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Fish Up Cock Down in the Land of the Long White Cloud

asaxon

Well-known member
Part 1
Fish Up Cock Down in the Land of the Long White Cloud


The Admiral and I went off to New Zealand to spend a little time with her rellies, “go bush” where she would chase trout with her fly fishing tutor, DR, and I’d have another go at a those wily wild peacocks
.

A big storm was headed in when we arrived so we immediately went to the bush camp that is about a 1 hour ATV ride up into the Wanganui wilderness (picture 1). This is almost pristine native bush. It is composed of dense forests of tree ferns and native trees with few open areas (picture 2). As it was getting dark, the Admiral and DR went fly-fishing. I did not know that trout “rise” for a night bite, apparently the moon and stars giving enough light for them to see insects floating by. They came walking back in the pitch dark with “breakfast”, a nice 4 lb. rainbow trout (picture 3).

Over the next two days, DR tutored the Admiral on fly-fishing in the Wanganui river (picture 4&5) while in the early morning or evening; we would take a 7mm-08 rifle and look for red deer. The brush is so thick you have to spot them in the few open spaces (picture 6). We saw many wild goats but only got a glimpse of the South end of a North bound deer that spooked into heavy cover. We made it back to Rotorua just before the storm hit and then next 4 days hung around, saw rellies and soaked in various hot pools. Finally, the weather cleared up and they got to fish in the Ngongotaha and Waiteti streams that run by the Admiral’s home village. Nice brown and rainbow trout caught and released (pictures 7&8).

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Part two is about the Cock down...


 

asaxon

Well-known member
Fish Up Cock Down Part 2

Then it was time to hunt peacock. Last time I hunted peacock, DR and I spent two days tramping all over the place and managed to harvest a peahen but not peacock. The hen bird tasted fine and was pretty but the individual feathers were too small to make into earrings. This time we were focused on getting a cock bird. The hunting is spot and stalk; we had no idea how to call a peacock and even if we did, mating season was pretty much over. I carried a 17HMR for “the shot” and DR carried a 12-gauge shotgun in case angry birds attacked us. We hunted in the hills behind Rotorua where there are dense stands of native bush with huge fern trees interspersed with a fair amount of open space as land had been cleared for dairy and sheep farming (picture 9 & 10). The country is so damn green it hurts your eyes but is anything but flat. According to my phone, we covered just under 6 miles and did the equivalent of climbing 84 stories on our hunt. Walking up the steep track, we crest a rise and see a peacock with 3-4 hens a couple hundred yards away. Unfortunately for us, peacocks have eyesight as good as or better than wild turkeys. There is no sneaking up on them once they have spotted you. They quickly moved off into the brush and timber.

We continued uphill but before cresting the next rise, carefully creep to the top and peer ahead. About 200 yards away in a clearing were 10+ hens and a nice peacock. The shot was too far for the 17HMR plus a couple of magpies were sitting between the peacocks and us. NZ magpies are extremely alert and would be sure to raise the alarm before we could close the distance. So we dropped back down and circled across the trail to come up to a hillock about 100 yards from the peacocks. As I start to cover the last 20 feet, the magpies in the tree make me, squawk and fly off. I quickly crawl forward and look over. I see that the peafowl have been alerted and are now moving off at well over 100+ yards. DR encourages me to “take a shot” so I jack a round in the chamber and try to aim laying prone. But the grass is so tall and dense, I can’t see through the scope and figure the tiny 17 HMR will be deflected even if I could. So a flop forward on my belly like a seal to where I can see the cock bird better and hurriedly send a 17 gr. bullet down range. The bird jerks, squawks, and then takes off with his right leg “hanging” (he had been hit). It is so big; it has to veer into the wind for lift. DR and I just happen to be directly upwind as this monster bird (looking like a 747 or the mythical Rook in flight) flaps and flies at us. Of course, I have a rifle with a telescopic sight while DR still has the shotgun in its case slung over his back. The peacock soars right by us – I might have hit it with a rock if I had the presence of mind to pick one up – as it sailed downhill and out of sight. We spent well over an hour looking for the bird but only found some blood and a few feathers where it was standing when hit. We were bummed. We then headed back down toward the truck across the more open ground still looking for the lost bird. We did see a cock bird sitting at the edge of a large clearing; the injured animal? No, it gets up and walks into the trees. We check, no blood where it had been sitting.

