Friday, 28 December 2012

Boxing Day rabbits

After a gluttonous Christmas feast, I thought that the best way to get through the laziest day of the year was a casual stroll through the blackberry and bracken choked gullies of a quiet central tablelands cattle property. 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Savanna, my South African blonde

Today's post bears very little relevance to the "...hunting adventures of an ordinary bloke..." but I thought it was important to write about it anyway as this little search has been entangled with my safari career since day dot. 

I met Savanna on a cold August night, around a fire in Mpumalanga Province where I was hunting springbok, blue wildebeest and blesbok, it was 2006. She was a short blonde and her figure fairly heavy set, but I don't mind that. We managed to catch up a few times on that safari.

Back home, I missed Savanna terribly but we did occasional manage a short rendezvous thanks to the South African butcher at St.Ives on Sydney's north shore who would bring her over occasionally. I've been back to Africa on a few safaris now and on every visit we make some time to catch up and get "reacquainted" - she is truly wonderful.

During long periods apart my eyes wander and I've found it difficult to be loyal, there are so many other lovely blondes about that I can't help but stray from time to time. Actually it happens every week. English, Irish, Aussie, Swedish and even a French one. All blonde. All beautiful. But none of them can compare to my Savanna.

Well, not until now... I was out with friends at the Shady Pines Saloon in Darlinghurst the other day and I spotted a not-so-exotic local, this blonde hails from a property not 70 kilometres from my home. I was at the bar ordering my whiskey and apple juice when I spotted her and for the rest of the night she was mine.

It's not the end for Savanna and I, however with the new blonde from Bilpin I'm certain I won't be missing her so much. So good to find a local. And we'll have to revisit Shady Pines another day, definitely worth a visit, whether it be for a cider or rye whiskey and apple juice.

- - - STOP PRESS! - - -

One of our regular readers, Cazadero from San Antonio Texas, caught this post and like me, the thought of Savanna took him back to beautiful Africa.

This past July, Cazadero was enjoying some time out with his wife in the sands of Zimbabwe's Sengwa River - obviously throwing back a few Savanna Drys...


Monday, 17 December 2012

Friday, 7 December 2012

DaggaBoy's new chapter - And now, taxidermy!

I walked back across the field with the little bird in hand, and decided to pay a visit to my second cousin who lived close by and was the village taxidermist - l-ibbalzmar tar-raħal. Ġenju had been a full-time taxidermist for 20 years so he really knew his way around a carcass! We hatched a plan to catch up the next day to skin and mount the bird. 

And so began the adventures of a 13-year-old taxidermist. 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

38°C - a day at the Royal with the girls

38°C.  The first day of summer has come to a steaming close as big fat drops of rain slap the car and the wipers take this typically Australian weather event in their stride. 38°C - that's over 100°F on the 1st of December! We live in suburban Sydney about 35 kilometres inland and by 9:00am it was clear that today would be a hot day. The boss was working so I decided to take the girls to the beach.  

I'm not a huge beach fan, so decided to head south to the Royal National Park and one of my favourite spots on the coast, Garie Beach, both for whiling away a summer's day and scouting for deer with a camera. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

How to for summertime hogs

Yesterday I realised that summer is upon us. We were walking along the waterfront at Cockle Bay and the searing heat was giving me a headache, my feet were burning up in my black shoes and I was sweating in my shirt and pants. It was hot and as I kept the girls from jumping off the wharf and into the harbour, my mind drifted off to my favourite corner of this wide brown land, our far western marginal country where summertime hog hunting is possibly the most enjoyable hunting I've experienced in my life.

I tend to hunt the mountain country in the cooler months and leave the flat western country for October to February - when it's hot. It's not that the hunting out west isn't productive in winter, it's just that the hunting is bloody brilliant in summer!

