Back to the Bush - 2021

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  • Back to the Bush - 2021

    After a forced hiatus since December last year, where due to work obligations, staff shortages and weather issues I have been unable to get out bush I am pleased to say the preparations are underway for the first BTTB trip for 2021!

    My continued employment is dependant on a series of performance checks that run through the year. To get some idea of what is required, here's a bit of dash-cam from the wet season...

    https://fb.watch/6hGcZ1uwHZ/

    Ideally these five checks are spaced apart so as to not overburden the candidates but unfortunately my scheduled checks for 2021 had me fronting in April, May and June; then nothing till November and December. Suffice to say I've been under the pump a bit and everything else has taken a back seat.

    The weather at the start of the year was sufficiently wet that hunting was written off; in fact the standing water is still in the dams and channels even now so game is a bit thin on the ground.

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    The Minister for War / Leader of the Opposition and I ventured out to the usual property at Easter for a social day visit and catch-up. Was good to see our friends and have a look at the place. We cooked up a bunch of baked treats and some Easter chockies and had a very pleasant and relaxed get-together.

    When we left, I decided to cruise out via a couple of en-route waterpoints. They were proper full and overflowing, with thick tall grass everywhere. Great for growing steaks, but not for finding crafty vermin. One of the large dams was at about 85% capacity with a nearby campsite that I had stayed at completely under water.

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    Even the traditionally empty dam at the boundary where we usually gun-up and check zero was full as a goog.

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    I walked up the bore tank where on our last trip of 2020 we nailed the first pigs for young BW and the tank, scoop-outs and tank yard were all overflowing with water and waist high grass. I had the reliable Porkinator on board - just in case - but obviously not going to see anything here. Walked back down, got in the BNT and was remarking to the Bride on the pointlessness of looking at any more water sources, when a big solo boar strolled casually out of the long grass and trotted down the fenceline. I slipped the 308 back out of the bag, rested it on the drivers door and opened the account for the year.

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    Cheeky sod.

    On the downside, there had not been any grading or lick deliveries happening yet so the grass and scrub had impinged on the tracks and - not having prepped the BNT for the conditions - I ended up with the radiator, tranny cooler, aircon condenser and intercooler all packed solid with bloody grass seed. Bugger.

    Back home and back to the household duties with getting some maintenance done and supporting the last two anklebiters into their last year of school, while getting ready for the dreaded checks.

    With the first 3 checks now done and a couple of weeks of holidays approved, the missus on leave and the kids on work experience, I am OUTTA HERE!

    We will be heading out to the property on the weekend for 4 nights, looking forward to the fresh cold air, the glorious stars, the usual camp cooking and NO BLOODY PHONE SERVICE

    I'll keep some notes and pop a write-up on here when we get back, hopefully including lots of defunct ferals but even if not it is going to be so good to finally get away .

    Cheers for now!
    Last edited by MSR; 23-06-2021, 01:12 AM.
    "Have more than you show
    Talk less than you know"

  • #2
    25-06-21

    I had taken some leave and had a good ten days available to get all the necessaries ready for the long-awaited camp n kill, as well as get some household maintenance and repairs done; so no huge rush. There were 8 punters coming along initially on Friday AM, with 5 heading home on Sunday arvo and another coming out Sunday arvo, so it was logistically a full-on exercise. A couple of the participants had never been on a station or chased ferals before so I was keen to make it a positive experience.

    Got the canopy loaded onto the BNT and pulled all the gear out to check it and make sure it would all be serviceable.

    After the last camping trip in September last year, I’d had a couple of issues with the Joolca shower not delivering a decent flow of hot water when running on the supplied 12v pump. I gave it a thorough clean and check after that trip and found the burner was cutting out after only a minute or so, even when running on the mains water. I got in touch with Joolca who supplied some advice but no joy was had. I was then instructed to video the setup and problem so they could diagnose a solution. To facilitate this I set it up in the carport and it ran perfectly (of course). I was keen for them to replace it as a warranty job but they were less enthusiastic, not believing there was anything wrong with it except operator error. I wanted to be sure it would be ok for this trip so I got it out again and checked it; worked as advertised… I usually just hang it off the back of the canopy for me and the kids but this time I decided to take the ensuite tent and make a wood pallet base for the shower so the visitors wouldn’t be too traumatised.

    There would be multiple vehicles required for the amount of gear and the number of people but fortunately I had just acquired a ute for #1 son. At 2.1M and still growing, he ain’t gunna fit in a Mazda 2 so I sourced a 2012 Hilux from a workmate who was upgrading. Its got all the necessary gear and should compliment the BNT nicely. Being another white Hilux it’s going to be designated LWT2.

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    I developed a menu and shopping list in consultation with Daves missus who is an enthusiastic camp cook and stocked up on the dry goods and perishables. The fridge was duly packed, LPG cylinders swapped and all the other myriad jobbies listed and scheduled. I was slated to finish night shift Thursday morning, finish packing and be ready to depart Friday AM. Then on Tuesday the cloud started drifting in from the west. Hmmmm. Tuesday arvo was isolated showers, Tuesday night was increasing rain periods and Wednesday it pissed down. All day. And night. By Thursday AM I’d decided to pull the pin; guddling around in the mud is not my idea of a relaxing camping trip and there would be no ferals about.

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    This was very disappointing all round but such is life. I downed tools, called the station to let them know and stopped getting the gear ready in favour of doing some relaxing and cooking. I had recently scored a French casserole pan and made a very nice Poulet Au Vinaigre to commiserate, with individual baked cheesecakes to finish. Yum.

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    Then on Friday night the boss rang to check if we were still coming. Seems the bulk of the rain had missed the property and the tracks and campsite were good to go. I had settled into slothing at home and was content to postpone but I thought I’d best check with the rest of the team. Nope, they want to go. Crikey! I’d dropped the ball completely as far as preparation goes and had a stack of stuff to do – groceries, fuel, water to buy, ammo to load, UHF and aerial to fit to the LWT2. Oh dear.

    Ended up just bulk loading pretty much all the camping gear into the BNT and LWT2, there was lots of doubling up on stuff but just didn’t have the time to do it properly. I multitasked between packing and loading gear, with cleaning, sizing and reloading 100 x 168gn 308 Zombies to take along.

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    I eventually fell into bed about 130AM.

    Saturday dawned fine and clear with the cloud being pushed east by a ridge of high pressure. No more rain was forecast.

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    We managed to get everyone loaded and the convoy moving by lunchtime and hit the road via the traditional pre-camp bakery pie stop.

    I had the full selection - 308 Howa SS Porkinator, 308 Howa Nitestalker, 223 Howa Woody, 22 Henry LA and the 'Ol Painless Akkar 12ga shottie. Dave had his shiny new Lithgow 102 308 with a Leupold VXi Firedot on debut, stoked with OSA Outback 168s and Luke had the 22 bolt action for plinking as well as his 308 Ruger and matching 223 Ruger.

