Sometimes you see something you know you'll never experience again. This is where these stories lives on beyond the campfire.

Naomi Gibson

A stag’s last leap

October 6, 2013 • Victorian High Country, Australia
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“It was late spring in 2013 and things were starting to heat up in the Victorian High Country. My partner Nathan and I decided we would walk into a spot we thought could hold a good number of Sambar deer.”

I’d never hunted there before so didn’t quite know what to expect. Climbing up into the snow gums in the afternoon heat was hard work but we decided if we could push on to the summit we would be able to glass the high open clearings from there. Our hope was that the deer would be feeding out as the sun went down.

When we reached the top the views were spectacular and I sat down and took a few photos while Nathan set up the tripod with the SLC 10×42 binoculars to start glassing. I wasn’t expecting to see anything as we hadn’t seen any deer on the walk in, but not five minutes passed before Nathan had a stag in his sights. The sun was going down and the light was quickly disappearing, but quality Swarovski optics meant we could easily watch the stag through both the binoculars and the scope.

Glassing the stag and waiting for it to broadside

The stag was about 120 meters from where we were sitting and he had no idea we were there, just feeding out in the open. I set up the gun to get a solid rest while Nathan set up the video camera and started recording. The stag wasn’t in a great position for a shot straight away, and as he was unaware of our presence it was a much better decision to wait until he turned broadside than to risk a tricky shot. I had the red dot from my Swarovski Z6i on him the whole time, just waiting for him to turn broadside, and later when we reviewed the video we realized it was seven minutes between when we started filming and when he finally turned and gave me an opportunity to shoot.

Carefully squeezing the trigger my shot connected and the stag leapt into the air. We could tell he was hit, and he ran about 60 meters into the bush where we found him. He was a nice stag with big brows and a great cape. It was starting to get late and we had quite a walk out ahead of us, though luckily it was mostly downhill, which made things a lot easier. As we walked out I was amazed by how beautiful the country looked at this time of day, the last of the afternoon sun setting behind dark clouds. Being able to take a beautiful stag in such magnificent country is a memory I’ll never forget.

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