Hunting hiking fallow deer in Tasmania - anyone do it?

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  • Hunting hiking fallow deer in Tasmania - anyone do it?

    Hi all,

    I'm wondering if anyone here has had success hike-hunting fallow - or any deer species for that matter?

    Come this March I'm optimistic of at least one invitation to fulfill a tag on one of the properties my boss has access too (he certainly owes me!), but realising that most people jealously guard their access to good private hunting properties, I'm already scoping out potential state forest areas throughout the Central Highlands which could also hopefully present a decent deer with enough patience and effort.

    As you'd expect, such places aren't a simple drive in, walk 300m and go bang-type affair. There will be a fair bit of hiking involved, both to get into a decent area and then of course actually tracking down a herd.

    I'm curious as to how people actually go about it, particularly in terms of gear requirements. I'm toying with UL hiking concepts and equipment, which I can see as being advantageous for the hike-hunter... staying light and nimble with 'capacity' to carry a rifle, ammo and hunt-specific gear... fast camp setup/packdown... as well as the ability to not be completely overloaded if you're fortunate to bag many kilos worth of meat/skin/antlers and have to hump the lot several kays back to your car.

    Anyone got any experiences/suggestions they can share?

    Cheers, Ben.

  • #2
    been on a couple of fallow shoots.
    but i wasn't the shooter, my father was, going back a few years ago.
    i was the pack horse and extra pair of eyes etc.
    i remember walking alot, seeing the deer, and then walking a lot more due to taking a wide birth around them to get down wind of them.
    spooking them, then doing it all over again.
    probably walked a few km's easily. but that wasn't on hilly ground much either.

    i suggest you pack lightly, only the essentials.
    dring and eat well before going that day.
    especially if you're considering carrying the animal back if you can't get a car to it.
    small to medium sized back packs are handy.
    sometimes it works better with one person carrying the hunt related equipment, the other person carrying the camp type equipment.
    leave all the gizmo type items at home, coz the deer will be running by the time you can use it.


    • #3
      Flat out at the moment, but I'll post my .25-06 rebuild on this very topic soon, I have been known to do just as you describe chasing fallow deer here in SA, All I take is: Bipod (vital so you can put your rifle down anywhere),sling, rope, twine (baling twine), rangefinder, gutting knife, plastic bags (very large), dunny paper, torch, ridgeline lightweight coat, sleeping bag, pack cover and pack. Proper hiking boots vital. You can be quite satisfied off sandwiches and dried fruit and nuts for a few days, also cooked schnitzels are amazing after a days hiking. Going light helps in keeping your profile down too, helping manoeuvrability and noise in the thicker stuff.
      When I get time this post Christmas/new year period, I intend to write up my load development for 230 bergers, some ballistic stuff on another forum and my 06 rebuild to turn it into my LR hiking rifle. Basically I subscribe to the as light and as little gear as possible getting up high and looking a lot theory.

      In a nut shell, staying light, going from hillside to hillside glassing valleys and across gullies is good, Moving fast when you can and slow when you get within 500m works. I use a 4.5-14 scope and am looking hard at the 2.5-25 march hunting to top off this build but basically hilly rolling borderline bush to cleared areas is where fallow spend their crepuscular activities and you need to be in a position to a) shoot, or b) stalk closer with high chance of success, My success has improved with long range shooting, they don't get big by being bold, dumb and slow to react to potential threats, slightest inkling they are gone, I'm not that interested in antlers but have taken a few people out specifically looking for them, Trail cams have taught me a lot about how "always on edge" they can be, panicking at wind gusts...

      Having said that a variable that goes as high and low as you can is good, why? Because stuff like this happens: You can see a mob 5-600m away, assess on 14x, start the stalk, walk up a buck, awakening it from its bed not 25m away, anything more than 4.5.... you just don't know what part of the deer you are looking at! I have used a 4.5-14 for years with great success, especially for those across gully shots which are sometimes all you can do if they are holed up in a thicket and the only line of sight is from the gully opposite. I've even taken a spiker at 300m across a gully starting the climb into the valley and stumbled across a buck trying to sneak away, shot him about 50m... and then regretted it as I spent the rest of the day dragging it out after recovering the spiker... The antlers were cleft and missing a trey tine as well...

      Terrain + vegetation between you and the deer should be your first thought, wind e.t.c. second, if you can't get line of sight at about 100m, stalking closer normally doesn't improve success. I've been known to get further away from a group by climbing near by hills just to get a better field of view and pick which one to take (important if you have to carry it out!!!). It is no good to see a group on the edge of bracken and acacia, then stalking in online to listen to them sneaking away when you are 50m away without a hope of getting a shot off. Having said that, being light and agile is good here when it happens as you can push through the thicker stuff, get up high and watch like a hawk for them sneaking up the next hill...

      If after antlers you may be a touch early for the rut in march but it will be a lot easier to get onto deer anyway as they should be moving about as oppose to post rut. Talk to locals at the nearest pub if you can, Establish what the deer are doing if you can!

      Oh my pack is 85L, I collapse it down as thin to my person as possible...because when you need to carry out a big comfy pack is a god send, backpacking deer by hooking the front feet through the rear hocks works, but is messy.


      Edit: I also take a tarp, for cleaning and sleeping under! Guess it isn;t entirely Tassie applicable, but you get the idea... I will put more ffort into your other post in camping soon but gotta get back to it for now!


      • ASD14
        ASD14 commented
        Editing a comment
        Well pretty much agree with "AndyBangFlop".

