Venison Ragu with hand made Tagliatelle

I am no amazing chef but when given the time I want to put in the effort. When everyone is grabbing from the backstops I am looking for Neck, shoulder and shank. These cuts will give you an amazing meal. And at the end of the day it is a lot of work to successfully hunt a deer and we want to use every part possible. 

This heart warming recipe is sure to impress. 



  • 1kg Bone in venison shank or shoulder or neck (neck may require more time to break down.)

  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

  • 200g pancetta, chopped

  • 1 carrot, finely chopped

  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 2 bay leaves, 2 thyme sprigs,

  • 1 rosemary sprig you can’t really over do it I use more. 

  • 3 tbsp tomato purée

  • 1 can or diced tomatoes

  • 500ml red wine

  • 500ml whole milk

  • 500g fresh egg tagliatelle (make it yourself its worth it)

  • 50g unsalted butter

  • Freshly grated parmesan to serve


  1. Heat the oven to 200°C  Season the venison well with salt and pepper, put in a small-medium roasting tin and drizzle with a good drizzle of olive oil. Roast for about 1 hour until well browned outside and more or less cooked (it doesn’t matter if it’s well done or rare). Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin, reserving the roasting juices.

  2. Heat a heavy casserole, French pan or frying pan if using a slow cooker with a lid over a medium heat and add the pancetta, along with the remaining oil. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the pancetta starts to brown and crisp and the fat is released, then mix in the chopped vegetables, garlic, herbs, mixed spice and tomato purée. Turn the heat too low and cook until tender but without colour.

  3. Meanwhile, dice the roast venison into roughly. Add the meat to the tender vegetables in the pan and mix together put the bone back in. Raise the heat to high and fry for 10 minutes until some of the meat starts to brown at the edges. Add the roasting juices, wine and milk. It may look curdled but it’ll come back together during cooking.

  4. Bring to a simmer, cover with the lid slightly ajar, then cook gently for around 3 hours, stirring every so often. You can do this on the hob over a low heat or in the oven at 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3. It’s ready when the oil collects on the surface, the meat is very tender and the gravy has thickened. You may need to add a splash of water during cooking if it dries out too much or raise the heat towards the end if it looks a little wet. At the end of cooking, season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. If you are up the the challenge make the pasta by hand there are countless youtube videos on how to do it it is honestly easy and by far makes a silky delicious pasta that is well worth the time (10mn at most)

  6. Bring a large pan of well salted water to the boil. Add the tagliatelle and cook until it’s still quite firm to the bite (leave it even more al dente than you like, as it will continue to cook in the sauce). Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water, then add the pasta to the ragù, along with the butter. Add just enough of the reserved cooking water to loosen the sauce slightly. Put the whole lot on a warmed serving platter or put in individual bowls, then top with lots of parmesan to serve.


Hunting can’t be bought… It must be Earned.. 5 Essential Hunting Questions Answered For The Beginner

Ask yourself.. Deep down inside.. What makes you feel the best??

What makes you feel content, happy, fulfilled??

So… I’ve played this game before with people and it always results in the same realisation.

Here are some of the common answers I get

  • My family
  • My car
  • My house
  • My health
  • My career

Now… Think of your answer.. 

Hold onto that answer in your mind and contemplate this..

I’m 100% willing to bet that whatever your answer is… what ever makes you the happiest you’ve ever been has been EARNED… NOT GIVEN.

Let that settle for a second…

True purpose and happiness is earned NOT given.

Wether its your relationship, car, health, career or your kids, these things have all come from sacrifice, hard work and effort.

These things cost time, money and require heaps and heaps of continued learning and adaptation.

Hunting is the same…

Hunting can’t be bought… It can’t be given.. It’s gotta be earned.

Mindset towards Hunting

Hunting for me started as a passion. I wanted to get to know where my meat was coming from and I wanted to get out of the city and reconnect with nature.

However… what I didn’t know at the start was how much I needed to give to really earn the reward of my effort.

These days we can buy anything… Have whatever we want and have it NOW!

But what we fail to remember is that a skill or a discipline (which hunting truly is) MUST be learned and earned.

This is why we started The Alpha Human… to help people understand what hunting truly is and to understand the responsibility of earning your experience and skills the ethical way.

After helping guys get into hunting for 3 years now through our hunters education programs starting with the Bowhunting for Beginners Retreat we often hear the same questions, misconceptions and reservations about hunting.

