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On the second day the airlines had delivered my archery equipment to Neil's house and Neil's wife Christine brought it to camp that afternoon.

The Bull!

Guide, Gregg Rowan had reported spotting two good "beast" in a distant valley the day before.

I need to explain here that "beast" are cattle that have spent their lives in the wild. Believe me, I've taken a lot of good-natured heat for --- shooting the farmers cow, but there is absolutely no comparison to domestic cattle.

New Zealand is sheep country but, at one time, during WWII some effort was made to expand the economy by raising cattle. It turned out that sheep were still less demanding and more profitable. Consequently many cattle found themselves abandoned or otherwise escaped into the wilderness.
These animals over many generations have reverted to a wild state and are held as "game" animals by Safari Club. Additionally, they are highly respected and even feared by the local population.
I heard several first hand stories of folks being attacked by herd bulls while I was there. The bulls gather cows and mark their territory. They will fight to the death to maintain their harems and they will hunt down, "stalk", any intruder that may wander into their territory.

It took us nearly a full day to locate several bulls and when we finally found the big ones that Gregg had seen they were still at least a mile ahead of us on an open hillside. There was no way to stalk within bow range prior to dark without being seen.
We decided to return to the quads --- about 2 miles away --- and try another day for the bulls. On our return we spotted some cows in a deep ravine and heard a bull bellowing from within the thick brush. Finally we spotted him. He was a smaller bull but nonetheless ---- a herd bull!

A decision was made to enter the bush for a preliminary stalk. Neil and Gregg carried rifles and we agreed that if things got too tight in the bush they would use them.
In our present position, the bull was downwind of us about 600 yards. He seemed to be picking up our scent and was very agitated and bellowed constantly. We mapped out a route that would put us slightly off-wind of him. It would be a longer stalk but we decided that was the safest approach.
We descended the steep side and slowly worked our way through some very thick growth. We were essentially blind stalking because we could not see more than a few yards in front of us.
When we reached the bottom of the ravine it turned into a mud-flat, tangled with brush woven like a maze of netting. Also, there was a different thermal effect due to the cooler temperatures there and the wind was now back in the bulls favor.

We could hear him breaking brush and bellowing within 75 yards of our location. We determined that he had our scent and was moving towards us --- we needed to get into better position fast!

There was an obvious trail just ahead of us and we worked our way to a very small clearing that barely gave us room to shoulder a rifle or raise a bow. The three of us croutched behind a clump of brush in anticipation.

Sometimes hunting is most successful when "you" are the hunted.

Within a minute we spotted the bull. He was on the trail and moving towards us with his head swaying from side to side. It was obvious that he was looking for us. He would stop and gaze into the maze and then take a step or two forward.

I heard the safety being clicked off on Neil's 308!

I told Neil that if the bull took a few more steps I felt I could put an arrow in him. Neil was doubtful and very concerned --- he was ready to shoot, but decided to allow me the opportunity.
As the bull moved into my shooting lane at twenty yards I raised my bow and stepped from behind the bush. in one motioned I aimed and released an arrow.

Bulls Eye!

Well, not actually in the eye, but the arrow sunk into the heart area after going through some cartilage on his elbow. The bull took off on a panic run and disappeared over a small hill. Gregg had seen the shot clearly and agreed that it was a good shot. Neil had not seen it and was still very concerned that we had a wounded bull in the bush with dark coming fast.
There was a short debate as to whether we should just get out of there and come back in the morning or should we look for the bull.
We agreed to go to the spot where he had been and look at the scene to determine the damage. I found the back portion of my arrow and saw blood and splayed tracks. I was confident of a good hit. Just as I was pleading my case to continue tracking the bull, I heard a loud gasp of air escaping from a huge set of lungs --- I knew it was the sound of a final breath.

My bull was down just 50 yards from where I shot him.

I have had bears clawing at my boots while in trees. And I have had bears approach and bluff me in the wild. I have stepped over rattlesnakes that I could hear but not see and have had other exciting experiences, but nothing compared to the excitement of taking this bull!

This is one of my most treasured hunt memories



Darkness once again set in before we could process and pack the bull out, so we returned early the next morning to do the job.

Another area bull having sensed the absence of the herd bull was already prowling the area to take charge.

There were a few tense moments as he skirted our postion and checked us out. At one point he faced us at 30-yards and looked as though he would charge. He probably was confused to see his adversary lying peacefully on the ground while Neil and Gregg cut pieces from him.

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