    There was a bit of water and mud about but nothing too dramatic. We got on-site and set up before sunset, including the taj-mah-shower that took a sterling effort by Dave and Luke to construct the base and assemble the tent. Sadly the bloody thing wouldn’t work as there was an occasional breeze that kept shutting it off. It was relocated to the showerblock and worked ok, but “not happy Jan”. Luke also made some pan hangers to go under the camp stove and keep the cooking area clear; thanks bloke! Didn’t find out til later he had a buggered hand from a nasty fall a few days ago, but typical, he didn’t mention it… I’ll owe him some beers next trip.

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    The ladies started on dinner and the kids had an afternoon nap, the boys and I grabbed the chainsaw and set off in the BNT in search of some suitable deadwood for the fire. It was going to be chilly so a decent fire was a must.

    We started off with a quick visit to the nearest bore tank and then the carcass dump before heading to a dam and while scouting for a fallen tree that had not yet been set upon by termites ol’ ‘eagle eyes’ Luke spotted a small group of pigs trotting away from the dam on the far side of the creekline. We immediately tried to set up an intercept but time and terrain were against us – they got away without a shot. We did however find an ideal tree that quickly became a pile of hard dry timber in the back of the BNT. Do love my Stihl chainsaw.

    We headed back to camp with another drive-by of the carcass dump and Luke came through again, spotting a big lone boar trotting away into the bush. I was pretty sure where he’d be heading so we wheeled the BNT around the track and a couple of km to a downwind spot in the bush where we bailed out and headed for a cut-off point. Luke and I had figured this for Daves first crack at a pig but unfortunately as it hove into view about 100m away and closing, he was still faffing about in the back of the BNT. Time and feral vermin wait for no man; Luke was unarmed so I swung the Porkinator into action, taking a lean on a handy tree and drilling a Zombie into porkies shoulder from around 75M. He was down and done.

    He was a very solid and mature boar, probs around 80-90kg, proper stinky too. His ears were shredded, possibly had a few run-ins with dogs? Or maybe other snorters. Interestingly the high shoulder hit and instant drop / death had produced a large incised exit would on the top of his back. The Zombies do tend to explode when they hit solids.

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    Back to camp and stoke up the fire (and cop the salty treatment from #2 daughter who was pissed that we’d gone shooting without her). We had a celebratory beer as the sun set and then dinner - a beef and barley camp stew with chorizo, very nice.

    Time for wine and some star gazing with many tall tales being told around the fire while the air temp dropped to 5c. Good times. 280km, 1 round 308, I pig.

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    I had promised to make brekky Sunday morning so I rolled out of the very comfy warm cot for an early start and fired up the patented Brekky Pita Pockets – warm pita bread with French onion dip, bacon, egg, fresh sliced tomato and onion, and sauce – tomato or chili (or both!) Wash down with camp coffee as the sun rises… mint.

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    Once brekky was done and the camp kitchen cleaned up, we all hopped in the 2 utes to head over to the house and say g’day to the boss. We found them in the middle of unloading from a truncated trip into the NT, washed out by rain. We made the introductions and had a good ol natter for a while, then left them to it while we went for a low-key drive around a couple of the nearby waterpoints, just to show the visitors how it all works and the scale of the place. When you’re from Canberra it’s hard to get your head around a 10,000sq km property in the outback.

    The first bore and tank was the same one I’d busted the Easter Pig on, but no ferals there today. We headed toward the next dam and had almost reached it when Eagle Eyes spotted a mob of pigs grazing out in the open paddock. I would never have seen them driving solo; there’s a lot to be said for having multiple spotters and shooters, particularly with good eyesight!

    The mob split with two large pigs heading east and the rest of the sows and slips heading west. There were about 7 adults and maybe 10 or so slips.

    We initially tried for the two runners but the tussock paddock defeated us, it is undriveable. However, the attempt had got us out into the paddock far enough that the rest of the mob were going to pass quite close by us and present a good shooting solution. We briefed the plan, with Dave taking a bonnet lean and lining up the leader while I took a trayback position and focussed on the trailers. Luke took the rear door. Dave got first crack then we opened up, dropping one of the three adults as the others bolted and became problematic targets in the tussocks. Luke and I piled into the ute to chase the remainder, leaving Dave to clean up a winged Ranga. The girls had been observing from a distance in the LWT2 and Katie was suitably unimpressed when the swarm of squealers filed past 10 feet in front of the LWT2 while her loaded and ready 22 Henry was safely in its bag in the BNT.

    We shot the BNT around the back of the tussock paddock and over to the dam where we caught one of the adults bolting flat out through the termite mounds. A nice front of shoulder hit put that one down in a forward somersault and we headed back out to see if we could intercept the two big ones that had tracked east.



    The girls collected Dave in the LWT2 and followed us as we hammered back toward the bore and through a massive flock of galahs.



    (No, none of them were hurt)

    We pulled up on the fenceline where I had hoped to spot the first two porkers trotting toward the scrubline, but we couldn’t see them. I assume they had made it all the way across to safety while we were gunning down the rest of the mob. While we contemplated our next move the CB radio came alive with a burst of high-pitched Klingon; or maybe it was Swahili. Whichever it was, it was unintelligible. The LWT2 had pulled up behind us and they were allegedly trying to tell us (in what they later described a s a calm clear voice) that there was a pig right beside them in the acacia.



    I walked over with Katie while Dave and Luke backstopped from the BNT and bugger me but they were right – not just one but three big black pigs had sat still in the bush not 5m off the track while we drove past and parked in front of them. They trotted out of the scrub and I showed the last one the error of his ways, while Dave and Luke educated the other two. 3/3.

    We gave up on the two runners and headed back to get the proof pix from the other side of the paddock. As we were approaching the turnoff, Eagle Eye spotted yet another big black pig running hard from the open paddock toward the west. While the paddock was undriveable, I knew that the area further west was smooth so we made a wide sweep out and around, arriving in a good intercept spot a few minutes later. Sure enough, here it comes and Dave took a good clean hit on it.

    The dozen or so squealers had vanished into the creekline behind the dam, so we managed 6 adults out of that lot. When we got back to the Ranga we found it had not been fatally hit so Katie grabbed the 22 and resolved that problem.

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    The visitors and the boys had to head back to town for work and flights, so it was time to head for camp, lunch and pack up. There was certainly no shortage of tucker as we had catered for extra people and another day and night. The Bride made some ham, cheese, tomato and onion rolls with apples, bananas and oranges, then there was some low-key target practice for the noobs before the departing crew loaded up and headed off leaving just me, The Bride and #1 Son for the rest of the trip.

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    After a cup of tea, it was nap time then I headed down to score some more firewood. With the fire safely stoked it was my turn to cook so we had sausages and fresh veggies before relaxing in front of the fire for the evening. I contemplated getting the thermal night vision gear out and going for a wander down to the carcass dump but in the end I just decided to have a shower and relax instead. There may have been TimTams involved too. Double Coat no less! Mmmmm. 80km, 7 pigs, 12 x 308 and a few 22s.

    Early start for me on Monday, with brekky being porridge cooked in milk with cream and brown sugar, on top of a big mug of scalding hot coffee. Heaven. The sunrise was spectacular as I hopped in the BNT for a day of exploring and hopefully a bit of shooting.