One of the biggest things we teach our guys is to be patient in the process, pay your dues in your discipline and then when you’re in the field, trust in your preparation.

This all takes time and consistency!

So with that all said..

Here are the top 5 questions we get from our Bowhunting for Beginners course participants!


Q1 - How Long Will It Take Me To Make A Kill?

Let me start with an old quote my old rowing coach used to tell us…

“Consistent crews create their own luck”

I think that says it all…

There is no time frame you can put on hunting or making your first kill. In essence it comes down to 3 things…

1- How much you practice marksmanship/shooting your weapon
2- How much time you spend in the field
3- How you learn from your mistakes

The first two are pretty self explanatory however the third point is essential and a bit of a grey area…

Ensuring you don’t make the same mistakes is key to hunting. From playing the wind to stalk execution, all the mistakes you make are key times to learn and refine.

When I first started hunting I used a journal to write down each hunt I made. Journal everything… every little detail and read it back!

Once you start journaling you will soon see how much can be learned and how much better you're understanding of hunting will get as you can reflect on the successes and failures on your in field actions.


Q2 - What Bow Should I Buy?

This question is a cracking one…

If you are really interested in getting technical I suggest for you to read my Article 3 CRUCIAL TIPS FOR CHOOSING YOUR FIRST BOW

But in a nutshell.. The one that fits you best!

For me that bow is a Prime. I believe these bows are the best on the market and they fit me really well. In the past I’ve shot and owned a few other bows made by reputable manufacturers but I keep coming back to Prime Bows.

My Prime Logic is an incredible bow to shoot and makes me really consistent on the shot… But thats not to say the bow that fits you will be a Prime.

A big thing to remember when buying and shooting a bow is…

Consistency = Confidence

Over time the most consistent bow is the one you’ll be most confident in, which in turn results in consistent and ethical results in the field.


Q3 - How Often Should I Shoot My Bow?

Short answer…. Every Day!!

Yep thats right… every day

The main reason is you need to make this a subconscious skill and if you’re taking up bowhunting as an adult you’ve got to make up for a lot of lost time!!

I shoot 50-100 arrows minimum per day at varying distances.

Most of the time its not aiming at the target that I’m trying to achieve, its more my stance, grip, position, shot execution and follow through I’m trying to keep consistent

4-5 yards and a good block target is all you need, HOWEVER... I will say you most certainly need to shoot at the range out to and beyond your hunting distances at least 1-2 times per week.

This will make you confident in your aiming and shot repeatability.
 

Q4 - How Do I Get Access To Private Property?

This is a hard one…

Usually it takes a long time in asking many property owners or knowing personally someone that owns a piece of huntable land..

The reality you need to consider is that most of the time you’re asking a complete stranger with a vested interest in the land to run around their property with weapons.

Think about that for a second…

Would you be inclined to trust a complete stranger to run around your backyard with weapons?

That said here are a 2 key tips to get the process started.

1 - When approaching a property owner wear respectable clothing.

No camouflage… no sneakers or training/casual attire. Wear a nice collard shirt, nice dress pants or jeans, leather boots/shoes and have your hair done nice or if needed a black or plain coloured cap.

2- Take a genuine interest in what they use their land for.

Ask what they farm on their property.

Learn how much livestock they have or what is in their fields.

Find out how this year has been so far.

Ask how long they’ve owned the property.

All these things you need to remember and be able to converse with them… You’ll learn more about the property, lay of the land and hunting from the farmers than any other person.


Q5 - When Will I Be Ready For A Multi Day, High Mountain Hunt?

My answer… "When you come to the realisation that there is an extreamly high chance you will die on the mountain."

This one is a really “in your face” answer.

The reality is that even some of the most experienced hunters die in the mountains. 

They Freeze to death. They Fall to their Deaths.

This is the reality of Alpine Hunting..

In our Retreats and Education Courses we teach..

First, become a Marksman… Second, become a Hunter… Thirdly, become a Mountaineer… Then you’re ready.

Know where you’re at… Don’t lie to yourself…

Because at the end of the day the people you love are more important than hanging off a cliff without being ready for it.

--------

So there you have it... the top 5 questions we often get from our beginners…

Some of the answers aren’t pretty but they’re the truth!

The word that comes up the most in these conversations is Consistency… In reality consistency and discipline are the attributes that make a great hunter. A hunter that gets back to his family and a hunter that has EARNED his right to be on the mountains!

And like we have already estabilshed.. Anything worth doing is Earned!! 

