Wakey, wakey … hands off snakey!

Reid’s dad on the bunnies.

By Reid Hjorth

I jumped at the chance to hunt a new property, timing the visit for when my dad was available. A long overdue father-and-son hunt over three nights came with vague instructions from the farmer regarding our accommodation. The word “shed” got thrown in and I thought all was good; what more do we need? Four walls and roof, we’ll be right.

It’s great to get out and rough it, away from the grind of home, just living basic. And while our new digs didn’t bother me too much, dad wasn’t too happy about my lack of research and the fact that I didn’t bring much to help the situation. Instead of two swags, I just took a couple of small blow up mattresses to save room as I figured we’d be inside. We were “technically” inside a shed – it just didn’t have four walls. The November days were hot for my old man who was on the wrong side of 70, but the nights were still quite cold.

To placate him a bit, I got us out chasing his favourite animal – rabbits. The land near our ‘shed’ was crawling with rabbits. This had the desired effect, us spending the first afternoon popping off bunnies with my Sportco .22LR. We shot dozens of rabbits with Powerpoints, my preferred rabbit ammo, and you couldn’t wipe the smile off the old man’s face. Phew!

Next day was similar, plenty of rabbits around to test us out to maximum .22 range and we had a ball swapping the rifle between us, strolling along, taking it in. My dad hadn’t seen rabbits so thick since he was a young fella and I was enjoying seeing him having so much fun. He did say that he should have brought along his .222 for those extra long shots, but it didn’t really matter in the scheme of things.

The hot day ended, dinner followed with some cold ales and we retired to our “quarters” for a peaceful night … or so we thought.

At Dad’s age, he needs to get up and keep the dust down every few hours. Well, normally not a problem, but when you make up to “#*&@, REID” you know something is wrong.

Semi-counscious, I grabbed the torch and shone it his way. “Oh #*&@” indeed, as I saw a bloody big snake slithering off from his sleeping bag. “You bitten or what?” I shouted out. “I don’t think so,” he said, but his adrenaline was pumping. I followed the snake to verify what sort it was and am relieved to see it was “only” an 8-feet long python.

“Roof” python – genus pythonensis corrugationus

Dad wets the dust down and fills me in on what had just unfolded as he jumps back in his sleeping bag.

As he went to unzip his bag, he put his hand straight on the snake as it was trying to get into the warmth of his bag. Knowing it was brown snake country, he pretty-near soiled his own bag, while yelling expletives in the process. My sleeping bag then got wrapped really tightly around my neck as I tried to drift off back to sleep.

Expect the unexpected, it’s one of the joys of a hunting trip. Dad surely won’t forget it and he can now say, his isn’t the biggest trouser snake he’s put his hands on either.‚ÄÇ




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Marcus O'Dean