Ozcut Broadheads
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  1. #1

    Kicking the monkey

    Sooooo, it's been a while - over a year in fact - since I last managed to harvest an animal. Not that I didn't have any opportunities: shots let down because the animal moved, too far, covered by bush, not confident etc. etc. Add to that the four straight misses I had (two within 5 minutes!) and my confidence was at rock bottom. It started to feel like a weight on my back, my shooting was pretty good but I wasn't able to get my ###t together when it mattered - despite some serious talking to myself. In truth one of them would have been good shot except for the pencil size branch I didn't see somewhere in the 8m between me and the goat below me. But still, a miss is a miss no matter what and it started to hurt. I was sure I hadn't fallen into the trap of 'how easy is this?' after 6 straight harvests in a couple of years, but perhaps my thoughts were starting to turn to after the shot, rather than 'being in the moment' as the buzz seems to be these days.

    I had switched bows somewhere along there, going from a 50# Sage to a high 40's hybrid of Nighthawk/Lightning riser and Sage limbs. Re-assessing after the 4th miss, I returned to the Sage, changed shirts back to the same ones I wore on other successful hunts and returned to the bush. To no avail.

    Earlier I had played with a clicker as both a psycho trigger and a draw check. Initially setting it up as a psycho trigger sucked for me, so I changed it to just measure draw length then expanded through to release without the click. This certainly helped get my accuracy back, but still my consistency suffered and I had to change something each time to bring it back. In frustration/desperation I returned to using the clicker as a psycho trigger and fully concentrated on just the follow through after listening to Tom Clumm on various podcasts. Suddenly something clicked (ha!) and I was stacking them in there, one after the other out to my point on of 27m. Not only that, but if I started to drift I was able to analyse where I was going wrong and fix it without "changing" anything. Most times it was because I wasn't concentrating enough on the follow through and I have been able to extend my draw length a full 1" using the clicker and expansion.

    Building up a new set of GT Trads in full length 340's with 100gr insert, 125gr Outback Supreme single bevel, a brass footing and 4x 3" parabolic feathers gave me exactly 660gr. Everything flew good, field point, bareshaft and broadheads were flying together and survived some serious abuse including a couple of steel fence and fence posts 'interface' moments. Confidence in my ability and equipment hadn't been higher, but I was wary of the monkey on my back and never let him get hold for too long.

    Enter a week off, some time to get ahead on the house jobs, cut some firewood and get a day trip or two away in. Lets just say things didn't go as planned, and today (thurs) was the first time rain, jobs, child, wife, etc. allowed me to get away. As usual my plan was to make my way up one gully against the morning katabatic winds then cross over and return when the winds had changed to a predicted W/NW - ideal to take advantage of the winds in both directions. Against this was the behavior of the goats. During the warmer months I've learnt enough to predict their movements with some certainty: travel down the gullies to the edge of the farmland with the katabatic winds behind them, take a drink from the farm dams if necessary, then turn around and head back up the same gully once the sun had reached it's zenith and the thermals were kicking off, finishing the day some 3/4 the way up the slope for the night. Winter with it's rains had changed all this, no longer were they reliant on the farm dams for their water and were free to wander anywhere they pleased. Allied to this was the increase in green vegetation and the only near certainty was that during the colder parts of the day they would be on the warmer N-W facing slopes.

    Picking a secondary gully as my route up the hill, I fired up the GPS (phone), grabbed my gear and set off. I'd borrowed a trekking pole from the old man for a trial run and was interested in how it would go. Suffice to say that I'll be getting at least one as soon as I can - descending in particular was much easier with it and my knees returned home in a lot better state than they would normally after a 5-6km walk up and down some rough ground. Almost immediately I crossed some fresh sign, droppings and tracks. As it had rained during the night I was sure it was from this morning, but it took me a little while to work out that they were travelling downhill. As it appeared there were only a couple of them and I'd be giving up a lot of good ground against the wind I kept going using their prints as practice in tracking. It wasn't until I'd almost reached to top of the tiny creek that they petered out amongst the granite outcrops and I crossed over into the next gully. This is my favourite gully, one I don't think I've ever travelled without seeing goats and I'd harvested 3 goats in a very short section. As well it has some good amounts of Sambar sign in the higher regions along with a varied vegetation from dry and rocky ground with prickly coprosma/grass trees through wattle stands on the slightly wetter mid faces and into some grandly majestic straight trunked eucalypts in the higher reaches which line the gullies like the walls of a cathedral to the beautiful Australian bush with their limbs providing the ceiling overhead.

    Crossing the ridge from the secondary gully to the real deal, I spied a fox slowly tripping across the ground 30-40 odd meters away. I always carry my whistle in my pocket after missing the chance to call to a couple of similarly spotted reynards on previous occasions, so I pulled it out, knocked an arrow and closed in behind a tree. A few toots on the whistle and I cautiously poked an eye out from behind my cover. Gone, nada, zilcho. A few more calls were made before I spotted movement off up above me and there it was heading to get down wind of me. As soon as it cut my scent it turned and bolted. Ah well, there's always next time.....

