A Great Start to 2021 with Hunting Trip #1
Where? Private Property, Northwest Slopes Region of NSW
Departure: Friday 8 January 2021
Duration: Three days
It had been a few months since the last trip away, as a consequence all parties were itching to get in low range and hit the open country in search of elusive Feral species to rid of, in the hope of aiding our native Australian habitat and local farmers.
I managed to swindle the Friday off work due to increased workload in previous weeks. I rounded up the hunting goodies (see My Hunting Kit), packed the ranger and cracked on (approximately 3 hours, door to door). And with a view like this at the end of the haul, who wouldn’t be keen to hit the road.
Once we arrived on site we unpacked and set up the farm house which had been left unattended over the holiday period (mouse traps, a must). After all the odds and ends were tied up, we layed out the plethora of boom sticks we had selected for the trip (just to be clear, as far as I’m concerned you can never have enough fire power):
Rifle: Ruger M77 Sporter .204 – Optic: Swarovski Z3, 4-12 x 50
Rifle: Howa 1500 Varmint .223 – Optic: Meopta Meopro 4-12 x 50
Rifle: Tikka T3X CTR .243 – Optic: Pulsar Trail 2 LRF XQ50 (Thermal)/ Optic: Steiner GS3, 3-15 x 50
Shotgun: Miroku MK10 Trap – 12G
Before the first evening of blasting away, we thought it best to check our rifles had not lost their zero in transit. We set up an old box with Shoot and See targets, we were pleased when all rifles were grouping well, unfortunately I now had nothing to blame but the nut behind the bolt, with those inevitably bad shots. After the groups were in and the shit was talked, we wired up the HID 7” Powa Beam Spotlight on the Powa Beam Window Mount and went inside to clear the mouse traps and organise some dinner.
Full of nutrition and excitement we selected our weapon of choice for the evening (CTR/Thermal and Howa/Meopta) and worked our way to the first gate of property. Not 10mins into our escapade and we came across two paddocks full of hogs (30+ in each paddock). With the wind in our favor we exited the vehicle and stalked the beasts from within 75m of the closest fence, with a steady aim off the Primos Tripod and Tikka CTR in hand we scanned for the largest boar with the Thermal and downed five of the vermin cleanly in the cover of darkness. Feeling fairly successful we ensured that the targeted hogs were indeed finished, and proceeded with confidence toward the next paddock. As expected in the back of our minds the following paddocks were not nearly as fruitful for which our confidence misleadingly alluded.
We left the flats and proceeded into the ranges with a further hog and a couple of foxes under our belt. A few more feral critters had been humanely dispatched during our round of the property. At our last, we found ourselves next to the paddock where it all began, to our surprise, in the neighboring paddock, a further 20+ hogs were positively identified through the thermal bedded under a tree, we humanely dispatch a further 5 well fattened swine out of the sounder and hit the sack for the night.
Upon awakening late morning after what we depicted as a successful night with the pew-pews, coffee and breakfast ensued followed by a round of the property to check the livestock for the owner. We took this opportunity to place a trail cam (videos in a location promising some hog traffic and of course we had the bang sticks in hand (12G and .204), just in case we happened upon some unexpected action. Much of the country was engulfed by Scotch Thistles many of which had been sprayed and dried out, unfortunately this did not allow for much visibility around the properties select flats, This pushed us up into the hillsides for much of the afternoon. Although we didn’t get lucky on the game front at least we weren’t at work.
As darkness pushed over on our last night of hunting, we had high hopes of a largely successful evening, or had the first night led us into a false sense of hope? Two paddocks in, after some dinner and some poorly worded yarns, we notched up a further 3 foxes. As the session stretched out we thought we better get back to the paddocks that provided us with the goods on the first night (in the back of my mind thinking that pigs rarely strike the same place twice). Surprisingly we stumbled along two lone bores, one on each side of the flats within 150m of the vehicle, both of which I can confirm are no longer with us today.
After what was a quiet night in comparison to the first, we turned in content with our efforts and stoked on the fact that we are out of mobile coverage.
Upon a relatively early rise we cooked some choice bacon and eggs on the BBQ (which survived too many winters) along with some instant coffee, that seems to taste better and better the longer you’re away from the comforts of a barista coffee.
Full of bacon and eggs we did the once around the farm house cleaning as we packed, anticipating that a next trip out to the crisp country air isn’t too far into the future. We packed all of our gear back into the lockboxes atop the Ranger from whence they came upon our arrival and hit the dirt road back to the reality of work and mortgages.
Before we hit the road, we embarked on one last buggy ride through the paddocks to retrieve the trail cam and see if we caught a glimpse of those pesky hogs. The hoggy which appears in video #1 met his end approx. 20 mins after nudging through the fence. For which the property owner is a happy man about.
All in all a great trip away, the gear we packed worked as intended (which is all you can ask). Although, it seems regardless of the hunting doodads that you acquire a discussion always ensues regarding the Hunting Gear acquirable to make the next trip bode further in the favor of the hunter to further aid in battle against the feral creatures that walk our Aussie shores.
The next Hunting Aus trip to follow soon.