Written By: Luke Bara - Director - TheAlphaHuman.net
Photo: Eamon Waddington


Keen to learn how to get into Hunting?

Click Below To Learn More About
The Alpha Human Bowhunting for Beginners Course!

The De-Evolution of The Alpha Human

What are we here for? 

 

What is our purpose? 

 

Why Are We Pulled To The Wild.. Into The Outdoors.. Into Nature?



Why Are We Drawn To Create, To Hunt, To Gather, To Build, To Reshape?



The answer is simple… Because we are part of the Earth NOT seperate from it.

In the past 100 years especially, Humans have wholeheartedly made a very clear distinction between us and our natural environment. 

Separating ourselves as far as possible.

Look at the houses we live in. They are they built conveniently to suit all aspects of our modern lives to the absolute precision we can keep 90% of our environmental temperature controlled through Air Conditioning…

 

Not only that… We can travel long distances without any effort by using Cars, Trains, Planes etc…

 

We can source food in its purest form that has been Organically Grown, Free Ranged and Ethically Harvested but also on the other hand we have used science and chemicals to create nutrient poor food that creates the opposite effect of a healthy, thriving human..


WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!!


But is it really..??

Everything is so easy, so readily available that purpose and process have been lost.

Never before have we as a species been so replaceable, so disposable and so unimportant. I know this seems like a negative way to look at it… However it's the reality of the situation.

I see it all the time.. I have been deep in it.

In my mid 20’s I really struggled to find where my place was. What I needed to do, as a man and as a leader. 

How could I contribute and make an impact on the world in a positive way… 

I spiralled into depression to the state that myself and my partner at the time were so deep in the hole we couldn’t see a way out. 

We loved each other and hated each other at the same time. We argued… About nothing but our own fears and inconsistent beliefs trying to find our way in life.

I wanted to be out of the city.. away from the constant weight of feeling trapped like a rat in a cage. So did she.

I waned to create, cultivate and live like my life mattered. I wanted purpose… This is when I found Hunting.

Fishing and Nature were always a passion of mine. I grew up on the coast 300 miles away from the nearest city. The ocean, forest and mountains flowed through my veins and were a part of me.

When I left my home town to come to the city I became someone who I wasn’t meant to be… It was OK for a time but little did I know I was slowly slipping away from my core value as a human.

Archery and Hunting literally saved my life.. Saved me from feeling that I was meaningless. Gave me discipline and purpose again.

It made me think about where my food was coming from, It made me want to nourish my body again, It made me want to share this gift of being human with as many as I could, It made me disciplined to be a good partner, an honourable man and a dedicated human and it pulled me out of a very destructive place.

I remember my first kill.. My partner was with me, we had both worked so hard to make it happen and when it did we both just hugged each other and cried. 

The journey it took for us to be there, to take part and for it all to happen knowing the journey we went through to get there on top of me taking this animals life was completely overwhelming beyond words and a moment I will take to my grave.

So I do this all now and it fulfils me… And now I can share it with others through The Alpha Human.. People just like me who are trying to connect with nature, trying to be better men or women, trying to find their purpose, their strength, their meaning and to give back to their own children or partners or maybe just trying to give back to themselves… This is our purpose… this how to FIND PURPOSE… To BE CREATIVE… To CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR FAMILY, COMMUNITY, SOCIETY… To BE BORN, TO LIVE AND TO DIE PURPOSEFULLY…

To Make Something with your Hands

To Give life to a Child

To Dance

To Make Music

To Laugh and Celebrate Life

I hope this helps you Find or take time to be grateful of Your Purpose as it did me.

This is what we are here to do and is why we are The Alpha Human.

Written By - Luke Bara
Director TheAlphaHuman.net
E- luke@thealphahuman.net
IG- @the.alpha.human

Why We Hunt In Modern Times. Our Reason.

“Modern times” What a laugh…

This term has been thrown around for centuries… CENTURIES!

Every human ever born assumes that this time we live in is the be all and end all… The pinnacle of our existence.. There is an element of truth to that I guess.

Never before have we as humans been so in control of our environment, so adapt to the harshness of nature and in turn, we live longer, eat better, are more immune to disease and have more reach than ever before.

BUT.. the truth is… We’re an ancient vessel trying to adapt to modern times and we’re not doing very well at it.

For hundreds of thousands of years we’ve evolved into this apex predator.. this Alpha Human.. It didn’t just come overnight. We are the pinnacle of evolution to this date and we are masters of our fate… HOWEVER… We are designed to be masters of nature NOT masters of an office.

