Australian Gulf Country Monsters ~ Mitchell King

It was a week before Christmas and Townsville had been hit by a massive storm and my local Bow hunting destination for Christmas 2015 had been completely flooded.  The property I had organized for my Christmas hunt had said, “Sorry no access.”  So, I jumped on the phone, desperate to find new access to go hunting.  After a few hours, I struck gold!  The property owner said, “Sure mate, come on up.  See you in 3 days.”  Three days rolled around and with my four wheel drive packed, I headed seven hours Northwest to a small town called Croydon. After fuelling up and a quick phone call to the owner for secondary directions, I was cruising down the road; smiling as I left the bitumen and hit the dirt road that lead to the hunting ground.

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Driving into the house yard, I was met at the front gate by a very cranky woman telling me to, “Go away!  No pig hunting allowed!” After explaining to her that I had driven seven hours and that I had spoken to the owner previously, (who I will refer to as “Bill”) who had said I was welcome, her mood changed and she turned her aggression to Bill. After all the commotion settled, introductions were made and over a cup of coffee, the rules set by the owner and a mud map of the property was thrust into my hand. Their last words were, “Don’t get lost!” (the property is over 1 million acres).

After finding a nice spot to camp by a creek and camp was established, I was ready to set out on foot.  I had literally walked seven hundred meters from camp and found pigs bedded up on a little muddy pool.  In no time, shoes were off and I was on the stalk.  As I made it to thirty meters, I was busted by another mob and all hell broke loose as sixty pigs erupted from around me.  Adrenalin was pumping hard as I watched pigs disappear after running straight past me.  I was pumped and it was only the first day!   After returning to camp, I pulled out the GPS, studied the mud map and made my plan for the second day.  With a good hearty feed in my belly and clear starry night, I hit the hay.

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Day two rolled around and I woke up to pigs fighting over a sow less than one hundred meters from camp.  I lit out, bow in hand, and with no time to even get dressed, and closed the gap to twenty meters.  My 1first arrow was on its way on a hard quartering away shot.  The arrow drove clean through the short rib and out the offside shoulder, and he was off, leaving a good blood trail.  I headed back to camp, put on some clothes, shoes and pack and was off to find my first pig. Sure enough, I found him dead at the edge of a small creek.  Shortly after seeing my pig, I noticed a saltwater crocodile approaching.  Helpless, I sat back and watched as the crocodile grabbed the pig and disappeared into the murky depths.  I just stood there in disbelief as to what had just happened. Back to the vehicle I headed for a drink and push on, to explore the property and find more honey holes.

After the next two days of exploring and finding some good pigs, all I was left with was failures due to wind changes or bad stalks.  At one point I was even lost when the GPS died.  Thinking I had spare batteries but didn’t, I was left hunkered down in the scrub, listening to the wild noises of this remote area. After a sleepless night, dawn broke and there was enough light to retrace my steps.  I found a fence line I had driven past, got my bearings and made my way to the vehicle.  Four hours later, dehydrated and beat, I made it back to camp.  Much water led to deep sleep.  After waking to a nice rain,  I welcomed the forty degrees celsius temperature in spite of the ninety seven percent humidity.  It was a nice change, and after rearranging camp to keep my gear dry, I cooked dinner and took note of how lucky I was to have made it out.

The next day brought a late start, as I was still recovering from my adventure. Upon exploration, I found a rather large, man-made dam.  It had lilies in the water, with good shade.  After making sure I had conditions in my favor,  a lonesome, gnarly looking boar came in and bedded up.  I made my approach within fifteen meters, got comfortable and calmed my breathing before going to full draw and sending an arrow through his brisket.  He exploded to his feet and then fell back in his bed where he expired.  I was ecstatic!  I sat there for five minutes before I even approached, thinking of everything that had happened on this trip, that led to this moment.  This boar was not only my first of the trip, it was  also my biggest bowhunting achievement.   I shed a tear and thought how lucky I was to be alive and so proud to be a bow hunter. After a few photos and taking the skull to be boiled out, I made my way back to camp. As I sat next to the fire that night, it was so pleasing to reflect on how the day had unravelled.

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The next day of the hunt found me pretty keen to get up and at it.  I made my way to a dam and found a big barra boar (a boar with no testicles).  He got out of his bed and starting feeding away from me.  I watched this ginger motley colored pig bed down again, so my shoes were off and quick ground was made to close the gap to twenty five meters.  I made the shot count and the boar only made it twelve meters before expiring.  I took a quick moment to think of the hunt,  a few pics and I was off to hunt the rest of the dam.  Unfortunately, the heavens opened up and rain fell, so I sat there and enjoyed my second shower of the trip and the end of the day’s hunt.

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The next day, I woke up to torrential rain, so it was time to head home.  With the creeks turning into rivers, I made it back to the homestead, had a chat with Bill and his now lovely wife, telling me I was welcome back anytime. I then made the 7 hour journey back to Townsville, where I welcomed a hot shower, a comfortable bed, and proud reflections of my first solo hunt into a remote part of Australia.

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