Errol Mason's Hunt Smart ® Training Course
Course participants come with a wide variety of experience ranging from complete newcomers to those who have been unable to set eyes on a stag in 20 years of hunting. They include those who have successfully taken trophy stags but have had many lean years since. Some have been consistently successful but realise there is so much more to learn about this Magnificent Deer.
Why Hunters Attend
Students have explained that they can only absorb so much by reading but if a concept is explained in the bush they instantly grasp it. This is known as ‘kinesthetic learning’. Research shows that 70% of people learn much better by actually seeing something demonstrated and then doing it, rather than just reading about it. This is why hands-on training plays such an important role in education today, especially for trades people such as chippies, plumbers, sparkies and builders.
Two Days ‘Hands On’ in the Bush
Unlike the early days when I walked around the bush in a ‘fog’ occasionally getting a shot at a fleeing sambar, I now hunt using my ‘Hunt Smart’ system. This system is based upon a thorough understanding of sambar behaviour and comprises many key overlays. A thorough understanding and the correct application of each overlay is vital if you wish to become a consistently successful hunter.
Consistent with the principles of kinesthetic learning I guide students, step by step through actual hunting scenarios and on most courses we watch unalarmed sambar. I explain why they are there and the tactics I would use to harvest one.
Using their own bino’s - plus a large range of bino’s and a spotting scope which I provide - students glass faces where sambar have been seen, including trophy stags. I explain when is the best time to look, where to look, and what to look for. You will be shown key topographical features, including my VIP "Wagon Wheel" concept - the "road map" of sambar movement - and I explain when, why and how sambar use these features.
Training Course Syllabus
The following subjects are covered in the Powerpoint Presentation, and then repeated over and over in the bush so that by the time you leave the course you are crystal clear. If you are not, you may ask as many questions as you need to.
Evolution and General Behaviour
Learn why sambar do this and don't do that. Why they fear this and not that. Why they are inquisitive of this and not that. Why you will find them here and not there. Everything the do and don't do is driven by their evolution.
Because these are shown to you in the bush they are very easy to identify and understand.
Finding A Top Area
You will be shown top areas and I point out the features which make it so, especially the plants sambar prefer. You get to examine many of them.
Visit these and see why I call them "Sambar Central." Learn the correct low impact route to access them, how to hunt them, how to improve them, plus what you shouldn't do.
Tracks & Faecal Pellets – Learn how to determine the sex and size of their maker and how to age them. Also learn how to follow up sambar using a combination of their tracks, Safari Sneakers, my "sight n go" technique, a Safari Sling and binoculars. You are shown 4 hooves taken from stags ranging from a spiker, 2.5-year-old, 4-year-old, 8-year-old, 12-year-old and 13-year-old.
You examine all antlers cast by one stag from when he was a spiker until he was 14-years-old.
Weather, Response to
Learn where to find sambar in a range of temperatures from -10C to 35+C and in any weather from a breeze to cyclonic wind; from mist to pouring rain and from frost to hot weather. Click here to go to "Weather, Response to" in the Index in "Take a Look Inside" our new book, "The Hunt Smart System."
Learn how hunting pressure and human activity effects sambar behaviour and how to identify the hunting pressure in an area. I teach you how to hunt in a way that your impact is as close to zero as humanly possible.
Visit the exact spot where stags have been harvested and learn why they were there and how they were hunted.
The Sensory System
Learn how the sambars finely tuned sense of smell, hearing and vision is used to detect predators - including humans - and how to overcome these senses.
Learn the role that sex pheromones and wallows play in the mating system and how to decide which one you should ambush, and when and how to do it successfully.
Where to find bedded sambar and how to hunt them.
Face to Face
How to hunt from face to face. Use my tripod mounted Swarovski 15X56 binos you get to see their Sambar finding capability compared to standard binoculars whilst searching for and observing sambar.
North, South, East and West Facing Gully Heads
Learn why sambar use gullies which face in different directions differently.
Hunting in Close
Learn how to hunt sambar in close. Learn how, when and where to build hides. You are given the opportunity to sit in a 3.5m high aluminium ladder tree stand.
Learn how to successfully hunt sambar by walking-them-up, a method which typically stacks all the odds in the deer's favour.
Learn how to anticipate where a Sambar you have spotted is moving to, the route it is most likely to take and how to intercept it.
Learn how sambar use funnels such as saddles, stream and fence crossings and how to exploit them.
Learn what Sambar do every 24hrs and the factors which cause them to change where they do it.
Zones of Silence
Zones of Silence – learn what they are, how to find them and why sambar are drawn to them.
The "Wagon Wheel" - Road Map of Sambar Movement
Learn the "Wagon Wheel" concept including how sambar use the Hub, the Rim and the Spokes that link them.
Low Impact Hunting
Low Impact Hunting – what is it, how to do it, and why it's vital to understand.
Learn how and when sambar use this unique habitat and how to hunt it.
