Bull and Boars Cape Adventure – Craig Gardiner

Finally we touched down after 6000kms and three planes, the last plane had to abort while going half way down the run way due to technical issues.Nine cattle stations later we finally touched down on the gravel homestead runway, when we opened our doors of the small mail plane the heat had smacked us in the face.

I looked over at my mate thinking we are here, this is the cape where men had to be men and boys had to grow up overnight, old mate Nook greeted us on the gravel runway homestead at the mail plane with his 77 cruiser, we jumped in the car and cruised on to our living quarters for the week.

After a quick beer Nook had some suspension repairs that needed fixing before sunset. Nook then gave us the keys to the quad and had drawn us a little mud map to the river to go catch some Barra for supper, we no longer had been there for 45 minutes before we were into it.

We already had been warned about the salt crocs in all the water, blasting down the dusty tracks dodging all the pig diggings which had us grinning hard, we spent the afternoon flicking lures and adjusting to the heat, while we were fishing out of the corner of my eye I spot Mark waste deep half way across the river retrieving his brand new gold bomber.

Mumbling to himself “this has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve done” while I noticing the water rippling behind him. All I could think to myself was “this bloke has got balls or stupid”. I then looked down to see an Inland taipan slithering past me and all I could think was this trip is going to be epic, We spent the afternoon fishing with caution.

The next morning we headed out into the 300,000 acre station which was now our own personal playground, we drove out for about 45 mins until we got to a swamp. Nook said out you get and showed us our map on an iPad and sent us on our way.

While we walked into the swamp we got no more than 100 m in and Mark was leading with his Remington pump 308 loaded with 150 grain nosler accubond, then a big sow popped its head up and “BANG” one clean shot to the head and it was on. It was the first pig I had seen and I was keen to then get one myself, we then marched on through the 37 degree heat and 90% humidity, just two days before I was coming from Perth weather where it has been 16 degrees.

We came across another swamp where it was my turn to lead and we then creeped up into the swap constantly checking the wind as we came into a clearing which we could see onto the off side of the swamp and off to the other side was sitting a family of sows. I instantly brought up my Tika T3 chambered in 300 winmag was loaded up with 180 grain nosler partitions, I then took aim and fired with one clean shot to the heart and lung, I had shot my first pig.

It was high fives all around, but it wasn’t over yet we had to get these elusive boars, we then marched on to the next swamp which we could see to the other side of us we couldn’t believe our luck about 400 meters away we could see at least 30 pigs we stealthy made our way to the other side of the swamp.

Within 30 meters of the pigs Mark and I picked out our targets and began shooting them, I took out 4 pigs and my mate Mark took out 5. What a first day we had! We then walked back to the car and started the long drive back to the homestead, by this time it was already 430 pm in the afternoon, the sun was getting pretty low.

We drove across an open plain, while we were driving out of nowhere a big massive boar walked out of the long grass and stared at us. Nook slammed on the breaks and Mark jumped out of the car, took aim and fired.

Mark took one clean shot to the head. There it was the first boar for the trip and I thought to myself now oh it is on now, as we got over to the boar it had a good set of tusks and if I had to guess it would be about 80 kg, it was a good pig and some good shooting!

Well the first day was over and I was boar less but I was over the moon with the first day adventure we had, if only I knew what was going to happen the next day.

We got back and had supper we were both so exhausted that I went to bed after dinner. The next morning I woke to another beautiful morning in Cape York and a yummy smell of bacon and eggs which I’m glad because I was starving!

After breakfast we were heading off in the old cruiser about an hour and a half drive to our hunting area for the day. It was another really hot day, as we got to the first dried up creek for the day, we jumped out of the car and started our walk, and we walked for about 2 km’s in the full sun before we popped our head around the corner.

A boar was standing there staring at us, the boar then ran up the bank and Mark and I then gave chase after the boar into the open, Mark then took aim and fired at him while he was on the run. Mark hit him twice as the boar had run into the bush out of nowhere the boar then came back running straight back at us, Mark then aimed and fired and the boar then dropped right in front of us it was a close call.

After we removed the boars bottom jaw we then moved on to find our next swamp to stalk, this time I was on point, we walked quietly through the swamp as we did walked we came across a herd of cattle which we stopped and waited for them to move on.

We kept on stalking as we were stalking we came to a bluff on the swamp and standing directly on the other side was a very large boar, he was just standing there trying to figure us out before he could run away I raised my rifle up and took aim and fired, it was a clean shot to the heart and lung, it also was my first boar.

I was so ecstatic giving Mark a high five, we pretty much ran over to the other side of the swamp to retrieve my boar, we then got around there to find him floating in the water. We then pulled him out to find he was a big pig with very good hooks, after we took some pictures of the boar I had just got we then removed his hooks and moved on to the next swamp which looked like piggy heaven with mangroves surrounding the water.

We were walking around the edges and ended up walking through short buffalo grass that looked like it had just been mowed which made it really easy to walk though very quietly. We came to the rounding at the top of the swamp then out of nowhere a massive boar came running out like a freight train.

I brought my rifle up and aimed at the front of his nose and I hit him directly in the chest, the boar cartwheeled over himself I couldn’t believe what had just happened not only did I get the big boar, I also had bowled him over while he was in full flight.

After I had walked over to him both of us couldn’t believe how big this boar was, he was easily over 100 kg’s with very big hooks, I was so over the moon and I gave Mark the biggest high five. We then removed his jaw and we then got picked up in the car by Nook and started to drive over to the next area when an enormous black brahma bull with the biggest horns I have ever seen just calmly came walking out of the bushes.

I then jumped out of the car and hid behind a tree and fired at the big black bull, with one shot straight at the bull I hit him in the neck from about 20 meters away which had dropped the big bull and he hit the floor!

He then tried to get back up and I reloaded and then fired again this time. I got him straight in the head and then it was all over he was down!

I walked over there and his sheer size then came to light, the old battle axe was down he has met his end, by this time it was 5 o’clock and I couldn’t believe the day. I just had full of excitement and a lot of firsts.

I went on to shoot 3 more boars over the remainder of the trip and 20 sows but the barramundi eluded me not for the lack of trying oh well maybe next year I will finally get my dream fish. I had the time of my life and was lucky enough to share this experience with my best mate who I learned so much from since the start of the trip.

In his words my stalking was as quiet as a bull walking through a china shop, by the end of the end of the trip I was able creepup on a boar while it was sleeping and I nailed him in his sleep.

This was defiantly a trip of a life time that is something I am defiantly never ever likely to forget. The whole trip was just full of so many highlights from getting my first boar and scrub bull to watching Mark trying to put a stick in his boars mouth which was bleeding in a swamp.

Realising the stick was too long, Mark had no hands free without realising putting the stick in its mouth to snap it off. The look on Marks face was priceless when he clicked to what he had done! We then burst out laughing which was then known as the piggy stick.

It was now time to go home and back to reality, to the birth of my second child which I hope I didn’t miss , getting back on the plane to take us back home. Mark and myself both slept on the plane rides home dreaming of the adventures we had just made and lifelong memories we had just created!




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