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Damien Faulds Adrenaline hunt rut season

Thought as a build up to the rut I’d share a little story of mine from a past rut. With this one I don’t think I go a month without the image, smells and sounds go thru me darn head. Like a record. By Damien Faulds

It’s the standard rut morning for my area Cold, misty and ever so slight breeze. After spending countless hours sitting at this one spot over the years just watching and learning the habits of these lil Houdini’s of the bush. I started sneaking in on my favourite spot ever so slowly hoping not to trip or step on a branch in the dark, I get to my lil perch get me gear off my back and just sit there in the dark listening for the ever so distinctive sound of the mighty fallow buck that all hunters yearn to hear each year for those few short weeks.

With the bush slowly coming to life, birds starting to natter magpies warbling and then I hear it, I zone in on the noise but can’t see anything yet as he keeps making his way across the gully towards me, it’s only matter of minutes until its light enough to start to see properly. Time seemed to stand still and every second seemed to last forever, Then boom like a smack in the face and an adrenalin surge like no other he materializes out of the mist with steam shooting out of both nostrils and his mouth, tongue hanging outta his pie hole all while still croaking his tits off. He then stops at about 60 yards right with a perfect line of sight in a patch of sunlight just starting to poke thru a small opening in the trees. Wow! him just standing there in the sunlight he looked like a big old powerful titan all scarred up with neck all swollen up just pumped to the max for the rut.

Hard to contain my excitement of it all I tell ya.

I then get a grip of myself to realize its’ him; the one, the one I’ve been watching for a few years grow and chase the ladies around and he’s a bloody cracker this year. Standing there in all his glory, he turns and seems to look me straight in the eye, I am sure of it. He then looks back towards where he had just come from, pauses for what seemed for ever again, then he begins to make that noise that makes the hair on the back of any true fallow hunters neck stand up. The all-mighty croak. So I decide its time and get the rifle set up, check mag is in and go to chamber a round pumped as, and truck me there’s no bolt in my rifle, I left it in the glove box of me ute I was later to find out. I still sat there for a while until he was completely out of sight all while having a whirl wind of emotions surging thru my body and mind. Like a broken man I limp back to the Ute to reflect on what had just happened maybe with a slight tear.

A few more trips out to the same spot in hope of another encounter with him but it was never to be as the ghost was never saw again for the rest of the rut. With that bought a flood of emotions too. That feeling of did another lucky hunter harvest him, did he get injured and died somewhere. The unknown somewhat played on me for some time, as just no trace at all anywhere.

Now 3 years later coming into the 2021 rut and still no sign of the him at all not even a sign once again. At this point I had pretty well given up on the idea of ever seeing him again.

As years before I get up early from the swag at deer camp. A lot of deer sign around I was feeling somewhat positive about the trip. I had my morning coffee to get the choke of and off I go into the darkness to the same area but a slightly different spot to 2019 rut lower into the gully. With my bolt in the rifle, magazine in, ammo in mag. 2 mornings pass and I was seeing a lot of deer but nothing I felt the urge to harvest. Taking a doe for meat the arvo before a buck was on the cards definitely now. Third morning comes along. I was contemplating heading to a different area of the property but something inside like a weird urge kept telling me to go to same spot. Over my normal morning coffee I decided I would follow that urge. I finished my coffee, geared up and off I went once again into the darkness.

I near my spot and begin to slow down. Stopping and listening, not a sound nothing. At this point I started to question my choice to sit here. I just thought to myself I am committed now so got set up and began waiting for sunrise listening like a guard dog for that sound. Nothing not a deer. Few roo’s and the odd fox. The sun just started to poke its head up so I could just start to see those mad man coming out the pub door pissed and looking for a blu. I wasn’t sure if I should shit, spew or cry or run at this stage. He moved on about another 50 yards crashing around with froth round his mouth. He then stopped looking around for what he thought was another buck coming into his pad. I had no clear shot so I thought I’ll just do a doe sound with my mouth. I couldn’t believe it he came straight back towards me stopping to look around again to where the noise come from.

I finally had him in clear line of sight and you wouldn’t believe it is him: the one. He was back. My heart nearly popped out of my chest I tell ya. I loaded a round ever so quietly cheeky silhouettes amongst the trees at that while he started to croak for the first time of the morning. I got behind my rifle took aim and slowly squeezed the trigger, boom goes the 308 with a 165 grainer.

The bush lit up with every animal in the area like a bunch of car alarms after the 308Win growled across the paddocks, setting every animal off in the area like a series of alarms. White cocky going of, Noisy Miners squawking their beaks off followed by a mix of roo’s crashing and jumping all over the place thru the bush confused on what was going on. I sat there for 15min just let the bush settle and not to mention me to settle down.

I have never had a rush like it. Adrenalin the shakes and all.

I had a bad case of buck fever. Once I got my shit together and noticed I hadn’t heard anything move at all for a while I thought it’s time to move in. Leaving most of the gear there I proceeded to walk down nice and slow. I hadn’t gone more than 10 yards from where I had hit him. Then I see it, a nice big palm hanging out of the lower brush. It was then I realized I’d finally got him. The feelings that can come with this sort of thing is just amazing. 4 years watching and waiting on this particular property was definitely worth it. The experiences I encounter out in the bush and the people you meet is just fulfilling. I spent the next day having a sleep in, bacon’n eggs for breaky 2 coffees and then got to breaking down the meat for the fridge and the journey home. I wish every hunter the best of luck in the bush and just remember be safe out there and look after each other fellow hunters.

In my case I feel very lucky to have the opportunity and the access to land that I get to hunt these magnificent animals on. Thanks to the land owners.

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