Back to the Bush - 2021

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  • #16
    Awesome mate. Great trip.
    Last edited by Sparta; 30-08-2021, 06:31 AM.
    Go hard or Go home.

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    • #17
      29-09-2021– Back to Basics!

      Snipergirl is 21, bugger me! When did that happen?

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      Very much over work, COVID, lockdowns and the whole schmeer so I took a couple of weeks off and planned a week on the coast to go visit Big Girl, and a week in the bush having some me-time.

      Snipergirl has been unwell and is slaving over a hot computer at Uni; George couldn’t get leave, GOAT had a wedding on (where are your priorities my man??), Dave n Dee had another commitment, No 1 son wanted to work so he could make some $$, Greg was tied up with work, Blitz was sooking in lockdown so it was just me, Bruce and Benjamin. Then Benny bailed, so it was just the old blokes. 6 days, 5 nights in the scrub a million miles from anywhere, what could possibly go wrong?

      I got the shopping done, packed the canopy, loaded it onto the BNT and froze the meat, milk etc so I only had to get the fresh bread, fruit and veg when I got home. I sold a bit more stuff and invested in a 40lt freezer to go with the existing 40lt fridge to try to make the setup a bit more efficient. I also tracked down the fault with the spotties on the BNT – an inline fuse in the power line from the relay to the lights, tucked up under a wiring harness in the very crowded engine bay. The wounded tyre from last trip was repaired and the Akkar shottie took a trip to the gunsmith who very quickly sorted it out; just need some loving, but with me having no workshop I was loathe to attempt to pull it apart and have springs flying all over the place.

      Got the ammo and guns sorted, decided to leave the 223 at home this time and rely on the Porkinator 308, the Black Night 308 dedicated thermal, the Akkar 12ga and the Henry 22. I had some cleaned, sized, trimmed and primed 308 cases in the locker so I knocked out another 50 x 308 / 168gn Zombies as well.

      We saddled up the tribe and took the LWT2 for the road trip, getting some driving hours for No 1 son. The Bride and No 2-daughter stayed with Big Girl for a few extra days leaving just me and No 1 son for the return road trip. Plan was to get home Tuesday night, pack the last few bits up and head out to the property Wednesday.

      I called the Boss a few days prior and found out that the ‘luxury’ accommodations were already in use so we would be using the bush camp that we had started out at when we first got onto this place 8 years ago. The camp was just a three-sided machine shed with a dirt floor in a patch of gidgee scrub. The shed had copped a flogging in a storm a couple of years ago and was not usable but the back wall did provide a shade effect in the afternoon and had a 1000lt water tank (not drinkable) so we figured it would work.

      Tuesday night I got the last of the shopping done and baked a couple of carrot cakes, sorted out some more gear and crashed about midnight.

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      Wednesday 29th

      Bruce rolled in early next morning with his Landrover Disco and a shiny new Sauer 308, along with the Marlin dirty-30. We got the gear packed and topped the fuel and water before stopping in at the bakery for a pie, hitting the highway at midday. The numbers of caravans and RVs was quite remarkable; apparently there were lots of nomads and tourists coming all the way to Northwest Qld to cross the border and trek through NT to get back to SA and WA.

      The property was very busy with moving cattle around and all the never-ending tasks associated with running a big enterprise, so we didn’t see anyone at the house – just dropped in some goodies and kept going to the remote camp.

      We checked the enroute waterpoints – just in case – but we were more interested in getting to the site, setting up and having a rest. When we got to the bore near the camp, the gate into the paddock was chained and wired and we couldn’t be arsed undoing it so we drove around the turkey nest to the gate on the other side.

      Must be fate – there was a group of four porkers strolling into the tank yard. They didn’t see or hear us amongst the cattle, so we bailed out of the vehicles and followed them on foot as they wandered down the side of the tank. We saw where they were headed and set up kneeling unsupported positions where they would come out, being careful of the background cattle. Sure enough, out they came about 20m away and they saw us immediately, but as we were immobile and non-threatening they basically ignored us and just kept truckin’.

      The inevitable conclusion – a countdown to shoot, two dropped on the spot, the other two bolted back around the tank and were picked off as they broke out into the paddock. 4/4, nice; and Bruces new 308 is officially blooded.

