7 Nights kicked off on the 28th March 2018 chasing Red stags in the mists of the Waihopai Valley, in New Zealand’s South Island. This trip was shared by my brother Rowan & his son Riley (Shooter). We headed into the Hills early through low cloud in the Robinson R44 operated by our good friend, breaking out onto the tops at around 9:30am. With the MSR tents now set up we were ready to go for a scout and explore the wallows we had seen flying in. On closer inspection these have been coping a thrashing by some very mature stags within the last 12 Hours.
We decided to walk to a little grassy knoll to our south east only about 2oom away Set up and out came the binoculars, within 2 minutes we had spotted a mature animal about 700m across the valley. We made a decision to close the gap to about 350m to take the shot, Rowan was on first draw and was taking the shot. We Dropped down to the valley floor spooking a mob of 12 other deer 1 satellite stag and 11 hinds. We started to climb up a steep ridge out of sight of the target stag, rocky, wet and slippery we made our way up. Arriving at the point where we felt we were on level ground with the monster we decided to pop our heads over the ridge slowly to see if we could located our stag.
There he was a perfect 300m shot, sitting under a cabbage tree we had used as a reference point. Camera on, recording. BANG the 300WSM ripped through the valley, the stag hit the deck and we had our first stag for the 2018 Roar.