Amid the matagouri, briar and coprosma, Peter Snowdon gets his sights on pigs, goats and a mature stag.

The long, hot, laden walk into the block was uneventful, except for a short halt to view a pig glimpsed on a face above the river. I was grateful to drop my heavy burden and briefly glass the pig as it quickly retreated into close cover.

It is debatable if I was more pleased to see the pig or to drop my heavy pack. Nevertheless it was encouraging to see an animal in the mid-afternoon March sunshine.

It was early roar, Geoff had done a reconnaissance of the block in the previous days shooting a seven- pointer and seeing several deer, plenty of sign and a smattering of goats.

Our river terrace campsite was devoid of shade, matagouri, briar and coprosma being the best on offer. No chance of sleeping in with the heat and sun acting as an early alarm clock.

As the evening cooled, we climbed above a creek near camp encouraged by marks in the shingle and clay ground. We reached what could be called an “ideal spot” after 25 minutes. It had a view to the head of the creek, a clear view of the opposite faces and into the creek bed and its narrow terraces.

Glassing in the almost still evening proved fruitless until we picked out a hind and fawn feeding alongside the creek.

Moments later a pig emerged 150 metres upstream of the deer. Choices!

We could drop down 200m and be in shootable position above either or both. Our simple plan was to separate and Geoff to position himself for a shot at the deer while I found a spot to shoot the pig. I was to shoot first.

Minutes later I had the pig lined up when another pig appeared almost alongside it. Their colouring made for good camouflage in the riverbed. While adjusting my sight on the pig a shot dropped it dead.

I quickly adjusted aim and felled the second pig. It transpired that Geoff had the deer lined up awaiting my shot when they bolted after a goose disturbed them. He therefore made the call to shoot the pig on offer, hoping I’d get the second. Not according to plan but we now had two pigs on the deck.

The following morning a strong wind bullied us as we searched without luck for a stag. The only game we spotted in the morning was a pig nestled in tussock and matagouri. From our position well above it was a clear shot on a sitting target. Threepigs in the bag.

Goat shooting occupied the afternoon. Several were shot from a small mob which was encountered among the briar about an hour from camp.

Early next morning we sighted a heavily built stag and four hinds high above the river. I’m sure the adrenalin helped as we climbed to get above the animals which were in a small basin. We emerged to check their position. They had moved and were looking alert directly above us. There was no chance of a shot uphill at the partly exposed stag. They took off running uphill to our right.

We gasped our way round the face to see them emerge on to a wide steep scree, the stag at the rear about 300m away. It was hard to get a decent rest on the sloping ground and it was several shots each before the moving stag collapsed about 350m away. A mature 10-pointer.

The action wasn’t over. Back at camp in the late afternoon, I had just finished tying my boots ready for a final evening hunt when a noise in the matagouri only a few metres away aroused my curiosity. I stood up to see a 50-pound black boar making its way along our camp terrace and across the nearby riverbed.

How hard can it be to find your rifle magazine when you need it quickly? The pig did not seem in any rush as it hit out over the stony riverbed. Unlike Geoff in his jandals chasing the animal, .270 in hand, before shooting it as it climbed the far bank.

The walk out next morning was arduous. Goat, venison, pork and antlers burdened two weary hunters as they slowly trudged the valley back to the truck.