Queenslander Rob Harvey, who organises ADA’s National Photographic Competition each year is a pretty dab hand with the camera. As he runs the competition, this automatically excludes him from entering his own photographs.
However, the Editorial Panel frequently use his high-quality deer photos on the cover of Australian Deer magazine, or if they come in faster than we can use them there, as content in its pages. Examples of Rob’s work are featured in this Hunting About.
Rob captured a photo of a red deer stag in late December just after daylight in a huge cut-over pine forest in South-East Queensland. Only an hour after first light the sun was very bright and the deer’s colouring meant Rob kept losing him amongst the red dirt and green foliage. Eventually Rob got to within 60 metres and got a few good photos. The young stag sported a very unusual set of antlers, with two main beams on one side.
As Rob was walking back along the forestry road another young red deer crossed just in front of him. The animal bolted off into a clearing giving the opportunity to get a photo with his Nikon P900 attached to a monopod.
Rob has also been out chasing rusa in recent years, getting some memorable shots of animals going about their business. Perhaps the most interesting saw Rob sitting in ambush on a river in mid-morning in bright sunlight and had a hind walk into the water to drink. Suddenly movement was spotted in the thick undergrowth beyond and a set of antlers and then the whole animal emerged — a nice rusa stag in rutting mode. The stag tried to mount the hind but she was having none of it, and burst off across the water.
On another occasion Rob was returning to his truck in a bit of a hurry, moving quite fast through the blue gums. He then blundered onto a rusa stag, but luckily his camera was still around his neck. Some offhand photos were obtained by leaning around a big tree while the stag seemed to be trying to make himself as small as possible by hiding in the grass. Then he was gone in a flash.
Rusa stags are renowned scrappers during their mid-winter rut and Rob was lucky to capture one battle between two evenly-matched opponents.
Being a Kiwi by birth, Rob often goes ‘home’ to New Zealand to hunt and photograph sambar with his mate Gordon McIlroy. Gordon services their trail cameras while Rob is in Australia. Lately the New Zealand weather has been very unkind so it had been over five weeks since Gordon had been out and about to service the different Bushnell and Spy Point cameras. One image obtained of a young sambar stag was a cracker as he walked to within a metre of the Bushnell M Trophy Cam set on a game trail that lead past a rut scrape and to a nearby wallow. Although New Zealand’s sambar are from Sri Lanka, anyone familiar with Australian animals will immediately notice that look very distinctly different to ours.