Long walk pays off


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It was that time of the month again; time to head down south in the mountains to one of my favourite hunting properties.

The last time I was there in June, I saw an incredible amount of pig sign and managed to see some unexpected pigs in unexpected spots. I say unexpected obviously because I had no gun with me.

July ended up being a good deer hunt at a different property near the Snowies where I ended up shooting three fallow deer one afternoon. They were perfect to bring home and put in the freezer. August, I had nothing else in my head but PIGS.

The property owner keeps telling me about the good sized boars he sees roaming around, digging up the soft ground that seems to stay soft through most of the year because of the fair amount of rain they keep getting. Hearing this gets me very excited.

Day 1, alarm clock goes off at 4.45am. As I unzip my sleeping bag and roll out of my swag the frost on the ground and sharp cutting cold feeling to my face reminded me that I’m out in the bush in the coldest time of the year in one of the coldest areas in NSW, The Southern Highlands.

I light up the fire only to warm up my body and relieve the numbness being caused by the minus-7 degree mercury reading. I quickly get dressed, warm up some water in a pot to wash my face, quick coffee and biscuits, backpack packed, gun ready and off to the property that I love to walk which is only a five-minute drive down a dirt road from the property owner’s smaller property, which is where  I set up camp.

As I get into the property, I pull up 100m in from the front gate  and the walk begins. The timing is perfect, it’s just starting to become light, just enough for me to see where I want to walk and also to spot anything moving.

I begin to walk along the treelines, looking into the open areas, hoping to see a lone boar walking back into the scrub after a night of feeding. The pig diggings I was seeing were making me more excited than I was already. The freshly dug-up ground steaming as the heat from the ground leaves the dirt and meets the freezing cold air.

As the morning advanced I knew I had missed the pigs walking back to their day time camp, so I decided to walk through the areas that I know the pigs camp up in during the day.

After a long six-hour walk, I thought I’d call it a day, so walked back to the car and then drove back to camp where I knew I’d spend the rest of the afternoon shooting some bunnies that love to jump out of the warrens to get some warm afternoon sun.

That night I went back for a night walk with my LED Lenser M7R clip-on torch, hoping to see a good pig. I wasn’t even 20 minutes into the walk and I saw a good pig walking in the distance but I knew it was too far to get a good shot in;  I didn’t want to risk taking the shot and spoiling it for the morning. So I called it quits and went back to camp and off to bed. (How could he sleep after that? Ed)

Day 2, I woke up five minutes before the alarm clock went off. That never happens on a work day, that’s for sure. The routine is like clockwork, the weather is just as cold as the morning before but my body doesn’t mind it as much; it feels like I’ve been doing this for weeks.

I get to the property and the walk begins again. I take the same path as I watch and listen to every foot step I take trying not to step on any grass that is covered in frost to try and make as little noise as possible.

It’s about 8.30am and the weather at this time is still around 4-degrees, so I keep walking along the treelines looking into the open areas, as I know that pigs stay out till later in the morning when it’s this cold.

Suddenly I spot something black in the distance about 150m away. I couldn’t really make out if it was a pig as the black thing which looked like a pig was standing behind some overgrown grass.

So I looked through my 10×42 binoculars and I couldn’t believe my eyes, PIG! Big pig too. He was busy digging holes in the ground with his snout and I was at a good enough distance for him not to see me and lucky to have the wind in my favour.

I looked around and I happened to see a log not too far from where I was standing; this looked like a perfect spot for me to lean on and take the shot. I kneeled down behind the fallen tree and prepared myself for the shot with my Weatherby .30-06.

I Moved my power up on my Leupold VX3  to 6 power from 4.5 power, which I though was plenty for the distance to the pig. I put one in the chamber and, “CLICK”. Down he went as I aimed just behind his front leg, straight through the heart, using a Federal Soft Point 180-grainer. He dropped right where he was standing, on top of the ground he had just been digging.

He had bigger hooks than I anticipated and he looked like a real rough old mountain boar, so I decided to take the head with as much skin as I could and brought it to the taxidermist for a nice shoulder mount.

I got the shoulder mount back in three weeks, which I thought was very fast. George from Australian Taxidermy Studio in French’s Forest had done a great job.

I personally think that you can never stop learning about hunting, but one thing that I’ve learnt for sure in the past few years is that long walks pay off.

 

This article was first published in the January 2014 issue of Sporting Shooter magazine.

 


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