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    I drove down to the carcass dump very slowly, pulling into the approach track as quietly as possible. The vermin are very twitchy around the dump since last year when I belted everything that went in there day and night; the boss and the workers have made a habit of checking the dump every time they go past and drilling any ferals they see as well. As soon as I got visual with the pit I saw a big black snorter scavenging amongst the nasties 100m away. I lined him up off the drivers door and sent him the bad news, with a solid ‘whump’ announcing the hit. He took off but was looking pretty dodgy, along with a second black and white critter that was down in the pit. Rather than try the Hail Mary shot on the runners I jumped back in the BNT and flanked them as they bolted for the creekline, bailing out to line up on black n white for another good hit that bowled him into the creek bed. The black one had slowed right down and came to a stop in a thick patch of pricklebush 50m away; he got the finisher via a nice neck hit and was done. Went for the proof pix but could not find the black n white in the creek bed. He was a positive hard hit with a good blood spray but had ghosted. They are relatively narrow through the chest so when they go down they have a very low profile and can be very hard to find if there is any grass or scrub. Bugger.

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    The boss had told me of some dogs hanging about one of the central western dams so I headed that way. Coming through an area of termite mounds with nil wind and a very clear light from the rising sun, I decided to check zero on the Porkinator, just to be sure. #2 daughter had left a set of P plates in the BNT which once pinned to an ant hill provided an excellent improvised target. Three shots offhand from 100m and its good enough for the moment – will need to go spend a day at the range rechecking all the bangsticks before the next trip.

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    Onwards to the dam and nada; so just kept rolling along through a western area sequence of bores and dams. Plenty of water about, plenty of cattle, but without ol Eagle Eyes and the multiple spotters I suspect I drove past quite a few ferals without seeing them. At least until the dam where on a previous trip I had got the BNT airborne; as I drove up to it a big group of pigs started running along the creekline and heading west. I counted 5 adults and a swarm of slips.
    I bolted the BNT around to where the creek crossed the track and waited for them.

    They were a bit further away than planned but I still managed to bag 3/5 as they crossed the track, then I took the BNT bush to reacquire further down and pinged the other two adults. The slips I couldn’t see well enough to shoot at that distance so they escaped for another day.





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    Continued on, tracking up to the northwest. Found a bad leak in a bore tank so called the boss to get a worker out and sort it. I ran a ‘standard profile’ around a series of tracks, water points and dams for the rest of the morning but apart from some bloody big dog tracks I saw nothing plugable.

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    Headed back to camp for a cuppa and a nanna nap.

    Another drive around in the late afternoon produced no critters but some good dry hardwood for the fire. The Bride was making dinner so I had a shower and kicked back for a relax. As the sun set we hoed into spicy chicken curry which was very tasty if a little unexpected, the Bride not being a big fan of spicy. Bloody yum though! This was followed up with some freshly made camp kitchen apple crumble and cream, noice!

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    Had some tummy rumbles that night as I chilled in front of the fire and watched the stars, but didn’t think anything of it. 270km, 6 pigs, 12 x 308s.

    A relaxed kick off on Tuesday where I started packing some kit up, then headed out for a quick last drive around the central area. Coming up to the first dam, last nights tummy rumbles expanded their repertoire and it became apparent that there was going to be some post-chicken-curry issues very shortly. Without going into gruesome details, seemed the Bride had baited me with some unboiled tank water and the rest of the morning was very much stop-start for frequent bush breaks. It shortly thereafter became apparent that ‘someone’ had redistributed the resident BNT standby dunny roll from behind the back seat, which was a whole ‘nother problem. Bugger. Did get to spend some quality time with a local goanna though, he seemed pretty laid back. Which was just as well, considering that running was not really an option at the time.

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    I rolled through one of the dams in the central area and in heading direct to the next dam it was evident that there had been no vehicles along the track across the channels since the rains in December. These channel crossings are generally pretty good although the banks are very steep and there is very deep soft sand at the bottom, but the BNT always manages them without fuss. Even Bruce’s Disco got through them ok last year.

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    I came to the first one and yeah, nah. I don’t think so Tim. The walls were deeply cut in with maybe 10 feet of vertical entry and exit and there was water FLOWING and climbing the bank as I watched. Evidently the rains upstream from Wednesday and Thursday had just arrived and the channels were filling rapidly.

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    No point persisting and if I hang about I’ll end up stuck here, so headed back to camp to finish packing and track back into town. The packup was straightforward albeit a bit uncomfortable, but eventually got it all stowed in the BNT and LWT2. #1 son took the ear buds out for long enough to dump a jerry of diesel into the BNT and we started for home.

    A slow trip home, as once we got out on the main road there was an endless stream of grey nomads and caravans to negotiate. #1 son was getting some L plate hours so yeah, it was a bit slow. We did eventually make it back and the LWT2 went to McCrap for end-of-trip takeaways; I couldn’t face that so I just locked up the bangsticks, had a long shower and parked up for the evening. I’ll unload the fridge and tuckerbox tomorrow. 380km.

    I believe the visitors enjoyed the shortened trip but the shootin’ crew won’t be going back to the usual property for probably a month or so, too much water about. We’ve sent Eagle Scout to check in with some mates in the Gulf, see if we can jag a trip up there next week…. Stay tuned 😊

    I’ll also be having some robust conversations with Mr Joolca about his shower. It appears to be very susceptible to wind with even a slight breeze causing the burners to cut out. While this had not been a problem so far it is less than ideal for a camping shower. Complicating this was a quite low flow rate when on the pump which required very careful setting up and management of the flow controller and burner setting. Not the end of the world but not great for multiple and inexperienced users.

    Total was 4 days / 3 nights, 13 pigs, 25 or so 308s including some target work, a handful of 22s, a thousand-odd km and 140lt diesel in the BNT; plus the other vehicles.

    14 porks for the year so far.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by MSR; 06-07-2021, 12:40 AM.
    "Have more than you show
    Talk less than you know"

    Comment


    • #3
      Bloody great stuff 'MSR'... Thanks for sharing your recounts, pics and vids with us.

      Cheers,

      HERNE.
      "If we meet offline and you look nothing like your Pics...You are buying me drinks until you do!"

      Comment


      • #4
        Great write up as usual mate, sounded like a great trip.

        Comment


        • #5
          Awesome mate, a great trip and write up too.
          The Galah video is great.
          Go hard or Go home.

          Comment


          • #6
            Another great report mate, thanks for sharing.


            cheers
            SSAA Q18

            Comment


            • #7
              Great stuff and dodging the weather.

              Looked like one Galah went for the death dive LOL

              Comment


              • #8
                Back to the Bush: 09-07-21. Apologies, its a pretty long-winded saga this one!

                Our group trip last week to the usual property had been a winner and next on the to-do list for the remainder of my Annual Leave was a run up to a new place in the Gulf Savannah. Before that though the guns needed some range lovin’. I haven’t properly checked zero on the Porkinator for a long while, just done quick n dirty ‘angle of pork’ target confirmations at the start of the various trips. The other two Kool Kids in the shootin’ crew were also overdue for some formal target work and disciplined trigger time and Dave needed to work through his ‘off the shelf’ ammo selection for the best fit in his new 308 Lithgow 102.

