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  • Writer's pictureAussieJohn

"Unveiling the Thrill: "The 40-Year Journey: Pursuing the Majestic Hog Deer Stag"

Updated: Apr 21


JR Hossack Hog Deer Hunt April 2024 Victoria Australia
JR Hossack Hog Deer Hunt April 2024 Victoria Australia

April 12, 2024, marked the long-awaited commencement of my hog deer hunting expedition, a culmination of forty years of eager anticipation since receiving confirmation of my hunt date for mid-April.


Armed with hog deer tags obtained from the GMA in Victoria, the journey ahead held a blend of exhilaration and nostalgia, promising not just a trophy but a rekindling of familial bonds and cherished memories.


The initial leg of my journey resembled a scenic road trip down memory lane, with my wife Maryanne and 8-year-old son JohnReno accompanying me from the vibrant Gold Coast to the coastal charm of Coffs Harbour. Each stop along the way, from The Entrance to Canberra, offered a blend of tranquility and adventure, weaving unforgettable moments into the fabric of our family bond.


My son had opportunities to feed lions, tigers, bears, and many other close encounters in an early morning Canberra Zoo Roar Experience. They flew back home to the Gold Coast Wednesday afternoon. I spent the night with old mate Darren Plumb near Goulburn.


Thursday afternoon upon reaching Albury, the nostalgia intensified as I reunited with old hunting friend Jason James, sharing stories of past hunts into the Buckland, Buffalo, and Wonnangatta, and forging deeper connections over shared experiences.


Saturday: I stayed a couple of nights with friends in Mulwala, Rob and Nicole, and caught up with Eric Simon and his crew on their way to a hog deer hunt 2 days before my hunt.

It was great to have company and swap stories into the night.


Sunday: I needed to zero check my rifles and my mate Colin, who lives in Towonga, provided invaluable assistance to a property to fine-tune my rifle to ensure precision and accuracy for the impending hunt. Feeling 100% confident now, I headed towards the Great Alpine Road.


Monday: As I made my way over Hotham Heights towards Lakes Entrance, where I had a couple of days to relax and enjoy the local seafood and lake tours. By Friday, the anticipation grew as this hunt had been planned for many years and now reaching a crescendo upon reaching the gate and meeting the owners. Camp, nestled amidst the coastal wilderness, welcomed me with open arms, offering a pristine location for the elusive hog deer. Friday evening a hot shower and a good meal in my belly, I headed to bed. It had been a long road trip and 2000 kilometres from my home on the Gold Coast.


Saturday: With the first light of dawn beckoning, I eagerly prepared for the day's hunt. Clad in Sitka gear, with my Sauer rifle bino's and rangefinder. My Guide, Neil and I headed out to a tall stand and started classing for the right stag. The morning hunt proved eventful, with sightings aplenty but the mature shooter hog deer stags remained out of range.


Undeterred, we regrouped for breakfast and Eric, his son and mate were packed and ready for his road trip back to Queensland. Eric had taken a nice mature stag on the last afternoon of his 2-day hunt.


Neil and I did a stalk on a location we last saw a mature hoggy, we got so close with the wind in our faces the stag had a doe hidden in tall grass and bolted out of sight as we walked within 25 meters, they zigged and zagged out of sight.


As the clock struck 11 am it was time for a snooze and then lunch. We had an afternoon exploration planned, which ultimately led to a serendipitous encounter with a majestic stag.


High above in a tall stand, I glassed a mature stag feeding on the treeline about 200 yards away. I closed the bolt, pushed the Sauer 202 set trigger forward, and centered the crosshairs behind the left front shoulder, worked on my breathing and squeezed off a shot. The stag had taken a step forward and now quartering towards me just as I fired, hitting him a little back on an angle. The stag reared up and over, a second shot was required to make sure the hog deer was mine for keeps.


Following a heavy blood trail through the dense coastal scrub, we located the stag lying just 30 yards under a tree hidden in thick grass from where he had been struck. In that moment of discovery, elation coursed through my veins, a testament to the culmination of years, time, and perseverance.


Victorian Hog Deer Stag JR Hossack 2024
Victorian Hog Deer Stag JR Hossack 2024

As the sun began to set on a day filled with adventure and success, I returned to camp, eager to reflect on my encounter with the elusive hog deer. With memories etched in my mind and the spoils of the hunt secured. The stag was skinned for a full mount once all the paper work were completed. We hung the hoggy over night to let the meat set as I butchered him the next day and really looked forward to tasting paddock to plate!


