Winter goats

[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]Quick trip down to the hunting block for a few days, last chance to go hard on the goats before lambing starts, we’ll give the ewes a bit of peace and quiet from now on to get on with their business. We also wanted to tackle a mob of troublesome reds that have been raiding the cattle flats for months, at night, stealing a good amount of valuable feed from under our noses. I wanted 3 or 4 meat deer, yearlings preferably.[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&amp]
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[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]After several weeks on a remote Queensland mine site gorging myself on canteen food, the bold decision was taken to leave the quad at home, like not to even take them just in case, cos if I did, I knew I’d ride and not walk. That meant a minimum of 450m aggregate vertical ascent every day, and then 450m back down, about 15km actual walking. Seeing as how I was dead set on using my 13lb Creedmoor, plus a 11kg pack, that was going to test the legs. (I always carry an emergency bivvy, just in case, plus food for 2 days, wet and sub-zero clothing and... if I have a coronary or break a leg, an EPIRB. And lots of ammunition.) Quick check that the tactical beard was in order, and we were away.[/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]Days 1 and 2 were pretty bloody ordinary. I hunted goats in the usual places, close to the bushline down the gullies and into the bigger clearings. I took the .243 on day 1 as I knew there would be no point at which a >300m shot was likely. I scored a measly 3 goats in the entire day, but then there has been a real effort in this area, with several months of hard yakka, to bring the numbers down. Only 1 goat provided a photo opportunity, the other two were way over the other side of the gully.[/FONT][/FONT]
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[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]On day 2 I lugged the Creedmoor around for 7 hours, up hill and down dale, anticipating the normal 400m+ type shooting across gullies. I saw dozens and dozens of reds in big mobs with some beaut 12-14 point stags, they won’t be casting for another 3-4 weeks minimum yet. But it was damn windy and not in my favour, blowing right up my arse and I was repeatedly winded. Whilst it was tempting to change the plan and hence double the kilometres to get around the wind, I decided I couldn’t be bothered, especially seeing as how I had no capacity in my 35L packs for any meat. There was a cracking storm brewing just to the south, blowing in fast, so time to gap it down the hill.
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[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]I ended the day with not a single shot fired. That area wasn’t holding a single goat. Plentiful reds, lots of mobs of fallow down low. But no goats. [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&amp]
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[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]The third day of anti-goat patrol was a blast. It started pretty average though, -3°C and a hard frost and mist in the gullies. I’d had a bad night posture wise and woken with a cracking occipital headache, courtesy of being hit side on by a drunk driver a few years ago. Never puts me in a good mood. Anyway, I did the hard yards early on and the pharmaceuticals did their job. I got right up high and... couldn’t find a single goat. It was friggin’ parky up on the highest point of the property and I realised the goats were likely hiding down low out of the wind. So after an hour observing 3 large heavy red stags on the opposite face, I traipsed back halfway down the hill, taking a spur down towards a deep gully and some clearings we’ve done well at before.[/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]No luck, no goats. Deer everywhere though, I ran into a very large old hind who honked into my face and frightened the bejeezus out of me. Plus some nice eating pigs that can wait for another day. But out of nowhere, on the wind, a stiff northerly bringing rain, there was a faint bleat. Ah ha! Had a pretty good idea where they’d be, problem was getting there, I had to climb up and over two spurs and down through the gullies in between, to gain a clear line of sight. Was getting pretty tired by now, about 3.30pm, couple of hours light left in the day.[/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]45 minutes later, high on a ridge with the wind variable at 10.30 - 11.00, I could see the mob on a small clearing, at the bottom of a spur that leads up into an area that has been sprayed to kill all the native and hence gives good open-ish scrubby country shooting. There’s a single power line that runs through it, hence the herbicide, high trees and power lines in remote bush are not a good combo.[/FONT][/FONT]
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[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]There’s a very distinctive grey and black billy in this bunch, I’ve tried to get at them several times before, but their territory usually keeps them of of range of the Creedmoor, I usually range them at over 1000m. This time though they had gone low, way below the shooting position, the closest animals were a mere 275m with HCD applied. A quick measure of the fairly steady-ish wind, and it was time to throw some 143gr ELD-X. [/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]I took a quick look at the goats to select the lead nanny to shoot first. When I saw the grey & black billy close up with the scope at 24x, I was pretty stunned, he’s got a magnificent head, likely 36”+ spread and possibly, just maybe, the magic 40”. I’d not seen him so close and it was obvious he was special. Being unable to get to the goats due to the severe canyon between me and them, there was no way to recover what might be the biggest billy head I ever shoot in my life. So I elected to leave him for now and picked up the largest nanny for the first shot.[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&amp]
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[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]The first two goats were down before the mob could work out they needed to run. The big billy took off like a missile, he was only interested in looking after himself. Two goats that wanted to follow him across the slip to the right dithered because they looked back to see what the nanny was doing, which is why you must always shoot the biggest, oldest nanny first. One of those fell all the way to the river about 30m below with an almighty splash, the other dropped and stayed put on the slip. [/FONT][/FONT]
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[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]Quick range adjustments on the Bushnell were made, 0.1MIL here and there as I estimated changes in range in 10m increments. Not enough time for the rangefinder in the first action, when you’re on your own. One clean miss from not enough windage (holding for wind), one more miss from hitting a branch of the dead tree about 3m on front of me. Bugger, had to single feed now. But after the first 4 goats went down in the first action, another 5 goats were picked off here and there, once they had stopped to look back I could range them accurately and drop them. Reloading the top load magazine is what always gets me, no matter how much I practice, when its all on I never seem to get the rounds in right. The survivors ran across the contour into the native, four I think, and I knew that they’d start heading up hill to their normal territory eventually, so I stayed put. [/FONT][/FONT]
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There are 4 dead goats in this picture. Lets try and spot them in 1970s style “spot the ball”.[FONT=&amp]