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      When we went around the carcases to count coup, the one boar of the group was still kicking and once again we had no guns to hand so Bruce gave his folding Buck knife a workout. We moved the bodies away from the water and proceeded to the campsite, pulling in just before sunset.

      As the sun fell through the gidgee to the west, a new firepit was dug; a fire set (old-school with Bruce gathering deadfall and using matches); the canopy dropped off the BNT and open-air Camp Bacon was established.

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      Wasn’t long before dinner was done – porterhouse steaks on the Webber with a nice tomato and coleslaw salad.

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      After dinner there was a slab of fresh carrot cake and a mug of tea (which may have included third degree burns for Bruce from the un-insulated steel mug – oops, sorry!)

      Was a very early night with the old blokes feeling the effects of long days of travel, with a warm still night. 220km, 4 x 308s, 4 x pigs.
      Attached Files
      "Have more than you show
      Talk less than you know"

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      • #18
        Thursday 30th

        Next morning was a very early kick-off – a resident butcherbird decided to practice his chick-magnet tunes starting about 2AM. Hmmm.


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        After cereal and coffee, we had some sorting to do around gear and guns etc before we could roll out of camp, including dropping the chainsaw into the tray to score some wood during the day. There was a forecast for showers so we made sure the camp was secured and the solar panels set up before we eventually rolled out mid-morning in the BNT.

        We worked our way south and east, checking water points and the channels but without our eagle-eyed youngsters on board we didn’t sight anything until the furthest dam to the east, where Bruce spotted a small mob already on the run out the far side and into the heavy scrub.

        We continued to the north east and pulled up short and downwind of another popular waterhole, walking in a km or so but no joy. Further northeast to the limit of the property then back to the northwest through a couple more bores and dams, heading for camp and lunch.

        It was getting quite hot at 39c with some cloud building up to the west but happily the fridge and freezer were up to the challenge and the back wall of the shed gave us some shade to park ourselves in camp chairs and enjoy some cold water and ham, cheese, salad and pickles on fresh bread rolls. Yum.

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        We had a bit of a rest before firing up the billy and knocking back some tea and carrot cake then decided to go for a wander out to the west.

        The first dam was dry but the second had cattle all over it so we walked up the wall to have a look. Bingo – there’s a couple of adult snorters walking down to the water on the far side. Too far for a safe shot with the cattle around so we drove around the downwind side to try a sneak-in. The stupid bloody cattle buggered that up – they had a collective panic attack and started galloping all over the place. By the time we got in there the pigs were long gone.

        After some suitable expletives and descriptives for the flamin idiot cows and with some rain starting to fall, we got back in the BNT with a plan to try some waters down to the south and southwest. That plan lasted only until we got around the other side of the dam where we came across a mob of sows and suckers wandering casually across the track about 80-odd metres ahead.

        We didn’t try to be clever – just lined them up from where we were and thumped them. We dropped 3 adults from the group of maybe 6 that were appearing and disappearing in the gullies and scrub, then drove up to find a swarm of slips hanging about one of the dropped sows. Its Akkar time – the 12ga came out and started lighting up the squealers, while Bruce grabbed the Henry 22 and joined in. Was a rare old slaughter, 3 sows and 13 slips.

        The second sow was a pearler of a shot: it had turned its head to look back just as Bruce fired, the 308 going in exactly between the eyes and coming out behind the opposite ear.

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        The showers were continuing, not enough to be useful but just enough to peak the humidity and make the top inch of the bulldust wet enough to stick to boots, tyres clothes etc. Messy. We got the pix, made sure there were no dead ‘uns on the track and headed back to camp.

        I was planning slow cooked pork ribs for dinner so we got back and set that up on the Webber, putting the ribs in a roasting pan with some water, Beerenbergs BBQ sauce and maple syrup, covered with foil and into the barbie at 150c for 3 hours.


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        The ribs had a little while to go so we enjoyed some fried cabana with assorted dipping sauces and some camembert wedges before serving up the main course with another nice spinach, tomato and onion salad – for which I forgot the onions so improvised with some coleslaw instead.

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        The ribs were moist and tender, maybe not quite as good as the last lot but still pretty damn fine. Dinner was followed up with a cuppa and some diced peaches in double cream.