Look at our make up… Ears on the sides of our heads pointing forward to pick up direct sound so our forward facing eyes can immediately focus on our prey.. or predator we may need to avoid. 

We distinguish scents through our nasal passages that directly compute to our brain smells that we cannot see like spoiled milk or meat. This keeps us safe and our complex digestive tract well so we don’t get sick or frail leading to vulnerability. 

Also, we are one of the most adaptable eaters on the planet being able to digest both meat an plant in many forms allowing us to stay in one place for longer creating stability in our social circles.

We are a marvel of millions of years designed to live in harmony with each other, nature and our environment.

We hunt in these modern times not because we have to but because its part of us… Part of our genetic make up… Part of our DNA. 

We long to be outside staring at a sunset, swimming in the ocean, drinking from a stream because that is who we are, that is what we have evolved to be.

Our ancient vessel needs to be filled by nature in more ways than one… It needs to be exposed to whole experiences. It needs to be  faced with highs and lows… life and death… harshness and comfort… all in balance.

Taking an animals life represents all these things… It represents all of life’s harshness and reality… It connects us to our earth and requires fitness, health, mental clarity, fear, hope, understanding happiness and sorrow…

And THIS IS WHY WE HUNT… To be part of NATURE… To be part of our world and what has evolved us into being The Alpha Human. 

By Luke Bara - Director TheAlphaHuman.net
Instagram - @the.alpha.human
Email - luke@thealphahuman.net


Want to hear more about why I started Bowhunting?

Click below to read the article "Where is your produce coming from?"

The 8 Most Impacting Ethical Hunting Pics from the Short Film Hide to Heart

We're extremely excited to be sharing the release of TheAlphaHuman.net's first feature short film "Hide to Heart" February 2018.

What an epic experience it was having a camera crew follow us around for 4 days as we went about our hunt.

Shot in the magical high country of South Eastern New South Wales, this groundbreaking Australian film delves into the story of our thoughts and actions on why we need to get into the wild to connect with nature and be aware of our natural balance in sustainable living through ethical hunting.

This film reflects on our reasons for hunting telling an amazing story along the way and delves into the core beliefs and values of why we hunt in a raw and honest tale of mans place in nature.

This is a hunting film... make no mistake about that. We wanted to take the viewer through the whole process... From Hide to Heart to show our place in nature as The Alpha Human and what responsibility that bears.

These are our top 8 Pics from the feature film. We hope you enjoy!

1- The Stalk

Taken the first morning of our first hunt we had just spotted deer at 240 yards. We decide to drop our bags and commence the stalk.

Taken the first morning of our first hunt we had just spotted deer at 240 yards. We decide to drop our bags and commence the stalk.

2- On The Shot

Here Andrew Lovell lines up the first ethical shot on a Fallow Doe at 100 yards marking the first deer taken for the weekend. 

Here Andrew Lovell lines up the first ethical shot on a Fallow Doe at 100 yards marking the first deer taken for the weekend. 

3- The Process

This shot was taken halfway through the cape removal. Ensuring clean cuts and care is made the hide of the animal is a great gift given from the animal and should be revered.

This shot was taken halfway through the cape removal. Ensuring clean cuts and care is made the hide of the animal is a great gift given from the animal and should be revered.

4- Stalk Strategy

Luke Bara talking stalk tactics on a mob of deer spotted 400 yards away on our 3rd day of the hunt

Luke Bara talking stalk tactics on a mob of deer spotted 400 yards away on our 3rd day of the hunt

5- The Recovery

Recovering the animal in the quickest way possible allows plenty of time for the protein to be harvested. This 2.5 year old Buck was selected specifically from the herd as his front leg had been broken and he was clearly struggling to keep up with the herd.

Recovering the animal in the quickest way possible allows plenty of time for the protein to be harvested. This 2.5 year old Buck was selected specifically from the herd as his front leg had been broken and he was clearly struggling to keep up with the herd.

6- The Final Breakdown

Having removed the cape now we get to the more technical part of quartering up the protein.

Having removed the cape now we get to the more technical part of quartering up the protein.

7- Prime Cuts

Here is the Back Strap of the animal. We cooked this cut over the fire that night and enjoyed it with friends

Here is the Back Strap of the animal. We cooked this cut over the fire that night and enjoyed it with friends

8- Ageing 

The temperature during the filming never reached over 4 degrees celsius. Some nights the temps got as low as -12 degrees so we could allow the carcass to hang naturally without fear of the protein spoiling before transporting it back in our Yeti's home.

