Gentlemen Hunters


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After the long 11 hour drive, it was great to roll up to Alex’s house and settle myself in.  Having left the front door unlocked for me, it was not long before my gear was stored in the allotted room, Tony and Alex then rolled up an hour later.  It was great to meet up once again and after a cuppa and a quick yak we were off into the hills to do a bit of fox whistling.  Naturally I took my .358Mitchell express along with us just in case, even though while we were fox whistling my firearm would be Tony’s shotgun.
Rolling up close to the first stand, we walked the 500meters over the hill to get away from the truck, where Tony set up the camera and started whistling.  Tony uses a Tenterfield type whistle mostly, but now and then used the old button whistle for the closer ones.  After a fair bit of whistling, nothing had come in so we headed back to the truck and drove to another likely spot, set up and started whistling again.  While Tony blew his whistle and me sitting in front of Tony with his shotgun, Alex stayed well back behind a tree or bush and took photos.  This happened quite a few times and the foxes just didn’t seem to be around.  Then next thing Tony whispered,” Here he comes”  A red fox was coming in, his tail held high and trying hard to wind whatever was making the noise. Closer and then closer he came and it wasn’t long before he was close enough and at the blast from the shotgun he just dropped flat.  
After taking some more film and photos, off we went again in search of more foxes.  It appeared that this spot had been hit pretty hard over Easter and the following weekend by other hunters and friends of the farmers and the foxes were either whistle shy, or had been shot.  Sneaking from spot to spot, soon we had another fox coming in to the whistle.  This bloke was very hesitant and stopped at around 40meters turning ready to bolt.  A blast from the shotgun dropped him, with a second shot making sure of him.  More photos were taken and a bit more film as Tony was making a movie that would soon be released and some of this footage would be used.   Another fox was shot a while later but that time with my rifle instead of the shotgun.  That afternoon it was off to another spot to try for a buck.  Getting to the top of a good gulley, sitting and waiting patiently we were soon rewarded with some heavy croaking from a decent sounding fallow buck.  Tony and I set off to try to get onto him, the wind being right, it seemed he was in the perfect spot for us to score.  Getting to within 50meters of where he was croaking, the wind suddenly turned and like shutting off a light switch the buck went silent.  Sneaking slowly in closer we knew it was too late, he was long gone and along with him his girls.
For the next couple of days Tony’s son Michael turned up and came out with us. Alex and Michael went one way while Tony and I were sneaking around the back of another hill.  While looking intently for game a pig was spotted rooting up the dirt looking for goodies.  Getting the camera ready, Tony gave me a wave, sneaking in to around 60 meters and taking a lean off a wire on a fence, the shot was taken and the young boar dropped on the spot.  As he dropped two smaller pigs came running up the side of the hill and stopped side by side.  Bang went the .358ME once again and down went both pigs with the one shot.  Pretty good as it was all on film too.  Alex and Michael turned up soon after and had a look at the pigs.  Photos taken we carried on back to the vehicle and then went to another spot for more fox whistling.  Wanting to get one fox on film going down to a shot from the .358Mitchell express we tried a couple of different spots.  Soon Tony had another fox heading in fast and when he stopped really close, the boom of the .358ME shattered the silence and he dropped at the shot, although pretty spectacularly. A bit more of a talk on camera and some more photos before we were off again.  Another fox was shot that day and the following day we hunted hard for a decent fallow buck and more pigs. The next night, unfortunately Tony and his son Michael had to head off home.
 Morning came and Alex and I were off early to yet another property.  In this area Alex had seen a few deer recently, so there was hope our luck might change a bit. Sneaking up a very steep hill and getting to the top just as the sun was starting to rise, still puffing and panting from the steep climb, a good spot was found to scan a large area of the steep country.  Looking intently through my binoculars a movement caught my eye. A couple of fallow does could be seen coming over the top of a hill and behind them there was a reasonable buck.  Alex said,” Go for it Ted he looks OK, he also has a nice cape the right colour and we do need a couple of capes.”  Sneaking quietly off up the side of the hill, slowly I made my way to a spot above the deer.  The does were in sight but the buck was down lower and then another spike buck walked out on top of the adjacent hill and looked straight at me; sprung.  Freezing, all that could be done was wait hoping the big buck came into sight before the spiker took off in fright taking the other deer with him.  Suddenly the buck walked up into sight and turned his head looking straight at me.  Not wasting any time the scope was on him quickly and a squeeze on the trigger of my .358ME sent a 185grain ACP projectile through him, dropping him on the spot.  Alex came over and we headed across the steep gully and took some film and photos and naturally the cape.  
Getting back to the truck a drink was on the cards as the hills we had just walked were really steep and then Alex said he would try to call a fox in from a close by blackberry bush.  Well the first fox came in like a hungry kid after a bag of lollies. Waiting for Alex to say fire as he was filming I waited too long as the wind shifted and scenting us he turned and took off, bugger.  The next stand Alex called in yet another fox and this time I lined it up and shot him with a 185grain ACP from the .358ME, sort of rearranging him a bit much for good photos.  That afternoon we hunted the same hill that the buck was on a couple of days previously and had good enough luck to spot him with a few does around 400meters away.  As luck would have it while trying to get closer some kangaroos took off from in front of us and scared the deer also, oh well, that’s hunting.  Alex and I checked out the hill where the buck had seemed to come from and it was full of thrashed trees and scrapes, this was certainly his home turf.  The hill was checked out pretty well, even climbing the steep side of the mountain for a decent look around and familiarized ourselves with the whole area, naturally hoping to hunt it again a few days later.  That night Tony rang and said he would be coming back for another couple more days with us, great as his company was especially enjoyed.
Heading off again the following morning we tried again for foxes and the wind was playing havoc with us. A few times Tony called them in so far and then wind chased them away.  Getting back to the truck, Alex started doe calling trying to call in a buck that had earlier let out a couple of half baked croaks on the far hill.  Amazingly I spotted this buck come running out about 400plus meters away and he started coming down the hill.  He was a beautiful menil buck with a lovely cape and thick neck and just what was needed to mount a similar buck previously shot with a bad cape.  While the camera rolled, Alex kept meowing his doe calls and the buck just kept on coming.  Closer and then closer, at 130meters he stopped and looked up at us, the boom of the .358ME rang out and he dropped at the shot as the 185grain projectile hit him hard.  Wow, fancy getting all that on film too.  After getting down the side of the hill, the normal film work and talk plus photos were undertaken and then he was caped and some meat taken from him.  A lot of rough driving was done the rest of that day covering heaps of rough ground.  More fox hunting was undertaken and a few more foxes taken, a fair mob of goats were spotted and also a few deer but no big Billies and no big bucks.
The following morning we had two new payers in the game with Chris and Tom Burton rolling up at Alex’s.  Alex set off with Chris and Tom, while Tony and I decided to partake of a serious hunt for the big buck Alex and I had seen a couple of days prior.  Our hunt was a resounding success and will be told in full detail in another later article as too much was involved in our hunt to write about here in a couple of paragraphs. Our last day together was a great day and while whistling foxes, Tony and I were lucky enough to spot another decent buck that we were able to point the other guys in its direction as young Tom really wanted a nice fallow buck.  Things turned out perfectly for our last couple of days and will be told in more detail in another upcoming article. Just want to say, ‘Thank you Gentlemen’, for a great week away.
Ted Mitchell Snr


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