        The air had cooled down sufficiently to justify sleeping bags and another good night’s sleep was had. 200km, 3 x 308, 6 x 12ga, 10 x 22, 16 pigs.
        Last edited by MSR; 11-10-2021, 05:34 PM.
        "Have more than you show
        Talk less than you know"

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        • #19
          Friday 1st October

          We had thought to maybe kick off a bit earlier today, which was made easy by that worthless bastard butcherbird starting his shit at 4AM. I LIKE birdsong, but this was getting to be an arsepain. I walked down there and had chats/brotherly with him and he elected to bugger off to the next patch of scrub. Good choice.

          Went south to start today, checking each water point along the way. That cheeky bloody solo pig at the dam had walked all over our tracks from last night again. He’s pushing his luck I think.

          Coming up to one of the more frequent hit sites, a dam with heavy acacia and scrub all around it, we chose to try a quiet walk-in from downwind. We saw plenty of pig highways in and out but none of the usual horde of feral vermin bolting into the bush, until we walked into the termite mounds and spotted a big brindle pig asleep under a tree with a couple of slips. Same routine as previously, pick a target and count down, with the big pig taking a big hit and staying down while the two slips bolted. We both took a crack at them as they dodged through the long grass and termite mounds about 30m away, Bruce aiming for the leader, me for the trailer. We fired simultaneously and the trailer went down hard, the other vanishing into the bush until next time.

          We checked out the big un first – a very pregnant sow, who won’t be adding to the feral load on this bit of Aus anymore. The second – the running slip – had taken two hits, a headshot and a chest shot, either some really good shooting or some really lucky shooting.

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          A local wedgetail eagle came over to check out the lunch menu as well.

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          From there we headed to the house to catch up with the boss for a brief visit, then north and northwest via all stops to camp for lunch. Ham and cheese and salad rolls, a cuppa and the last of the carrot cake.

          After a rest we went back west to yesterdays dam to see if the survivors had made an appearance, pulling up well short and downwind to walk the length of the creekline. Nada, not even a footprint. Interesting.

          We went further west and south, through some of the rugged channels that we crossed last trip, and aside from a young goanna doing his best to imitate a death adder there was nothing to see.

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          Back to camp for early dinner – sausages and veggies – and then we got the night gear out for a run.

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          I put the thermal scope on the Black Night 308, stoked it with 5 x 168 Zombies, grabbed the bolt out of the ammo box and slid it into the rifle and also mounted the Wolfeyes Seal on the Porkinator; Bruce put his Olight on his Sauer, I plugged the handheld thermal monocular into the BNT and off we went.

          Apart from plenty of cows and the inevitable rock-pigs that retained their heat after dark, with Bruce scanning the thermal out his window nothing was seen through all the usual stops heading south until Bruce got a definite pig-hit on a track in the middle of nowhere, near nothing. We pulled up, I slid the Black Night out and powered up the thermal scope to see a big pork and a few smaller ones trotting blithely along 20m or so off the side of the track.

          I immediately cycled the action on the Black Night and… couldn’t close the bolt! WTAF? No more time was spent on it, the Porkinator was grabbed out, the Seal switched on and with Bruce guiding via the thermal monocular the big pork was soon in the scope. Bang-thud-splat, he’s down, and the others are now trotting into an area of high grass and scattered scrub that the light can’t penetrate.

          We cranked the BNT, headed well back up the track, pulled into the scrub and I very quickly checked the Black Night: FFS, wrong bolt! The 223 bolt was still in the ammo box and being black, I had grabbed it instead of the 308 bolt. Easily and quickly fixed, with Bruce now looking through the Leupold mounted on his Saeur and illuminating the area with his Olight, nothing was visible except grass and scrub. I fired up the thermal scope and there they are, three of the four that we had initially spotted about 50m into the bush. The Black Night quickly sorted two of the three.



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          Good chest and shoulder hits on the smaller ones and a very effective Texas Heart-shot on the boar.

          Getting late, but we wanted to check a bore tank that had a dead calf on it earlier today, so we continued south. Spotted some eyeshine in the headlights, Bruce couldn’t see anything in the thermal so probably a cat. Tried for it with the Porkinator and Seal but too crafty, he didn’t give us more than an occasional flash of eye as he slunk off into the tussocks.