On the Saturday evening this subject is discussed with a particular focus on safety equipment and safety issues.
The equipment necessary for adequate trophy care is covered. The best times to go, and how to pack light is discussed.
Twilight Optics Comparison
From an hour before dark compare many scope and reticle combinations, including several illuminated versions and see for yourself the difference in low light.
Compare a Large Range of Binos
A large range of binos are compared in the bush from first light on Saturday and Sunday morning whilst looking for deer.
Cartridges and Projectiles
The subject of suitable cartridges and projectiles for sambar is demystified.
Aiming Points and How Bullets Kill
Learn the aiming points that kill sambar quickly and humanely, including the biggest stag that ever walked the earth. Also learn how bullets actually kill and which ones I recommend for sambar.
In the context of shot placement and bullet performance, you examine the skeleton of a fully mature 12 year-old stag. Skeleton includes front and rear hooves, ribs, cervical, thoracic and lumber vertebrae, both shoulder blades (scapula) and humerus.
Learn the aspects of mature stag behaviour which makes them vulnerable and how to exploit them.
Taking the Shot
Learn everything that you should do before taking a shot and how to set up correctly for it.
After the Shot
Learn what to do and what not to do after you have taken the shot.
Capeing and Venison Care
Using a cape attached to a taxidermy mannequin with velcro, I show you how to remove it, step by step - and then using ear pliers - how to turn the ears inside out. I then show you how to split the lips and salt the cape. Every aspect of capeing is covered. I teach how to get the best venison possible from shooting the correct animal in the right conditions. Knives, gut hooks and other equipment is demonstrated.
Twilight Optics Comparison – A Unique Opportunity
From about 1 hour before dark right up until dark you will be able to use and compare many brands/models of telescopic sights.
You are able to swap from one to the other and compare this large range of optics in the bush throughout the course. Remember, when you view optics through a gunshop window in broad daylight the light transmission performance of all optics is the same. It’s only during the first and last 20 minutes of daylight - when sambar move the most - that really separates the outstanding from the ordinary. On my course you will see for yourself the difference in performance between various brands, magnifications and objective lens diameter.
The following optics are provided for the Twilight Optics Comparison and for use in the bush throughout the course:
Binoculars: Swarovski RF 8 x 42; 10x32, 12 x 50 and 15 x 56; Vixen Artes J 8x42 & 10x42 and Vanguard 8x42.
Telescopic sights: Vixen LVF 1 - 6 x 24 illuminated; Zeiss Victory 3 - 12 x 56 illuminated; Vixen 2.5 - 10 x 56 illuminated; Vixen 2.5 - 10 x 50 illuminated; Swarovski Z6i 1.7 - 10 x 42 illuminated with BT; Swarovski Z6i 2.5-15x56 illuminated with BT.
Scope Reticles: include various versions of the duplex and German # 4.
Range Finder Binoculars: Swarovski EL 8 x 42.
Hand Held Range Finders: Leica.
Tripods: Tripods and heads suitable for 15 x 56 binos, spotting scopes and cameras equipped with telephotos lens are demonstrated on the course.
Tactics for Back Country & Farm Fringe Sambar
Tactics taught apply equally to farm fringe as well as those living deeper in the forest. The reason the same tactics work for those on the farm fringe as well as those in remote forest is simply because a sambar's basic genetic blueprint is identical, regardless of its location. As a result the sambar's 'Hierarchy of Needs' and how they use each habitat is exactly the same.
Course notes are not provided but students are told what they should record. When purchased at the course each volume of our Secrets of the Sambar books (Vol 1 unavailable, 2 and 3) are available for just $100. Our NEW book "The Hunt Smart System" which retails for $249 is available at the course for $200.00. Back issues of our Secrets of the Sambar magazine purchased at the course are just $10 each.
Courses Are Tailored to Students Needs
Each course is tailored to meet the specific needs of each participant. By listening to each student’s experiences, I ascertain what each know and don’t know.
The training course is based on our rugged and picturesque 2km x1km mountain forest property north of Swifts Creek, Victoria. It is 1.25 hrs north of Bairnsdale, 1 hour north of Bruthen and 20 minutes south of Omeo. Bairnsdale is about 3 hours from the Monash Freeway Ringwood/Frankston Ring Road intersection in Melbourne's east. Swifts creek is about 4 hrs from Albury via Mt Hotham and the same via Mitta Mitta/Anglers Rest/Omeo.
Directions: Detailed directions from various locations are emailed to course participants.
- Two nights rustic accommodation in an insulated shed warmed by a large wood heater. Sleep on single steel beds with 6 inch high density foam mattresses with commercial grade covers.
- Full bathroom, shower and toilet facilities;
- Transport to the bush and back if required. Note: Most participants need to travel in their own 4WD vehicles; and
- High quality meals include morning and afternoon tea, apples and snack bars, plus a variety of high quality heavy & light beer.