More often than not, my hog hunting at the height of summer is in north western New South Wales or south western Queensland. Over the years I've had a lot of success with feral pigs, particularly in the heat. The thing with hot weather hunting is that the pigs need to drink and wallow and with that comes plenty of opportunity for the energetic hunter to get amongst them!  You just need to identify areas of concentrated activity and then focus your hunting on these hot spots.

This outstanding boar was caught wallowing in a puddle on a dusty flat outside the sheep yards where the poly-pipe had sprung a leak; boars like this are seldom seen except for when conditions demand that they take risks to survive.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Cause and prevention of hunter hearing loss

I have been contacted by John O'Connor who is trying to get the message out to hunters and shooters about the importance of protecting your hearing.  I won't go into any details, following is John's guest contribution to DaggaBoy Blog... 
Hi my name is John O'Connor. I am a father and outdoorsman and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Over the past few years I have become more and more interested in hearing loss. My father and grandfathers, who are and were all hunters are affected by hearing loss. I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around the issue and it is our job to spread awareness where we can. Check out my new blog at

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Snout down in full charge: 2009

In 2009 I had plans for a trip to Zimbabwe to hunt Sable and Cape Buffalo. It was June and I off on safari in August; the brass cases from Bertam had just arrived - Lott cases head stamped Ackley. I had loaded 40 rounds with a mix of Hornady 500 grain Interlock and FMJ bullets (a collectable now that we have the DGS) that had been sitting in the cupboard for close on fifteen years. I planned to fire-form the cases using a stout but manageable load of 80gr of AR2208 and then reload them for the safari with Woodleigh's 500 grain softs and solids in front of 85gr of 2208.

I was up at the farm. A team of fencers from Killarney were doing some work on the place and they told me that they’d bumped into a boar each time they passed along a fence line in the lignum paddock. The fencer’s boar would run across the track in front of their vehicle only to be swallowed up by the scrub on the other side.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Snout down in full charge: 2006

It's difficult to describe unless you've stood there and faced a charge, but when a game animal bears down on you with any sort of intent, it's frightening and exhilarating all at the same time. For me, I feel the sickening tightness in my gut, a quickening of the pulse that borders on unhealthy, the hair on the back of my neck prickle and a rush of heat through my head!  It's not for everyone, but the rush of adrenalin that comes with a hunt bordering on dangerous is invigorating!

The thought of a potential charge has always been a driving force for my hunting adventures, and a big part of the allure of hunting hogs, scrubbers and buffalo is that it might happen. I'm no Mark Sullivan, but knowing that game animals might come - fast, head down and eager to roll you tends to inspire some of us hunters to get out there and do it again. I've had two excellent charges from boars in south west Queensland over the years, the first in the heat of January 2006...

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Some people really don't like hunting

I've realised over the past couple of weeks that I'm becoming a grumpy bastard. Too busy. Not enough sleep. And too many idiots who can't see past their nose making bold statements, full of emotion, and the collective intelligence of a north Queensland Cane Toad. I really need a few days in the middle of nowhere with a rifle slung over my shoulder; some quiet time. After this post I'll stop bitching and moaning and go hunting instead!

Hunting is a very personal thing and I totally appreciate that it is not an activity which everyone wants to participate in. I wouldn't encourage non-hunters to grab a rifle and go bush, however if they show an interest, I would help them with their hunting and let them come to their own conclusion. I have great respect for anyone who has made the decision not to be a consumer of animal products, whether it is meat, leather or anything derived from animals. While I don't agree with this ideal, I think it is a very noble commitment to have made and respect their decision.

As you may have noticed, I am very passionate about and enjoy every aspect of my hunting. I am not wasteful, I am not cruel and I am very respectful of the game I hunt. Everyone is most welcome to share their thoughts on this blog - I respect everyone's opinion. I only ask that you respect my decision to hunt and the traditions and culture that have led me to live this lifestyle.

Thought I'd share some of the input I've had from a couple of very passionate people who really don't like hunters much.  They don't like hunting at all. Click the "read more" button below to see what some people really think...

