weekend, the men put in three days of solid hunting and stumble upon a fair amount of good fortune along the way. Story by Matt McIntyre.
With four days off work during the long weekend, my mate Matt and brother in law Dave, from Melbourne, headed up North Canterbury to some high country DOC land to try and nail my first red stag. Dave travelled over to New Zealand especially for the Easter break and he was also in pursuit of his first red stag. The race was on. The awesome Bill Papps from dropped us up high so the legs were saved from all the climbing on the first day. Once landed, we set up camp with the Bushbuck Horizon 8000 Tent and headed to the first or two spots we wanted to glass. Within 2 hours of landing, we had a stag and his hinds spotted — a solid 8 pointer. Matt spotted him, so was his to shoot and he nailed it. Fresh meat for the dinner on day one. Not a bad start. The next morning there was a bit of clag about, but we strapped on our boots and headed to the basin we wanted to get to, a fair climb but some good ground to cover. We got about three-quarters of the way there and heard a roar across the valley. Although due to the clag, I could not see where the roar was coming from. We stopped, waited and the stag roared a few times.
The clag lifted a little and we could see a 6 pointer with 8 hinds at about 700 yards. We made a plan that every time the clag came in, we made a move for me to get into position to take a shot. As we rounded the basin, there was movement in front of me at about 350 yards. Stopping and pulling out the binos, I could see an 8 pointer moving towards me. One of his bay tines was a lot smaller than the other and we decided to take him out. I got myself into a good position to shoot from a large rock. He kept closing the gap and just after he jumped over a stream, he stopped broadside at 176 yards. I dropped him on the spot. My first red stag was a nice healthy stag and I was stoked to be on the board. After harvesting the meat out of him, we carried on up the hills to a magic spot.
While we were having lunch on the tops, Dave spotted a stag at 500 yards but he winded us. However, a nice spiker (we told Dave it was a 2 pointer...) was just over the ridge. Getting into range at 232 yards, Dave knocked him over. Taking out the back steaks, tenderloins, and back legs, it was a successful two-hour trip back to camp with fresh meat, and a nice head to mount when back home. Overall we had 3 days with 3 animals on the ground, 2 goals achieved and some amazing country covered with good mates. I found the Bushbuck Venture 2.0 pants were ideal all day long. It started cooler in the clag, then once the sun came out the ability to open the vents and let fresh air in was awesome. This along with the Bushbuck Foldit Hunting Cap, and the Apex Quarter-Zip Baselayer and Apex Tee, I was warm and dry throughout the day whilst blending in well with the surroundings. Highly recommend these for anyone hitting the hills.
Matt McIntyre grew up on a sheep farm in Ashburton, New Zealand, and started hunting small game (ducks, rabbits, possums) from a young age. Now living in Dunsandel on the Canterbury Plains, Matt has started getting into wild game hunting with a few mates. He mostly hunts for tahr, goats and red deer on private farms and Department of Conservation land in the Canterbury region. His favourite hunting spot so far is Lake Sumner because of its remoteness, unique terrain and the ability to have a cool-off in the lake after a hard mission. Matt's favourite Bushbuck products are the Horizon 8000 Two-Person Tent and the Venture Pant 2.0.