                The weekend after the first Back to the Bush run found Dave, me and Luke ‘The GOAT’ heading for the local range. After setting up the targets and the obligatory briefing we got to work. I was shooting off a bench and sandbags with a single target frame holding two stacked 50m standard bullseyes and firing 3-round groups. I started by checking for gross error at 50m (all good) and then patched and out again at 100m (a little low and left); patched before pushing it out to 200m for my preferred 308 x 168gn zero.

                I had to concentrate a bit more and remember the posture and breathing which sometimes gets left behind in the rush of the hunt. After getting a decent group size and adjusting to bullseye at 200m, I managed a nice ~1” x 3 round group around the X. The others were still shooting so I played with some 250m and 300m steel plates until the next change when I moved the target back to 100m. Another group and it was on the money – 1.5-2” high and ~1” x 3 rounds. That’ll do. Anything I shoot at up to 250M will be within 2” vertical of the POA; just up to me to get the sweep and lead right.

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                Luke and Dave had got to a point of happiness with their bangsticks with good groups and zeros at 100M and Dave had settled on OSA Outback 165s to feed the 308 so we were GTG. I wanted to do some work with the Nitestalker 308 and Woody the 223 but that will have to wait till next time.

                The GOAT headed direct from the range to the Gulf to stop at Burketown and see his mates with a view to organising next weekend’s festivities while Dave was on shift for the week and I had plenty of jobs still to do at home.

                One of those jobs was some interaction with Mr Joolca re the Hottap portable water heater. Joolca was very helpful and positive but nothing they suggested made any improvement; it still had very poor flow on the supplied 6lpm pump and no wind tolerance at all. I did some figurin’ and tried a two-pronged solution – first I ordered up from the Coast a 12.5lpm 12v pump which ol mate BEW got out to me; I wired it up and fitted it with bigger hoses. Second (after some extensive interweb searching) I ordered up a SmartTek water heater. Same basic principle as the Joolca but much better reviews for wind resistance. Ms SmartTek even offered a discount ex-demo unit with express delivery and full warranty. Done.

                The SmartTek duly arrived and after some side-by-side testing where the Joolca improved with the bigger pump and hoses but remained finnicky and prone to going out, the SmartTek worked as advertised from the first attempt. I ran with the SmartTek for the trip.

                We were super keen for the new property: a solid 6-hour drive each way and it would be hard camping but should be well worth it in seeing new country and zapping feral vermin. But bad news – the Rostering Gods would not play and The GOAT would not be available for more than the weekend. 12 hours of driving and setting up camp in a new location with no local knowledge for one nights stay didn’t make sense and we didn’t want to be a pain to the managers so we decided to put it off for another time. A couple of calls to the usual haunt and we were welcome to go back for another 4-night camp.

                My Love n Kisses had headed for the coast a few days ago to see the eldest child who has been in quarantine for two weeks and the other two kids were staying home and working while I went bush. They were provided with ample food, cash and instructions; what could possibly go wrong?

                Myself, Dave and Dee (Mrs Dave) headed off in the BNT and his Ranga Friday lunchtime after his night shift. Much food, fuel, ammo and the odd bottle of plonk came along too. The GOAT would follow up in the LWT2 on Saturday.

                The trip was straightforward and camp was established with a few modifications from last time. The two canopies were placed at 90 degrees with the kitchen setups adjacent which should make cooking etc a little easier and add some additional shade.

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                During my restocking and pre-camp shopping, I bought meat and smallgoods from the local butcher who gets thick-cut Aussie ham and bacon from Brisbane. I had inadvertently brought 4 x 250gm packs of bacon out instead of two each of ham and bacon, so bacon was going to figure extensively on the camp menu. The decision was made to name the campsite “Camp Bacon”.

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                The Taj-mah-shower from last trip was set up again, this time with the SmartTek and it was a winner.

                I had first dinner duties so after a quick run down to the flood plains with a chainsaw for some wood and keeping an eye out for incidental ferals (none) we fired up the hot plate on Dees Primus two-burner stove. I suspect there may be one of those (or maybe a similar Coleman) in my immediate future; very impressive performance and nice quality. My 30+ year old Kmart Jackaroo 3-burner is showing its age in comparison, but still works ok so…. We’ll see.

                After appetisers of chippies, nuts, crackers, pate and some Tasmanian Brie, the menu was some very nice thick-cut local scotch fillet steaks with fresh boiled corn-on-the-cob and a tomato and onion salad. Yum. And to help it on the way, some Guinness Stout.

                The follow-up after a suitable interval was fresh home-made apple pie with chilled dolloping cream. Add coffee and a campfire – oh yeah. Finish with Chateau de Cardboard (De Bartollis) Tawny Port and the Bush TV (campfire and stars). This is livin’….

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                An early night for DnD after the night shift while I enjoyed a hot shower, warm camp clothes and a hot chocolate. There was an unclaimed packet of Mint Slice bickies hiding in the returns from last trip so I had to test one or two of those for quality assurance purposes while writing my notes and catching up on my latest Kindle book.

                280km, no shooting.

                10-07-21
                A lazy morning after a cool night; no point rushing as the critters don’t get up early in the cold. Bacon n egg pita pockets again with coffee and let’s pile into the BNT and go for a drive. We started at the carcass dump (zip) and then headed west and northwest to some areas that DnD had not seen and often produce critters. Some of the tracks are bloody rough at the moment as they have not been graded since the wet, so not an entirely comfortable trip. Even so, we were excited to get back out to the bush and go ‘exploring with guns’. Some of us were anyway - Dee still managed to fall asleep in the back.

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                There was nothing to see that hadn’t already been shot so we headed back to camp to meet GOAT who had arrived after his night shift. Some snackie lunch stuff (didn’t feel like much after the big brekkie) and away we went in the Kool Kids Kar again, this time armed with our eagle-eyed scout. Maybe we should get some Kool Kids Kar hats made and some stickers for the back of the BNT: KKK….. I’ll get Dave to chase that up.

                Out to the east this time and the first dam was a wash, on to the first bore and we’ve got a winner – there is a group of porks on the top of the bore tank, come in for their lunch-time drink. They haven’t seen us at 200M and downwind so we idled in for a standing shot at the biggest visible candidate, planning to then run the BNT around the back of the bore and get between them and the creekline.

                Unfortunately, in the planning the decision about exactly who was going to take said standing shot was misinterpreted (was to be GOAT) and by the time that was clarified we were within 50m and the snorters had finally spotted the BNT and hit the toe. We lit the fire and ran the BNT around the back, Dee grabbed the gate and we got an intercept happening. GOAT got the starting shot on a good-sized boar and dropped it, while Dave and I picked off the runners. There were 5 adults and a whole mess of slips; we managed 3 down in the open, I was pretty sure we’d tagged a 4th before the last one got into the creek and disappeared. When we checked the bodies, GOATs boar was a good neck hit and an instant drop, one of the others was also a neck hit but was still very much alive so Dee got to do finishing duties with the 22. The third was a good body shot and we did find the 4th in the creek bed, so a sound result. The squealers – those big enough to survive – will have to wait for another trip.

