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Imagine falling in love with something you know is going to cause you grief.

That’s what happened to Colin and Marg Baynes who farm near the foothills of Te Urewera National Park, inland from Wairoa… Read More


We Did Good Jim ‘Aye’ – A Story By Jim Fox

With those parting words I said goodbye to Colin Baynes and his lovely wife Marg, where I spend the last three days hunting Red Deer on their property along with my tassie mate Nick Barwick. It is a magnificent property where they mainly farm sheep in Wairoa, New Zealand. But it is the Red Deer that roam the bush clad gullies and ridges that had us there.

For a reasonable fee they will put you up at their homestead and allow you to hunt the truly wild deer on the property and make a video of your hunt if you like.
The first afternoon after settling in at the homestead, we headed out to see what was around. It was late in the rut and the action had slowed as my old knees were telling me (after walking what seemed like half the North Island during the previous two weeks is there any flat landscape in the place!!) in a frustrating search for a red stag.
That afternoon we found a few signs to make it very encouraging, and just before dark, the weather, which up until then had been uncharacteristically warm, turned quite cool and a few of the stags had started roaring, one which was in a thick patch of bush on the other side of the deep gorge sounded very encouraging.

We headed back to the homestead full of hope for the next day. It dawned cold and frosty with a lot of roaring going on. We checked out a few animals that were too immature.
The one over the gorge still sounded the best so we headed down the steep side to try and get over there while he was still roaring to have a look. At this point Colin said, “It’s your hunt Jim, I’m just the camera man.”

So using every bit of cunning that I’ve learned in a life spent chasing Sambar, I used every bit of cover. Taking care to watch the wind I worked my way to the edge of a small creek flat where he was screaming not 80 metres away, but still out of sight, with the hairs on my back of my neck standing on edge I slowly edged my way around trying to get a look at him, my eyes straining to make him out.

Suddenly a doe spooked, bolted and took the rest with her. The stag charged through a gap in the Manuka and left me with a memory I will cherish forever, at least 14 points long, wide and heavy, then he was gone. I thought that was the end of it, but a commotion started higher up the hill. The stag had run into the rival that had been challenging him and it was on!

Taking advantage of the chaos this was creating I crept up alongside the gully to where the fight was taking place on a small spur that was slightly clearer. Near the top, the hinds were milling around unsure of what to do.

Suddenly the stag bolted across the top of the small clearing. Without hesitation the Ruger was on my shoulder, as the crosshairs found his shoulder the .270 spoke.
“You got him” yelled Colin as the stag disappeared behind manuka. I quickly got into position to finish him, but it was not needed, it was over.

It was not the big fella I had seen earlier but his rival, though not in the same class, I was rapt in the magnificent dead even 10 pointer with huge royal tops, he was missing bez tine’s, but he was mine.

After a hand shake and photos, Colin got his son to bring the 4WD into the bottom of the spur and we got him back to the meat house and the job of capering him out began, a labour of love.

Nick came back later in the morning drenched in sweat and water from the bush. “You lucky bugger,” he remarked as he cast his eyes over the antlers. “It’s your turn next,” I said as we went over to the house for another great meal.

The next day it was Nick’s turn to have a grin from ear to ear as he proudly showed me his 12 pointer, a lovely head but that’s his story to tell.

The next morning we said our goodbyes to Colin and Marg Baynes and their piece of paradise, two very happy hunters preparing for the long trip home to Oz.