• Ted's velvet stag shot for meat
    Ted's velvet stag shot for meat
  • Hind skinned
    Hind skinned
  • Ted's jerky
    Ted's jerky
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Ted's velvet stag shot for meat

Having a bit of a taste for venison and knowing a couple of people in the right places, I naturally tend to get out fairly regularly to top up my freezer. Just a few weeks ago, my mate Bruce was pretty keen to head out with me to try to get some free range venison.  Probably the desire was even stronger than normal because he had never seen a wild deer before and he also told me he had never seen a wild dog either.  
He had previously hunted dogs a couple of times with my son Scott, but on those couple of hunts luck just hadn’t been with them.  
Anyway, our hunt that day started out well, as the weather wasn’t too bad and wind seemed right for our planned walk.  
A disappointed pair of deer hunters rolled up back at the truck with nothing to show but sore bodies from a long five hour up and down dale walk.  It was mentioned to Bruce that it often ended up this way for me as many times my hunts resulted in failure and the only ones most people hear about are the hunts where my luck has been good.  Driving to the top of a mountain, the chairs were set up and lunch was cooked on the little stove, as a burger on top of a mountain is just a great way to go.  Bruce used my Swarovski binoculars to scan the nearby hills, just hoping to see a deer.  It didn’t happen. Anyway deciding to head back to the hut I stay in the truck was packed and we set off.
Well, you wouldn’t believe it! Just 25 metres after starting, three deer ran across the track in front of us. Bruce’s rifle was in the back on the side the deer stopped to look back. So naturally, I grabbed the .358ME rifle and slipping out my door, a quick aim was taken and the boom rattled around the hills as a deer dropped on the spot. The 185grain ACP projectile just flattened it.  Bruce jumped out, getting his rifle from the back and set off after the other two that had run down the side of the mountain. Sneaking along slowly well to one side, Bruce could be seen kneeling and aiming.  Looking to where he was aiming, there was a deer standing at the fence and seemed to be getting ready to jump.  Sitting down and watching through my scope, I wondered why Bruce hadn’t shot yet as the deer was getting really fidgety. Seeing its tail swing up and down and the ears drop, it was certainly nearing the time when it would jump, so I fired dropping the deer on the spot with another of those local made ACP projectiles.
Asking Bruce why he hadn’t fired, he said he was very hesitant in shooting and trying to think exactly where to shoot it, seeing as he had only 87grain pills in his .243. They would have done the job and it was a shame he didn’t fire, but the meat was needed
and the deer was about to jump, so it just happened.  Bruce was quite happy just to see it drop as these were the first wild deer he had ever seen. It’s a certainty that next time Bruce is taken for a hunt here, I will make sure he gets the shot as it would be nice to see him shoot his first red deer.  
The deer were both bled and using some rope from my truck we hauled them both up a couple of trees to skin and gut them and take the meat. This took us quite some time as having the truck so nice and handy we could spend time getting the meat hair-free and bagging it in large clip seal bags. It was then placed, some in my Engel Fridge/freezer and some in the ice box we had with ice in it.
What a fine way to end a deer hunt, sit down and have a great lunch and let the deer come to us.  Feeling happy and deciding that there was no need to stay until dark, we headed slowly back down the mountain. Getting close to the last gate on my mate’s farm, the good fairy must have been pointing her wand at us as Bruce said “Look out your side, Ted – a wild dog!” Sure enough a big dog was heading across a large flat very close to a gully that was full of lantana. As the truck stopped it took off and my rifle being ready for such a situation was quickly in my hands and a round chambered. I followed the dog in the scope and just as my finger squeezed the trigger, the lantana seemed to swallow him up.  Having already taken the pressure on the trigger I fired anyway. As we got out of the truck Bruce went right, getting to a spot where he could see the large flat and my move was to the left. Amazingly, looking along the edge of the gully the dog could be seen lying right next to the edge of the lantana.  We dragged him to an ant mound, a couple of photos were taken and he was scalped. Sometimes everything seems to work out right for you and this was just one of those days. The shot I fired had hit the dog right through both shoulders. This was just another first for Bruce as he had now seen both wild deer and a wild dog.
Anyway, roll on quite a few weeks and I was back in the mountains again, but this time at a different spot with another good friend Chris.  He needed meat and had a few handy spots in which to look for a good meat deer and had invited me up to help out. One spot where he had been seeing deer every time he went there was a long walk down a mountain. It could be driven in a four wheel drive, but that would just scare the deer, so it was a shank’s pony job.  Being quite late in the day there wasn’t much light left before some deer were spotted way, way over the hills.  Sneaking in as close as possible, we were still a good 300 metres away from them. Chris wanted me to shoot, as the .300Weatherby was good for these long shots. Taking a lean on a handy stump the shot was taken and after what seemed like a couple of seconds a loud thwack came back to us and the deer tried to run but staggered and fell. It was so far away it
took us until it was nearly dark to get to where it had been standing and by the time it
was found it was dark.

