Swazi Stories

F##k, where's my jacket?

Clan Story

Chris Pantser recently sent us a story of a recent hunt that we thought was worth sharing...

This begins a few weeks back where myself and another mate had gone for a hunt up the Rakaia and met a good bugger at the hut named Jake Howard.

 

That night my other mate got a message on the Garmin that there was emergency at home and we had to leave the block at 11pm.  Jake said he would come with us, even after doing a 30km, 20 hour day at that point.

 

The walk out was a long and brutal one to say the least.  Full packs of meat and not the easiest track (also being hunting all day didn't help matters). We got back to the cars at 4 in the morning absolutely rooted but we’d made a new mate in Jake.  It’s quite cool how a brutal slog out builds instant companionship. We said we would definitely catch up again for another hunt before he went back up north to Uni.

 

Fast forward a few weeks and I was going for hunt on Friday afternoon.  Jake rang me to say he had the weekend off, so after a quick pack for him we met up and were off to Fairlie. Jake hadn't got a Chamois while down here yet so that was the aim of the game. 500 meters into the block I looked up and spotted a reasonable buck on a bluff 300 yards up the hill. We set up and with a reasonable breeze right to left we thought it should’nt be a hard shot, even with a steep shot up from the. Jake let rip with the 7mm and a rock exploded a foot left of the buck.  Turns out it was quite a bit windier up the hill! The chamois took off and up into the fog line. We made the call to go up and stalk into it. Once we got up there the fog had really come in and I knew he had parked up on a rock but where was the question?  The Fog started to lift, I spotted him and he spotted me, that was the end of it.

 

A bit gutted we were going to head back down until I spotted a young bull Tahr in the next gully which we decided would become camp meat. Boom.  Jake dropped it.

 

The next morning we set off at 5 and spent most of the morning glassing but finding few animals until we found some Bulls that looked not a bad size heading for the top of the hill/  Off we went.  Fast forward two hours of not ideal up-hill walking to the top, they had winded us and were gone. We were at 1850 metres, so it had been a 1000 metre day already. Being up that high and being in a block I hadn't hunted before gave us some pretty sweet views of everything.  We parked up for a while, had a drink and glassed for a while, spotting good numbers of Tahr but all to far away to make the commitment to go after them.  We wanted to get out that night and were pretty buggered already.

 

So off we trotted back towards camp with a few spots to glass on the way back down.  Jake had his Swazi Jacket hung through his pack under the top flap.  We got down all the scree slopes and back into tussock country and at about 1100 metres found a good spot to glass. "F**k, where’s my jacket?” Jake said to me as we sat down.  Not only was it a good piece of kit but he later told me it had a fair bit of sentimental value to him… so the search was on.

 

We searched all around the tussock country to no avail.  Jake grabbed my binos to have a look back up the hill while I carried on searching around the tussock.  I told him I’d see him back at the rock where the rifles were.

 

2 Hours later Jake was nowhere to be seen.  I grabbed my Epirb and headtorch in case it got a bit late and headed back up the hill to find him. I got up the first rise to see him heading toward me which his Swazi jacket on. He looked buggered. I asked him where he found it and he told me "50 metres from the top on a scree".

 

Jake had gone up 700 odd metres and back down in two hours!  Especially with all the slips this wouldn’t have been an easy task.

 

If that's not commitment to gear you trust, I don't know what is.

 

The walk back to the truck consisted of talk about the gear we use and trust, Jake’s love for Swazi, and that mountain he had monstered pretty much twice. One final look back at it and off we drove.

 

While we didn't come out with the Chamois we were after we came out with a pretty good story to reminisce over and tell.

 

And if someone is that committed to a brand, I think I might have to start trying some of that gear myself.

 

 

Chris Pansters

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