Went on a trip for a few days in November and only took my young dog Gus. Bella was on heat and part of the trip involved dropping in on some mates that intended camping in the same area with their dogs she was safest at home under house arrest as she's a very promiscuous young lady when the mood takes her.
We had a great trip with plenty of training and a few deer seen. We hunted one stag out of it's wallow on Thursday evening and Gus really worked well.
We tracked the stag for a bit but he went into some real thick noisy crap so I changed plan and headed below his direction of travel as I reckoned I knew where he was heading and this would give Gus better use of the wind. There is another bigger wallow a bit further down the gully and there are a couple of small grassy clearings along the way so I was confident this was where he was headed.
As we got into the area where I expected to cross paths with the stag Gus started to indicate there was deer about.
Soon enough I spotted the stag wandering slowly down through a very small, slightly more open patch of bush.
Gus was standing up in his deer indication pose (which at 9 months still consists of half "there it is" and half "don't let it get me"), he was only about 3 - 4 meters in front and directly between me and the stag.
When he looked back to "check in" I put my arm out to the side to bring him to me so I wouldn't blow his eardrums out with the shot.
The stag picked up my arm movement and conveniently stopped perfectly side on and stared at us but remained motionless.
I lined him up and went for the percentage shot just under the armpit. At the shot the stag hunched up with the hit then took off into the thick stuff.
We waited for a bit but Gus was pretty excited with all the sight, smell and noise but he never tried to run off on me, just bounced around alot.
We then went after the deer but during the wait I had lost the picture in my head of where the stag had gone and I took the wrong game trail which coincidentally had fresh deer tracks on it for a short bit but no blood. I stuffed about a bit and Gus wasn't showing any interest so I went back to where the shot was taken to see if I could picture where the deer was when it took off. By this time Gus had gone a bit higher up and was definitely following ground and air scent switching from nose down to head right up so I began following him.
Next thing he stopped and started licking the grass which is something he hadn't done before so I have a look and sure enough there's blood. "Good boy Gus" i say "Fetch him up" and I follow him as he continues to find more blood and there are a few running marks in the sometimes soft ground.
Then Gus goes through a hole in the bush I wouldn't have thought a sheep could fit through let alone a full grown Sambar Stag but sure enough there's a pool of bright red blood on the ground so we push through into this real thick crap. Gus keeps leading the way then I hear the unmistakable sound of an animal on its last gasps. Finally we sight the stag, he's still standing but he's buggered. with Gus still in front and directly under the muzzle of the rifle I cant do a finisher and the deer staggers off through the scrub a meter or two and disappears again. We follow the stag up with me encouraging Gus along and quickly catch up to him as he falls.
Gus is excited and a bit frightened up this close but he's done very well and I am pretty excited too.
A few photos then the hard work begins.
One leg and the back-straps are taken now but as it's dark when I get back to the car so it's back the next morning to get the other back leg and the head. He's not a big deer but he's a good representative head and a nice one for the young dog to open his account with.