Friday, 19 October 2012

A deliberate life

I was hanging about the Outdoor Blogger Network the other day when I was very happy to stumble across this promotional video A deliberate life: promotion watched it twice and decided I had to watch the full program, but the team were filming in August and into September so perhaps a while away by the time they pull it all together... good stuff.  Happy hunting all.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

When hunting trips go wrong

My little ones are napping on a cool but sunny Sunday arvo. The missus is having a bit of a lie-down readying herself for a big week with the girls while I spend too much time at work, so I have have a few moments of silence before dinner/bath/story/teeth/bedtime hits us. With a cider in hand I've been "surfing" and found what I thought was a very good post by forum member 'Win88' over at Here it is:

"When hunting trips go wrong

I'm over reading about other peoples successful trips. Judging from every article I've ever read, we've got some of the worlds most competent hunters and shooters: no one ever screws up on a trip!  I want to have a laugh at other peoples trips that turn into unmitigated, but comical disasters due to poor planning, weather, mechanical malfunction etc."

Fear not Win88, while I'm sure the hunting community at large has a few sad stories to share and I've had a few unsuccessful hunts in my time, there is one particular trip with my good mate Steve in January of 2008 that just screams "dumb-arse". Even with the best intentions that two mates could muster for a short getaway, a mistake followed by another and yet another turned what should have been a productive hunt into a disaster. Enjoy my friend, it's really not that funny...

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Processing a giraffe bull

Thought I'd post a few images of the field processing of the giraffe bull. I shot him at 7:52am and we were working hard till close to 3:00pm to get him skinned and broken down.  He fell in a pretty handy position with awkward but relatively good access for the vehicles but the skinning was a bit awkward at times.

From here the meat was transported to a wild game abattoir in Musina that specialises in processing hunted big game.  The top cuts stay in camp and a few make there way to restaurants.  The rest of the meat is sorted into two grades which are boned, cleaned and diced and used to make sausages and mince that sells for a few rand a kilogram to locals.  Some properties keep the meat for the people living on the property and in the wild country (outside of South Africa) the locals take home a sackful of meat each from all the game shot on safari.

Enjoy this brief photo essay.


Monday, 1 October 2012

Hunters finding their identity

A while back we had the Kind of under construction post.  Ten months after it's inception, DaggaBoy Blog - hunting adventures of an ordinary bloke is still chugging along, and this old loco's small contribution to the fabric of sport hunting has come through a rather protracted process of establishing an identity. 

You may have noticed that we're back from our 2012 safari and there have been a few related posts. There's not much spare time at home these days, but in the wee hours of the morning, I'm often busy putting together the ramblings of a very ordinary bloke - hunting adventures and everything that goes with it - that I hope will inspire the next generation of hunters looking for direction and perhaps motivate those with a few notches in their belt to get out there and hunt. 

When I decided to start this, I thought surely there must be some responsibility on more experienced hunters to educate and guide the next generation of firearms enthusiasts? To nurture in them a respect for the game, a passion for hunting, an understanding of sustainable utilisation and an appreciation for the wonderful opportunities that ordinary blokes have to experience adventures that modern city life has taken away from us. Surely that's the point isn't it?

Thursday, 27 September 2012

A bull in the salt

Floris nodded in agreement as Kobus spoke, "…he's a great bull Dan, we won't find better." I looked back at the boss and she was clearly in agreement.

  "Let's go get him guys."  We moved back down the slope, out of the bush and onto a game trail.  The soft sand masked our approach and unlike our previous attempts, the wind held for this hunt. Without looking, I checked the power selector on the 1.5-5x was turned to it's lowest setting and I pushed one of the fat .450's into the chamber, bolt up.  We rounded a small spur and came out into the open with the bull ahead of us, slightly up the slope in a small wash-away.

  "The wind is good Dagga,'" whispered Floris, "we just walk straight at him slowly, he should watch us, you remember the heart is a lot higher?"

