Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Terrific Tasmanian TroutStalking Sambar

The sambar deer is widely regarded as Australia’s greatest hunting challenge. The rewards that flow from pursuing this elusive animal are equally great.

Story and photos Alistair McGlashan

Drenched to the bone, the hunter stands shivering at the base of a remote gully in the country around Victoria’s Big River. He is oblivious to the miserable conditions. His eyes scan the fresh set of prints that he’s been ‘walking up’ for the last hour. With a pounding heart, he edges forward, following the stag’s tracks into a patch of thick dogwood. Seconds later there is a loud ‘honk’ off to the left. Spinning around, the hunter catches a glimpse of a heavy-bodied stag making good his escape over the ridge. There is no chance of a shot, but just sighting such a big stag is enough to make the hunt a success – such is sambar hunting.

Winding along Thunderbolt’s WayWidely considered the toughest of all game species to hunt, the sambar, particularly a stag, is seen as the pinnacle for most hunters in Australia. There is something special about stalking sambar that makes it stand alone from all other styles of hunting. To stalk sambar successfully, hunters must show a level of dedication far greater than that required to hunt any other animal. As a result, sambar hunters tend to be an extremely committed group truly passionate about the deer. For them, hunting is only a small part of a much greater picture.

When you talk to deer hunters, the tales they relive are not of the deer they killed, but the encounters they had. “My most exciting encounter involving sambar didn’t even see me pull the trigger,” Stewart McGlashan says. “I was contouring around a hill when suddenly a hind materialised out of the scrub just a few metres away. With a fawn in tow, she trotted straight past me oblivious to my presence. The encounter only lasted a few seconds yet it is a vivid memory.” Story end

Full story OUTBACK Issue 36 Aug/Sept 2004

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