          Down to the boretank and where the calf carcass was there is now a bundle of pigs sleeping. Lit up by the headlights it was Bruces turn with his Olight and he scored a good hit on the largest which turned out to be a sow with a bunch of slips. The slips scattered in every direction and although they were readily spotted in the thermal and a few attempts were made there were too many cattle scattered about to take a decent shot. They escaped for another day.

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          Its proper late now and past the old folks bed time. Headed back to camp without bothering to look much for more snorters. Into camp, showers and the billy on for a cuppa. There may have been the odd bit of Kit-Kat as well. The trough line that brought the showers also brought a cold air mass so it was much cooler – almost too cool for Bruce who was unthrilled with combination of the cold breeze and the open-air shower hanging off the wall of the shed. Needs to harden up. 220km, 6 pigs, 10 x 308s.
          "Have more than you show
          Talk less than you know"

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          • #20
            Saturday 2nd

            A very sound nights sleep in the cooler air, but the temperatures were forecast become very hot over the next few days. That mongrel bastard butcherbird got a few rocks heaved in his general direction at stupid o’clock and eventually took off, but he is getting very close to becoming an individually endangered specimen.

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            A quick brekky of cereal and coffee, some snackies, mandarins and bananas in the cooler bag and we set off via the same route as yesterday, seeing nothing (except more pig prints at the same dam) until we lobbed in near the house paddock to a trough that is the only water supply in the immediate area. Driving toward it we could see a mob of pigs trotting away from it but rather than try a tail chase we decided to check the trough in case there were more snorters there – and there were.

            To get close we had to open a gate which we did slowly and quietly; they could see us and were watching, but they didn’t scare off, just kept climbing up onto the trough to drink. Once through the gate we idled forward until at about 50m they started moving directly away towards the scrubline. We pulled up and picked one each; they dropped nicely and the rest bolted. Scrub is very thick and no point trying to tail-chase them so we went to the trough to load up the carcases for dumping well away from the water. One of the squealers had stayed at the water and made a break for freedom – didn’t work. He joined the pile. There was a white adult, a black adult, and a half n half pup. Interesting. We went further down the track to dump them and had a look at the likely escape routes from the trough for next time.

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            We tracked east from there to check out the big dam again, this time charging straight around the side and into an intercept position; a big mob ran out of the acacia and we managed to drop one before they got into the anthills and bush.

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            South from there and we walked up onto one of the boretanks, hoping to spring some clients having a mid-morning drink. Nothing there, then Bruce pointed to the wall behind me where a group had suddenly appeared. Before we could get a bead on them they just as suddenly vanished and were next seen trailing dust out in the paddock amongst the cattle. Maybe next time…



            East and south, a series of bores and dams with nothing sighted and we were thinking its about time for lunch, when we drove up a dam wall and Bruce spotted a big mob heading out the opposite side. Very rough country over there with tussock paddock on one side and anthill fields on the other; still, it was worth a chase to see if we could get some.

            The BNT answered the call and we banged through a bunch of scrub and anthills before finally getting an angle on the mob. We bailed out and from a mob of 8 adults and 8 slips we managed 5 adults and several anthills. One smaller snorter tried to jink around behind the BNT but made too much noise and was stopped by a 308 from 10’; a very certain stop.



            Finding the other dropped vermin was the next challenge. Driving across to where a couple had been put down, one got back up and started running. It had been hard hit and would certainly die, but we prefer to make the kills as clean as possible so we went after her. We each took a shot and got definite hits, but the difficult terrain made well-aimed shots almost impossible – it just kept getting up again and running. Well, staggering anyway. We finally got close enough on foot to make a definitive kill shot by which time it had soaked up 5 x 308s. Impressive; you gotta respect how tough these buggers are.

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            It was only after walking / running all over the area and in-and-out of the BNT that I reached for my (brand new a week ago very expensive prescription) reading glasses to find my glasses pocket empty. Triple damnation and bugger. Gosh, shucks and gee-whiz. That’ll learn me to only take cheap servo-specs out bush.

            We headed back north towards camp, with a quick hello stop at the house and a check of the various waterpoints. Some enroute maths showed that even with the extra jerrycans and the long-range tank we were going to need a fuel resupply so we elected to head to the nearest town for a lunch / fuel stop.

