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Back Home Again

Back home again, you beauty, canít wait to get out in the bush and bust a couple. After relocating to the coast for work, I like nothing better than heading back over the mountain and breathing in some of that fantastic New England air, and what better way is there than going Ďpigchasiní.

I normally catch up with a few mates and organise a couple of quick runs before I need to head east again, but this time I had other things to do, a hunt being the last thing on my mind. After calling in to see Clarky and Jo, he convinced me a short hunt wouldnít go astray, between you and me he didnít have to be very convincing, so a hunt was planned early the following day.

Thereís one thing I didnít miss when I moved to the coast, the 3.30am starts, but you canít catch them in bed. We had about an hours drive in front of us, and after doing the roo run, finally arrived at the property and while letting the dogs do their thing after being cooped up for an hour, we discussed the proposed route and what our success rate may be.

The country consisted of fairly steep hills and deep gullies, covered by very thick waist high grass, which really makes the dogs work hard for success. We planned on driving the tracks, and letting the dogs work off the back, this style of hunting was created for us old blokes after the invention of ĎUte Findersí. Both dogs, Ned and Max were experienced with this type of hunting and more than capable of catching pigs in the heavy cover.

The first few kilometres saw us climbing up a fairly substantial ridge and at this stage no hint of dawn in the east, then about half a K shy of the top, the dogs jumped and disappeared into the grass. We could hear them pushing through the grass about 20 meters from the truck, a couple of minutes passing with the dogs methodically working an area of around 100 square meters, before we heard a boar Ďblowí, just a whoosh of air and a grunt as he voiced his disgust at being found and he was out of there big time.

Both Clarky and I couldnít believe our luck, an easy one to start the day, but this old hog must have known the drill; he blew both dogs off, and it took a lot of walking and calling before we finally found them at the bottom of the ridge about an hour later. The climb back to the vehicle really took it out of the dogs, not to mention this old fart, being summer the temperature was now in the mid 30ís and climbing.

The dogs were that hot they were starting to stagger, so first priority was to get them to water. We were nearly to a dam when the dogs jumped again, initially we thought they could smell the water and couldnít wait to get there, but they ignored it completely. By the way they were working the ground; pigs had been feeding on the lush growth around the dam and adjacent gullies. The heat was still having an effect on the dogs and they were doing it tough, and we were just about to call them in when they found a boar holed up in the long grass.

The dog god kicked in here and the boar bolted straight into the dam, and although the dogs were holding him they were at least cooling down to a certain degree. Clarky quickly grabbed the pig and dragged him out of the dam, threw him and stuck him as fast as he could. The dogs could now have a drink and get a well deserved rest. The boar was around the 50 kilo mark and only a young pig by the look of him. We gutted and hung him on the back to fill the freezer for the dogs.

We were now even, pigs one, dogs one as we headed off to drive by a thick patch of scrub and some big gullies. The next couple of Kís revealed nothing other than a bit of nosing here and there that indicated sows and suckers had been through a couple of days ago. Half way up another ridge the dogs jumped again and headed off around the face of the ridge, looking very keen. Clarky and I followed as fast as we could; finally reaching a good vantage point looking out over the country the dogs were working. Glimpses of the dogs indicated they were working the whole ridge face and the full length of a big gully with no results. Once or twice they started heading back but would cross fresh scent and away they would go again.

We eventually called them in, ever mindful of the increasing temperature and the chance of over heating the dogs. Back in the truck we decided we would take the shortest track out of the property and call it a day. We hadnít gone three hundred meters when Clarky spotted a good boar about half a kilometre away making a run for it. We decided to try and cut him off on foot, heading around the top of the gully he was last seen disappearing into. Trying to run through waist high grass on a very steep hill was bloody hard going but we persevered, finally making it around the gully just in time to see him go up over the top on the other side.

We continued on, already having given it a good shot we didnít want to throw it in now. We finally reached the spot he was last seen, with the dogs long gone by this stage. A netting fence line ran around the top of the ridge and we assumed he would have followed this as we started following the fence in what could be best described as a staggering stagger. Now; we were in danger of over heating, and we do this for fun eh.

We carried on for around a hundred meters before we pulled up to listen for the dogs, well thatís the excuse we used anyway. When we eventually heard them they were over the fence, down in a big gorge that really took some effort to remain on our feet while trying to close the gap. The whole way down we were commenting that it wouldnít be so bad if we didnít have to come back the same way.

We eventually got to the dogs and despatched the boar they had been holding for around 10 to 15 minutes. He was around the 60 kilo mark with a good set of fangs, particularly for this area. Inspecting the dogs for damage, we were relieved to find only superficial wounds before finding a good puddle of water for the dogs to cool down. A few photos later we then crawled, and I mean crawled back out of the gorge.

When we finally got back the vehicle we were completely done, Clarky did a bloody good job finding the energy to push in the clutch. Then; like that first pig we found but didnít catch, we were out of there, big time.





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