Last week Cactus staff Shaun, Daryl and his son Isaac took to the Canterbury foothills to test out some prototype products.
The purpose of this mission was for Shaun to test out a couple of new products we have in the works - a new pack and rifle scabbard, and to introduce Daryl (Cactus boss) and Isaac to hunting.
After a short drive from Christchurch, we loaded up our gear and headed off on our mountain bikes. Once at the start of the DOC track it was boots on the ground for the grunt that would take us up onto the tops and into some good hunting country. After 2 hours we arrived at the hut just below the bush line and was great to see it had been left tidy with plenty of dry firewood cut and stored by the previous guests.
We had some lunch, plenty of coffee and a quick rest in anticipation for an evening hunt. Once the shadows became more prominent by late afternoon, it was time for boots on and to head out for an evening hunt in search of a deer. The sun was out but a chilly westerly was blowing along the tops which would indicate that the deer would be most likely feeding down in a sheltered gut out of the wind. After patrolling the bush edges and glassing some promising looking guts a deer was found out feeding as hoped. A long way off and with fading light and the wind not playing ball it would prove difficult to get within range so it was decided to come back in the morning hoping that it would still be in the immediate area.
Once back at the hut Daryl soon had the fire roaring and dinner on the go. Dinner was devoured and a game of our version of last card was in order. With an early start, it was also early lights out.
We were up well before sunrise. Full of breakfast and coffee we headed back to the previous night's position under headlamp to hopefully spot the deer seen the night before. With the wind still not playing ball, we glassed for around 40min but could not locate any deer in the early morning sun. We pushed on along the tops until mid-morning but with no deer seen we eventually pulled the pin and headed back to the hut for lunch.
After food, coffee and another card game we tidied up the hut, chopped some wood and headed back down the track and out to our bikes. It was a beautiful ride back down the valley in the late afternoon sun to our vehicle with a bag of potato chips lying in wait.....
Although we didn't manage to secure an animal it was still a successful trip introducing Daryl and Isaac to hunting on DOC land and seeing some new country. The rifle scabbard worked amazingly well, holding the rifle securely on the pack, enabling hands-free tramping and biking. It was a good test for our new pack which was comfortable and easily carried enough gear for an overnight trip. Ideally, we would have been able to test out the pack's maximum load-carrying capabilities with a deer for the freezer but no luck this time. But that's hunting!