            A couple of hours later we were enjoying some quality servo burgers with chips and gravy (mmmm) and a couple of ice creams, while the BNT had a full tank again. And I had some servo-specs in my pocket.

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            Re-invigorated, we headed back into the hunt, working our way across a series of dams and bores in the northwest and western areas but with no hits. One I was certain would yield results, the only water for miles and a very attractive location (I would be there if I was a pig!) but nothing, other than a nice photo op.

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            East, then northeast, then back to camp with nil critters sighted. Where are our young eagle-eyed spotters and shooters?

            Showers, dinner – Burnt Ends with aioli, dip and a cheese and cracker plate, then a spag bol followed by a cuppa and some Rocky Road chocolate.

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            It’s been a bloody long day, but worthwhile. 580km, 9 pigs, 20 x 308s.
            "Have more than you show
            Talk less than you know"

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            • #21
              Sunday 3rd

              Bruce had an excellent idea. Instead of the usual routine of the hot, dusty, fly-infested mid-morning pack-up, we should stay an extra night, knock off early this evening and pack up tonight, just leaving the bedding to do in the morning. Bloody good plan.

              Another cool and relaxing night though it took a lot of willpower to not go for a walk at 4am with the shottie, to convince that freakin butcherbird that this is NOT the time and place for a sing-along.

              Out reasonably early again – as the daytime temperatures increase the critters tend to do their eating and drinking earlier and find somewhere to camp for the day. We headed straight for the same trough as yesterday morning, again noting fresh pig prints across our last tyre tracks near that dam. This time we rolled up to the gate as a mob were trotting up to the trough. Again, we quietly got the BNT through the gate while the ferals watched us and kept drinking, only this time we didn’t track towards them, we slowly headed for a cut-off point between them and the scrub. I focussed on driving while Bruce watched them watching us…

              Once we got inside their comfort zone they started trotting toward the scrub, but we were inside them and on Bruces call we hammered direct into their path. We pulled up with time and space to spare and smacked down three of the seven straight away. Then we took off for another intercept and bowled a fourth over before they got into the tall grass. Nice; love it when a plan comes together. They were far enough from the water that we didn’t need to move them, so winning all round.



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              We went on to the big dam where we again did the drive-in but no takers this time. Another dam, another bore, then the bore that we missed the little group of pigs on yesterday. This time we walked around the bottom downwind then up the wall – where Bruce bounced the sods inside the tank. As they bolted past him he barrelled one with the dirty-thirty while the others went full tilt into the acacia grove. I was waiting on the other side with the shottie and as they came out they got the bad news in a big way, only one making it to the shelter of the nearby cattle.

              4/5, loving that! And when you hit a small pig from 10’ away with a 30-30, it bloody stays hit! There was guts spread over ten feet of blood spray pattern – nasty!

              All fat and healthy young snorters; we piled them up in the paddock well away from the bore and troughs and moved on.

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              It was getting very hot as we headed down to the southwest of the property. A series of bores and dams gave us nothing as the thermometer climbed over 42c and we considered maybe tracking back to the camp for the afternoon. We headed in that general direction via some more dams and bores until we came to the dam where last year Benny and I had dropped two boars wallowing in the mud at the waters edge. Sure enough, there was a big red boar in the same spot. Bruces turn, and he drilled it clean with the 308 from maybe 100m. Mr Pig was sufficiently big that we couldn’t get him up the bank by ourselves, we had to hook him up to the BNT and drag him. We left him a km or so down the paddock and continued towards camp.

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              On the way back we came across a rare and valuable artefact, we carefully put it in the back of the BNT for subsequent reverent restoration and display at Camp Bacon

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              Back at camp and by geez it is HOT. Sitting in the shade behind the wall with some cold water and a couple of ham and coleslaw sandwiches, we just rested and waited out the worst of the heat.

              Once it cooled down a bit, we started packing up the non-essentials and rationalising the cold stuff into a single fridge. We took our time and were pretty laid back, taking some time off to do a bit of 22 plinking as well. Once the sun was down we burned all the burnables in the campfire and packed the rest of the rubbish in a bag; with the bulk of the packing done we loaded the canopy back onto the BNT and then took a break for dinner.

