KMG Hunting Safaris Annual PH's Hunting Trip - Hunting Fallow Deer in the Rut

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by KMG Hunting Safaris, Apr 17, 2019 at 8:41 AM.

  1. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Legend

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    As the second week of April comes around every year, a couple of the KMG Hunting Safaris PH's gather for the annual Fallow Deer hunt with bow. The hunt is done by walk and stalk, and once you set your foot on the ground, the unmistakable grunts of the stags chasing the does, informing other stags about his marked area, are noticeable within seconds.

    The Hunt:
    A couple of the PH's that hunt for KMG Hunting Safaris, gather around every year for an annual trip. Rules are simple. The hunt is to be conducted by bow. Every single one of us, are avid bow hunters, trying to add different species of noticeable quality at every opportunity. After all, we have the resources to do so. We get to hunt massive tracts of land, and spend so much time in the field, that eventually, you are going to run into those once in a life time quality animals. Mental notes taken.
    This trip happens on the second week of April. Before anyone gets any ideas, from 7-14 April, we are fully booked every year. ;):D

    2019 Edition:
    After getting there on the arrival day, I had already mapped out my plan for the following day. I glassed high up onto the mountains. I planned to take a back pack with my lunch and enough fluids, and venture into areas where no one would make an effort to go. Higher than anyone was willing to climb. My plan was to walk slowly, and follow the grunts. Stalk into the area unnoticed, and have a look at the quality of the Stag making all the noise.
    Walking and stalking with a bow is a very slow process and requires a bit more than just your regular camo patterns. Personally, I make use of a Ghillie Suit, face mask, and gloves to hide any skin that will cause a glare.
    As I stepped out of the truck, it was evident that it was on. The stags were grunting all around. The direction that I had planned, would only receive sun by around 09:00 in the morning, as it was a Westerly facing mountain range. The wind on the day was very erratic, seemingly blowing out of four different directions.
    The first grunt I stalked into, held about 5 does, 1 spike and a young stag, no more than 3 years old. Since Fallow Deer are the only species that actually sheds their antlers in South Africa yearly, the quality of the rainy season actually has a lot to do with the quality of the antler in the following year. If it is a dry year, as it has been for the past 4 years, usually the quality of the palms on the deer, in that area, will show it. Proceeded to follow the my route to the top.

    IMG_20190415_071435.jpg

    This photo shows where I was heading. My plan was to get up on the hill on the right hand side, gaining some height to possibly see some stags from the top. There was a good breeze to mask some noise on the stalks, but as mentioned earlier, it was blowing out of four corners.

    To be continued.....
     

  2. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Looking forward to this competition! Good luck Marius! What the heck...good luck to everyone doing this!
     

  3. Ragman

    Ragman AH Elite

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    This is going to be good! I'm primarily a rifle hunter but one of my favourite annual hunts is for archery mule deer. Whenever I'm able to get back to Africa, my bow might have to come along!
     

  4. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    What a great idea for a thread. Thanks for bringing us along on this one, and look forward to reading more!
     

  5. TXhunter65

    TXhunter65 AH Senior Member

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    Beautiful pic, how have the rains been in Feb/March?
     

  6. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Legend

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    The rains were pretty good for our rainy season. We need more, but the problem now is that any rain that comes now, won't leave enough time for regrowth before Winter comes. The Winter will be tough again.
     

  7. Dudders

    Dudders AH Enthusiast

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    :A Popcorn:this should be fun
     

  8. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Legend

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    As I moved up the mountain, sign was starting to appear all over. Never mind the non-stop grunting, but it was hard to ignore the scrapes, beds and smashed trees all over the place. Fallow will create beds where they urinate and roll in. They also urinate all over their under bellies. This can be seen clearly when stalking in close and just watching them with the binoculars. Almost looks like an old Dugga boy that rolled in mud. Except, this ain't mud and water.
    They actually develop a strong smell, very similar to an Ibex. Many people will tell you, that it is almost impossible to eat a Fallow Buck during the rut. The urine that he sprays on himself, will actually taint the meat. Last year's stag, I donated to the local workers of the land. They were very appreciative.
    Back to the hunt. I took a second to quickly snap this pic to show some of the sign created by a Fallow buck in his area. Very similar to a White-tail deer or Elk. You can clearly see how the bark has been stripped from the tree by rubbing their antlers.

    IMG_20190415_125154.jpg

    Once I got some height, I started glassing in the direction of the grunts to try and see if I could find a nice stag. At the start of this hunt, I promised myself that I would only shoot a stag better than the one that I got last year. I was rather going to concentrate on the does, Mtn Reedbuck, a nemesis of mine with the bow, Warthog, Kudu, Duiker and anything really that would stand within bow range.
    While slowly sneaking through the little crevices, and stalked onto this nice Lechwe bull, laying down with about 3 cows feeding around him. I stalked in to about 40yds, snapped the pick and stalked out. He did notice me on the way out, and took off with his cows. I estimated him at about 27".

    Lechwe.jpg
    A stag was grunting on the top of the hill above me, and I was busy following the direction of the noise, my attention was drawn to two stags fighting and grunting slightly above me at an angle to the left.
    Once I got close to the stag grunting above me, I found the Lechwe from the bottom of the hill, between me and the little pod of Fallow. I decided to not risk causing an explosion of animals down the mountain side, and stalked away below the ridge unnoticed.

    IMG_20190415_104702.jpg

    I made a big loop of about 400 yards around the Lechwe on the Northern side of the slope, towards the fighting Fallow. On the way up, it was clear that I was close. I managed to grab this quick snap, of a bedding area of one of the Stags in the area. Presumably the one occupied in the fight. This is where they will urinate, and roll in the mixture of urine and soil in order to cover themselves with the scent. I tried this, and it doesn't work with the ladies. You only end up smelling like a Fallow piss.
    What we noticed over the years of hunting the Fallow Stags during their rut, is that it becomes apparent that the grunting, smashing of trees and marking, actually brings the does towards the stag, instead of the stag actively pursuing the doe. They are quite inquisitive animals, and will come around to a scrape to see what the guy has to offer. Here, they will hang around, feed a bit, lie in the shade, while he shows off what he's got. He will grunt, chase around little spikes, and perform, literally until he can't go anymore.

    Once I got closer, I saw a black stag that was the centre of all the noise. He was not a big stag by any means, but I have never shot a black stag, so he prickled my interest. I stalked to about 50yds from him, keeping an old Acacia tree between us. I watched him through the binoculars, but knew he would not see me. His eyes were closed, with his tongue hanging out. This guy has given it his all....

    To be continued....
     

  9. WMU05

    WMU05 AH Member

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    oh, this is good...
     

  10. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Sounds like a lot of fun Marius. Keep writing.
    Bruce
     

  11. 7x65r

    7x65r AH Member

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    I'm hooked, cant wait to hear the rest of the story!
     

  12. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Poor Kim.
     

  13. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Marius.....Watch where you step...SHHHHH NO noise!:ROFLMAO:
     

  14. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Legend

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