THE BIG FELLA
by Kevin Alexander
Steve and I have been hunting together for a number of years and after taking a number of deer in different locations, we decided to try our luck at a spot we had looked at 12 months earlier.
Saturday we couldn’t find any fresh sign and Sunday morning had gusty winds and heavy rain. We sat in the vehicle for a while, but when the rain showed no sign of easing, we headed off to check out a sheltered gully. After five hours without finding fresh sign and suffering from the effects of the continual rain, I cut back towards the vehicle and bumped into Steve on the next ridge. Five hundred metres further on we located a patch of fresh sign made by two stags and we followed the marks for about an hour before the impending effects of hypothermia made us seek the shelter of the Toyota.
A week later, with high hopes of a successful hunt we arrived at the same location a few minutes after dawn. A quick check of the gear in our day packs and we started off in perfect conditions, not a cloud in the sky and wildlife everywhere taking advantage of the break in the weather. As we moved along the ridge towards the previous week’s sign, with the wind blowing from left to right, some ‘roos continued to graze, completely unaffected by our presence.
Continuing up a gully through thick cover, we found fresh marks made by the larger of the two stags from the previous week. He had browsed and broken a few branches off a dogwood bush. After signalling to Steve, he came over to look at the sign and decided to follow the marks while I kept him in sight and headed off at an angle into the wind, hoping to see the deer across the gully. After 200m, I crossed fresh marks of another stag, heading towards Steve and the possible position of the stag that he was tracking.
The vegetation was thinning out towards the top of the ridge and anticipating the stag would be seeking the shelter of the next fern-choked gully, I too angled towards the saddle. As luck would have it, I spotted an unusual colour not unlike a deer’s rear end. While I was observing its movement, I attempted to attract Steve’s attention with hand signals to indicate that a deer was browsing 120 m ahead of him. But he was intent on following the marks and could not make out what I meant.
Moving towards the deer, I saw it was a good-sized stag. Unable to get a clear shot, I moved closer and was shaking to the point where I was forced to rest the rifle against a tree while I waited for him to cross the gap where I could take a clear shot, but was again forced to move closer as I was unable to get a clear sighting position.
After the shot, he trotted off without flinching, head held high, showing no signs the bullet had connected. He was out of sight immediately, giving no chance of a second shot!
As I ran forward, a ‘honk’ from a second deer drew my attention to a closer stag that repeated his call several times before moving off. I started running towards where I last saw him and stopped to calm down. Steve ran up and I told him I had fired at a large stag and pointed in the direction it had gone. ‘There it is,’ he said, pointing.
Taking a step to the left, I was amazed to see the stag standing and shaking as he looked back over his shoulder at us.
Closing the bolt, I fired once again and he fell to the ground. Steve congratulated me as we moved over to the stag and examined it. Shaking with elation, we sat down and discussed the hunt before taking many photos and carrying the head and gear out to the vehicle.
We came back to cut the animal up and I noticed that the first shot from the 220 grain Sierra round nose, .300 Winchester magnum, had taken out the heart and lungs. It took us three trips and about four hours to carry out all the meat.
On the way home we dropped in to show Bob Burke the ‘small’ stag and gain his assistance in caping out the head. When we had trouble removing the head from the Toyota, Bob went into shock and sent his son Daniel for a camera and tape measure. Later the head was officially scored at 217 5/8 Douglas points and won the Arthur Bentley Sambar Trophy for 1989.
Philip Minogue and his giant sambar. Check out the extension on Phil’s arm. Photo P Minogue.
With ADA Trophy Registrar Peter Stuart
There has been quite a bit of activity on the trophy scene in recent months, with many good trophies being taken or coming to light in our register.
Barry Curtain with his unusual multi-point sambar trophy.
Everybody has been asking about the ‘big sambar’ that was recently taken and I had heard reports that it scored anything from 227 to 231 Douglas points. Well, we can put your minds to rest and tell you this excellent trophy has been officially scored at 224 7/8 points.
The lucky hunter is Philip Minogue, a Melbourne branch member from Kilmore, just north of Melbourne. The trophy is one of the most impressive heads I have seen, with very long beams and an incredibly wide spread of 39 ¼ inches. This width, however, incurred an excess spread penalty of 14 ¼ points, but in no way detracts from the great impact this trophy has on you when it’s first seen.
Two other great sambar taken earlier in the season also are worthy of mention and should be acknowledged for their great size and impressiveness. The first was Barry Curtain’s taken in February this year, and this most unusual nine point trophy scored a remarkable 208 3/8 points when scored by Doug Read of Bairnsdale.
The other head taken by Lou Fassalter scored 207 1/8 points and was taken in April this year. Lou’s trophy complements his other great sambar trophy taken by him back in 1987 that scored 220 1/8 points.
All three hunters are to be congratulated on their success and it certainly has got the 1990 season off to a great start.