Home Forums Campfire Forum Caught with my pants down…

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    • James HarveyJames Harvey
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      As some of you know, I’ve managed to get my sticky little hands on Elkheart Too, a Shrew Classic Hunter that Gregg Coffey made for Dave P, before making it’s way to a dog sledding Marine Colonel and in turn to lucky ol’ me. I’ve been shooting it ever since, building some confidence before taking into the field. In the mean time I read in the dream hunts thread that Dave would really like to have a go at a fair chase feral hog hunt.

      So today for the bow’s first outing I thought I’d take it to my ever reliable pig laden creek. I might not be able to give Dave a hog hunt but I could give his old bow a crack at it. I decided to do something different today and have a go at a mid day stalk through the dried up creek beds, hoping to find some pigs bedded down in the mud.

      My trek in started at about 10am, a good hours hike from the road, north up the creek to where the excitement tends to happen. The bow (a 2 piece take down) was packed away in my pack, along with carbon arrows (broadheads off in a case) and an unattached bow quiver. The arrow setup was a high FOC tuffhead affair.

      The property owner had told me that his cattle often get down in the broad creek line, but I’d never seen any more than their hoof prints and pies. Today they were there in force. I don’t know if the cattle had any influence in the matter, but I was not seeing or smelling the pig sign that was usually prevalent in the area.

      To give you an idea of the creek, it’s a seasonal, flooding/dried up creek, that is generally between about 50-200 yards wide, with many little ridges and troughs running parallel through it. I pretty much cruise a trough at a time, occasionally easing up over a ridge on either side to look up and down adjacent troughs and regularly stopping to glass.

      I felt a little lacking in confidence given the lack of pig sign, but the wind was steadily in my face, so that was something. Spring has sprung here, and amongst other things that means the butterflies are going berserk, some trees seem to have as many butterflies as leaves. When a tree explodes with butterflies, in a quiet shady little spot, it’s a magical experience!

      Directly up the trough I was stalking, under a beautiful, shady fruit tree that just reeked (figuratively) of a pig’s nap room, I glassed not a pig, but a big wallaby resting away the heat of the day. We’re not allowed to shoot any native animals at all in my state, so he wasn’t an option. Even so I obviously didn’t want to spook him. Wallabies and roos make a big ‘thumping’ racket as they evade predators. Amongst other things the thumping alerts anything within hearing distance that something is up. So I dropped over the ridge to my right and into the next trough, thinking I’d just sneak by unnoticed.

      Well, lo and behold about 30m away was another bloody wallaby having a nap! This was going to be a challenge. Wallabies aren’t herd animals like roos, but I have seen them bed down in pretty large numbers, taking advantage of herd protection without completely opting in to the lifestyle. They’re a bit ‘herd curious’ πŸ˜‰ Figuring there wasn’t likely going to be an easy way through I had a go at sneaking by everyone, taking advantage of the quiet, sandy creek bed. I had to pause when a passing bush turkey stirred one of the wallabies and thought the scene was neat enough to risk getting the camera out…

      Luckily he pretty quickly nodded off again, letting me get by. I ended up counting 4 wallabies, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if there were plenty more in adjacent troughs.

      I couldn’t tell you why they didn’t spook when I got upwind of them. Maybe because we don’t hunt them scent isn’t enough to get them thumping away?

      Soon after the socially confused wallabies, I finally found what I was looking for. Through my binos, under the shade of some dense eucalyptus by the main creek, I spied the straight edged back of a four legged animal bedded down. And too small to be one of the cattle… it could only be one of the hogs I’d been looking for! Alas, through all of this, the bow and tackle had been neatly stowed in my pack. Right there, 20 yards away was my intended prey, and my proverbial pants were down around my ankles! That began a very intense 10-15 minutes of taking off my pack, lying down out of sight, easing zippers open, putting a bow together, screwing tuffheads into shafts and strapping a quiver onto a bow. Thank all the gods of the hunt (or sometimes predictable thermal effects) for that steady nor’ easter in my face.

      Naturally right about when I was finished with my bow and looking at my pack and binos laying there on the ground and trying to decide if I should just leave them there or try to put them back on, the wind shifted. We don’t often get southerlies here, but when they come they’re strangely inconvenient. I almost went down with hypothermia one night when I was caught out on a bald hilltop with nothing but the clothes on my back as a freezing southerly blew steadily all night long, seemingly directly from Antarctica. This southerly wasn’t going to give me hypo, but if there’s one thing pigs are good at, it’s smelling and this wind was blowing my sweaty stink directly at him. Unsurprisingly there was a flash and a crash as he got up and ran away. What was surprising was that it wasn’t a pig. It was a chital deer. A little buck no less.

