was a typical cold morning when we parked the four-wheel drive beside
the gully in the New England tablelands of NSW. The gully was a
beauty, wide, flat and full of long grass with blackberry bushes
intermittently spaced along it. Hunting that morning was Ian,
myself, my two sons and a friend from Bundarra, all looking forward to
getting amongst the mob that had been sighted earlier in the week.
we spread out across the gully the dogs fanned out, eager to be the
first to pick up that elusive scent. My position was on the
extreme right hand side of the gully, a position I found a little
disappointing, as the dogs seemed far more interested in the left hand
side. After a short time with the dogs still on the other side and
becoming quite excited I came to a small blackberry, about three metres
round with a large tunnel bored into the side of it. As I opened
my mouth to ask Ian to bring Beau across to check it out (Beau was doing
his usual, strolling along behind Ian, letting the others do the
finding), a mob of seven pigs ranging from about 40kg to 100kg
(live weight) broke out of the long grass and headed across the
open paddock for the timber on the hill. Some two kilometres later
all seven had been caught with clothing being discarded at each pig as
the day was starting warm up, particularly with the exercise we were
getting. As I had worn light weight overalls with clothing above
them, I was the only one of the adults not stripped down to shorts by
the time Ian and I and Beardy started to drag the largest of the pigs (a sow
that, when dressed for the chiller, weighed 66kg ) back to the truck.
We reckoned that as we had to walk back there anyway to retrieve the
truck and we had a fair drag to to get her out of the scrub, she might
as well come for a walk with us.
luck would have it, we (Ian, myself, the sow and of course, Ian's ever
present shadow, Beau) crossed the gully right beside the bush I'd been
at when the pigs broke. I said that I'd keep dragging the sow across to
the truck (she'd given up trying to argue by this) if he would put Beau
into the bush to check it out. Neither of us believed that
anything would stay there after the commotion we'd made earlier, but
what the hell, we were there anyway. Grabbing Ian's leg tie as
well I set off for the truck, thinking I was a bloody idiot for
volunteering to take the extra weight. "I think there's
something in here" came the cry and as I turned around I was
greeted by the sight of Beau doing an aerial act above the bush.
As soon as he fell back in, a pig chasers version of World War III
broke out. I rapidly rolled the sow and cross tied her legs, eager
to get to the scene of the action. As I got there, Ian gave me a
grin, saying "you're the one with the overalls on".
I crawled into the bush, wondering what I was going to find, I came to
the rear end (someone's on my side, I thought) of, unmistakably, a large
boar. Kneeling upright I grabbed his tail, usually my first
contact with a pig, in front of my nose. "He's a pretty fair
pig, Ian". Grabbing one back leg I pushed, Beau pulled and we
made our way straight out the other side of the bush to where Ian was
waiting. After rolling and cross tying the boar (with
difficulty, the ties weren't made with that size in mind) we loaded both
pigs, then drove a circuitous route across the paddock picking up
discarded clothing, pigs, dogs and very envious hunting mates.
That boar, dressed for the chiller, took a set of 100kg scales right
around and then on to the 40kg mark. We were paid for 140kg but he
was obviously quite a bit heavier than that, considering the gap between
the 100kg and zero marks. I've caught some big hogs, particularly
during the years I hunted with Ian, but he was easily the biggest.