The temperature during the filming never reached over 4 degrees celsius. Some nights the temps got as low as -12 degrees so we could allow the carcass to hang naturally without fear of the protein spoiling before transporting it back in our Yeti's home.

Want To Learn How To Get Into Ethical Hunting?

Check out our Bowhunting for Beginners Retreat

Now Taking Applications for 2018

Could you go 30 days without buying food??

When I asked myself that question I couldn't really answer... I wondered...

Did I have the skills to survive?

Could I Hunt, Fish and Gather to sustain myself for a whole month just living off the land and ocean?

Would I be able to do this while still living in the City of Sydney?

So.... I decided (with much hesitation but also a deep sense of excitement) to try it. To live 100% off the land and ocean without buying any food!

When I started Hunting I did it out of frustration... Frustration that as humans we were getting ripped off from life.

We don't even know where our food comes from or under what conditions it has been raised. We go to the store totally oblivious on what we are actually putting in our body.

Not only that but there is no connection to the food we are eating. 

Whether you want to admit it or not... Every cut of beef, every chicken breast and every strip of bacon we consume was a living creature. It breathed, fed and lived on this planet just like we do.

I felt totally responsible and disconnected to the process.. I felt that taking a life and being part of this world shouldn't be a task I shyed away from just because I had the convenience of money to pay someone else to do it for me... 

I felt like a hypocrite... 

This 30 day challenge represents me not accepting that convenience anymore..

It represents me being 100% committed to be the person solely responsible for my own food and 100% dedicated to the ethics in harvesting it. 

So that said... Tomorrow Andrew and myself will start this epic journey. We've set ourselves guidelines and we are ready to venture into the unknown.

Here are the rules we will adhere to! 

We Cant...

  • Buy or Eat anything from a supermarket, cafe, restaurant or any food store.
  • Can’t be bought, stolen ,given or be gifted any food from anyone.
  • Can’t eat anything not naturally processed or grown/cultivated

The rules for the 30 days are simple. We...

  • Start with NO Food (including salt, pepper, herbs, spices and any condiments)
  • Only eat food we've harvested ourselves (Fished, Gathered, Hunted, Grown)
  • Can barter/swap food at market value/RRP from a primary producer or cultivator that is grown/harvested/gathered in Australia.
  • Continue to live their normal daily life (Work, Training, Leisure)

All I can say is I don't know if ill be able to do it...

It's the first time in my life I've ever been able to admit it. Its the first time not only will I have to 100% fend for myself but also rely on the kindness and generosity of others to help me do it. 

The feeling is so strange... not having security and knowledge of where my next meal is coming from or knowing if I'll be able to do it and survive.

I guess we'll find out soon!


Myself and Lovell invite you to follow our journey on

Instagram
@the.alpha.human @bara.alpha @lovell.alpha
 

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/alphahumanpodcast/

Podcast - The Alpha Human
https://soundcloud.com/alpha-human-594900318

TheAlphaHuman.net
https://www.thealphahuman.net/media/

 

4 Key Mistakes I Made My First Year Of Bowhunting...

Mistakes... To limit this to 4 was hard... In reality it was more like 30!

But... you either win or learn and in this case every mistake I made was a golden opportunity to learn. 

Like some guys, I didn't grow up with hunting (or archery for that matter) I took it up in my late 20's. 

Coming from a competitive fishing background and loving the outdoors and acquiring new skills, bowhunting really hit me as a skill I knew I'd love.

Once I made the decision it was a deep dive into the discipline and time in the field, spending countless hours on the road to get to my hunting location then spending more countless hours hunting (or in my case, scaring deer!)

So that said... Here are the 4 Key Mistakes I made in my first year of Bowhunting.

1- Too much walking

"Walk a little, see a lot. Walk a lot, see little" 

And to this, the old saying rings true. 

Lets face it... when you start hunting you're keen to see animals, you want to keep looking over the next hill just to see if they're there (or even if they even exist!) More often than not they've already picked your noise up 200-300 yards before you'll ever see them.

Once I slowed my pace (or even stopped for a while) thats when I started seeing deer.

Becoming a part of the bush is the key to hunting and for the beginner you're better finding a good spot with plenty of visible feeding areas and waiting... then commence your stalk!

2- Be Patient, Deer aren't on a deadline.

Deer (or any game animal for that matter) aren't on a schedule. They don't need to be anywhere specific at a certain time. They don't have a boss that will fire them if they're late!

