I managed to sneak a night out recently into the Kaimanawa forest.
With a little girl now refocusing my attention to home, it was good to head out for a night and spend some time in the bush. It also gave me a chance to try out an idea I have been kicking around for a while – ditching the traditional pack and ‘camp’ idea, and instead travelling lightweight enough that I could keep everything on me while I hunted and just set-up camp whenever it got to dark to stalk any more. As it turned out, it was also forecast to be a very cold night, so during the warmer months, I would be able to get away even lighter.
Lightweight hunting works for me. The confidence of knowing no-matter how far I wandered I had everything to remain comfortable overnight was comforting – and it certainly made it easier planning the stalk knowing I didn’t have to round trip at any point to get back to camp.
It also reinforced the importance of navigation skills. Once I realised that the Garmin simply wasn’t going to be of any help, I had to break out the map and compass, try and ascertain where I was (not easy when surrounded by trees) and plan a way back out. Simply put, I realised that no matter what, West would take me either to the road or too the main track, so west I went. In the end, I was a lot more north than I thought. No matter, a simple understanding of what the map was telling me, and being able to walk on a bearing soon got me back out.
Lightweight hunting as a concept. Yes. Could I shed even more weight? Yes. But it’s always a balance of comfort, safety and how much you are really wanting to carry.
Part one covers a bit of an intro, describing how major my Garmin Tactix failed me and covers some thoughts behind the trip out.
Part two is the gear, part three is the clothing.