      Now I’ve seen chital in this part of the world before, but always in herds and always from a distance. This was a lone antlered fellow disappearing silently up the creek. I’m sure for you Americans this wouldn’t be cause for much fuss, but this was by far and away the closest I’ve ever been to a wild deer and the phrase ‘breath taking’ seems rather apt. Apologies to Dave, but all thoughts of hogs were dashed from my mind.

      I took a few minutes to come up with a plan and let this southerly leave me in peace. It didn’t, so I figured my only hope was to box around and more or less guess where my new friend would have relaxed and try to cut in on a cross wind. So that’s what I did, or tried to do. Luckily there was a distinct open patch for 50 yards or so before running into some more dense foliage, so that gave me something to aim for. In I came from the east, really taking my time, 2-3 steps, glassing, so on and so forth, hoping to see an antler or straight line of a back. I worked my way in a fair ways with no sign of a buck. I figured he must have run a bit further on when he exploded out of a little hollow about 10 yards right in front of me. I had been looking right over the top of him! This time he wasn’t silently gliding away, he was galloping, back legs all akimbo as he tore off. I figured I wasn’t likely to see him again today. So I sat down for a late lunch, took stock of the beautiful day I’d spent out in the bush and walked back out to the road.

      Jim

    • Vintage Archer
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      Post count: 276

      JIM

      Great story. You certainly have a knack for writing and story telling. I always look forward to ,and enjoy. your post.

      I do have to ask why you pack your bow and arrows rather than caring them in your hand at the ready. Is this because of a law or through choice because of the long trek to the hunting area?

      Thanks again for the great story.:D

    • grumpygrumpy
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      Post count: 962

      Great story, thanks.

    • Brennan Herr
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      Post count: 403

      Jim,

      Thanks for sharing. Hope you get another crack at that deer. Great pictures as well!

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      Sippin’ coffee on a snowy Sunday morning, this was the perfect thing to read, Jim. Observations I think we can all relate to, no matter where we hunt, combined with things I’ve never considered, like wallaby navigation! While it may not always be the most “productive” way to hunt if all one cares about is meat in the freezer, our bowhunting experiences are as rich and educational as we let them be, and this story is a great example. Please keep sharing your hunting experiences with the rest of us, and good luck!

    • Ptaylor
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      Post count: 573

      Hey great story Jim.

      Why can’t you hunt native animals? Are they endangered or is it a social decision?

    • David Petersen
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      Post count: 2749

      Jim — I almost never read “Me and Joe” hunting yarns, but you pulled me right in on this one. Be prepared for many deserved jokes about you waiting until game is in sight to assemble your gear. Is that Aussie military training? Reminds me of a wealthy Texas rifleman I once guided for elk, who carried his custom Seika in a case through the whole hunt. As with your hunt, no animal was harmed but the weaponry went home safe and unscratched. πŸ˜† Believe me, the little Shrew isn’t that delicate. I guess it’s true what they say about folks doing everything upside-down in Ozzieland.

    • paleoman
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      Post count: 918

      Always enjoy the stories you have down there in upside down land:lol: How big do your piggies get down there?

    • Vintage Archer
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      Post count: 276

      David Petersen wrote: Jim — I almost never read “Me and Joe” hunting yarns, but you pulled me right in on this one. Be prepared for many deserved jokes about you waiting until game is in sight to assemble your gear. Is that Aussie military training? Reminds me of a wealthy Texas rifleman I once guided for elk, who carried his custom Seika in a case through the whole hunt. As with your hunt, no animal was harmed but the weaponry went home safe and unscratched. πŸ˜† Believe me, the little Shrew isn’t that delicate. I guess it’s true what they say about folks doing everything upside-down in Ozzieland.

      DAVE P

      Gosh It did not dawn on me Jim was protecting the bow.:idea:

      That is a compliment to you Dave. You should not be so hard on him.:wink::wink: We probably should not make fun of him while he is still sleeping. But it is fun anyway.:o I am glad he also protected those broadheads. They are real precious especially when you have to ship them to the other side of the world.:D:D …..Jim is a good sport…I hope he wakes up on the right side of the bed:D

    • RalphRalph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2544

      Shipping to high for replacement parts right?:wink:

      Good story Jim.

      Good to just “get out”, uh!

      Me too, curious too why not weapon in hand.

    • James HarveyJames Harvey
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      Post count: 1130

      Thanks fellas, rest assured there is no offence taken πŸ˜†

      I just like to take opportunities to practice things and I figured the stomp in was an opportunity to try packing the bow and kit up, seeing how I could pack it and then have to put it all together in the field. To be honest I usually run into a fair bit of fresh pig sign before I see any pigs and had it in mind to put everything together when I thought I was close. Then everything just kind of happened and I got caught out. I was kicking myself for not having it all ready to go when it turned out to be a deer, with a perfect breeze wasted stuffing about.

