Staff member Quentin and his mates, Richard and Steve departed on their long drive, from Hamilton, for Stewart Island. Headed for the famous South Lords Block, the boys were excited, and filled with high hopes of shooting the elusive Whitetail Deer. Also prepared for the chance of gathering Paua, Crays and the iconic South Island Blue Cod.
On the first night, Rich went on a solo hunting mission. Shooting two yearling Whitetail Deer up high, in Coey bay. The rest of group explored other new country. But, unsuccessfully, returned back earlier to set up basecamp. Always a highlight of the trip in itself! This was followed by a fishing adventure for an hour or so, to keep six nice blue cod for camp food. The boys were shocked at how prolific they are down there, and aren't surprised the limit is twenty per person.
Rich with his young yearling Whitetail:
The hunters woke up to gorgeous weather on the second morning. The group split up again. To remain quieter in the bush and to explore as much ground as possible. For the most part again the boys were unsuccessful, however Steve spooked one right up close and saw the 'white tail' end of one running away, living up to name. Bloody grey ghosts! QP and rich tried their hand at freediving which was quickly given up on! They were not big fans, it is safe to say the Crays were safe!
QP all camouflaged up and ready for a hunt!
The third day was spent at camp due to the weather. The boys played cards and drank a few brews, and planned their approach for the next few days. Having gained a decent amount of knowledge about the block, and the Whitetails feeding behaviors in the area. The crew swore to capitalise on their insight over the remainder of the trip!
Few rainy brews and some card games!
After a big breakfast, on the morning of the fourth day, Steve ventured out on a full day mission. After a long slog he ended up shooting one directly behind the hut, but quite high up the ridge. The deer seem to like it up there where they can feed on fallen broadleaf and shelter behind logs and in the fern. Quentin found a wicked clearing with a broadleaf grove, further down the Lords river. He left the clearing and hunted his way around that area. Having no luck he retuned to the clearing that evening, but no whitetail. Cunning things!
Returning to camp Stewart Island style:
By the time the fifth day came around, the boys all a bit tired - slept in. They then decided on a later mission, to have another crack at a deer on the evening. Which naturally should be more productive. QP stayed and took care of camp, battling the waves, wind and rain attempting to fill up the 14ft Frewza tinny. The Stewart Island mode of transport! They found this real handy to get to different parts of the block making the most of the area and covering great deal of ground.
In the evening Rich and QP ventured back to the clearing now coined broadleaf grove, which had been discovered the previous evening. The boys sat down and waited patiently. Before long they were rewarded. Twenty minutes in, a nice young buck walked right in close to 10m away. QP and Rich gave each other the excited nod, and the bolt was closed. Click. The rifle dry fired, but the young buck didn't bolt, rather stood there staring at them. Rich re-cocked the rifle and it didn't let him a second time. Boom! Whitetail Down! A proud moment for the two hunters, love it when a plan comes together! The boys couldn't believe their luck, they thanked the animal before cleaning it and reminiscing on their journey back to camp.
QP with the young buck:
On the sixth day Rich went on yet another all day solo mission. QP battled the weather at camp, keeping the boat empty, all while the weather worsened. Facing massive tides and wind up to 120km/h. The wind was shocking down there! Steve ventured back an old tree stand he had found, finding a deer sitting below it less than three meters from him! Once again looking through his scope at the textbook white bum dancing away through the crown fern. Bugger not quite quick enough! Rich managed to standing shoot another yearling across a little gully, which was pretty impressive. Then made his way all the way back to camp, to relax and enjoy the last night of their trip and on Stewart Island.
The last day at camp was spent processing meat, reflecting on a great time with good friends, and packing up camp preparing for the long drive home back to the Waikato!
If you are planning a Stewart Island trip, and need advice as to where to head, gear to take, or logistics for planning and ensuring you have the best time you can. Pop instore to Fish City Hamilton and QP would be more than happy to help you out!