Hunting with my good mate Steve Glover over the Easter weekend produced a dream red deer stag. But this story actually started 20 years ago with hunts for red deer at Kilcoy in Queensland - I wrote a description of the trips back then, as I like to have a record that I can keep with my mounted trophies. When I have passed on, the trophies will still have some history with them!
Kingaroy Easter 1996 and 1997
On the 1996 hunt I didn’t fire a round but had an eventful trip never-the-less. The trip was organised by Bill Thompson, a mate of my father, but by the time we left the crew had reduced from five to two. I hadn’t met Scott Cox before and when he was dropped off at my place his wife asked if I had somewhere to put his needles, and if I knew what to do if he went into a coma; it was quite a shock to learn that Scott was a severe diabetic.
Scott turned out to be a good companion, but got lost on the first day and didn’t return until 11pm. After this he didn’t have any energy for stalking but meanwhile I walked my butt off all weekend for nought. Scott then chatted up the landowner who took him for a drive and they returned with two red deer stags with six point antlers.
The second year I asked my wife’s brother, who lived in Kingaroy, to keep his ear to the ground and he organised an acquaintance, Rob, to take me out. Rob proved to be a keen hunter who had taken a lot of red deer stags.
We started the hunt at 3am by driving to the top of a ridge then walking to a spot overlooking a valley. It was then that I heard stags roaring for the first time. What a sound! The hair on the back of my neck stood on end as I listened in awe trying to determine where the loudest roar was coming from.
At daybreak we stalked toward our quarry. Rob roared to the stag which answered, but then it moved off. I later spotted another stag that looked good to me and Rob motioned that he had double five antlers. The shot was a beauty; over 200 metres on the trot. Unfortunately, while the deer had the tell-tale shanghai tops, he was missing his bez tines, only the second deer that Rob had seen like this. He was disappointed but I was stoked with my first red deer stag.
Later we came across the other stag which I put down with two shots. I was one happy hunter and spent the remainder of the weekend salting hides and nursing a swollen head!
Whilst a double six or better is the goal of experienced red deer hunters, I was thrilled with my two double fours.
That 1997 hunt was followed by many unsuccessful hunts although eight or ten years later, again in Queensland, I was offered a double five which I turned down. My mate Steve took him, a beauty with all the right head gear!
Steve had been helping me obtain my dream 6x6 and found a property near Wagga that the odd deer passed through. We have been hunting it pretty hard for two years and once again I turned down the opportunity to take a strong 5x5 red deer stag this Easter. The property owner then lined up a neighbour with better deer numbers.
A lone stag then roared one evening for nearly an hour and lifted our spirits. The next morning Steve left camp half an hour before light for a long walk to a fence line that we had picked out. I waited for shooting light and headed for the same fence about a kilometre from his position. We were both glassing separate mobs of feeding hinds and hoping the big fellow would turn up. Then some kangaroos got wind of Steve and headed down the fence towards me. They ran into my trail and nearly fell over as they changed course. Only a few moments later a big red deer stag followed them.
I was lining him up for a running shot when he also ran into my trail and deviated. I hit him high with the first shot and he tumbled and went down. A second shot was needed.
As you can see he is a cracker and I am stoked. A big thank you to Steve for his mateship and help over the years.