After an extended period of all work and no play I was itching to get out bush, but my new home was far from my established hunting areas. Taking advice from my hunting buddies, I booked a cull hunt with guide Tello Siciliano at Maryvale Safaris in north-western Queensland, near Charters Towers. That was in May 2011, on my first weekend back in Australia after a lengthy work secondment overseas.
It was a pleasant half day’s drive for me to get there. The last 60 kilometres into the property was all dirt with a number of creek fordings, which allowed for a leisurely finish to the journey through some picturesque country.
I had only just arrived and met Tello when Grizz rolled up too. Tello took us to his nearby range to check the sighting of the rifles. Then we had a brief drive about before sunset and were pleased to see a great many Chital deer, and a fleeting glimpse of some hogs.
Back at the homestead we relaxed and chatted with Tello as he prepared a typical hearty dinner. The photo wall was festooned with pictures of happy hunters and their big stags. For trophy hunters, Maryvale turns up some great heads. Unlike most of Tello’s clients though, we were not there to seek a trophy rack.
Grizz and I were just looking for a few days of laid-on, minimal-effort, quality bush time. We each had new rifles and loads we wanted to field trial. The prospect of shooting a few pigs and any cull deer that Tello pointed out was enough for us. We intended to do that while enjoying game spotting, stalking deer just for fun and doing a little photography.
We made early starts each morning. The property is nicely situated on a flowing river set in a lovely flood plain. Several thousand Chital are comfortably settled into the area and mostly live within a few kilometres of the homestead. After a few hours viewing the many deer and conducting a number of stalks we would return for a big cooked breakfast.
There are quite a few pigs in the area and that includes some good boars. Grizz managed to comprehensively flatten a nice boar with his new 450/400 Heym PH double rifle. We also culled a number of inferior stags and some does as part of the management plan for the herd.
On the last day I retired the rifle and concentrated on photography. Tello set me up in a hide for the afternoon and, as the hours passed, a couple of hundred Chital drifted out of the bush to graze all around me. I had a lot of fun just watching the herd and taking photos.
A most enjoyable few days it was. So much so, that I met Grizz and another old mate, Mal, there again in November 2011 for another hunt. That was just as rewarding as the previous trip and we are planning more trips in the future.
Tello is a good host, and an experienced and knowledgeable hunter with access to some excellent country. It is easy to see why a lot of his clients are regulars.
A happy hunter with a Maryvale trophy Chital stag