    Visiting a main branch towards to the top of the ridge (but still a further 250 leg burning meters in elevation to the ridge line) to check out Sambar sign, I stopped on a nice rocky outcrop in the sun for a moment of contemplation on the meaning of life, the universe and my place in it and whether I should eat all my soup now or save some for later? A relaxing 15min of cogitation later (save some for later thanks), I packed up and shouldered my now slightly lighter bag. I'd had an occasional whiff of 'goatiness' for the whole day, but as I'd followed up nose burning trails for nought before, I wasn't unduly excited. Cautiously creeping down the gully I kept to the shadows where possible and reaching the scene of my previous harvests, I heard a 'baa' and got a nose-full of eau de cabra simultaneously. Seeing a pair of nearly fully grown kids mucking around along with a mature nanny, I ducked down behind some cover and sprinted as fast as possible along the steep slope and rough loose ground to end up in the fork of a fallen stringy bark which had landed on or taken with, another couple of trees. Secure in my position, I scanned the hillside on the other side of the rolling crest in front of me and picked out another young billy while the other three had disappeared. Content to wait for the moment secure that they were most likely heading in my direction and with a couple of other ambush options in the close vicinity, I packed my trekking pole away and pulled my neck sock up over my face and hat down. After perhaps 5 or 10 minutes, the scene hadn't really changed and I could now only see a young goat off up 30m or so above the creek. Slipping down into the creek bed, I made my way up behind a tree standing on the point of the small finger ridge and surveyed the scene. I was confident that there were at least 2 goats hidden in the fold of the ground in front of me, with only the 1 young goat above me to find me out I crawled my way across the ground to reach a slab of rock in front of me giving me a great ambush location if they passed above or below me.


    I sat behind the rocks center left and the nanny stepped up onto the rocks center of pic

    As often happens in these situations, more goats suddenly appeared out of the woodwork and I could now make out an extra pair of young nannies - one just out of distance for a shot and another making her way across the steep face feeding as she went. The closest nanny was perfect, nice and young and moving towards me feeding slowly. She reached a small rock ledge 10m or so away and fed for a while before turning towards me. If she climbed the ledge I'd have a nice 10m shot quartering to me, if she went below I'd have a near perfect 12m or so broadside shot. Safe behind my ledge I already had an arrow nocked, correct grip and mental control reminding myself over and over to concentrate on my follow through and not the shot. The nanny stepped forward and climbed the ledge. Rising just slightly to make sure my bottom limb cleared the ground I drew, picked my spot, hit the clicker and the arrow was away silently and as I found out later, smashed straight through, cutting clean through the near leg leg bone, through the ribs, the heart, the offside ribs and exiting the offside to hang caught by the fletching.

    The nanny turned to bolt, but her leg failed her and she half tumbled/ran into the creek bottom. Dead although she didn't know it yet, I quickly knocked another arrow and shot again. Dead is dead, but deader is better right? In hindsight I probably shouldn't have taken the shot as it was slightly too far back and clipped the gut before busting through the liver and the original nearside (now offside) shoulder blade, but I have to admit the possibility of her taking off with an arrow hanging out was foremost in my mind. 30 seconds or so after the shot she stopped moving and the rest of the mob who had appeared in the few short moments of action above me, moved off up the ridge calling as they went.



    A huge wave of tension left me. Honestly, if I was told right then I'd have to hang up my bow I would have happily - I no longer could feel the weight of the monkey on my back. Dropping down to the nanny I took a celebratory drink of water and unpacked my bag for the butchering job interested to see how the heavy arrow and single bevel had performed (as expected really, all bones involved were destroyed). In fact the original nearside shoulder was so smashed up I didn't bother taking it.

    Cleaning up I packed my bag and shouldered my load for the return trip to the car, weighed down physically but not psychologically. During my period of waiting behind the rock ledge, I'd heard a crash 100m or so further down the gully and on passing found a dead stringy had finally given in to the soft ground from recent rains and had fallen across the creek bed (they don't call them widow makers for nothing!)



    Reaching the car I returned home to be greeted with excitement by the dog who could smell something exciting.

    Just gotta keep an eye out for that stinkin' monkey though....
  2. shanks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bundaberg QLD
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    516
    #2
    Great to read a hunting story on here again... especially one using trad gear. Well done. Great write up too.
  3. #3

    Kicking the monkey

    Great read mate, well done!!

    Sent from my TRT-LX2 using Tapatalk
    The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.
    Proverbs 12:27
  4. #4
    Good read mate, nothing worse than a monkey setting in & starting to question the things you've done for so long.
  5. #5
    Thanks guys, would have written up some of the earlier unsuccessful hunts, but getting on here was a little difficult....
  6. Brooster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Kurwongbah
    Posts
    1,402
    #6
    Nice one, have been short on hunting luck myself of late. Nice read thanks for sharing.
    Cheers Bruce
  7. #7
    Great little story mate, good to see you get the job done.

    Randal
  8. #8
    Nice write up mate and congrats on the first curve kill.
    I remember that feeling after getting my first with the recurve.
  9. #9
    Onya boss, well done buddy.
    VPA prostaff, BONE SPLITTING PERFORMANCE.


    LIVE THE HUNT

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