I closed the bolt and raised the old Brno for a frontal shot just as the bull turned his back on us and moved farther up the hill; he stopped and turned back, quartering towards us. A few steps to my right had me in the clear and I raised the rifle and quickly squeezed of a shot at the bull.


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Guns & Game Magazine, no.76

I've been a big fan of Guns & Game Magazine since their very first issue in 1994 with the crow on the cover... it might have been a raven? Don't recall. Anyway, there has been 19 years of quarterly mags and I've managed to pen a few stories for this great publication. Somewhere along the line I got a cover photo of a big old sow coming into a waterhole during the drought.

Issue 76 has an article I put together - "Rattle & Roar" - following a few days stalking with VPC Hunting during the 2012 rut

If you're not already reading it, you really should subscribe!  Hope you enjoy it.  Dagga.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hunting the hyena: Part I

Over the past few years we've had a few encounters with hyena while traveling through the southern African countries and after our very first visit, I decided to put together a plan and fit in some hyena hunting the very next time we made plans to visit the Dark Continent. We've encountered Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) in South Africa on a number of occasions, always in the Limpopo Province, both on private property and in a few areas within Kruger Park. In Botswana we came into contact with Spotted hyena along the Chobe River and in Moremi and Savuti Game Reserves. 

Brown Hyena (Parahyaena brunnea) on the other hand have proved to be much more elusive.  At Cape Cross on Namibia's Skeleton Coast we found spoor along the beach, weaving in and out of the Cape Fur Seal colony that litter the beach.  While the Black-Backed Jackal is content to traverse the beach front in broad day light looking for the sick and dead seals that make up the bulk of their diet in these parts, the ever cautious Brown Hyena maintains its mostly nocturnal and shy disposition and evaded our waiting Canon DSLR on our visit. 

Most hunters that visit Africa shoot hyena opportunistically; we put aside time specifically for the purpose of hunting them and our professional hunters are generally not impressed! On this trip, the hyena were our priority species and everyone involved knew that we had quite a task ahead of us...

Read more... 

Saturday, 8 September 2012

No elephant!

Having just enjoyed two weeks on safari in South Africa, I thought I might assemble a few posts detailing our adventures and how it all panned out. Best to start with the elephant as that was very much the impetus for the safari...

Our elephant hunting plans changed at the last minute, 48 hours before our flight out of Sydney when Nature Conservation decided it was suspicious that a foreigner would want to hunt elephant and not take the trophy home. They couldn't or wouldn't understand that Australians cannot import elephant and refused to issue the non-export permit I had applied for.

My PH came good and organised CITES permits on two separate game reserves on very short notice - southeast of Musina and north of Hoedspruit.  

 Read more... 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

We're back!

Hello hunters. Just back home from our South African safari on Monday night. Our plan was to primarily hunt three species on this safari - elephant, spotted hyena and brown hyena - and chase a few others time permitting. 
Africa has to be the most awesome hunting destination on the planet.  Thanks to Dalerwa Ventures for Wildlife , owners Siegfried and Elize Osmers and our PH Floris de Meyer for looking after us and putting in the yards to make it happen.

Lots of photos to come and some tall tales to go with them. Hope you enjoy reading about our latest adventure; very much looking forward to sharing with you another adventure from a very ordinary bloke!



Sunday, 19 August 2012

Out of Africa

We're here! Passing through customs at the airport was not a drama; have your documentation in good order and the system is a breeze.  Three cheers for Australian Customs!!

We happened to get a lovely lady named Pam at the Qantas check-in counter who gave us no grief whatsoever; first time at an Australian airport where we didn't have to get the supervisor involved becouse the counter staff thought we were criminals!

Pam quite liked us and had no issue with us hunting (though it really isn't her thing).  She even gave us passes to the express lane through Customs to make our trip that much more pleasant.  Thanks Pam - you're a champion!

