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Hunting

Al’s Hunting Trip from Hell.

 
Well it had been awhile since we had been able to get out on a hunting trip. First one of the boys (human) then the other had sustained an injury that prevented us from heading off. So it was now at least four months from the last great adventure when all the goats had been beamed up by the Starship enterprise and protected from our fearsome hunting dogs. I started to get my gear together to find that one of the” stay home” dogs had decided they weren’t happy with this assessment of their capabilities and utterly destroyed the leather sheath for John’s hunting knife. This meant that I had to swap sheath’s with John and look for a replacement sheath. So I started the search no luck so I commenced to make my own. What has this to do with hunting exploits well that will come later. The stay home dog happened to be a whippet who while I know would hunt would also end up at the vets ripped to pieces by the Mallee scrub that we hunted through.

It was the day to leave and I had to work back later than I wanted and so was in one hell of a rush to get all the gear together being the designated master of equipment. So I lined up all the gear, selected the dogs to take in my case that meant my two boys Worf and Aries aka Sooky La La so named because of his dislike of thunder and lightning.. Mark was taking his old girl Cara, an experienced campaigner who was getting on in years. A new dog that was a returned puppy sale called Hinza who was only 12 months old but had never been hunting and had limited socialisation with other males. John was taking Al, another experienced hunter, leaving behind Sunny who had previously whelped only a week earlier. This meant our hunting stocks were pretty low given the individual characteristics of the dogs. Worf was a good casting and scenting dog that would go all day casting for game, however he tends to hunt alone. Aries has minimal experience and is a real mummy’s boy and therefore his qualities were unknown however it would not have surprised me if he ran up and kissed the goats or asked them for directions back to camp. Al is a good dog to bring the game down once it is found but tends to be a Daddy’s boy and does not wander to far from John. Cara the grand dame of hunting has the heart and brains but unfortunately the body has aged restricting her contributions this probably being her last active trip. Hinza the new boy on the block, never been anywhere never seen anything, so what could expect, who knows.

 We met at the usual start point and that was when my nightmare trip commenced I had that nagging feeling that all is not where it should be and I was right as I went through in my mind all the personal things I needed, I realized I had left my knife in its “make do” scabbard at home, fine I thought if we had a trip like the last one not so fine if we came across goats.  Oh and did I mention that I also had to buy a new water jerry as the lids for that had also been destroyed by the whippet.

 Anyway we headed off and arrived at the usual camp site set up our tents, in John’s case the back of the car and preyed to the goat god to make game plentiful. We all raised from our evening slumbers and with an early start and a long slog ahead  Mark thought about his morning constitutional (toiletry) went to pick up the shovel, no shovel Al hadn’t packed it, solely my fault I couldn’t even blame the whippet for this one.
After that short delay we set off we had only travelled 50meters when Mark stops and whispers GOATS!!! And there they were two Billies no more than 100metres ahead. We attempt to gather the dogs around us quietly however they are just as excited as us at once again heading off on a hunting trip and so are running around in circles not concentrating on anything. Finally we start to get their attention just as the goats decide that this is not a place they want to be. Off go the goats; off go the boys calling and cajoling the dogs to follow. I shout at John to drop his backpack so I can get the camera. He drops his pack and takes off after the goats I grab the camera look up and find goats, dogs and hunters have all headed back into the scrub. Finally I grab the camera and follow, I catch up with John who has one goat in his sights, with Al and Cara bringing it down after some encouragement Sooky La La joins in and helps. By now Mark is shouting that they have headed off in his direction so I start to run after Mark, realise I don’t have my knife (left the F***ing thing home, race back to John grab his knife from him and chase after Mark. We follow the tracks of the goats for five minutes when I stop and asked Mark if up ahead were goats or just a clearing in the scrub. As we moved around for a better angle we noticed that there were four Billies all standing side by side. Off we went calling the dogs to follow Cara came up first sounding like a steam train (definitely her last trip) followed by Al and Aries. Worf had taken off in another direction after a different mob (the one thing I hate about his hunting). Coming up to the goats we tried to sule the dogs on, however Cara was buggered Al was without John and Aries didn’t know whether to run up and kiss them or grab them and throw them to the ground. After chasing the goats for about fifty meters during which time Mark was cursing all the dogs and threatening that if the dogs didn’t grab the bloody goats he would do it himself. We continued to follow the goats giving the dogs every opportunity to go in and grab but every time the goats turned and faced the dogs they turned into trail warmers (just happy sitting on the trail and following Mark and I). Being totally frustrated Mark and I were wondering how we were going to catch up to the goats and grab one when Worf came screaming out of left field and started to worry the nearest Billy. This gave the other dogs an iota of an idea on what they were meant to do and so they started to go in and worry the goat. At this point the goat decided to take shelter under a low-lying branch thus restricting this group of dogs access to him (please give me back our original hunting dogs, there would have been a sea of carnage). With the goat now bailed up Mark and I headed in to grab him when he started to run past Mark. Mark grabbed him and body slammed him to the ground saying if the bloody dogs won’t drop him he’ll do it himself. Once he had the Billie on the ground Mark finished him off . We then encouraged the dogs to go in and grab which they did. After cleaning up the Billie so we could carry him back to camp we did a head count of all the dogs, all were present except for Hinza. Carrying the body back to camp we came across John whereby he told us that Hinza had hightailed it back to protect the camp. We cut up the meat and stored it in the front tack box of my dog trailer.  All in all quite pleased with our selves and being a hot day we headed of to the Murray River for a swim and an afternoon of relaxation confident in the knowledge that the pressure was off and we could relax. The following day we once again headed off confident that we should come across some goats based on the volume of tracks we had seen the day before. Unfortunately while there were plenty of tracks with only one dog casting and the others warming the trail resting on their laurels from the days previous hunt we did not come across anything. Hinza deciding he needed more time to get accustomed to the outdoor life style headed back to camp and his stretcher when we weren’t looking. Next time we will be a wake up to him. The rest of the day was spent at the river again before we headed home the following morning. After a six-hour drive we arrive at my place and were about to freeze the meat we had obtained. When we noticed an extremely unpleasant odour, opening the tack box we discovered the meat had gone off. A bolthole at the bottom of the tack box we had used to drain off the excess water from the melted ice had also enabled the flies to get in and spoil all the meat. Not having anywhere to dump the meat it was left to Mark to share the spoils with the scavengers up near his property.

Where does this rate in my hunting annals, way way down near the bottom, not only had I forgotten so much gear, after numerous trips where we hadn’t sighted a track we catch a swag of goats only to have the meat tainted by flies. So for me it is back to the planning board in terms of the next trip a checklist for equipment and a planned mating to ensure that the standard of my hunting dogs remains. 


As a footnote for those who do not know our dogs, all are both shown and used for hunting which has allowed us to develop our own observations and thoughts on the breed standard and its interpretation via the show ring.

 

 

SEPT_HUNT Michael with John
SEPT_HUNT Michael with John
The dogs with a kill
The dogs with a kill
Paul with a catch
Paul with a catch
Chewie on his first hunting trip
Chewie on his first hunting trip

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