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                From there we headed to a run along a series of dams to the east without seeing anything more, then headed north through another as-yet-ungraded track. The mesh I’d put on the front of the BNT proved itself and this time a gazillion speargrass seeds did NOT get into the radiator and coolers. The corrugations did account for the bracket on the reversing camera though; it spent the rest of the trip zip-tied up under the tray.

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                We came up on a large dam that has been consistently a good source of critters but during the wet the scrub, ant hills and prickly acacia have grown heavily into the tail of the dam making spotting and hitting a problematic venture. We circled downwind into the tail just in time to see a large mob coming out of the acacia and into the ant mounds at a flat run. Just had time for one shot which scored a nice black n white sow which like all the others to date this year, was fat and healthy. She had a bellyful of pups too, but this is one feral breeding machine that won’t be contributing any more to Australias wild pork numbers.

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                Dee was slated to create tonights dinner which was to be a camp oven item so we toddled back to Camp Bacon, dropped Dee off and headed out for some firewood. Found a good solid gidgee that had fallen onto another tree and was free of ants so we cut that up which provided enough wood for the rest of the trip. Sure is easier with multiple workers. The chainsaw was working hard though, blunted two chains on this trip.

                Headed back toward Camp Bacon as the sun dropped below the horizon. Just shy of the camp turnoff, GOAT calls ‘Pig!’ and sure enough there is a big boar in the open. I can barely see it in the rapidly gathering dusk but as it made for the horizon we all took a shot at it from about 100M. Crack-thud, crack-thud, two hits but still going; crack-thud and down. Could not see it in the dark, even with the thermal scanner, so back to camp for unloading firewood, showers, beers and dinner.

                We started with some fresh Gulf prawns that GOAT had brought back, pan-fried in butter with garlic and fresh chilli, very nice indeed. Some chippies and dips, while Dee had made a camembert damper (whole camenbert cheese inside a damper) and prepped the camp oven, browned a leg of lamb that was then set to bake with onions, garlic and herbs in a pit of coals to produce Lamb Kleftiko. Dave worked on some Skordalia (garlic mash) and taziki along with a greek brussel sprout salad. After a suitable interval some stock was added to the lamb to braise the meat to finish; served with the damper, mash and salad. Crikey, another winner- flamin delish! Had trouble pronouncing it after a couple of vinos but bloody good it was.

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                More of the apple pie and cream followed, with some KitKats and cuppas, port and yarning (possibly bullshitting?) into the evening. If there is a better way to spend time than with good friends and good food around a campfire in the remote bush, I don’t know what it would be.

                The Kool Kids eventually opted for bed and I enjoyed another cuppa and some writing time then just chilled in front of the fire for a while. The gidgee is great firewood; burns slow, hot and clean.
                There was no moon so the star show was simply spectacular. Sad to think there are some city folks who never get to see this.

                230km, 10 x 308s, couple of 22s, six porks (if we can find the last one).


                11-07-21
                Another relaxed start and some bacon and egg butties with fresh bakery bread. The GOAT, Dave and Dee were heading home this arvo so Dee elected to stay in camp and relax, maybe do some packing, while the shootin’ crew cranked the BNT and headed off to see what we could turn up. This time we headed up north to work down through the centre and see what the channels were doing after last weeks water flow. The Kool Kids were dissin my Tay-Tay beats which was mean.

                We worked our way through a dozen or so waterpoints, seeing plenty of birds – eagles, budgies, plains bustards, emus, galahs, corellas, roos and goanna; but no ferals. The area had got a fair bit of rain from the last falls two weeks ago, still soft patches on the tracks and plenty of green around. We worked back down past the old bush camp and associated bore then down to the next bore south. As we came toward the bore and tank GOAT spotted what he reckoned was a pig in the open among a group of cattle. I was also looking at them and realised they were not cattle – we were looking at approximately 50 pigs grazing in the open. Strewth. The setup was ideal – the ground was driveable and there was no cover in any direction for at least 2km. Many ‘goshes’, ‘blimeys’ and ‘gee whizes’ were uttered as we contemplated how to work this.

                The herd decided for us – there were effectively 4 mobs which spit up and headed southeast, northeast, west and northwest. The west and northwest mobs required crossing a fence via a gate so we wrote those off. The northeast mob was a possible but the southeast mob were heading right for us. This was going to be spectacular.

                And it was.

                As they streamed past the front of the BNT we tagged the first 6 adults; there were so many slips we couldn’t even count them. Then we jumped in the BNT and headed to intercept the northeast mob. I managed to get the BNT airborne over a hump in the process of getting ahead far enough to stop and tag 4 more adults, then off again while reloading to get to the creekline before the rest of them. Looking back toward the bore, the ground was alive with pigs of all sizes heading in every direction. We stopped at the first channel and belted another couple of adults; I ran dry on the 308 and switched to the shottie to drop two half grown squealers. Dave was reloading his 308 and GOAT had taken off at a run with the 22 to the north, potting slips. It was just a wild event; happily we were all disciplined and sensible so there was no dangerous actions happening. Many shots were withheld and pigs went un-drilled due to cattle in the background or uncertainty of what was behind the target.



                Once the rush of animals was done, we started working back toward the bore counting coup and ensuring all the hit critters were dead. We collected GOAT who was struggling with his breathing having run flat out around 2km, chasing elusive slips through the channels.

                We came across a winged sow; Dave had his 308 reloaded so he took the shot; unfortunately I misjudged the angles of where he would be in relation to me and ended up being off to the side but slightly downstream of the muzzleblast. That sure cleared the sinuses.

                When we got back to the area of the bore there were pigs lying everywhere. There was a big pack of slips running around in the acacia so we took the shottie and 22 over and sorted them out.



                Even allowing that there were at least 4 definite hits on adult pigs that subsequently vanished into the broken ground and long grass around the channels as well as multiple slips that we couldn’t find in the acacia after dropping them with the 22 and shottie, we counted 24 pigs. And that was certainly less than half of what had been there. Just amazing. Luke was still coughing up bits of lung tissue so we waited for a while to see if we were going to add a GOAT to the tally.

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                By consensus we agreed we were unlikely to beat that effort today so it was time to head back to Camp Bacon. We tracked south (via a couple more bores and dams because you never know) until we got to the channels. They were chock full of water and the crossings were impassable which kind of explained why there was such a big mob just grazing in the open – no one had been up to that area since the Wet season. We had to backtrack and take another route out, then head straight for camp. Just before we got there we went to the paddock where we’d tagged the pig last night and found him – a big, solid and now pretty smelly boar with three 30-cal holes in him – so he was added to the tally from yesterday.

