Writeup #1 - NY Tahr hunt
After an extremely busy end of the year there was nothing we wanted more than to get away hunting. Making the most of the week off after Christmas we headed down to Tekapo to get into some tahr. After a day of road driving and a good half day of 4x4 we got in deep into the back country.
That first evening we packed an overnight bag and headed up the hill to stay in a hut. As we got close we started to hear voices. Turned out the hut was full and there was not even any floor space. We cut open some big plastic bags for ground sheets and slept on the helipad. The cold night was worth it for the view of both the stars and waking up to an amazing view.
From here it didn't take much more climbing to start seeing animals with a couple heading across the face in front of us. We let these carry on and continued to head up periodically to glass and find water. It didn't take long to find more animals some of whom must have seen us as they disappeared while we were out of view. A few hours later we were picking our way through a spaniard patch to sneak in on more tahr, shooting a few nannies and taking a back strap we took of back for the valley floor taking a “shortcut" which ended up in a lot of scrub bashing and getting very sore and scratched up shins.
Once back to the valley floor we headed up further and set up camp for the night. After the rain setting in real good it clear late the next evening allowing us to glass up some animals and make a plan for the next morning.
We made our way up a ridge in the bush strategically popping out on a boulder field so we could climb up to the tussock tops without having to climb through the monkey scrub. It was starting to get extremely hot, so we set the fly up next to a steam for a midday rest and to see if we could find some tahr. Some were seen in the bluffs as we made our way further up. They were not going to be easy to get to, so we decided to find a good spot to camp and watch them for the evening.
The tahr seamed to be mostly living up in some cliffs and traveling along the ridge. We climbed up to the ridge through steep shoots with lose slabs of rock that would slide of the mountain with even the smallest disturbance. From here we could see over into the next catchment and hoped we could cut some tahr off or being able to move along the ridge and put a stalk on them. Its was just too dangerous, with a razor like ridge of lose rocks.
After climbing down, we sidled around to the bluffs where we saw the tahr the day before. There was a group of mature bulls up so high in the bluffs it was too far to shoot. As we got around a bit further, we saw two younger ones, so we took another tahr for some more meat. We headed back to camp to get out of the sun for a few hours and pack up camp.
After some swimming and playing in the snow we made our way around to a new camp spot navigating though some steep cliffs and large patches of snow. We saw a number of tahr but they were either nannies or bulls that looked younger and so far below us we didn’t want to loose all our height so we stayed put and enjoyed one of the best sun sets I’ve ever seen.
We got up first thing to get back up to the ridge while there was still shade on the face. From the ridge we could see tahr on both sides but nothing was of particular interest so as the day started to heat up we headed back down the hill for some lunch and to check out the tahr lower down we had seen the day before. Hanging out on a grassy area between 2 valleys we spotted a group of young bulls way down by the river that would take us off the mountain and mean we didn’t have to carry the meat very far so we dropped down through some really steep bluffs and made a stalk on them.
Dropping down a narrow spur we able to move down out of sight and then crawl trough some scrub into a good shooting position right in time for the bulls to leave their beds in the bush and start moving up a grassy face approximately 150ms in front of us. Two were shot and taken out for meat. We made the easy walk out getting back to the river flats just before dark and making our way out to civilization the next day.
Cheers for taking the time to read!!