Even now I still find it takes me one 3 hour hunt to slow down into the pace of the bush.

Especially if I've rushed to leave work, drive 4 hours to my location, set up and shoot my bow in, get my gear sorted then be up in the bush to get a few hours hunting before dark... 

Rushing a stalk = GAME OVER

So what I suggest and what I do is... Before that first hunt, get out of your car, sit there, close your eyes and breath calmly 100 times.

Calm your mind, set your intention, visualise your plan and then go and hunt... This is a AWESOME way to slow you down and bring you presence in the moment to ensure you're focused 100% on whats in front of you.

3- Don't Underestimate how fast conditions can change.

Early onset hypothermia... Thats how I learned this one.

On one of my first hunts I got caught...Badly

It was a fine winters day, 15 degrees, sunny and no wind. I had on a pair of pants and a Merino shirt... Within 90mins it was -12 Degrees with 40kmph winds and snow flurries.

I was hunting well and had started layering up but the key mistake I made was that I didn't have the right layers and was 2km away from my car.

Now 2km doesn't sound like far but in those conditions including wind chill I was seriously spiralling into hypothermia fast...

By the time I was within 1km of my car I couldn't feel from my elbows down, my feet were completely numb and I was struggling to keep any pace let alone walk in a straight line.

When I finally got to my car I couldn't drive for 45 mins due to no feeling in my hands and massive coughing convulsions. So I sat there with the heater on until I was calm enough to be able to drive..

Basically you need to pack for 4 seasons (including wet weather gear) and make sure your gear is quality.

4- Always... ALWAYS take your GPS (with full battery)

This is VITAL... 100% I'd be dead if I hadn't done this on my very first solo hunt.

Long story short, the first hunt I ever went on, the property owner took me to the top of a ridgeline and drops me off as it starts snowing...

He said to me "Have you ever been in the snow before?" To which I said "no, not really" 

He replied "You've got the house marked on the GPS don't you?" Which I replied "Yes"

Lucky I had because within 30mins I couldn't see 5-10 meters in front of me... Complete WHITEOUT.

Without my GPS I would have been lost out there, with no phone reception in the freezing cold.

That said... Here are some of the things I did right...

- I Paid for quality archery coaching from the start
- I Observed and hunted with an experienced hunter
- I Bought good Clothing/Camo - SitkaGear.com
- I Shot my bow daily (50-100 arrows a day minimum)

All in all, hunting your first year will be a big learning curve.

You'll blow stalks, miss shots, misjudge distances and get caught out but its all apart go the experience.

Long story short, just get out there, be disciplined and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible!

Keen to learn how to get into hunting?
Learn more about The Alpha Human Bowhunting for Beginners retreat

5 ESSENTIAL things I learned while hunting New Zealand in the Roar.

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5 Essential things I learned while hunting New Zealand in the Roar.

 

To say I was excited about my New Zealand hunt was a complete understatement... Hunting NZ is a massive bucket list achievement for most hunters and to be able to finally get to do it was epic!

 

For this trip, myself and Andrew along with 2 of our close buddies Eddie and Quaffa booked 5 days on the Hossack Station. 

 

One of the oldest and most well established hunting stations in NZ, the Hossack is just a short 90min drive out of Christchurch in the heart of the South Island.

 

With a massive array of free range game like Red Deer, Chamois, Fallow, Tahr and Boar to name a few, the Hossack Station had plenty of game to offer.

 

All in all hunting in another country is always a little daunting as well as exciting. You tend to over prepare having no real grasp on what you really need but not wanting to miss out on that essential piece of kit.

 

Hunting New Zealand versus hunting in Australia offers some similarities but also it offers some vast differences too.

 

So in summary, here's a list of the top 5 things I learnt hunting in New Zealand.

 

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1- The hills are big... REALLY BIG

 

Or should I say mountains... it's no joke! In Australia we get used to some rolling hills or the odd cliff... but in NZ everything is steep! This can offer a bit of trouble judging distance too. What I tended to find was that because a hill was so steep it seemed that the target I was stalking was far away but in reality it wasn't. Height gives you a distorted perception of distance so make sure your rangefinder is handy at all times!

 

2- Don't use a single pin bow sight in the Rut/Roar

 

So this season I decided to go from using a multi pin sight to a single pin adjustable sight. 

 

It was the wrong decision for the conditions. 

