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...

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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...



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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.