      At least I know I can do it all pretty quietly if need be. Silver linings and all that πŸ˜‰

    • Col MikeCol Mike
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      Post count: 910

      Jim

      Great story and pictures. And I’m glad you haven’t noticed the scratch or so that I put on the bow when I fell out of the hammock seat in one of my silent waiting positions::D

      Don or mom I think you guys should prompt him for an article.

      Although some translation may be in order–“Akimbo”.

      Jim it really isn’t as heavy as that squad auto your used to carrying–the drill goes something like this–bow in bow hand when game is close take arrow and load–that’s the safe position draw and release when game is really close. Then write report of what a great bow it is and Joe’s tuffheads.

    • James HarveyJames Harvey
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      Ptaylor wrote: Why can’t you hunt native animals? Are they endangered or is it a social decision?

      They’re not endangered Preston, it’s just a result of our relatively weak hunting culture. The only socially accepted justification for hunting here is killing feral animals. There’s no hint of game management unfortunately.

    • James HarveyJames Harvey
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      Post count: 1130

      paleoman wrote: How big do your piggies get down there?

      I’m not sure paleo, I’ve never seen any properly huge boars like fellas seem to find up in the Cape of far north Queensland. Our Australian Bowhunters Association actually keep trophy records for boar tusks. John Teitzel, who until recently owned and made Tusker Broadheads is always taking trophy class boars, but he lives a good 300km further north than me and goes north to hunt most of the time.

    • Patrick
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      Post count: 1148

      Due to the title, I was very reluctant to open the thread. I’m glad I did though, as it was a good read…and thankfully, there were no pictures of you with your pants down!

    • tailfeather
      Post count: 417

      Enjoyed that, Jim.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      I bet wallaby is delicous…. πŸ˜‰

    • Ptaylor
      Member
      Post count: 573

      ausjim wrote: They’re not endangered Preston, it’s just a result of our relatively weak hunting culture. The only socially accepted justification for hunting here is killing feral animals. There’s no hint of game management unfortunately.

      What kind of state are the native wildlife in then? Not endangered but not managed. Seems like if they were out of control (either ecologically or socially) then folks would call for management. But they don’t, maybe cause they don’t know, never go in the bush? Or the animals are doing fine without being managed?

    • James HarveyJames Harvey
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      Ptaylor wrote: What kind of state are the native wildlife in then? Not endangered but not managed. Seems like if they were out of control (either ecologically or socially) then folks would call for management. But they don’t, maybe cause they don’t know, never go in the bush? Or the animals are doing fine without being managed?

      So property owners are allowed to shoot or pay someone to shoot roos and wallabies if they’re competing with stock for graze – but only firearms. In my state there is no public land hunting at all (only 2 of our states have it). So management is more or less up to station owners. In public land, they seem to go in cycles of boom or bust, probably pretty closely related to rainfall and droughts. When the boom gets too big, the state government pays professional shooters an absolute fortune to cull the population. For some reason that’s more acceptable to the urban voting base.

      We do have state and federal agencies and people dedicated to wildlife management, but pretty much all their time is tied up in keeping the endangered animals of Australia alive and kicking. Unfortunately hunting is not seen as real value adder to the issue.

      Steve Irwin was actually leading the way in conservation in my state, using the income from his shows and park to buy up stations and properties through north Queensland, setting them aside as uninterfered with wildlife habitat. He was a loud mouth and not everyone’s cup of tea, but he put his money where his mouth is.

      edit: I should point out that there are plenty of endangered wallaby species, but the fella above is not one of them πŸ˜‰

    • James HarveyJames Harvey
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      Smithhammer wrote: I bet wallaby is delicous…. πŸ˜‰

      The backstraps of the eastern grey kangaroo is my favourite cut of meat that walks the earth. I can only imagine their smaller, cuter cousins are also delightful πŸ˜‰

    • Alexandre Bugnon
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      Post count: 681

      Nice! Thanks for sharing, Jim!

    • Ptaylor
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      Post count: 573

      Thanks for the info Jim. Its really interesting how other countries oversee their wildlife.

    • William WarrenWilliam Warren
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      Post count: 1384

      Jim,

      Great pics and hope you get one of those piggies. Now, in the first pic of the wallaby I think I’m seeing a turkey-like bird in the upper left corner of the pic. What bird is that or am I just seeing things?

      Duncan

    • James HarveyJames Harvey
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      You weren’t seeing things Duncan, the bush turkey came scruffing through, kicking up leaves looking for food and stirred the wallaby awake πŸ˜‰

      Here’s a link with some info about them (in every bit of literature I’ve read they’re called ‘brush turkeys’ but I’ve never heard anyone ever call them anything except ‘bush turkeys’):

      http://www.wildlife.org.au/wildlife/speciesprofile/birds/brushturkey.html

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