I felt a profound sense of accomplishment and this unforgettable experience hunting the elusive hog deer on the coastal wetland of Victoria's East Coast.


Sunday: After butchering my stag and packing my gear into my Hi lux it was breakfast time, and my last breakfast with Neil and Corrie. I had a great couple of days hunting hoggies and finally taking a mature stag. I made plans to return again before leaving...


What type of country did you hunt in JR?

Lock Sport area and 90 mile beach lies an expanse of long sandy dunes, serving as a natural barrier between the Gippsland Lakes and Bass Strait. This coastal frontier remains unspoiled, devoid of rocky outcrops or cliffs, with only sporadic ribbons of reef visible offshore, occasionally veiled by shifting sands and salty brine of swampy water ways dotted with fresh rain water pools.


In the northern reaches, the shoreline meanders along a sandbar, creating a mosaic of tidal islands. Beyond this intricate network lies a series of expansive lakes and shallow lagoons, mangroves. The vegetation is mainly heathy or ferny open woodland.


Was there anything specific you were expecting the day you shot this trophy?

I was hoping to locate a mature 6 point hog deer with a antler at least 14 inches or better.


In the realm of Australian deer, hog deer stand as the smallest among their brethren, boasting a physique that sets them apart from their distant relatives, the chital. Rather than resembling their larger counterparts, hog deer share a likeness with sheep in terms of size.


A mature hog deer stag typically reaches a height of approximately 70cm at the shoulder, weighing around 50kg. In contrast, hinds are notably smaller, standing at about 61cm and weighing roughly 30kg. Their robust build is characterised by a lengthy body and relatively short legs, with the back sloping upward from the shoulders to a prominent rump. When foraging, hog deer often carry their heads low, a behavior reminiscent of pigs and likely the inspiration behind their common name.


Adorned in a thick coat, hog deer sport a uniform dark-brown hue during winter, save for lighter underparts. As spring transitions to summer, their pelage transforms into a rich reddish-brown, though variations may occur among individuals. Many hog deer bear a distinctive dark dorsal stripe running from the head down the neck and spine. In the warmer months, this stripe is often accompanied by a row of light-colored spots along either side. The tail, relatively short and brown, features a white tip, with the underside capable of being fanned out in a striking alarm display.


The antlers of a mature hog deer stag typically exhibit three tines, with a solid main beam culminating in inner and outer top tines. While this configuration is common, antlers with additional points are not unheard of. Notable features of hog deer antlers include the acute angle between the brow tine and main beam, as well as short inner tops that angle back from the main beam, crossing towards the opposite antler.


Which firearm is you use for your hog deer hunt?

My choice of rifle. The Sauer 202 Elegance is a masterpiece of engineering, combining elegance with exceptional accuracy and stopping power, in 300 WM, Barns projectile, and topped with a Leupold LR scope.


What were the Hog Deer Checking Station Data Results?

Body length 1.3

Girth .88 cm

Shoulder Height .68 cm

Body weight 39.3 kgs field dressed

Antler spread 30.5cm

Antler length

L 38.5 cm

R 33.5 cm

Coronets

L 15 cm

R 14.5 cm


What did you do with the Hog Deer meat?

I have an ARB 60 litre fridge freezer in my Hilux Rugged X, so I was able to chill the meat and bring it back home with me. Arriving back into the Gold Coast some 3 days later I was able to process it myself. My favourite cut is backstrapes made into wiener schnitzel and various stews and roast.


The Sauer 202 Elegance is a masterpiece of engineering, combining elegance with exceptional accuracy
The Sauer 202 Elegance is a masterpiece of engineering, combining elegance with exceptional accuracy


Fresh Hog Deer Venison& My Border Town Blade Knife
Fresh Hog Deer Venison& My Border Town Blade Knife

Hog Deer Wiener Schnitzel JR Hossack April 2024
Hog Deer Wiener Schnitzel JR Hossack April 2024


Hog Deer Wiener Schnitzel JR Hossack April 2024 Paddock to Plate
Hog Deer Wiener Schnitzel JR Hossack April 2024

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