- Sleeping bag and/or swag, pillow, towel, toiletries and change of clothes for evening;
- Hunting clothes appropriate to the weather for the time of year. A cap, gloves and coat suitable for sitting glassing for several hours from first light in sub zero temperature are essential items. Include a piece of foam sleeping matt 30cm x 20cm for sitting on whilst glassing for long periods;
- Daypack equipped as per the list of "Things to Bring" which is emailed to participants;
- Binoculars for twilight comparison and use during the course. Note: Do not buy binoculars specifically for the course as you will have the opportunity to compare many during the course in low light whilst looking for deer. These conditions enable you to select the binocular that is perfect for you;
- Large note book and pen for classroom and a smaller note book for the field. Tablets and Smart Phones may also be used for note taking but NOT for photographing the PowerPoint Slides.
Each course is limited to 7 people.
Bring your sambar rifle for set-up evaluation and optics twilight comparison.
NOTE: Rifles are secured in a safe after twilight comparison. They are not carried during the course.
Timetable and Activity Details
NOTE: Dawn & Dusk Vary With Course Dates
NOTE: if on mobile, please swipe the table to the left to see more information.
|12.00 noon - 12:30pm||Arrive at our property near Swifts Creek. Directions will be emailed. Light refreshments - meet other participants and discuss experiences.|
Course Commences. In the bush Errol explains how food availability, weather conditions, hunting pressure/human activity and topographical features effect sambar, plus other key points such as the sambar's circadian (daily) rhythm and how it can be used to locate them.
He explains all the "Overlays" he has developed to pinpoint where the deer are going to be in the conditions and shows you how to apply each one. Education about "Overlays" is continued throughout the course so that by the end you clearly understand this VIP concept.
Errol shows you precisely how his "Wagon Wheel - Road Map to Sambar Movement" overlays the topography. Binoculars and spotting scopes are used throughout the first afternoon until the Twilight Rifle Scope Comparison about 45 minutes before dark.
|4.30pm||Twilight scope comparison until dark using participants rifles and scopes plus six rifles/scopes provided by Errol. Click here for Optics Provided.|
|6.00pm||Refreshments, beer and finger food.|
|7.30pm||Continue PowerPoint Presentation including how to use Google Earth to enhance your hunting.|
NOTE: if on mobile, please swipe the table to the left to see more information.
|5am||Rise & shower etc... Breakfast - Continental Style.||5-6am depending
|Travel to scenario arriving just before first light.|
|Dawn||In bush at first light glassing for Sambar using participants binoculars plus Swarovski 30-70x90 STX spotting scope and two Swaro 15x56 binos on tripods, Swaro 12x50 plus many others provided on the course. Usually we see Sambar.|
|8.30am||Participants practice tactics for hunting from face to face, using binoculars provided, range finders and shooting aids such as various bipods/shooting sticks. Discuss suitable cartridges, shot placement and correct rifle zeroing. We go through the correct process for "After the Shot". In close and other tactics are also explained.|
|12.00noon||Lunch at property near Swifts Creek.|
|1.30pm||Travel further into bush. Inspect feeding, staging areas and plant identification. Discuss effects of weather conditions & hunting pressure. Sign interpretation. Visit wallows. Hide location & construction, treestands, and other tactics such as low impact and hunting according to wind direction & air currents is explained. Visit various types of feeding & bedding areas including tree fern gullies. Plants from high to low preference examined. Effective tactics explained.|
|4.30pm||Visit logging coup where sambar feed. Tactics, including how to use hides & treestands.|
|6.00pm||Return to property near Swifts Creek for an assortment of beer and finger food around a large wood heater.|
|7.30pm - 9:30pm||Discussion on Sambar Behaviour and Backpacking.|
|10.30pm||Lights Out. Sleep on property near Swifts Creek.|
NOTE: if on mobile, please swipe the table to the left to see more information.
|5.00am||Rise & shower etc... Continental Breakfast|
|5am - 7am depending
At dawn glass for sambar on opposite face and in gully heads. Tuition on where to look, when to look and what to look for. I explain how food, water, weather conditions, wind direction, hunting pressure/human activity and topography effects face to face, in close and other hunting tactics. I point out various micro-habitats and discuss how, when and why sambar use them. Further sign interpretation including feeding and bedding areas, actual beds, rumination zones; wallows, tracks, pellets, rubs, scrapes etc...
You are shown a tree stand and a hide and various other types such as portable climbing tree stands are explained. You have the opportunity to sit in a 3.5m high ladder tree stand so the advantage of additional height becomes instantly apparent.
|11am||Return to accommodation for Light Refreshment.|
|11:30am||Lecture on Trophy and Venison Care, Maps and Hunting Areas; Plus opportunity to purchase Secrets of the Sambar books for $100 each, Magazine Back Issues for $15 per issue and other Hunt Smart ® products.|
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The Smarter You Hunt, the Luckier You Get!
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