        Bring enough warms clothes, food & drinks incase you get stuck out in the bush for an extra couple days. Also bring a small firstaid kit, map and a satphone (if you have one)

        Enjoy mate. will be awesome.


    • #4
      When it all goes pear shaped you will need a PLB or EPIRB, GPS enabled. I never go bush without one.
      I'm in love with Jennifer Hawkins and Alessandra Ambrosio


      • #5
        Hey Ben,
        Looks like we're on the same page.
        After countless field exercises chasing 'the misourians' with the old mob, Ive definitely learned the hard way.
        My 'quick five' is:
        Make sure you have the most up-to-date 1:25,000 map, theyre only like $10 from Service Tas (Colour photocopy a few sections and laminate them if you can...folded laminate goes to shit so A4 MAX) Seek advice from Locals/Regulars (i.e. closest gun shop) Dont come off too eager, just mention in passing type thing.
        Google Earth Pro (Higher Res) laminates can be helpful, but so can government employees with access to geographical information systems!

        Six P's = Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
        Load up your kit, go for a practice stomp after work once a week or so.
        You'll soon find out any inadequacies in your kit, adjustments, additions or removals.
        I found out my Duracell batteries were practically one use only, as well as half the shit us young fellas bought from 'The Aconda' and the local military rip-off-shop. Headlamps die, 'Cree' LEDs burn out, Stainless bottles dont crush or leak much, but they sure as hell rattle like a mofo. Some cargo pants promote chafing, once you start steaming up, there can be trouble! Bike shorts were an absolute saviour. I know that 6x mags of 30 5.56 weigh enough on my hip to blister and bruise, so I got another 'comforter' padded belt fitted and problem solved. You'll learn things along the way. On a Hunt you might not take 180 rounds! You DONT want to learn these things on your ONE weekend of the year

        Know your prey - and judging distances
        Mark out some random points on your practice stomps, and learn to judge them. Dialing and fussing about in the heat of the moment can lead to failure. If theres no wind, best bet is a front shoulder shot, because if he's out further than that, you'll at least get heart & lungs, or other forms of immobilisation thus needing the appropriate fallow up (pun intended) Hydrostatic Shock is an interesting subject too, the target's weight, sectional density of the round, and velocity at a certain ranges play a huge part. Ive shot at game and made a pinky finger hole from one side to the other, not adequate or humane... correct round can be more important than correct round placement.

        Of course let someone know your Who Why What Where and When. Write a 'briefing' out explaining your course of action.

        And finally if your up for it, use the buddy system. PM me if youre keen, Im putting my leave application in next week.



        • #6
          Hey headwerkn,

          I was considering making a similar post before looking for this one.

          I am now wondering did you go and how it went for you if you did.

          I spent 2 weeks on holiday in Tas at the beginning of the year and thought I would love to return to hunt, I haven't quite figured out the deal with hunting public land in Tas and agree seems the cream is on private land which makes me wonder how difficult it is to get onto props over there.

          I am by no means a deer hunter having only bagged my first recently on private land, pretty sure a blind and deaf deer will still spring me from miles away in the bush, Just no experience in the thick stuff. I have an ok success rate knocking on doors in the areas I hunt and if I thought Tasmanian s were similar I would be even more keen to get over there too.

          If any one wants to revive the thread I am interested to hear.


          • #7
            Hey R2,
            Private land is fairly tricky to get onto.
            Main reason is there are a lot of people here not following proper protocol:
            shooting unlicensed, no deer licence, unregistered vehicles, ripping up gates and fences
            leaving rubbish and cans
            zero-ing on road signs
            stock theft
            firewood pilfering
            The list goes on.

            Get into some sort of an Association (Aust Deer Assoc, or Tasmanian Deer Stalkers SSAA Club t10)
            The State Forests are all pretty much leased out to clubs, so you can only really shoot on them if you are a member or associate member (casual 1-off)

            Get a guide or local chaperone? Call local gun shops to see whats available.

            4452 licenses issued last year (Close to 10% of the States Population)
            2609 antlerless deer were taken
            1576 male deer taken with 353 reported Bucks

            It is unlikely you'll get told where all the good herds are, or the best spots to hunt, and find out which state forests are not gated or leased.
            But if you get in contact with the right groups (incl SSAA), pay the fees etc, you'll def get onto something.


            • #8
              When will they get around to de-listing deer in this state.

              But yes as others have said, make sure the state forest is not currently leased and watch the weather


              • WhelanLad
                WhelanLad commented
                Editing a comment
                Hey I like the idea mate, In my opinion that is Hunting..

                Whatever the outcome, it will be IMO tenfold as rewarding if you get onto a few herds, see a few bucks , grab some nice photos and if you're lucky bang a buck than it would be if you were to go meet up with a Guide an hunt over hes shoulder for the week.
                The self guided way of hunting.

                Some verygood advice in the thread and I wish you all the best,


            • #9
              Thanks Tinker, yeah into my second year as a SSAA Deerstalkers VIC member. I struggle to get to the meeting as I also happen to be a Field Hunter member as well. Maybe I can try get to those again - just seems some guys a pretty clicky which may be why I didn't persist with it.

              Whelan I agree, I prefer to achieve it all by my own devices, besides I don't have the dosh to splash on a guide.

              Not thinking of any time soon, its miles off but just trying to set the wheels in motion for March next year. Maybe by then I manage to meet/recruit some participants.