It’s Not Al­ways About Big Bags

NZ Fish & Game - - Features -


UNT­ING AND ANGLING SPORTS seem to have a fairly con­sis­tent path­way we all fol­low, start­ing as a keen be­gin­ner want­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery as­pect of the sport to be­com­ing con­fi­dent and go­ing through the num­bers game.

Time is then spent pur­su­ing tro­phies, then most turn to ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent species and meth­ods, which then can lead to in­ter­est­ing tan­gents, such as fly­ty­ing, dog train­ing, or pho­tog­ra­phy. One as­pect, though, that re­mains con­sis­tent and can be­come the main mo­ti­va­tor to con­tinue hunt­ing and fish­ing is the pur­suit of those ex­tra spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ences each dif­fer­ent species can pro­vide.

Com­mon ex­am­ples of this are bag­ging a roar­ing stag, catch­ing a trout ris­ing to a mayfly hatch, or suc­cess­fully de­coy­ing in a group of Canada geese. The list of those ex­tra spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ences is ex­ten­sive and per­sonal as we all have dif­fer­ing points of in­ter­est. But I bet, if you an­a­lyse the key things that get you out in pur­suit of fish or game, you will find each species of­fers one or two ex­pe­ri­ences that re­ally ap­peal and pro­vide the main mo­ti­va­tion to keep you in the game.

Typ­i­cally these ex­tra spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ences are not easy to achieve and I sus­pect this is how we like it, as hav­ing a chal­lenge with no guar­an­tees of suc­cess is a big part of be­ing an an­gler and hunter. I also sus­pect it is this pur­suit that re­tains some of the ex­cite­ment of get­ting out in the field again and re­wards us with a sense of sat­is­fac­tion as we pur­sue a par­tic­u­lar part of our sport. We also welcome new as­pects and the op­por­tu­nity to con­tinue learn­ing.

This con­cept of pur­su­ing those ex­tra spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ences is very fresh on my mind as I re­cently re­turned from three days of try­ing to out­wit roar­ing red stags in dense rugged bush. The ul­ti­mate in this sit­u­a­tion for me is to have a roar­ing ex­change with a ma­ture stag and con­vince him to sneak in to check me out and give me the op­por­tu­nity to shoot him cleanly, or leave him for another year. This year the stags where ex­tra chal­leng­ing and would not ap­proach and the swirling wind was a curse, re­sult­ing in nu­mer­ous crash­ing re­treats from stags with a nose full of sweaty hunter scent. Per­sis­tence, not skill, fi­nally lead to suc­cess, with a huge-bod­ied 11 point ma­ture red stag check­ing me out and giv­ing me a clear shot into the neck. The great feel­ing of sat­is­fac­tion hav­ing achieved that


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