 

Having a Multi Pin to be able to make distance changes on the fly and under pressure without that added movement of adjusting the fixed pin would have been valuable this hunt.

 

That said... I really like the accuracy and added clearance of the sight window a single pin sight offers so... I will hunt Multiple pins in the rut when the deer are more flighty and harder to keep still due to chasing does and other bucks and then change to a Single pin outside of the rut when the deer are grazing and are more patternable 

 

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3- The Sitka Heavyweight Hoodie is RAD!

 

Up until this hunt I hadn't really used this piece of clothing. In my mind I assumed it would be too thick and hot and I'd sweat it out completely then cool off fast to a chill... Quite the opposite occurred.

 

Not only was the top warm but super breathable. Hiking up the steep hills (sometimes for hours at a time) it wicked the sweat away from my skin rapidly allowing me not to hold water. When the hunt started and sometimes a long wait happened, it kept me really warm sometimes only needing my Jetstream Vest over the top to keep me 100% toastie.

 

This top is a must in any hunting layering system especially mid to late season when the temps drop.
https://www.sitkagear.com/products/big-game-subalpine/insulation/core-heavyweight-hoody

 

4- You eventually WILL GET WET even in the best rain gear... so KEEP WARM

 

Once a wise hunter said to me "Better to be warm and wet than cold and wet"

 

This rings totally true especially if your hunt has been 10hrs long and for the whole 10hrs it has been raining.

 

Thermal Layering is the most important tool any hunter can learn so make sure your layers not only keep you dry as best as possible but also allow maximum warmth if you do soak through.

 

My layering system for this particular day (8-10 Degrees Celsius with wind and rain all day) 

- Sitka Heavyweight Hoodie

- Sitka Jetstream Jacket

- Sitka Dewpoint Jacket

- Sitka Timberline Pant

- Sitka Dewpoint Pant

- Sitka Stormfront Gaiter

 

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5 - Always look your guide in the eye and give him a tip at the end of the trip

 

This guy has just run your ass around the countryside for the past week. Putting you onto deer, giving you tips on how to beat the animal and giving his time to educate you on a specific species of animal you don't know. 

 

The best thing you can do is give him your respect and show some gratitude by just doing the simple stuff like being grateful, looking him in the eye and having a good laugh!

 

Also take a tip. US hunters are great at this but Aussie hunters usually suck at it... some extra cash is cool (like an extra days guiding pay) But if you're not completely cashed up give him some of your awesome new gear (not your 5 year old lucky shirt) like a merino top, gloves, face veil, cap, deer caller etc... Something he doesn't have and really likes, this usually goes a long way!

LINKS

The Hossack Station
http://www.thehossack.co.nz

Sitka Gear Australia and New Zealand - Safari Supply Company      http://www.safarisupply.co.nz/

Sitka Gear
http://sitkagear.com

Where is your produce coming from?

KEEN TO FIND OUT HOW TO START?

 

Where is your meat coming from? The real reason I took up Bowhunting.

Growing up on the South Coast of N.S.W. Australia, I was exposed to farming at an early age. Watching cattle and sheep in the fields driving up and down the local farming areas.

As a kid you don't understand the real reason they're there. 

When I was in my teens my first experience of proper farming practices rocked me to the core... Cattle De-horning.

Needless to say that the sight of cows having their heads clamped and their horns cut off was absolutely brutal. It sticks with me even until this day.

I understand that without this process the cattle could injure or kill each other... which got me pondering the thought... 

"The only reason they need to do this is to ensure that the cattle gets to the butcher so it can feed us."

I realised that I was the reason the cattle were going through this.

I hated this prospect... I hated the fact that I was part of the problem.

In all honesty the whole process sucks. A calf is born and within a week is pumped full of chemicals and medicine. This is essential to keep disease at bay and is carried on periodically throughout the life of the animal.

All their life they are herded by dogs ripping at their heels and noses into yards and transported in tight cages to their slaughter. 

And all because humans need it.

I decided that I could not be apart of this anymore. I knew as a human I needed to eat meat but I didn't want to be apart of the problem. 

I wanted to know exactly what I was eating, where it came from and what conditions it lived in.

This is what sparked my search into ethical hunting.

It started one day when myself and a colleague were talking about this topic. He was from New Zealand and had the same reservations as myself on factory farming and ethical treatment of animals. He told me that back in NZ he and his father used to go out hunting for goats and deer for their own meat. They would take completely free ranged animals that were un-farmed, un-medicated and hormone free to eat and provide for the family. Wild Deer, Goat, Sheep and Pigs were the main source of protein that they would take.

