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A STAG TO REMEMBER

JOIN THIS BOWHUNTER AS HE TRAVELS TO THE SOUTH PACIFIC IN PURSUIT OF FREE-R ANGING RED STAG.

As the unsuspecting red stag suddenly stopped feeding and lifted his head a foot off the ground in mid-swallow—to stare right at me from a mere 9 yards away—I knew the proverbial moment of truth was at hand. This magnificent 16-point monarch of Kiwiland would either detect my presence or he would not.

I had already prepared for his arrival as fully as possible. Dressed head to toe in camouflage clothing, I had my hunting cap flipped around backward, and the bottom of the face mask that was sewn into the rear of it was now tucked inside the top of my shirt. Breathing was no longer an option. Even before my clueless quarry lifted his head, I had closed one eye and shut the other down to a slit. Two round, open eyes will always betray a predator to his prey. If only I could escape detection at such close quarters, I knew the shot would follow swiftly.

STARTING THE ADVENTURE

The setting for the above drama was New Zealand, South Island. On a mountainside far above Lake Hawea. The mission was basic—kill with my silent but deadly recurve bow a records-book, free-range red stag. Time frame for accomplishment of mission was five days or fewer, and my hunt was scheduled to begin on March 30, 2012.

This story really had its beginnings a year earlier when well known northwest outdoor writer Gary Lewis invited me to join him (along with several other serious agents of wildlife conservation) on a hunt for the famously beautiful and elusive, free-ranging red deer of the South Pacific. I made it clear to Gary that I had no interest in hunting any estate stags behind high fences, but he assured me that this area offered plenty of free-range animals to pursue. Spousal permission was easily obtained, once I convinced my wife, Karen, that we should go on a 12-day organized tour of New Zealand— together—prior to the start of the mission!

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Bow & Arrow Hunting 2018, The Six Epic Hunts of a Lifetime. And More....