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[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]True as nuts 2 goats made the fatal error of coming out higher up to call their dead mates, and down they went at 520 and 530m. The second one took two shots to finish the job as the breeze must have died a little across the way. You’ll see from the photos that I was having to shuffle left and right and back again to get a clear line of sight through the bloody dead trees. There’s just no quibble with this Howa 6.5 Varminter, it shoots multiple shot strings so damn well and the Bushnell Elite scope is dialled right in, the tracking is perfect and I have a nice clear image on 24x magnification.[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&amp]
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[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]So job done, only a couple of survivors, they continued crying out from the thick bush - there’s a reason that big grey billy got to be so big, as soon as he hears a gun shot he’s gone. Only interested in self-preservation. He’ll be 15 years plus I expect. [/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]Long hike back down the hill as the light faded, lots of little fallow prancing around, they are almost as dopey as goats. Hares everywhere. Quick rabbit at 295m right on dusk just for laughs. Splat! Those bunnies burrow in around the strainer posts in the yards and destabilise the fences. By the time I got back to the cabin, all I was interested after that was some beer, a steak, and a good sleep.[/FONT][/FONT]
 

woodmaster

Well-Known Member
Sounds like a blast. Do you generally shoot alone, or with a mate?
Just as well you don't have to drag all the goats out, you'd be blowing a bit!
 

reloader54

Well-Known Member
I just wanna say, I really enjoy reading your hunting trip posts, and the pics are perfect accompaniments to the stories. please continue. :thumb:
 

Old-YOP

Well-Known Member
"There are 4 dead goats in this picture."

B&ggered if I can see *any* of them. Cracking write-up though, cheers.

(In the old days you'd have everything quiet and nicely set up and then Tim Wallis would come blasting round the corner in a helicopter full of shooters :)
 

Cottis

Well-Known Member
Looks and sounds awesome. Only thing missing are a couple of spare pre loaded mags. More to carry though which doesn't sound desirable.

Thanks for the write up.
 

Loki

Well-Known Member
Hiya

Thank you for sharing the write-up of your wandering - great read. Photos made it.

L
 

Essexsussex

Well-Known Member
Why do we need more ? There are very very few replies to most hunt tales that are posted.
Good point - I must start commenting when I read them, if only as a courtesy to the writer. I particularly enjoy your and dodgyknees stories - for the record. (and others of course).
 

JamesH

Well-Known Member
Excellent write up and trip. Makes me very envious and feeling the need to plan a trip to NZ again, this time with some hunting included.
 
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