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Hunter’s Diary: Hearing is not the same as listening

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After parking the car on an overgrown track, we started to walk through heavy timber. The colour of grass started to blend into the grey trap rocks as we walked further from the car. As so often happens when filled with excitement, it didn’t take long for my mind to start playing tricks.

We had only walked roughly 250 metres when I stopped to listen. I truly believe my brain was making up sounds, as I thought I could hear, very faintly, a goat bleating.

I turned to my mate with excitement and asked if he’d heard anything. He had not.

This process reoccurred several times as we pushed up to the top of some heavily covered rocky hills.

By this stage we had walked about 1.5km and had only seen wallabies. Feeling tired from the walking, and seeing no new goat sign, we sat down on an outcrop to have a drink and a breather.

Sweat rolled down our backs and the shade from the trees seemed to do very little.

Opening Avenza maps, we made the decision to keep pushing on and to circle around a feeder creek. It was a steep descent and heavily timbered.

The wind was our enemy as it was constantly swirling while we walked down. We bumped a few roos that ended up scaring the daylights out of us. We both froze and realised we had to try to walk more quietly.

As we were discussing this, we heard a definite goat bleat. There was no mistaking it!

We continued walking down the hillside into the gully where we believed it had come from, stopping every five metres to reassess. We heard the goat several times before I saw it.

With my limited experience I didn’t know how hard it would be to spot, even with the contrast between the grass and the colour of the goat. The white stripe gave it away, though.

Being so thickly timbered, having a rest to shoot from wasn’t a problem, but getting a clear shot was. I told my mate to stay put and I walked another 10 metres.

My heart was pumping as I waited for a broadside shot. The nanny goat turned and I squeezed the trigger. The .223 let out a boom and the goat dropped.

Shooting my old Remington 700 VSSF, loaded with 55gr Sierras, this was my first state forest kill.

I honestly do not believe I heard that goat from 1.5km away, but of course I told my mate I knew all along where they were. 

By Jake Turnbull




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