We've just had our first night in South Africa at a tidy little place called the Avon Road Guest House, about 20 minutes drive from O.R.Tambo in Johannesburg. The English owners (celebrating 30 years in South Africa this month) made us a very nice curry last  and plied us with SavannaI love Savanna!

We'll hit the road shortly after a hot breakfast, heading for base camp in the lowveld south east of the township of Hoedspruit. I'm feeling very Safari today...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

No animals were harmed in the production of this post*

I've got a bad attitude when it comes to cleaning my hunting gear. Some time ago I noticed a few spots of rust in between the metal and stock of my .300 Weatherby Magnum; I forgot by the time I got home. Then two weeks ago I got caught out in a bit of a drizzle with the same rifle and while wiping it down I thought I'd better sort out this little drama...

So I armed myself with a scotch brite, a tooth brush and an oily rag, stripped the rifle and gave it a thorough polish and a good wipe down. At the same time the stock got a hot soapy wash (it's a synthetic) before putting it back together again. With the action held firmly in bedding compound and the barrel floating to the front action screw the rifle just needed a couple quick shots through it just to confirm point of impact. 

Yesterday I headed out to the farm with my oldest daughter, breakfast and the .300 Weatherby. We arrived just after dawn and spent the next hour turning a small fire into hot coals for breakfast; bacon and eggs, toast and coffee over the fire is about as good as it gets on a winter's morning.

And the .300? First shot was a flier, second shot was good, next three were touching. 

*Our fireside breakfast was at the expense of a pig 
somewhere, but that's life if you're a pig... bacon! 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

On Safari: good to go

Many months of preparation and we're in the last days, the run up to our flights on the 18th of August. While I'm having trouble sleeping tonight, one week from now there won't be a chance of any rest... we'll be on safari, stalking elephant...


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Elephants and sustainable utilisation

So while you may not agree with a hunter's reasoning as to why he might want to hunt jumbo, now you know! 

My desire to hunt and the resultant conservation benefits are not mutually exclusive; they are actually inextricably linked. The net conservation benefit has nothing to do with why I hunt, however these benefits are very positive by-products of my hunting, a convenient truth. There will be some greater good because of my quest to hunt the world's largest land animal. 

So what could lead to a need to kill elephant and how could such action possibly have a positive outcome?  Well there are a few things, and while we can list them out for discussion, in reality they are intertwined in such a way that each is a contributing factor to the other:
  • Increasing populations;
  • Boundaries in the modern world;
  • Carrying capacity.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

So why hunt elephant?

My quest to hunt the world's largest land animal has been met with a very mixed response.  The protectionists in my life hate it. My colleagues at work - well the girls aren't so impressed, but most of the lads are okay with it. Some of the hunters I know who long to hunt dangerous game are excited, but most hunters I know are giving me the "...I only hunt to save the koalas..." speech; are they serious?  My wife's not totally convinced, but she's coming 'cause she wants to hunt giraffe! My four-year-old daughter wants to come along but understands it's just mummy and daddy this time - "...but I can come with you to hunt elephant next time daddy..." she tells me.  She sure can. And my two-year-old doesn't get it - she reckons it's "...a little bit scary!"

So why hunt elephant? Why not?

Friday, 27 July 2012

The hunt for ndlovu

Around Christmas, I was sitting in my office late one night when my wife rang to see where I was and whether I was ever planning on coming home. I had to confess to her that I'd been day dreaming about going to Africa again which was met with a rather stony silence on the other end of the line - "...just you and me, maybe two weeks, we'll hunt elephant and leave all the drama at home for a while..." There was more silence, then she agreed...

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Milk bottles and feral pigs

I made it to Lithgow in good time last Thursday and was pleasantly surprised to find the property soaked in sunshine with just a slight breeze rather than the ominously grey skies and gusting winds typical of this grazing block. The Black Angus chewed happily and there was stilla blanket of frost in the shady spots. 

