A Hunters Reflections Thoughts, Reflections, Recollections and Hunting Tales. Saturday, 27 August 2016 Sambar Hunt August 2016 Part 2[/paste:font] After a day and a night thawing out and recuperating in Lakes Entrance I headed out into the hills once again, I went back to the same area and hunted for the Stag I had seen but had no luck so I fly camped overnight before heading to Licola in the morning. Thats where I want to be up on that Plateau. My plan while the weather was good was to get up onto the plateau's among the Snow Gums and hunt along the edges of the High Plains. I drove from Licola up past Arbuckle Junction to the locked gate and parked my vehicle. From there I hiked in even further with my pack and rifle.There was plenty of snow on the open ground in patches and lots under the trees the and on the way in I surprised a Sambar Spiker out sinning himself and managed to get a few pictures of him before he walked back inside the tree line, not the best pictures but my first pictures of a Sambar all the same. Sambar Spiker out sunning himself in the late afternoon. I figured I would come back and have a look in the morning along the same tree line and see if I could catch him or one of his mates out again. I continued on and made my camp by an old hut close to the creek under the shelter of the Snow Gums. I had a quick afternoon hunt further along the tree line edge but didn't see any deer though I saw plenty of sign, it was literally everywhere I looked. Deer sign was everywhere I looked. I had an early dinner and got nice and warm for what promised to be a very cold night, the temperature was well below 0c when I went to bed and I was glad to have a well insulated sleeping mat and a feather down sleeping bag, even then I slept fully clothed only taking my boots off. I woke a couple of times during the night but not due to being cold and had to make use of the Gatorade bottle once (More about that little trick later). The morning was crisp and clear and all the little creeks across the plateau were frozen over and stayed that way pretty much all day. I filmed this later in the day. The grass crunched under foot as I stalked my way along just inside the tree line glassing ahead to try and spot any deer bedded down in the sun. Eventually I got close to the area where I had seen the Spiker the afternoon before and guess what he was out again. Well I couldn't let an opportunity like this get away so I decided it was in my belly's best interests to get some Venison. I crept as close as I dared and when I was ready I put up my shooting sticks and steadied my rifle. I hunt with a 45-70 and run 350 grn projectiles sighted 3" high at 100mts, he was just over 100mts away I guessed so I held just a little bit low on his neck in front of his shoulder so as not to ruin too much meat. He was quartering on towards me and I wanted to avoid damaging as much meat as possible. At the shot he staggered and lost his front legs before regaining them and bolting into the tree line. I heard him crash a few times then silence. I sat down and waited for a good 10 minutes the slowly walked to where he was standing and looked for any signs of a solid hit. I could clearly see his tracks and followed them for about 80 meters before I found any blood. The start of the blood trail. It was quite easy to follow the blood in the snow and as I made progress the trail got muck bigger and easier to follow. The gums were pretty tight and I could see where the deer had fallen a couple of times and regained his footing , I was very confident I had made a good shot and knew it was not going to be too hard to find him as long as he stayed in the snow. Then I found more patches of blood and knew he wasn't far away and was probably already down. I knew he wasn't far away and was most likely already down. Then just ahead through the trees I spotted a very big patch of red snow and could see a hoof in the air. I found him in a slight hollow about 150 meters from where he was shot. I was very glad to have found him so quickly and took plenty of pictures to record my first "Walked Up Stag". I took some time to look at where the shot had hit and found that it had hit pretty much where I wanted it too, but the animal was at a slightly different angle that I first thought. It had entered the right side of the stag's neck and severed the arteries then clipped the spine, went through the top of the lungs and ended up running under the offside shoulder blade stopping under the skin half way down the body. I could clearly see the lump it made, so I was able to recover the projectile and was impressed at how well it had penetrated and held together, another reason to spend good money on quality Woodleigh projectiles. As I found him in the snow. One very happy but cold hunter. The recovered projectile, a Woodleigh 300grn round nose soft point. I now had a rather large task ahead in packing out the deer alone, so I took the back steaks and legs off and carefully buried them in the snow so they wouldn't spoil and marked where I had left them (some distance from the rest of the remains in case dogs found it). I then hurried back to my camp site and packed up all my gear and hiked back to my vehicle and unloaded most of my gear except for some survival essentials and headed back to my deer. I was able to get one load of meat out that morning and it was well and truly cooled by the time I put it in the Waeco freezer. I didnt need to worry about it spoiling as it was freezing and the waeco showed -3 when I turned it on so I turned it off again. I snapped this photo while taking a break hiking out, The wind came up and the temperature dropped as cloud started building, I knew we were in for some bad weather and it looked to have arrived a day early, I didnt want to be caught out in it so I made my way back to my deer as fast as I could to pack out the rest of the meat. When I arrived a couple of Wedge tailed Eagles had dug up a leg and ruined it. They were sitting on it eating and crapping all over it when I arrived and were very aggressive towards me. Fortunately they chose the leg that had sustained a fair amount of damage from my shot. Ignoring the Eagles, I dug up the remaining meat and loaded it all into my pack, it was almost frozen solid and very heavy. I had to put my pack on a log and slide into it to get it on it was so heavy. I knew I wouldn't be able to get back in time to make another trip, and the Eagles and Dogs would ruin any meat I left so I had to take as much as I could. Walking on the deer trails along the edge of the tussock was extremely hard and very unstable and I had to take care not to roll an ankle or fall, I stop and rest fairly often with such a heavy pack so I took the opportunity to take some pictures and video of the country before I lost the light. It took me a lot longer to hike back out that last time but finally I got back to my vehicle and unloaded the meat as the sun was setting, I was frozen, exhausted and sweating profusely, but happy to have recovered all the meat minus the one front leg. I quickly started my vehicle and changed out of my wet clothes into some warm dry ones and boiled the billy for a hot cup of tea. It was pitch dark as I packed away the last of my gear and drank my tea, while I waited for the vehicle to warm up, and I was thankful for the heater as I drove cautiously down the mountain as light snow began to fall. The snow gave way to sleet then rain as I got lower down and drove towards town and a warm bed in a Motel room. I slept very well and got up well after sunrise and made a cup of coffee, I didn't need to worry about my venison as it was well packed in the Waeco and sitting at -2c, it would keep for well over a week at that temperature. I got dressed and made my way into the dining room and had breakfast then set about sorting out all my gear and packing for the long drive back home to Perth. I never get tired of this view, the Nullarbor Cliffs on the way home. Still I could not help thinking about when I would be able to get back and hunt Sambar again, maybe I could squeeze in a trip during April 2017 and hunt Hog Deer, I think Hog Deer and Sambar in April 2017 could be achievable so i'll run with that. The venison is now safely butchered, vacuum packed and in my freezer at home, I have sampled a few back steaks and they are delicious and tender, I think they taste all the better knowing the effort that I put into getting them and I cant wait to do it all again.