Fallow Deer Hunt In Australia

Updated: Jul 26

My younger son Phillip and his family emigrated to Sydney, Australia a few years ago and it turned out to be too costly to export his Musgrave 30-06 and Walther .22 Hornet so he had to sell them here. He recently acquired a Sauer 100 in .308 Winchester and fitted a Vortex Strike Eagle 5-20x56 first focal plane scope on it.

In the previous post I mentioned the risk of an inaccurate rifle in the hunting field: the target below of his first 100 metres group with factory ammunition confirms that he will not have that problem.

First group of the Sauer out of the shop with Federal factory ammunition. 9mm centre to centre at 110 yards equals just better than 1/3rd MOA. This is an interesting rifle, and once he has become more used to it that group should become one neat hole.

The Sauer 100 .308W

Sydney and surrounds are cold and wet and muddy this time of the year and hunting is a challenge in many ways. He was invited to hunt a fallow deer on a property not far from where he lives and after scouting around a small family group was seen and ranged at just over 300 yards. At 275 yards they became very nervous and he had to take the shot or call it off. There was no natural rest and sitting on his backside, elbows on his knees the rifle was not as steady as he wished for the distance. At the shot the buck took the bullet and took off at a run.

They found lots of blood at the place where it had stood, tracked the blood splats and found it dead about 700 yards on. The shot was behind the heart and high. I have seen Colorado mule deer that live between 7,000 ft to even above 10,000 ft elevation with a similar shot to lie down after 100 yards. They need supercharged air to sustain oxgygen supply to the brain's mobility faculty at that elevation and therefore their main lung lobes extend further rearwards and down than for example any Africa antelope. The latter have no lung behind a line 45 degee upwards from the elbow whereas mule deer and elk have considerable lung volume there. Africa animals also are not as dependent on high capacity lung functionality due to the low elevations they live at. I can not remember the lung anatomy of a fallow deer I shot in the Northern Karoo many years ago – but my hunting partner’s bullet went high and behind that imaginary diagonal line and they tracked it for at least half a kilometre at the time and it needed a second shot.

Phillip with his fallow deer. Note that the right hand antler did not develop.

Note the "coronet" ring around the bases

Hunting in that part of Australia is a challenge due to wetness and mud and cold. Rain may be sudden and excessive - Sydney's average yearly rainfall is about 40 inches per calendar year and in July of 2022 they already

had 70 inches. During an unsuccessful hunting trip a few weeks earlier they had to deal with inclement weather and lots af mud on the roads, including deep ruts which needed skillful driving.

Inspecting a rut for safe passing on a private road on a ranch where they have a hunting concession

Kangaroo droppings Fallow deer marking Dressed for the weather

In a follow-up post Phillip will expand on issues regarding the subject of hunting in his part of Australia.

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