Yup, deer abound around here.

The hut is on a particularly well fertilised open flat, a short climb up from the river. I’ve never seen so many pallets in all my tramping history.

It was inevitable, therefore, that I would almost step on a hind when I wandered up the valley this afternoon, not sure which of us was more startled. At least I was alerted to be on the, err, alert for more deer somewhat more distant. I saw a few but they turned out to be rocks.

For some reason when I turned a bend in the river I spotted movement on the other side, maybe 150m away and so I stopped and made my way under cover to see what was there. Everything was in my favour, wind blowing towards me, I had cover behind a couple of trees, and the wind covering my rocky stumbles.

After the 1° C morning, that was in the hut, and the cool conditions yesterday I guess the deer were hungry, I stood up and watched them for about 20 minutes, peeling off some photos and a short movie. They were the dull red of a red deer, almost a smoky grey. The stag wasn’t huge and had modest antlers, eight points according to my photos. They wandered up, and back, over a 40 metre range, then up again, I counted seven in total, a couple of fawns and spiker.

There’s been a 1080 drop in this valley so the deer are safe for the next six months from the shooters, hunters are not allowed into affected areas for a long while. If it hadn’t been for the 1080 I might well have shared the hut with hunters.

Actually it was a day for the wildlife, I heard, then spotted a couple of kakariki, although I couldn’t disturb discern the specific species, the yellow crested type is what is generally found around here.

The other wildlife, not yet seen but certainly heard is mice, you can hear them scuttling between the fertiliser bags and the corrugated iron. I found and refurbished a trap and have it set with a juicy piece of cheese.

All in all, not a bad rest day.

← Day 13 | Steele Creek Hut, Greenstone Track, Greenstone Conservation Area Day 15 | Greenstone Hut, Greenstone Track, Greenstone Conservation Area →