              Tonight was some assorted snacks to start, Tex-Mex Nachos on brown rice with corn and salad for mains. How to make melted cheese nachos on melamine plates was a bit of a challenge, but I fired up the blowtorch and it worked a treat.

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              Showers, pack the SmartTek shower up and into bed for the last night. 288km, 9 pigs, 7 x 308s, 6 x 30-30, 3 x 12ga.
              Attached Files
              "Have more than you show
              Talk less than you know"

              Comment


              • #22
                Monday 4th

                I was up early enough that when the rotten bastard bird started warbling I lit him up with the Wolfeyes Seal – he chose discretion over valour and took off tout de suite. Another beautiful sunrise as we packed the last of the gear, had an easy brekky of cereal and coffee then waited to see if the Disco would actually start. Some encouragement via a hammer to the starter motor and it was running, we bid a fond farewell to Camp Bacon and headed for home.

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                We headed off past the local bore for the last time, not particularly looking for any action as I wasn’t keen to run the BNT into the scrub with the box on the back. We went past the next bore – after the last two trips when it had been an unfailing source of feral pork and produced 30+ vermin, I talked it up as The Bore That Just Keeps Giving; but this trip it had failed to produce even the slightest hint of snorter and has let me down big-time. The Bore of Shame. It is dead to me. It is the Bore That Shall Not Be Named.

                Next was the dam where we had regularly seen pig prints over our most recent tyre tracks and as I was wondering whether there would be anything there, the radio let lose with something that I couldn’t quite hear. I turned the BNT around to get better reception and it was Bruce; he has spotted a lone black boar about 300m off the side of the track. Crikey! I drove back and he jumped in the BNT with me (leaving the Disco running in case he couldn’t start it again) and we drove back up the track till we were well behind the spot, then headed overland. I had him spotted now, just out there in the open living his best piggy life. We slowly drove closer, keeping some low bushes between him and us, until at about 120m I reckoned we would be pushing our luck to try to get any closer. Despite spotting it, Bruce graciously gave me the shot and the Porkinator did the honours very nicely.



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                I reckon this was the smartarse that kept walking over our tyre tracks to the nearby dam. He won’t be doing that anymore.

                We resumed our travels and while we checked out a few of the enroute spots, we made it to the boundary without finding anything shootable. We pulled up and ungunned, locking it all away before setting out for the run back to ‘civilisation’. 250km, 1 pig, 1 x 308.

                We made it back to my place without too much stress and after a cuppa with The Bride, Bruce fired up the Disco again and headed for his home, another 11 hours away.
                All up we managed 45 feral vermin, 1760km and 200lt of diesel in the BNT; Bruces Disco would have done maybe 2500km and 200lt of diesel. 44 x 308, 15 x 12ga, some 22s, 10 x 30-30. That brings this year’s feral count to 106 pigs.

                I hope to get out again for a night or two with the kids before I have to go on another training cycle at the end of November; and if the weather stays mostly dry I will take a couple of weeks off at the start of December to hit em again, hopefully with some more players on board!

                Until then…
                "Have more than you show
                Talk less than you know"

                Comment


                • #23
                  Bloody top stuff Mark... And that’s not just the tucker either.

                  Gone the thermal eh.., Certainly finds ‘em for ya.
                  "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
                    Yep, the thermal is a whole new world. Bit pricey but very effective! Don't want to do it too much though, impinges on the social time!

                • #24
                  Love your work MSR and your write ups.
                  decent size boar that red one ey.
                  keep up the good work.
                  Go hard or Go home.

                  Comment


                  • MSR
                    MSR commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Thanks bloke! He were a big old solid bugger alright, couldn't move him at all by ourselves.

                • #25
                  Awesome work!
                  I’m jealous.
                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Forward!
                  Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.

                  Comment


                  • MSR
                    MSR commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Thanks mate, appreciated!

                • #26
                  Sounds like it was another great trip.

                  Hardly need to bother with thermal putting that many rounds in the pigs.

                  It's a different world on those huge Qld farms.

                  Comment


                  • MSR
                    MSR commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Thanks bloke. Its a big place for sure, not the biggest I go to but from the camp to one of the lower paddocks is over 100km so big enuf!

                • #27
                  As always - A great story mate.

                  Comment


                  • MSR
                    MSR commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Cheers Ernk
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