My idea of shooting milk bottles in trees in lieu of elephantine targets worked well. Six from six off hand, from 25 to 50 yards. I put another three rounds into a stump at 50 yards and they were within 3"of each other and close enough to "smack-on" that I was happy. I didn't want to do too much shooting; less is more I say!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Getting your eye in

It's cloudy in Sydney today but the sun is making the odd appearance and the mercury tells me it's 13°C. I'm heading to a nice parcel of land just outside Lithgow today where it's a pleasant 0°C. Yep, that says zero, at midday.

So why go? Glad you asked!

In exactly one month I'll be in my khakis with the ZKK602 over my shoulder, tracking elephant with my PH in the lead and our team of Shangaan and Venda trackers working the ground and watching the bush. There's not a whole lot of time left for preparation so I've taken a few days out of the office to get my eye in.

Today I'll be stringing up a few balloons  (or milk bottles if Lithgow lives up to its usual gusty conditions) and busting them with 500 grainers. I've not ever shot up at game before so I thought it might be a good idea to shoulder the rifle and have a go.

Tonight I might rig up the lamp and go on a fox foray. I've seen the odd fox on recent visits but haven't made the time to go for a hunt. Foxes with safari rifles perhaps? I did bring the .22 Magnum just in case.

In the morning I'll drive on to Coolah for some pig hunting as the cocky tells me that with recent rain and soft ground the hogs are out in force. There's always the chance for a bit of venison as well...

So that's my next few days in a nutshell. Looking forward to the solitude  and the mental space that comes with it.

Monday, 16 July 2012

An outdoorsman on the Dark Continent

So I was thinking, surely it's time to get a bit more of the Dark Continent on here? This wretched habit of mine has gotten much worse since I first set foot on that terrible place...

I sometimes like to think of myself as an outdoorsman, albeit chained to a desk, flying in and out of meetings, dealing with performance reviews and foreign exchange, and all the other extraneous interruptions in a modern man's life.

So if an outdoorsman is what I am, in the contemporary culture of our inner city lives, there are three things that just don't sit well with this outdoorsman - noise, hurry and crowds. And so it began...


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Chad Harrison's Trophy and Meat Preparation DVD

I've been an amateur taxidermist since 1992 and I've been skinning and butchering game with my father since I was a small boy; I set myself up with a bit of gear at home to butcher meat properly in the last six years (bandsaw, mincer, a few books and a load of enthusiasm!).

Having watched a few of these DVDs in the past, this is the first presentation where a trophy animal has had its cape removed without fading out and losing half the story. There's always the bit where they go "...and here's one I was working on earlier..." that has had a lot of the work done in the background, and the viewer is left wondering how long did that really take and what did we miss? In this DVD we see every step of the caping operation from when Chad drops the stag through to when the cape is cut off at the nose - and all in a very easy to digest 23 minutes. 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Crocodile hunting in Australia

Emotive, yes it may be, but if you take the emotional rhetoric out of it just for a minute and examine the facts, this is good news for the outdoors-man:

“HUNTERS wanting to put a Northern Territory crocodile head on their mantelpiece may soon be in with a chance, after the federal government agreed to rethink a ban on killing the animals.”

The whole topic of trophy hunting for Australia’s Saltwater Crocodile has been an on-again off-again item for many years now. Protected since 1971, croc numbers have increased from an all time low of around 3,000 animals at the end of the commercial harvest era to an estimated 150,000 animals today.

Photo acknowledgement

Saturday, 2 June 2012

A day out at the farm

It's been on the cards for some time now; I've had three rifles in the safe waiting to be sighted in. It's sad that none of them are mine, but the great thing is I get to take 'em out and run 'em in which is a whole lot of fun with new rifles.

Up at 3:00am, I loaded the Hilux and made the drive out to the farm on the New South Wales central tablelands, arriving just on dawn. I had a plastic cup-full of dodgy black coffee to get the joints moving before hitting the hills with my Canon DSLR and the tin whistle donated by Lulwut on our last outing when we went to the Bathurst Antique and Modern Arms Fair earlier in the year.

