One by One – Noah Takes animals

If you ask most university students, waking up at 5.00 am on a Saturday morning to climb a mountain is the last thing they want to do. For me, it is a very common occurrence and this weekend was no different, with the added bonus of my mate Noah joining me for his second-ever South Island hunt.

A soft golden glow covered the DOC car-park as the dust from our cars settled. Despite still being half asleep, we wasted no time and got stuck into the walk as it was only going to get warmer as the day progressed.

It didn’t take long for us to find some sign, with small patches of deer poo scattering the track edges. As we moved further up the mountain, there was less deer sign but an increasing amount of wallaby sign. With gorse spikes lining our back and battle scars covering our arms and legs, we broke out of the scrub and got the first look at the hunting area. Having never been to this spot before, we thought our best bet would be to find a good vantage point and glue ourselves to the binoculars.

We very quickly got an understanding of what was in the area. No matter where we looked we saw wallaby—we were practically standing on them as we battled our way through the chest-high tussock. A whole day of glassing flew by with the only notable moment being the novice North Island hunter discovering what a spaniard was, which I found extremely amusing.

With so many wallabies around and very little feed, our chances of finding a deer were slim.

Having spotted nearly 100 wallabies, it was evident that they needed some culling so we set our sights on getting Noah his first wallaby.

On a clearing not far from our campsite we spied a large group of wallabies, with more appearing from the tussock every few minutes. Noah went first, creeping through the tussock armed with the .223. From 200 metres we managed to stalk into 30 metres, giving Noah a perfect shot at the wallabies.


The tussock around us erupted. Wallabies darted in every direction and the whole group disappeared. Apart from one that lay dead

in the clearing. By the time we reached the tent our tally had climbed to six and a few back legs were taken for the slow cooker. Already considering this a successful hunt we drifted off to sleep, thinking about how light our packs would be for the walkout.

The following morning, we decided to walk up 100 metres from the tent and have one last look for some wallabies before we left.

Noah was rummaging through my pack trying to find the range finder when I spotted something unusual below us. Through the binos, I identified three pigs dozing in the sun only 120 metres away.

Having never shot a pig before, Noah lined up with the .223 first and I set up with the .30-06 in case they hung around after his shot.

The pigs were in no rush to go anywhere so Noah took his time getting set up and, once comfortable… Boom!

A 40 lb pig dropped on the spot.

BOOM! The .30-06 spoke next, dropping the other pig on top of its mate.

With two good-eating pigs on the ground we were stoked, but I was still glued to the rifle. The larger of the three pigs had disappeared after the first shot but I was hopeful it would re-appear any second.

Sure enough, the big sow made the fatal mistake of leaving the scrub and the .30-06 put her lights out.

The sow was fat as mud and weighed easily over 100 lb, while the two smaller ones weighed around 40 lbs, meaning, after a quick hillside butcher, we walked out with very heavy packs and very big smiles.

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