Being inspired by this I looked into the availability of hunting in Australia.

I liked the idea that I would be responsible for the process. That the animals I would hunt would be untouched by anyone, not be pumped full of hormones and be wild and free.

To say it has been easy would be a lie. I understand it's not for everyone. It is still the hardest thing I have ever done. 

Taking an animals life is confronting. It carries a major responsibility on my part to ensure I train, practice and dedicate myself daily to my decision.

But I wouldn't have it any other way.

I took up archery and pursued my new choice and today I see it as the best choice I ever made. I decided to take ownership of my impact on my environment, to make a decision to ethically harvest my own meat and to provide high quality hormone free meat from a fully sustainable source.

And now I am truly grateful to be able to do so and share the experiences and produce with the ones that I care about. Giving back instead of taking. 

KEEN TO FIND OUT HOW TO START?

25 Pack Essentials for the Bowhunter

Day Pack Pic.jpg

KEEN TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BOWHUNTING?

 

25 Pack Essentials for the Bowhunter, 4 of them you won't want to go without

Recently I've had a lot of Bowhunting Beginners mail or message me on what I take for a Bowhunting day trip in my pack. 

Long story short... you don't want to over pack as excess weight can take its toll on long, arduous hikes and extra items can take up so much valuable room especially if you need to field dress your game and pack it out.

I actually have 2 packs... a early to mid season pack and a late season pack.

Here I give you the essential breakdown of my early/mid season day pack.

I've also included my top 4 items that are a MUST in any good pack.

ESSENTIALS

1- Back Country Thermal Pouch

The Back Country Thermal Pouch is an essential part of my pack for 3 reasons. All of them more for survival purposes than anything else.

1- The high heat retaining properties of the pouch will allow your freeze dried meals to stay up to 50% warmer for 50% longer adding heaps internal warming when cold.

2- The High Reflection of the pouch acts as a great reflective light beacon if in distress and trying to get attention.

3- When you're done cooking with it stick your cold hands in it. The residual heat left over from your meal will warm your hands up and the insulation of the pouch will continue to warm your hands well into a long emergency sit if needed.

2- Opinel No8 Field Knife

I love this knife... so much I have 3 of them... one for each pack! 2 Major benefits of this knife are.

1- The Circle Lock on the blade is a bulletproof way to ensure the blade won't fold on your fingers accidentally while skinning or butchering much like a fixed blade knife

2- Easy to sharpen steel and holds a really good edge... I have all of mine up to shaving sharp with only a few licks of the steel

3- Life Straw Water Filter

This is a MUST... If you get caught in the bush without water... you're doomed... Water sometimes can be hard enough to find BUT if you do find it how do you know what quality it will be at? I guarantee in that kind of situation 9 times out of 10 the disease and bacteria in the water will wreck you. The Lifestraw is your go to emergency filter, it'll filter out all of the nasty bugs and give you clean, liveable drinking water in an emergency.

4- First Aid Kit including stitches

Obvious but necessary... So many times I've been glad to have my trusty First Aid Kit with me. Mine is very customised... Butterfly bandage, Saline Solution, Thermo Blanket even Stitches and a Scalpel. You don't need to go that crazy but make sure you do have one on you at all times.

Apart from that, I consider the list below a bare minimum ESSENTIAL for the Day trip... you never know what situation you'll get into and having a plan B,C and even D is way better than no plan at all.

-Sitka Flash 20 pack

-Camelbak 3L water Bladder

-JetBoil Gas Cooker

-Back Country Freeze Dry meal (2 serve)

-Back Country Thermal Pouch

-Back Country Titanium Spoon

-Chief Bar Protein Meat Bar

-Go Natural Hi Protein Bar

-Go Natural Nut Delight Bar

-Life Straw Water Filter

-Freeze Dry Coffee

-Sweetened Condensed Milk

-Garmin GPS

-Bushlell the Truth Rangefinder

-Opinel No8 Field Knife

-Joker Dressing Knife w/Guthook

-Diamond Blade Sharpner

-Kathmandu Emergency Shelter

-Diamond Head Torch x2

-SitkaGear Cloudburst Jacket and Pant

-SitkaGear StormFront Glove

-SitkaGear Core Neck Gaiter

-SitkaGear Face Veil

-SitkaGear Merino Glove

-SitkaGear Mountain Glove

-First Aid Kit including stitches

Keen to learn more about bowhunting?