The first few stands were a waste of time though I did sneak up on a big wombat dozing above the massive burrow he had excavated by a patch of blackberry. I was here with my four year old daughter some weeks back spotlighting for rabbits and we caught a wombat in the light; we left the car there and I carried her through the dark, getting to within four feet of the old boy. She had a giggle while ol' wombat dug deep and raced up the slope ahead of us.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A visit to Bertram Bullet Co Pty Ltd.

So the other day I told you about the Mansion at Werribee Park, phase two of our road trip down south; but what of phase one?  What was that all about? Well phase one was really the mission of our road trip in the first place! Not so long ago you may have read in Return to Nitro Express that I had just received from my good friends at The Stockade my new express rifle, the poorer second cousin to the double rifle I’m hoping to get my hands on one day…

That rifle is my Ruger No.1-H Tropical Single-Shot rifle chambered for the safari classic – the .450/400 3” Nitro Express. Now I will tell you a bit more about my No.1 in a few days, but for now, we need to get back to the purpose of our journey - brass.  My girls and I were off to sunny Seymour to hang out with Bruce Bertram of Bertram Bullet Company, talk hunting, check out the factory, have a few beers and pick up a batch of brass to start load development for the 450/400.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Werribee Park Mansion

The second phase of our weekend road trip to Victoria was a stay at Mansion Hotel & Spa at Werribee Park.  Our stay was largely due to arrangements made by good mate and fellow big game hunter, Ado.   

I didn’t do much research so it wasn’t till we arrived that I realised two things: the first is that this is an awesome place to stay and my wife and I and our two daughters absolutely loved the the hotel, the grounds and the amazing food.  The missus thought the spa was pretty good too...  The second? The original mansion is a wonderful building steeped in history and while I haven’t had a huge amount of success researching the subject, the property was obviously the home of a keen big game hunter at some stage.

So I did some research…

Friday, 18 May 2012

On the road

Merħba to one and all on this sunny morning in Victoria's northern reaches.

It was a very early start this morning with the first alarm going off just after 3:00am. Thankfully we had the good sense to load up the wagon last night so we could make a speedy get away in the wee small hours.

Strapped the girls in while they were still asleep and headed over to the old man's place where I snuck in and locked his Remington 7600 in the safe as I had been out at the farm the day before sighting in the Trijicon RX-06. Nice bit of kit. More on that shoot later.

It's dropped below zero a couple of times and the country was covered with a blanket of white frost. Even the spider webs were frosty! The fog at times filled the valleys like a thick cloud and moments later would open up to undulating country coloured golden with long grass.

We shared a trucky's breakfast at a roadhouse at Yass and I downed a small a bucket of coffee to keep me steady behind the wheel.

All three of the girls have spent most of 550km we've travelled so far drifting in and out of sleep. And there's nothing wrong with that! So far so good.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Road trip

So we're goin' on a road trip. It's organised - DaggaBoy and his girls are gonna' hop into the wagon and hit the road for a 3-day-marathon cross-country trip, and it's all in support of the latest rifle to find its way into the safe...


Saturday, 28 April 2012

Kind of under construction

With membership soaring to an all time high of "8" (I didn't miss any zeroes there - it really is just eight) and visits to the DaggaBoy Blog averaging 100 hits a week, it's clear that there is just a wee bit of interest out there in the ramblings of an ordinary bloke who just loves to hunt...

If only my grandparents where alive, surely they'd visit regularly? There total lack of English would mean more graphic content. And I still don't get why my family aren't here more often? Not at all actually; I guess when your siblings are all about turbochargers and pot pourri it's just not likely that they're gonna' share your passion for the hunt. Both my diesel 4WD's have a 3.0 litre turbo and I've got two lovely little girls, so it seems I've done my bit to fit in with the gang; how about some reciprocation?

But I digress...

