Went bush with my mate James for a few days in June 2012 after we got a massive dump of rain.
Started off with some good luck as the rain stopped in time for us to get away on the Wednesday and we got through the low country with minimal disruptions.
A bit of bad luck was the bloody trees down once we got into the bush but with some winching and chainsaw work we reached our destination. A few beers and a feed then into the fartsack ready for the first hunt of the trip.
Woke to a ripper frost so there was not too much of a rush to get going. I headed off to put a TC out and hunt a gully that had lots of stags in it this time last year. Get to the gully and head off leaving Gus in the car as I want to hunt seriously and he's nowhere near ready at 4 months. I've been taking him everywhere with me so he's used to being in the car for long periods.
I put the cam on a good wallow and hunted my arse off for nearly 4hrs but there was no sign of deer at all in that gully anywhere. I had arranged to meet James back at camp around 12:00 and by 11:30 I was thinking I'd head back to the car but decided I'd give the other side a bit of a look.
Well then I had some good luck. Things were immediately different with some fresh sign of deer turning up straight away. This is more of a flat area with lots of small clearings. I made my way very slowly from clearing to clearing and as I know this area pretty well I was able to work my way through just inside the tree-line but with a good field of view.
I came into one particular spot that just felt "deery" and said to myself "**** I wouldn't be surprised to find some deer out having a midday feed or a big fella wandering around checking things out after all the crap weather". I had no sooner finished that thought when I spotted a deer on the edge of the clearing at the same moment it spotted me. Well all he had to do was turn to his left and disappear into the bush but instead I had another bit of good luck. He gave a half hearted honk and turned right and bolted straight across the open clearing presenting me with a good look at his nice big tops. I fired one shot and then another as he kept going away but I was sure he was mortally hit.
I gave him a couple of minutes and then started tracking him and found blood and some pretty wobbly tracks but he had still gone nearly 150m before expiring. I took in the moment and felt the usual feelings of awe, excitement and a little regret at the taking of these wonderful critters. Then some photos and a bit of video. I then decided I would go and get Gus and James with his new pooch to walk them in on the deer as a good bit of practice.
Here's where some bad luck kicked in. In my rush to get the dogs and James I decided to short cut rather than back track. This involved pushing through some thick bush with rock and dead-fall strewn everywhere. Well with too much haste comes carelessness and the inevitable accident happened. I slipped on a wet stick and wrenched my knee, the same one that had to be operated on after Fiordland 2yrs ago. I couldn't move and felt like spewing up it hurt that much.
More bad luck. My uhf had died recently and was supposed to be fixed for me to collect on the way up the bush but when I went to pick it up it wasn't done so I was now stuck with no communication. I got out my first aid kit and dug out 4 panadol then threw them down my neck. Then I emptied my rifle and took out the bolt and mag and put them in my pack. Using the rifle as a walking stick I pushed myself to get moving and eventually was able to make it to the car after taking an hour and a half to cover 300m of bush.
I managed to get into the car and drive back to camp where James cooked me a feed and I gave him the story. After a feed and a few more panadol I was a bit more mobile so James took me back and helped me hobble in to retrieve the stag. I had began to cape out the deer but with dark coming quickly and my leg killing me as well as no salt on hand and 4 more days in the bush I decided to just get the meat and head.
Back at camp after sitting for a while and having a few rum cans I stood up to go for a leak and had another bit of good luck. As I stood up my knee went "clunk" and popped back into place and was as if nothing had been wrong other than some stiffness and a bit of tenderness on the outside.
Well the rest of the trip was relatively uneventful thankfully with some good training sessions in deer country with Gus. But I have to say the best bit of luck for me was that I had a good mate with me to help me out when things had turned a bit crappy.