Hind skinned
Hell, luckily we both carried torches so the deer was gutted as far as needed, as the front half was a mess. Anyway, cutting it in half, it was manhandled down the side of the mountain to a semblance of a track and the long walk back to the truck was started.  Managing to get the Triton right to it was great as I was knackered and it ended up being 9-00pm before we had tea.  After a quick drink the sack we hit the sack early as a 5am start was the order of tomorrow.  There had been quite a few deer eating up a close neighbor’s feed and he wanted them gone and didn’t care how. Anyway, driving to within a kilometer and a half of where the deer always seem to be, our rifles were checked, back packs on and off we went.  Cutting through a lot of thick lantana on a small track, we slowly emerged onto a beautiful hilly section with heaps of feed growing.  We didn’t see anything for a little while and then suddenly Chris pointed to the top of the next hill. Amongst the trees were three or four stags; they already had antlers growing and it was only mid October?
Chris and I lay down with our packs as rests and tried to ascertain which was the smaller of the stags, as neither of us liked shooting stags in early velvet when they still had a lot of growing to do. But to keep this farmer happy at least one of these had to go. The closest one to us seemed the smallest and even it looked like it would grow into a good animal. If one of us didn’t shoot it, then the farmer would get someone else to shoot them, so the crosshairs were placed on the stag.  Waiting for Chris to fire seemed to take ages and looking back toward him he was motioning for me to take the shot as the trees were in the way for him to shoot. There were also a few small bushes between me and the stag as well. Holding the scope on him and waiting for him to move forward a fraction for a clearer shot, suddenly his head came up and he looked straight at us.  With no time to waste, the shot was taken and no thump came back and the stag trotted up the hill turning slightly away from me.  Following him as the cross hairs touched his shoulder another shot was fired and this time the loud thump came back to us.  He only moved two paces and fell. The first shot must have hit one of those pesky little trees and been deflected but the second one had done the job.  Pacing out the distance of the shot, it was 367 long paces, a very long way. We were both happy to see a lovely rolling fat stag down and ready to butcher for the freezers, but sad in seeing such a lovely animal down with his antlers only partially grown.
While my job was to bleed him and then gut him, Chris walked the kilometre and a half back to get my truck so that he could be hauled up a shady tree off the ground while we went to get a trailer.  We only had a five minute drive back to Chris’s house and picked up the trailer.  Shortly after that the stag was in the trailer and taken back to pick up the hind from yesterday and take to his mates cold room.  Now we both had enough prime meat to last us a fair while.  It’s nice when things turn out right, as many times we end up going home empty handed.

Footnote:
First two deer and dingo were shot with .358Mitchell express rifle using 185grn ACP projectiles. The second two deer shot with a Weatherby .300Mag using 165grn Nosler Balistic tips. The first two deer were cut up using the knife made and shown in a how-to article in the December 2014 issue of Sporting Shooter. 
Ted's jerky

Venison Jerky Recipes
MY BEEF JERKY

Marinate for 24 hours in mixes below, before drying. These recipe's are for about a KG and half of lean venison with no fat or gristle

Mix 1 - Spicy Teriyaki
1/2 cup teriyaki
1/4 cup worstershire
Two heaped teaspoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
good dash of bar-b-q sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix 2 - Bar-B-Q Chilli
1/4 cup bar-b-que sauce
1/2 cup worstershire
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
two heaped teaspoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons sweet chilli
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix 3 - Sweet Honey Soy
3/4 cup honey soy
1/4 cup worstershire
two-heaped Teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix 4 - As Above
1/2 cup soy
1/4 cup worstershire
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
two teaspoons brown sugar
two large tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add or subtract ingredients to own tastes.

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