At this point DR realizes we are “lost” in the sense he is no longer sure where we are in relation to the truck. Thus, we go wandering down across a bunch of gullies and ridges when all of a sudden DR spots a cock bird by a fence below us. The bird quickly heads through the fence and disappears down into a small field. My only chance is to run down there and get a shot before the bird goes into the brush or takes off. I shout out my Maori war challenge as I charge down the hill. I reach the fence an there, 50 yards away is the cock bird looking confused by this strange creature shouting in Maori and sticking out its tongue. (I’m a big one for tradition). The peacock, in his confusion, has no clear plan on what to do: run, fly, or hop a fence into the cover. In contrast, my plan was simple, put the crosshairs on his chest and pull the damn trigger. Pfssst (17HMR with silencer). There is an ear-shattering squawk and the peacock is flopping around on the ground. DR comes up and uses the 12ga to make sure it is not going anywhere. In the words of Sir Edmond Hilary when returning from the summit of Everest, “We knocked the bugger off!” (picture 11 & 12)
When I recovered the bird, I was amazed at the size and number of the feathers, not only the crazy tail feathers but also the stunning blue and green ones on the body (picture 13). No occupational therapy will be needed for me as I am going to be making earrings for years to come from this fellow.
That evening, I took off all the feathers I wanted and removed the legs/thighs and breasts to eat. The Admiral and I cooked the breasts when visiting her nephew a couple days later, probably the first and last time I will ever eat peacock. Tasted like rattlesnake (picture 14-15).

Finally, for you hog hunters, the Kiwis now have adopted the dog as a hood ornament technique for hunting wild hogs. Kiwis have always done a lot of wild hog hunting using dogs and then kill ingthe hog with knives/spears. A piece of high tech outdoor carpet is fashioned onto the hood (“bonnet” in NZ) of the car with the dogs standing on the carpet in the front while they drive around at night. When they cross the trail of a hog, the dogs bay. They stop the truck and off they go. We used to have dogs in the back of the pickup to hunt raccoons at night when I was a kid but this having them on the hood was new to me. Makes it easy to spot hog hunters – just look for the carpet cars. (Picture 16)
The Admiral and I made it back to LA and USDA let me bring in all my feathers – I think the Agriculture agent assumed I had bought peacock feathers so she hardly glanced at my luggage. And I did nothing to disabuse her of that idea. If she’d asked about where the feathers came from, etc. I would have told the truth but I didn’t brag to her that I’d shot a peacock in New Zealand … Even I’m not that dumb though the Admiral has had some concerns over the years.

Have a great holiday season all you JHOers.

*No animals were unnecessarily harmed in the telling of this tale but the truth may have taken flight with that first peacock.

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THE ROMAN ARCHER

Well-known member
Wtg on the New Zealand trip! U r so lucky to have fam there, New Zealand has always been on my bucket list, thnx for sharing your hunting adventure story and photos.
There's so many puns I want to use as u hold your peacock in your hand, but I will behave and restrain myself....lol....tra

Oh Yeh, fantastic trout, I bet supper yummy. ..

Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk
 

jindydiver

Well-known member
Great stuff.
My wife is from Napier and we have spent a lot of time back there hunting and fishing. NZ is a lovely place and everyone should experience it at least once.
 

asaxon

Well-known member
Feathers

Yeah, Dustin, I'm making ear rings from the feathers. That is the main reason I wanted a cock bird. I just made some prototypes tonight as I'm up to my chin in feathers. The picture does not do them justice. They are much more brilliant in real life. I need to take them in the daylight, not indoors like this which I just took tonight. As you may know, I do NOT sell them (even thou peacocks are invasive species in NZ and you can hunt them 24/7 and don't even need a hunting license). I just make them for friends and the cost = a smile. Andy

PC feather ear rings.jpg
 
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