The rut has wrapped up here in Australia and though I didn't have any leave up my sleeve with my wedding coming up I was out every weekend.
I'm not into scoring so taking deer like that don't overly concern me but I love taking mature animals and this rut I managed to find quite a few stags and even take a couple of post prime warriors.
On top of that, one of them was my gsp's first stag she's put me on off the lead and the other was my new Pb muzzleloader stag.
The rut actually began quite poorly, my first couple of hunts I hadn't seen any sign of stags and the few hinds I'd been keeping my eye on had gone, mostly likely pushed into the bush by a stag.
This day wasn't much better and after a few hours of stalking I was just about to call it quits when my gsp Ellie began scenting the ground, so I thought "what's one more crack". After going another ten mins I hit fresh sign and not long later thought I heard a distant roar. Ellie began air scenting as we moved closer and I let out a roar that was returned about 30 seconds later. Long story short we ended up getting right amongst three stags all roaring to me and each other and a couple fighting in some thick stuff. We snuck into 30m from one stag after passing up the first one as a young 8 pointer. For 15 mins Ellie held her point while I was trying to get a good look at the head gear and decide whether he was a shooter. He eventually cottoned on and I got a look at his antlers as he stepped even closer to us, at this point he decided he'd had enough and turned to run. I had one small gap about 40x40cm in the fallen tree where if he ran along the game trail I'd get a shot, fortune favoured us and he did. I let rip with the shot as he came into view and he leaped into the air. He ran maybe 70m into the thick stuff before I heard him crash. Ellie led me straight to him to cap off an already great effort and just like that she'd done everything I'd asked of her.
I'm far from a great dog trainer and it's been a long 2 1/2 years training Ellie to get to the point where she could hunt for me off the lead without ranging too far or breaking after roos and deer. But the results of this hunt made it all worth it.
The stags not huge, a five by five with the longest basal snags I've ever seen on a stag but he had great mass and was a real old battler.
This one is on Ellie and this stag has earned his place on the wall.