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                Dee had been busy making some zucchini fritters for munchies for the run home and they were supplemented with some silverside and salad rolls. GOAT stopped coughing long enough to dump a couple of jerricans into the BNT tank, then they saddled up and headed home leaving me to continue solo for a day or two.
                I was pretty knackered so elected to have a nanna nap until later in the afternoon, then went for a casual local drive. I did spot a big ginger feral cat but he was gone before I got the opportunity to ventilate him. I gave it up on dark and headed back to camp which was about when I discovered that belting around the paddocks had left the spotties not working. Maybe just a connector or a dud relay, will sort it out when I get home.

                I checked the stores to see what the food situation was going to be for the next couple of days and found that the Kool Kids had left a whole bunch of stuff for me, so I was doing very well. Dinner was steak seared medium-rare in garlic butter with a salad, a dark ale and there was even a last slice of apple pie to top it off. Winning!

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                390km, 30-odd x 308, 10x12 ga, some 22s; 24 pigs.


                12-07-21
                Monday I made a relaxed start again with just a coffee and took some time to pack up extra gear that I wouldn’t need, as well as rearrange the drawers and stores in the canopy. About 10am after spending some time on the map I started off to the south, going right to the bottom of the property where I’d not been for over a year. I started checking bores and dams but the country was comparatively poor and had clearly not got much of last seasons rain. I ran into a bore runner and had a bit of a yack, he’s around the southern water points every day and has not seen anything feral for a few months. With this info, I modified the plan and set off to the northeast. After a few hours of continuous checking and opening and closing a dozen or so gates I’d seen hundreds of roos and pelicans, eagles and brolgas, even a couple of emus but stuff-all shootable.

                By midday the long-range fuel tank was down to ¼ which is only just enough to get home so I had to decide whether to give it away and just get some quiet camp time; or pack up and head home; or persist and head into the nearest town to refuel. I was sure there were more ferals to be had so I bit the bullet and headed for town. 3 hours later I was $220 poorer (fuel is $1.80 / lt) and heading back into the bush. I went to wash my hands with the on-board water tank behind the trayback headboard and found it empty. The hose fitting to the tap had fractured with all the vibrations and corrugations, allowing the tank to drain. Another job for when I get home.

                The sun was getting low on the horizon and there had still been zero sighting of ferals as I headed through the site of yesterdays slaughter. Other than eagles, kites and crows there was nothing here alive either, so I promised myself that after one more bore I’d give it away. Just as the sun dipped completely below the western rim I spotted movement – one of yesterdays mobs was trotting away to the northwest. An intercept was going to be challenging as they were already a couple hundred metres away and the country was marginal for driving… but stuff it, I’d been looking all day and I was going to have a crack!

                I headed down the track then turned cross country, trying to watch the mob and the terrain at the same time. I barely had time to register the big washout that I hit at about 60kmh which hurt me and the BNT both; it was followed by another washout at 40kmh. The mob was diverging away into a series of gullies and it was getting ever darker; it was now or never. I pulled up just as an alarm started, looks like I’ve busted something important. I grabbed a lean on the bulbar, sighted up the mob who were over 100m away now, in and out of cover. Sweep, lead, breathe, squeeze – bang / thud, one down and squealing. Too far around now for the bullbar so its offhand / unsupported: Sweep, lead, breathe, squeeze - bang/thud, another down. The rest are no more than flickers of movement in the dense bush now, so I’m done.





                So what’s the BNT upset about? It’s the tyre pressure alarm. One of the new Toyo Open Country AT2s on the back had landed on a sharp rock that penetrated through the tread and opened it up. Tyre change time, and now its fully dark. Yay…

                Got that annoying task done, got the pix – a couple of boars, from about 5 or 6 adults and a pile of slips; almost certainly from the northwest runners yesterday.

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                Camp time, dinner time, shower time.

                It was a hard hour and a bit back to camp by which time I was tired enough that I probably wasn’t thinking very well. I decided the smart move would be to head home tonight. Packing what was left, making a roadie sammich, getting the canopy back on the tray and damping down the fire, checking the site for litter and left-behind gear… I didn’t get on the road until after 10pm. Not the brightest move I’ve ever made.

                The trip home was not too bad, excepting the random cattle and profusion of suicidal kangaroos. As I got back onto bitumen to an area where the locals often wait for their mates or collect ‘supplies’, I saw a fire burning on the roadside with no one around. Looked like the locals had just left a fire going and it had spread to a standing dead tree. This time of year with the dry grass and deadwood everywhere and the strong winds, an unattended fire can very quickly become a full-blown disaster. I took a few minutes out to knock the tree down and put the fire out.





                Home at stupid-o’clock; left everything locked up in the canopy in favour of a shower and hitting the sack. 800km, 2 rounds of 308, two pigs.

                A mid-morning unload of the food and gear; get it all cleaned up and sorted out for next trip. Then get ready for Day shift tomorrow.

                Tally was 4 days / 3 nights, 32 pigs, 40-odd 308s, 10 x 12ga shottie, a handful of 22s, 1700-odd km, a new tyre, a water connection, a spotlight issue, a busted camera bracket, a couple of chainsaw chains and 220lt diesel in the BNT; plus the other vehicles. 46 porks for the year so far. Totally worth it.

                Back to work with a list of things to fix or improve on the BNT and the camp setup, then start planning the next run!
                Attached Files
                "Have more than you show
                Talk less than you know"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just awesome Mark! It’s like we travel those 1700 K’s with you...

                  Some shootingaustralia.net beer and diesel tickets coming your way.

                  Cheers.

                  HERNE.
                  "If we meet offline and you look nothing like your Pics...You are buying me drinks until you do!"

                  Comment


                  • MSR
                    MSR commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Thanks mate; looking forward to hearing of your mountain adventures also!

                • #10
                  Awesome MSR
                  Really enjoy your work.

                  Those little porkers would fit in a Banh Mi sandwich - whole !
                  The TRUTH is out there,
                  the Aliens think its a great joke on us.
                  We still believe in Santa, but eat the Easter Bunny

                  And the Easter Bunny tastes SO GOOD !!
                  That's why he is made of Chocolate.

                  Comment


                  • MSR
                    MSR commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Mmmmm, baby pork sammich .... mmmmmmmm

                • #11
                  13-08-21 Black Friday

                  The local Rodeo is on this weekend which is a really good reason to GTF outta town before the tourists and blow-ins spread their imported diseases to the locals.

                  But before indulging in any bush antics I wanted to get the Howa 223 zeroed. It’s been a bit of a safe queen since SniperGirl buggered off to Uni so I decided that this trip I’d only use the 223; ergo I’d best see where it’s shootin’. I took the fancy walnut stock off and refitted the standard black synthetic item.

                  IIRC, when set up to zero at 100m the relatively flat-shooting 223 should be pretty much on target from 0-200m. I started on 50m using my Varmigeddon hand-loads, 24gn of BM82 and Nosler 55gn ballistic tips, and found it was dead-on which was odd; it was also dead-on at 300m. I don’t recall the last time I zeroed it but those are not numbers I would typically use with the 223. Not to worry, took the target out to 100m and adjusted the Leupold 4.5-14 x 40 VX3 to bring it on to the bull. Best effort had 3 rounds through the same hole, with all groups consistently around the centre so colour me happy.

