I had almost forgotten what it felt like to wander through the timber, skip across ancient granite boulders, sneak through bracken and blackberry choked gullies. I hopped out of the Toyota at dawn and compared to home, it was intensely cold.
It has been well over a year since I was out for a hunt and the best I could do with a week off work was a one day trip; at least it was only a short drive from home, 170 short kilometres... Never mind, now that the new house is "kind-of-finished" I hope to be making the trek out west more often, burning powder by the tin-full and hopefully filling my game bag.
Today I was hoping for a brace of bunnies but it turned out they were pretty thin on the ground; not a single bunny to be found. I was sidling a lightly timbered hill where the rocky terrace rolled into a gully and a deep hole below me was hidden from most eyes by a thick stand of timber. This was a good spot; it has been for almost 25 years.
I parked myself against an old bloodwood and grabbed the tin whistle that was swinging inside my shirt. Closing the bolt on the old Marlin, I stripped a tiny Super-X .22 WMR round out of the 7-shot magazine and started to blow on the whistle. "C'mon foxy" I thought.
A flash of orange amongst the drab browns and greens caught my eye and I closed the bolt and pointed the rifle at the point I assumed the fox would pop up. Moments later, the old fox sat on the rocky ledge as expected, trying to pin-point where that easy feed was hiding. I had stopped whistling the second I saw the reynard coming in.
"PUCK!" the dull crack of the little magnum knocked reynard off his feet, sending him tumbling into the stony hole from which he'd climbed only moments earlier. If this fox were to live another year, he would have killed and eaten a couple of thousand small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians; I had saved them all.
I walked for the next hour and found fresh fox and rabbit sign without any further encounters. I bumped a few 'roos and a single wombat. Shortly before I headed for home I was surprised to find loads of feral pig sign in a favourite gully where I've shot hundreds of rabbits and foxes over the years. I'll have to make time for a stake out...
|The pigs have been rooting up large areas of improved pasture at the back of the property.|
|Plenty of fresh spoor in the gully and along the waterway indicates |
ongoing pig activity over and extended period of time.
|And the odd calling card, some old and some from earlier that morning...|