Throughout the week, Huru Adventurer Tom Smedley and I had planned a Saturday mission to hunt down a couple of goats for some midweek roasts and curries. The weather forecast didn’t look spectacular, but some of the best hunting can be experienced in less than ideal conditions. With Tom making the drive up from Christchurch it was never an option to sit indoors by the fire so out into the bush we headed.
Walking up the river was an experience in itself. With no track to follow and private land on either side if the river, we had to walk the riverbed which was predominantly large boulders. The rock hoping was fine at the beginning but as our boots became wet with constant river crossings and a misty drizzle falling, the terrain started to demand higher concentration and more respect.
Photo: Typical terrain of the river we walked up.
Both taking falls on the way up, our main concern was when Tom had taken a particulalry awkward fall and landed on his rifle, potentially knocking the scope. Judging by the damage to the scope it was a very real possibility the rifle was no longer correctly sighted. Luckily there was no real injuries to speak of and two hours of boulder bashing saw us reach our DOC block and we both switched to hunting mode.
It wasn’t long before we entered our hunting grounds that we spotted two goats feeding near the river’s edge. I screwed the Hardy Gen 5 suppressor on to my Tikka T3x .270 and loaded the magazine with Hornady Super Performance projectiles. Using a large boulder as a rest I estimated the goats to be about 100 metres away and took aim. Closing the bolt and making sure of my target I squeezed the trigger on an unsuspecting nanny goat. One goat dropped and the other scarpered. With the chamber empty Tom and I walked over for a closer inspection. The .270 round had hit the goat in the neck for a quick humane kill.
Getting a taste for the action Tom was keen on securing an animal as well and breaking in his rifle which was yet to score. We were still sceptical whether it would shoot straight but we had to at least try. Pulling the goat into some shade we continued up the river and around another couple of bluffs. Sure enough as we came around a corner another goat was spotted feeding higher up on a small edge. Immediately Tom was keen to have a nudge. It was a tricky shot shooting on an angle but using a tree branch as a rest he loaded his rifle and took his aim. The crack of the rifle was followed by the goat falling from its perch and landing closer to us for an easier retrieval. The scope remained true and another clean neck shot meant for some good meat recovery.
Photo: Tom posing with his goat!
Having made the effort to walk all the way, curiosity of what lay around the next few corners got the better of us. We left the goat again to butcher on the way out and walked around another few bluffs. Another 3 goats were spotted and another 2 were shot making the tally two each by the end of the day. We harvested the meat off the animals and stuffed the meat into a small backpack not ideally designed for heavy loads.
The rain really started to fall and some of the slips which had come down during the November 2016 earthquake were still crumbling loose material into the river. In no rush we took our time and managed a few less tumbles on the walk home.
Once at the Bach the meat came out of the pack and into the vacuum packer it went. With the goats being on the small size the back legs were ideal roasts for 2-3 people and the dog was frothing for a bone or two!
Photo: Zinny getting amongst the spoils of the hunt.
Photo: Goat curry to enjoy with the whanua!
We dried our gear out and began cleaning our rifles, ready for another adventure in the very near future!