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                  I had also decided to change how I was cooking in camp, not having as much success with the camp ovens as I would like and they weigh a ton, so I cranked up the FB Marketplace and listed a whole bunch of stuff I hadn’t used for a while. I sold enough (including the camp ovens) to invest in a nice Weber Baby Q which I’d been wanting to do. Now the competition was going to be on between my Weber and Dees camp oven as to which was the better option.

                  There was a bit of work to do after the last trip so I made a list and got stuck into it. Replace reversing camera bracket – done. New tyre – done. Wheel alignment – oh dear, I’ve knackered the control arm bushings. Two new lower control arms, ouch! Relocate rear number plate so it would stop getting ripped off by hitting the ground – done. Spotlights fixed – meh, get around to that another time. Chainsaw – 3 chains sharpened, new air filter and a general clean-up, good to go. Hot water – Joolca got in touch, the water heater WAS faulty and was repaired and sent back, but I decided that the SmartTek was a better unit so I stuck the Joolca on Marketplace as well – and sold it for more than the SmartTek cost so bonus!

                  All that remained was to remount the canopy and restock with tucker, fuel and water as well as some liquid libations for ourselves and the boss. We decided on 3 nights with just Dave, Dee and myself. Would have liked to take the Terrible Twins but they were lured away by the prospect of double-time shifts for the rodeo weekend while my missus was over on the coast with SniperGirl who has just been freed from two weeks isolation.

                  The usual procedure applied with giving the boss a yell and checking we were good to come out, doing some pre-trip baking in the morning then firing up the BNT and Daves Ranga at around lunchtime; via the bakery for enroute meat pies and fresh camp bread.

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                  Mmmmm, pie…..

                  We were very conscious of taking it much easier on this run, we were all pretty weary from long busy shifts and there is no urgency around getting there, setting up or going shooting. This trip was much more about relaxing away from work and being out-of-contact.

                  Setup at Camp Bacon was achieved before sunset and we jumped in the BNT to deliver a care package to the boss then find some suitable firewood. We ended up sitting around the table on the front verandah of the house, boots off and beers in hand watching the sunset and bugger the firewood!

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                  Some excellent relaxation ensued and we eventually headed off in the dark back to the campsite. There was still plenty of wood in the pile from last trip so all that remained to do was put dinner together, which was my job for tonight.

                  I’d spent some quality time in the previous week organising and prepping supplies, so pre-dinner was hot cooked Chilli Snag Burnt Ends with Tzatziki dip then something different this time: fresh hamburgers with home-made beef patties, fresh salad and hot chips from the Weber. Add in some Aussie made Beerenbergs Tomato Sauce and Hot Tomato Chutney, perfect! And naturally needed a couple of Carlton Extra Dry to wash it down. Bloody bewdy mate! The fresh apple pie afterwards was nearly too much; had sit in front of the fire and ruminate for a good while after that.

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                  We also snuck in some extra luxury – the boss put a big gas cylinder at the camp and topped up the local water tank so with Daves little Honda genny to run the water pump we had hot showers and flushing toilets in the ablution block – woo-hoo! We all retired pretty early into a quite warm night, the temperature didn’t get below about 22c. The wind had been blowing pretty steady all day and didn’t drop off much overnight.

                  Next morning was a great indicator of why we needed to get away. We all slept in, starting to pay back the cumulative sleep and fatigue debt that pretty much all health workers are suffering with this seeming never-ending public health crisis. Thankfully we are not currently locked down – and we feel the pain of our southern friends during their latest restrictions – but that can come here again with no warning so we are going to enjoy this time while we can.

                  Brekky was on for those who wanted the bacon n egg Pita Pockets, plenty of coffee and a slow pack-up into the BNT for a cruise around, starting in the central area and working north. Not much to see with the gusty winds but no stress, we were just enjoying being out and about. We came across a gum tree that had been split by a storm so we whipped out the mighty Stihl M170 chainsaw and lopped it into firewood. A couple hundred kilos of wood in the back worked nicely to settle the ride in the BNT too!

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                  The next dam we checked had a big mob on it but they were mobile and mixed in with a herd of cattle so no shots taken. We kept going north and after another critter-free dam we went proper bush, breaking a path on an old track into the channels to see how the ground water was holding up. Answer – still plenty of standing water although the channel crossings were dry enough to use. Dave spotted a mob of large adults in the thick bush and long grass, no hope of a shot but a promise for later in the year when the channels finally dry out.

                  Out into the grass flats where we hadn’t been since the ‘Cast of Thousands’ trip way back in July 2018 and the grader certainly hadn’t made an appearance in here since then. Only local knowledge and some ghostly hints of berms allowed onward progress but at least it was reasonably smooth. We came to the bore where young Benjamin got his prize-winning boar last December and it was dry so no piggies this time. Further to the east and a dam where we had bounced 20-odd snorters in December, from the wall on the northern end we spotted a mob already moving toward the fence and scrubline to the south. We did run an intercept which gave Dave an angle out his window but no good, they were just too quick.
                  We worked through a few more sites but decided it was rest time so tracked back toward the camp. We went past the bore where we had bounced the huge mob last trip, not intending to stop, when a lone boar came trotting out in front of us. Too good an opportunity to pass so we ran an intercept to get in front of him then it was my turn to line him up with the 223. A nice solid hit to the engine room and he was quickly running out of steam but we decide to get ahead again just in case – he stopped, we stopped and I put another Nosler 55gn right between his looking gear.

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                  He was a solid lump and right stinky too, with big pointy hooks. Nice.

                  We continued toward camp and as we were looking at another dam along the way, Dee spotted a mob camped up in the prickly acacia down the tail of the dam. We drove quietly around the other side and idled up the wall to the spot, thinking to catch them napping; unfortunately, a bloody dopey calf took fright at us and ran through the spot, alarming the pigs and getting them trotting away. We belted ahead and waited at the exit of the tail and they came through on cue – 4 adults and 3 slips. We hammered them hard, dropping all 4 adults, then jumped in the BNT to cut of the running slips. Those little buggers can motor too! They made it into the broken ground but Dee and I kept after them on foot, eventually getting a decent angle where I peppered them with the Akkar, dropping two. The third stopped to look and Dee lined him up from 20m with the Henry 22 LA and dropped him clean, her first unassisted snorter!

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                  She was a happy little camper, and the others were well dropped by the 223 and Daves 308. We did have to find one runner that wasn’t fully deaded so Dee sorted him out as well.



                  One downside – the Akkar has started misfiring. The top barrel was failing to fire 2 out of three times, on all ammo types and on both the 20” and 30” barrels; the firing pin is not indenting the primer very much at all. Can’t think how many thousands of BB and target loads have been through it in the last 8 years. I’m no sort of gunsmith at all, so might have to slip it in the luggage when I go over to the coast next month.

                  We were ready for a break now so no more stops, tracked direct to camp. Didn’t have any takers for lunch after the huge dinner and brekky, so it was nanna nap time while Dee got her slow-cook on with the camp oven.