Friday, 6 April 2012

Hunting the 2012 rut

Just back from a marathon hunt in the ranges bordering the Liverpool Plains of central New South Wales, an easy five hour drive from my home in Sydney. Having gained access to 10,000 acres of cattle country, I was very much looking forward to what promised to be some exciting hunting with a number of species roaming this block; wild and free and low-fenced. I was primarily hunting fallow deer but was really open to anything. In terms of game, the place turned out to be a hunter's wonderland!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Almost time for my 2012 rut hunt

It's been a hellish month submitting tenders, wrapping up projects and getting through an ISO:9001 audit. I've been running on adrenalin on next to no sleep and watching my team and my family come down with all sorts of ailments and sickness and somehow I've managed to come through unscathed.

So as the peak pressure point passed this Tuesday, my body somehow new that the game was up and that it was time to just let go. And so it did. Headaches, coughs, blocked sinuses - its on for young and old and the last thing I feel like doing right now is climbing a great big hill; I'm struggling with the stairs to my office! But press on I say!

The cocky arrowed a thumping big boar early this week and is seeing lone boars getting about all over the place. I'm on the look out for a big mountain hog, it's been a few years since I came across mountain boars up at Stanthorpe.


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The duck hunting debate

Some good news from today's papers.  I'm under no illusion that this is a win, but it's certainly great to see this kind of reporting in the media. I guess as the duck season progresses we'll see how much balance the media gives this discussion.  Till then, enjoy the good news!

"Duck hunters can look back on a legacy that will never be 
matched by protesters who have left no such benefit and who 
continue to confuse animal rights with conservation."

Bill Patterson         
Field and Game Australia         

And from the ABC...

An environmental activist has appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court accused of failing to kill an injured duck. Anthony Murphy, 56, tried to save an injured duck after it was shot during last year's duck shooting season at wetlands near Kerang in Victoria's north.

Read that again: "...tried to save an injured duck after it was shot during last year's duck shooting season..."  So, shot during duck shooting season.  Righteo then.

He was planning to take the duck to a vet but it died shortly after being pulled from the water. The Department of Primary Industries has taken action against Murphy under Wildlife State Game Reserve regulations. Outside court, Murphy said the offence had not been enforced for 27 years. He said he believed it was a way of clamping down on protesters. "From the 27 years of the campaign, this is the first time a charge of this nature had been put on us," he said.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A Remington 7600 for the old man

In 1996 we lost our Brownings. 

Dad is a Browning Automatic man from way back, and after 30 years behind a BAR and a Belgium A5, my old man just doesn't have the muscle memory to work a scoped bolt gun rapidly and accurately:
  • Double feeds when we get onto pigs in close quarters aren't uncommon;
  • Closed bolts on empty chambers - click - "f#%&@n bastard" he'd mutter in his new-Australian accent as he fumbled empty cases and loaded shells. Meanwhile - boom - I'd bowl over another hog;
  • Inconsistent cheek weld resulting in a poor field of view, and eyesight that just wasn't making scope use a reliable affair for the old man, and finding pigs on the trot was just too hard.

So what's the next best thing for a fella' in Oz, where the rights of individuals are highly controlled by a load of oppressive do-gooder legislation? Tony and Tere at The Stockade made short work of procuring a timber stocked rifle for me and Jocelyn from the Hunting Haven eBay store had the reflex sight I was looking for on the shelf...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The fox & rabbit make the news

That famous photo - the "fox & rabbit" popped up in the Warracknabeal Herald, a local paper in regional Victoria.  Great to see the Invasive Animal Cooperative Research Centre get some exposure; and a moment captured by a hunter in the bush has some context for the community at large.  I'll have to keep that camera at the ready!

Which cartridge for The Hornet Project?

So I've been doing a bit of research into what might be a suitable cartridge for The Hornet Project. Other than the need for a rimmed cartridge, there are not too many prerequisites.  Of course, nothing "big" as I really don't want to get too close my .220 Swift.