Molly informed me that I have not been hunting in a long time and I should go out for a weekend… Well, not sure if she was trying to get rid of me or be nice, but I took the bait and planned an overnight trip to the mountains. A few of my hunting mates just got back from a week-long trip, so they were taking the weekend to rest at home. That meant a solo trip in the mountains was on in store, i.e. no help from someone to carry the uber heavy load back to the car. And no splitting the booty….
Big Game Hunting New Zealand is starting a TV series and put together this promo. They put the Ethos of the Hunter so eloquently that I borrowed snippets for this post, (including the title) rendered in red.
“People often ask, “Why do you do it?”
The access to my target mountain range can be shortened by 2 miles with a 4wd. As the sign says, it’s only 4wd’s beyond this point. I need to get mud tires or should have put my snow chains on, because it was a muddy mess of a drive. It was frozen on the way in, but on the way out the top layer had thawed in the sun. I only had it balancing on 3 tires once.
“It’s about experiencing the wild mountains”
The majority of the 4wd route was easy farm track. The highest peak in the foreground is where I was headed.
Some access points to the mountains have old 4wd tracks that are now closed to vehicles, but a mountain bike makes short work of the distance.
The hut where I stayed is an old muster’s hut from the days that these hills were run with sheep. The land has been turned over to DOC for the public’s use, and a stream babbles along near the front door. The classic old hut smells of musty wood and dead fire great those lodging within.
Success. Climbing up the mountain, I ran into this big bull tahr. Wish I had my bow with me. I snuck in so close, I could have stuck him with an arrow.
Tahr is the only rug I’ll ever have with a mane. Later in winter males’ manes grow twice as long as this.
“It’s about the wild things that people who don’t hunt never knew existed.”
A close up, for those wondering what a tahr looks like.
A selfie with the phone as the weather becomes “a bit average,” as they say.
“It’s about surviving mother nature and being able to withstand everything she throws at you.”
As soon as I had shot the tahr, the weather packed in, the wind pick up to a gale and spit a snow squall.
Butchering an animal in the alpine with no trees takes a bit of planning and finesse to keep the meat clean. Try cutting up a huge floppy slippery mass on the side of a precipice and you’ll understand. All of the bags of meat made it onto my shoulders for the monstrously heavy pack back to the hut. I staggered back to the hut about an hour after dark. I made a curious spectacle for the six other scrogs (= scroggin eaters = gorp eaters = trampers = backpackers) sharing the hut.
“It’s about pushing through the pain down on your aching shoulders, while you’re packing out 30 kg of meat you have just harvested.”
All packed the next day. Rested and ready for the big haul out.
“It’s about going back to your roots, becoming one with your surroundings in order to survive”
The new Kuiu backpack has been great! The bag extends away from the frame to get the heavy weight as close to your back as possible. Molly thinks I should start making home videos of the Kuiu backpack in use (advertising) to see if the manufacturer will give me a gift certificate….
“It’s the wild things that make us hunters. It’s the wild things that make us who we are.”
The ride out was a bit grueling. Hard yakka!
“The answer can not be found purely in words.”
We typically motivate Milo with an M&M every time we pass a trail marker. Milo thought it was pretty funny that THIS time, it was ME desperately wanting M&M energy.
I guess it combines the advantages of scenic tramping with cheap shopping! That must be $300 worth of meat you’re biking out there.
I used to think that the bike helmet was only necessary when exposed to car traffic, but with all that weight on your back, I could imagine a high momentum impact on the ground if a rock pitched you off the bike. I guess the tahr skull is thick enough for impact without a helmet if that happens.
Well done, Jeremiah. Enjoyed reading about your adventure. The photos bring it to life. I was a bit sad for the tahr.