Andrew Winwood - HUNT SMART COURSE Success Story #4

Above: Using knowledge and tactics learnt whilst hunting with Errol Mason, Andrew Winwood (right) assisted John Butts to take this old wily stag.

After many years hunting fallow in Tasmania I thought it was time for a greater challenge. After hearing of Errol Mason’s success guiding hunters to trophy sambar and reading his articles in Guns & Game magazine I decided to book a 4 day hunt with him. I thought I didn’t really need a guide but I learnt so much during my first hunt that I have no hesitation recommending Errol to anybody needing a start with Sambar hunting or wanting to upgrade their skills. The knowledge Errol passed on was invaluable, not only for sambar, but I have used some of his tips for hunting fallow in Tassie. Errol’s tactics helped me take a couple of nice 220 and a 229 D.S. fallow, along with two very nice sambar stags and a few sambar hinds for venison.

I was never lucky enough to take a sambar stag whilst hunting with Errol but I had many great experiences such as watching countless unalarmed sambar. One of my most memorable experiences unfolded one evening. First I heard a black bird disturbed from its evening roost, then the fence moved, and despite the very low light, through my binos I could just make out the unforgettable sight of a mature hind and her calf. It was unbelievable. During the next thirty minutes or so another 9 sambar entered the farmland via the same hole in the fence. This sight was an awesome experience for a guy that only got to hunt these great animals for four or five days each year. Errol had another client take a very nice 28inch stag in the same area a week later. This was one of the greatest evenings I have ever spent in the bush. I had many more experiences just like these whilst hunting with Errol and I gained enough knowledge to try hunting without him. Despite this, we have remained very good friends and I cannot thank him enough. In the two years after I hunted with Errol I was lucky enough to take two great sambar stags. I also successfully guided my friends, Paul Binns and John Butt to stags. For me finally achieving success on sambar has been one of my life’s ultimate achievements.

Anyone who knows anything about sambar will tell you that you will never stop learning about these amazing animals. I have continued to increase my knowledge by studying Errol’s Secrets of the Sambar books. They are dense with knowledge, tips and tactics which will help any hunter regardless of their experience level. By studying them I continued to be consistently successful. Knowledge gleaned from them culminated in one of my most memorable hunts when I harvested a stag with impressive antlers measuring 24in x 24in. As we hunted this stag over several days, many of the things I learnt from Errol fitted into place like clockwork. For example how to interpret sign - what a rub line means and how to hunt it - how to tell if pellets are stag size and how fresh they are. Identifying freshly used scrapes, how and where to find well used game trails. And last but not least the importance of perseverance. To be successful hunting sambar you must be persistent and persevere for it is not an activity for those who want success to come easily.

Andrew Winwood, Spreyton Tasmania

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Errol Mason