THE MACINTOSH HUT Home away from home, my family have spent literally weeks on end in a row in this hut and a lot of my Sika hunting has been in this area, its changed a lot over the years becoming increasingly harder to hunt mainly due to snow fall and Pinus contorta taking over but thats another story altogether.The first time I ever walked in here with my dad Peter and Uncle Paul I would have been around 13 the hut was a lot smaller than it is now with only 2 wire bunks, surprisingly I remember this trip very well. It was the roar, Dad and I were starting to get increasingly lucky on our hunting expeditions, he will tell you that I was starting to understand how important being stealthy and quiet was id probably have to agree. On the last day dad shot a 6 pointer that somehow found its way into my pack on the way out, if you know this area it's not the easiest of walks in or out so by the time I got out I was absolutely buggered, but was most certainly worth it and this started the next 17 years of walking in to the Macintosh hut. Every year we walk in here the place has changed and the hunting is harder mainly due to vegetation growth (Pinus contorta) although its always challenging hunting these elusive Sika regardless of where you are hunting. Over the years we have taken a few good stags out of here with Uncle Paul shooting a solid 168 D/S 8 pointer while I was standing next to him, he beat me to it.My most memorable trip in here was when I shot my first 8 pointer, it was pre roar (end of March) and dad and my self were doing a supply run to stash some gear for the following month, we got into the hut late on Saturday night so we lit the fire had a good feed and yarned until we both fell asleep. The next morning was freezing with a good frost blanketing the Kaweka ranges. Dad and I decided to hunt together on this particular morning so off we went, usually in the middle of the roar as soon as you venture a few 100 metres from the hut you hear the hair raising scream of Sika stags echoing over the plateau, we hadn’t heard anything yet it was fairly early for roaring Sika stags though.We hadn’t long left the hut and we got to the spot on the track where I usually cut in, so in we went, stoping, watching and listing every so often trying to catch a stag off guard. We had just started climbing back out of a creek and away from the creek noise and the hair on the back on my neck was up, the exciting 4 burst territory roar echoed through the native about 250 metres away, dad looked at me and smiled the wind was in our face so we slowly started stalking in the general direction of where the roar came from. He never made another sound it took us around half an hour to cover the ground to where we had pin pointed his last location, we decided to sit and listen for a while before we let out a roar ourselves.About 10mins had passed and the typical Sika stick crack broke the silence both our heads spun in the direction of the noise, down went the bolt on the 270, I was concentrating hard through the bush trying to pick up movement…….And there he was a glimpse of white timber is all he exposed as he crept through the bush I let him keep coming before he stopped.I could make out his shoulder through a gap in the bush I wasn’t sure if dad could see him or not but I could.I knew it was a stag but at this point I didn’t know it was an 8 pointer, unfortunately for him I hadn’t yet shot many stags so this was his unlucky day and I squeezed off the trigger BOOM. He took off as if I had missed, instantly dad yells out “did ya hit him, I couldn’t even see him” I put a piece of tissue on a branch where I was standing and started making my way over to where the stag was standing, I was fairly confident with my shot and the big puddle of blood confirmed a good hit. Dad and I zig zagged back and forth following the blood trail for 5 mins or so before I heard the thump of dads suppressed 243, the stag had gone about 50 metres and was on its last legs so dad put another one in it so it didn’t get up. He yelled out “you shot ya first 8 pointer” I was wrapped. It wasn’t massive but a Sika stag all the same. You couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. Now the hard work begins.I have many heart filled stories and memories of every expedition into the Kawekas but the Macintosh has and always will be one of my favourite places to hunt and one of the hardest areas to hunt. I count myself lucky to have the NZ bush and country side at my door step. Happy hunting Tommy
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