                  We chose not to do the afternoon feral patrol, instead doing some low-key target practice with the Henry (Dees new fave gun – suspect there may be one of those in her immediate future) relaxing in the shade with some cold drinks and appetisers – pate, dip, chippies, crackers, brie.

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                  Dinner was slow-cooked beef cheeks in red wine with cauliflower mash shaved parmesan and brocolini panfried with garlic butter and pine nuts; a cheeky young Cab Sav to accompany. So good. Winner Dee.

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                  Another pleasant relaxing evening, a bit cooler this time and another bit of apple pie with coffee to finish. The odd Kit-Kat or two, a sip of port, non-work-related conversation, hot showers, hot chocolate, some writing time, warm beds and dreamless sleep. 8 pigs, 348km.

                  Sunday dawned spectacularly but I was less than motivated; yesterdays running through the scrub after those little porks had caught up to me and I was paying the price – when will I bloody learn?

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                  A handful of ibuprofen and a gallon or so of coffee later and I was sorta-kinda ready to venture forth.
                  The wind was still pretty strong as we set off to the west and ran through a promising series of bores and dams, but nothing seen. The property has just baited so the dog and cat numbers are well down; none of them about either.
                  We gave it away before lunch and headed back to camp. I was keen to try some different recipes in the Weber; the croissants were a bit of a fail but I threw on some scones which came out perfect; just the thing for camp lunch.

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                  We all had a bit of a rest in the shade before I started putting dinner together, another 3-hour slow-cook but this time on the Weber. Once it was in place Dee was into some reading and resting so Dave and I went for a bit of a casual drive just for the sake of it. We went up north through the middle but no joy. We decide to have a crack at the dams and channels I’d turned back on last time, to see if they still had water. No water at the crossings but the banks were well undercut. The first was a near vertical exit but not too bad; the second the approach was badly washed out. We navigated around it and through the channel but after all that the dam was a non-event.




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                  It was getting close to turn-back time when we hit the same bore as yesterdays solo snorter and while we were looking at a big wedge-tailed eagle who was sitting on said dead snorter and giving us the stink-eye, we found a mob of pigs to the north grazing and oblivious. We idled up to get between them and the scrub to the north where last trip I’d buggered the BNT and popped a tyre. They remained unaware but then something odd happened – they were near a group of weaners and one of the small cows decided to chase the pigs. Very strange behaviour, but it kept them occupied till we were in place. They did clue on eventually and we prepared to un-arse the BNT and start shootin’, but they turned and headed south – back into the open country toward the bore. OK… we powered down the paddock to keep between them and the fence and once ahead we pulled up and commenced firing. There were 5 adults and a bunch of slips; we cleaned up all 5 bigguns while the squealers vanished into the long grass around the bore tank. Dave was particularly impressed with his last shot, a low chest hit on a runner that blew the heart into a spray of gore and left a hole the size of his fist where the pump used to be. Very 308-outta-ten.

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                  We were on the clock now, we needed to get back in time to finish the dinner prep… but there was another bore just up the road, would be a shame to leave without a quick look. Which we didn’t get to do, because we came across another group of swine just off the track. A quick turn-in, bail out, line up and count-down and 2/4 are hit with Daves 308 hit going straight down while my 223 hit staggered into the creekline before dropping. The other 2 escaped for the moment. Only time for pix and we had to bolt; no-one game to risk The Wrath Of Dee just to shoot some stinking pigs.

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                  Out of the paddocks and onto the main track back to Camp Bacon and while reflecting on the good score of the afternoon there came an ominous beeping – bugger me, ANOTHER bloody tyre. Front left was on the way down but at least the OBD2 TPMS had let us know before the tyre shredded itself and trashed the rim.

                  Pulled up and between us, with the Ryobi impact driver and some judicious jack application we had the dead ‘un off and the new one on and we were on our way again. I do recommend the OBD2 tyre monitor to anyone who doesn’t have a OEM system.

                  Back to camp and a little late, but bless her cotton sox Dee has turned the dinner down so all is saved. She was working on making a stout-flavoured damper in the camp oven to go with the mystery meal.

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                  I got stuck into prepping a fresh coleslaw and tomato salad, then cracked open the Weber where I’d earlier set up 4 lots of marinated meaty pork ribs in a covered roasting dish at 150c for 4 hours. Normally I would have taken the ribs out and let them rest while I deglazed the pan with some red wine, onion, chilli and garlic and made a sauce to go with, but the ribs were so tender with the meat falling off the bone that we decided stuff it and piled them on the plates. Oh my, that was some fine tucker.

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                  With Dees camp oven damper dipped in butter and maple syrup and a Guinness that’s about as good a meal as I’ve had in some time. I’ll call the Camp Oven / Weber challenge a draw so far.

                  After a suitable rest period, a beaut hot shower, a cuppa tea and some TimTams completed the day. Had to introduce Dave and Dee to the TimTam challenge but after the big dinner they were a bit too over done to engage. Next trip. 300km, 7 pigs.

                  A much cooler night and the wind died down so very pleasant sleeping conditions. Next day we had to send Dave off solo to find a phone signal so he could complete some work obligations. Dee and I did some preliminary packing then got ready to head back to find last nights slips which – I was almost certain – would be on their mothers, if the eagles hadn’t gotten to them yet. As we prepared to leave the boss turned up; there had been some issues at one of the nearby yards overnight and he wanted to know if we’d seen or heard anything. We ended up having a good yarn for a while before he headed off, we went and collected Dave and made a run to a couple of nearby bores but nothing to see, so we headed back to camp to pack.

                  A fairly painless exercise, dump a jerry of fuel into the BNT, load the gear, put the canopy back on and check the camp is clean and tidy. Dave and Dee headed off and I followed after a quick check of the site. Always a bit sad to leave but then it gives us something to look forward to in coming back again. I almost made it home before the fuel pressure warning came on; had to pull over and dump another jerry in the BNT; thanks Dave!

                  Tally was 4 days / 3 nights, 15 pigs, 10 x 308s, 10 x 223s, a couple of 12ga shottie, a handful of 22s, 1200-odd km, another bloody tyre (may be repairable though), and 180lt diesel in the BNT. 61 porks for the year so far.

                  Will have to send the Akkar off for some professional lovin before the next trip. Got some holidays at the end of September and Bruce and Benjamin are hoping the bloody plague will stay under control so they can come out for a run. George was up for it but couldn’t get leave. Dave, Dee, Goat and Pup; plus the Terrible Twins; not sure who’s gunna show up but for damn sure I’ll be out there!

                  Until then..
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by MSR; 28-08-2021, 02:43 PM.
                  "Have more than you show
                  Talk less than you know"

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    You've really 'sealed the deal' with those scones and jam with cream on top... Another top write up and trip away for us all to share.

                    Cheers mate.

                    Steve.

                    "If we meet offline and you look nothing like your Pics...You are buying me drinks until you do!"

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                    • #13
                      Outstanding mate!
                      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Forward!
                      Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Enjoyable reading mate, well done.
                        Faster Horses
                        Younger Women
                        Older Whiskey
                        More Money

                        SSAA N52

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                        • #15
                          Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy your reports.

                          Cheers
                          SSAA Q18

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