Hunting Giant Red stags in Argentina with Ian Harford | Part 2
Continued from Part one…
Day Two of hunting Giant Red Stags in Argentina –
Once again we had an incredibly early start. Following the previous days unsuccessful stalk, the plan for today was to explore a completely different part of the estate that hadn’t seen any hunters for a while or this trip. The weather had been so cold that evening that it was most likely the deer would have just hunkered down for the evening and wouldn’t have moved too much. This means that looking over the land we had covered the previous day wasn’t really a good place to start. Today, we needed to go to fresh ground.
The area we decided to scout was more of a grass meadow topography, it was sheltered from the wind and had high rocky outcroppings, perfect protection for deer. This time Santiago was absolutely right, he just knew with the conditions where the deer would be. As the team and I ascended over the ridge we were greeted with a landscape teeming with red hinds. But not just red hinds, there were eight or nine decent sized Stags as well.
We had to be very careful about how we made our approach, that’s a lot of eyes and ears to pick up sight and sound. Luckily for us there were remnants of dry stone walling which were previously used to contain the cattle here.
Although from above the meadow looked flat, fortunately for us the terrain was rolling with three to four tall ridges. It was the perfect opportunity of traversing, glassing and then going into the valley to identify what we had spotted. The grass in the area was pretty tall, which also gave the team a little extra cover to make their approach.
As usual, the red hinds just seemed to know that there was danger and they started moving away. We could see them becoming more uncomfortable, we managed to get to the final ridge before the valley below us turned into flat, it was here where we saw a great number of red stags. All different ages; two, three, four years old, right up to some very old magnificent twelve to thirteen year old animals. They were the red stags we were looking for.
Unfortunately for us, with all those eyes and ears we had to be very careful how we would move into a good and safe position to take a shot. After making our way into a solid position I loaded the rifle and steadied my breathing, I slowly pulled the trigger, and landed the shot.
My heart sank as the Stag rippled and then disappeared out of view. Had I made a good shot? Had it been where it needed to be? Doubt immediately started clouding my mind and I thought, this could be a tough day.
However, as it happens the shot had connected perfectly, it was just such a huge bodied animal. As we started to approach my stag I quickly realised that this was a magnificent stag of a lifetime!
Reflecting back now, when I first went to Argentina and I was told about breathtakingly magnificent red stags, I had no idea that I would be given the opportunity to hunt one and certainly to not be that successful. This was the animal of a lifetime, the mass, the age and the sheer size of this stag was immense. It had been the culmination of probably one of the most epic hunting adventures I’ve ever experienced!
My clothing for this epic hunting trip to Argentina was the Deerhunter Avanti series in Realtree Max-5 camouflage.