Article courtesy of SSAA’s Australian Hunter Magazine. Please click on the hyperlink to view the Australian Hunter Magazine’s official homepage.
Work had been pretty busy for me during the week and come Wednesday my mind was concentrating more on going bush then doing what the boss had told me. A quick call to my mate Matt on my lunch break confirmed he needed some hill time away from the tools so we met up straight after work, threw some gear in the truck and burned it out of town.
Time passed quickly as we decided on where to head and which ridges to climb and we figured it best we go look for a billy or two in the late summer evening. I never tire from hunting goats and whilst they might not be the smartest or most elusive animal in the bush, a big old twister is never easy to find and he sure can get the heart rate up when you put the optics over one.
Soon enough we were pulling into the farmer’s driveway and a quick chat to him gave us the all clear to head out back into some country we knew well. He had seen the odd pig around and a few goats whilst on his quad so we were hopeful of coming across game before nightfall.
Not much apart from a few bunnies were sighted in the lower country, but as we hit the steep stuff and engaged 4×4 in the hilux we sighted a small herd of nannies across the gully. They weren’t too worried by our presence and moved away slowly. We had a particular gorge in mind to head into and a bit more elevation was gained before we parked the truck and got our gear sorted.
We had been hunting a fair bit lately and the weight of our packs was familiar to our shoulders and muscles and we climbed hard and fast to maximize daylight hours in the better hunting locations of this particular area. The Lamellar lightweight Ecoactive breeze long sleeve top is a piece of gear I always wear on the warm weather hunts and this form fitted garment excels at wicking moisture from the body and keeping me cool and comfortable.
Matt and I pushed into some scrub and before long the sight of white backlines greeted us. We had found a herd of goats and they were close. But before we could work out if any billies were in the herd, an unseen goat caught our scent and took off running taking the rest of the herd with him. It didn’t matter too much as we hoped more goats would be encountered further up the mountain.
A couple hundred metres of climbing brought us to a clearing that had a herd of goats feeding on it. In no time Matt and I were 40 metres from the herd and I am sure my Lamellar ContraCAM Fade break up camouflage kept me concealed in this open terrain, as the goats were completely unaware of me.
A young billy circled around and before long he was 25 metres away, quartering on towards us. I hadn’t arrowed a billy for a few weeks and with the farmer needing some ferals gone I centered my pin on his chest and touched an arrow off. The sound of a solid hit drifted back as he staggered a few steps before falling over. We took a few photos and removed some quarters for dog tucker and continued on our hike with satisfaction that only a heavy pack can bring to a hunter.
We did a circuit and checked out some country that normally holds deer for the upcoming season and as darkness approached we found ourselves dropping elevation back towards the vehicle. We were pleased with our afternoon’s efforts but kept a close eye out for any more ferals.
Suddenly we heard some bleating and moving in we found a young billy pestering a nanny. Matt was keen for a stalk so he closed the last few metres and waited patiently for a shot opportunity. But it wasn’t meant to be as the nanny kept covering up the billies chest and when the nanny made out Matt moving slightly whilst at full draw she took off taking her partner with him non the wiser for the close encounter he almost had with a broadhead.
Now with less then 45 minutes of light left in the day we linked up with the old vehicle track and eased back down. Rounding a bend my heart skipped a beat as a stocky billy fed off to the side on the green grass. When he lifted his head my heart skipped a beat as we noticed good curls, a wide spread and unbroken tips. He was the sort of goat we had been looking for and certainly hard to come by up this way.
Matt knew I was excited by this goat and urged me to go ahead and stalk him. As we shortened the distance we noticed a herd of nannies close by feeding in cover and the herd billy appeared quite interested in a particular female. The nannies unfortunately fed towards us and became agitated before moving away. The billy wasn’t sure what was happening and headed over in our direction to find out where his nannies had gone. This worked perfectly for us as he was now eight metres away but was so intent on finding his herd he wouldn’t pull up to any of the bleats I was throwing his way. I decided to centre his heart on my pin and moving with the goat touched off the release aid. The arrow flew true and Matt was able to catch it all on video.
The billy took off at full speed but typical of an organ shot he soon slowed down and tumbled over in the grass. We raced over and got a look at our big billy in the fading light. He was a great monarch of the mountains and had no doubt eluded a few hunters in his day. I was thankful of Matt for giving me the green light for a stalk and as we completed the last kilometer back to the truck we couldn’t have been happier with how the hunt turned out. The only negative thought we had was that we had to turn up to work in the morning rather then climb more hills, but we both knew the weekend wasn’t far away and in no time we would be back hiking ridges and glassing for more game to pursue.