Cameron Tull - HUNT SMART COURSE Success Story #73
Hunt Smart ® Course Review
The morning was cold with misty rain and thick fog, good weather for hunting sambar late into the morning.
After picking up a couple of mates we headed into the hills. After arriving on the ridge top above the gullies where we intended to hunt we split up and went our separate ways.
The fog was quite thick up high so visibility was very poor so I decided to head downhill a few hundred metres. After descending for about 10 minutes I could hear a stag rubbing a tree. He wouldn’t have been more than 50 metres away, but due to the thick fog and thick bush I couldn’t get a look at him. It didn’t take long before he winded us causing him to crash off through the bush.
I continued to descend slowly seeing more and more sign including freshly rubbed trees just days old.
After a while of not seeing any deer, I knew they couldn’t be far. I just had a good feeling about the day, the fog was starting to lift the lower I got, plus the sign was getting better the bush was opening up making it easier to see.
When I was about 300 metres from the gully floor I contoured across the spur and started walking up the next gully when I noticed a spot which Errol calls a “Mini Hub” on the opposite face so I pulled the binos out and straight away saw a hind feeding with her back to me.
I looked a bit more to the right and noticed a stag sitting there with half his head hanging out of the bush. I sat down so I could steady the binos and had another look. I could see the stag’s antlers but it wasn’t until he moved his head that I realised they were a lot bigger than I first thought. I could just see the big white tops moving around in a branch above his head. Instantly the adrenaline kicked in and my hands started to shake.
I just sat there for a couple of minutes thinking how I am going to make this happen. Five minutes go past and I’m still thinking. The next minute a hind down below me has winded me and she’s honked a couple of times. I look back at the stag. Alerted by the hind, now he is on his feet and has moved behind a bush. I can no longer see him and straight away thought he had gone. As Errol points out on his course and in his Hunt Smart book it’s the hinds - not the stag’s that will ping you first and alert the stag to danger.
The other hind was still up there but now she was sitting beside the tree so I just keep searching for the stag. After 10 minutes or so the stag appeared again about 30 metres downhill and was smashing a wattle tree with his antlers whilst slowly making his way closer to my position on the opposite face.
I first spotted these deer at 9:15am. After a while I lost sight of him again. Always thinking the worst I knew he was almost directly opposite me on the opposite face so I decided to drop down a bit lower to get a bit closer. After descending another 50 odd metres I spotted him again. He was still rubbing trees in a small opening about 300 metres away. I moved to a tree 5 metres away to steady the rifle on, but by the time I got to it, the stag had moved out of the clearing into the bush. Although I could no longer see, him I knew he was straight across from me and thought he might be coming down to the creek for a drink.
I took off my daypack and boots and started stalking down towards the gully floor walking in the same direction as the stag. After I had descended another 70 metres or so I scanned the bush with my binos. After about five minutes I noticed a branch moving 150 metres away. It was the stag.
He was making his way towards a small clearing so I quickly broke off a couple small branches from the closest tree and rested the rifle. Within 15 seconds the stag walked into the clearing and stopped. I squeezed the trigger on my Tikka 338 and the stag hit the deck within seconds. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I sat down for 10 minutes and watched him closely in case he wasn’t dead - ready to shoot again if necessary. Convinced he was dead I walked up to where the stag had fallen.
When I saw him I couldn’t believe my eyes. All the hard work over the years had finally paid off after many day trips and back pack missions. It’s in my blood that’s for sure! After sitting with the stag and taking it all in for quite a while, I got to work caping and packing whatever meat I could carry, then started the steep 3km climb out with a rewarding heavy pack. When I got to the Ute the boys were waiting with a well-deserved beer.
It was a Hunt that I will never forget - that’s for sure
Big thanks to Errol. This is the second stag I have taken since attending Errol’s Hunt Smart Course. On both hunts I applied the overlays which he explains in his Hunt Smart System book and on his course. That knowledge is what enabled me to find both stags unalarmed. I shot the first from about 80 metres after finding it completely unalarmed in its bed on the game trail, whilst stalking slowly along the Wagon Wheel Rim and glassing key spots where Errol says Sambar will be.
Cameron Tull, North East VIC