This morning I began to test the AJ Productions game caller that hales from New Zealand. The game calls used on the caller are sourced locally, from NZ and Australia. The unit has a good reputation amongst deer hunters and, more interesting to me, for calling wild dogs. The unit is modestly priced and may soon be more readily available through Australian retail outlets.
The wild dog breeding season is just beginning and will run through the next couple of months, so it is a perfect time to test a dog caller. The wild dog card features a lone dog contact howl as well as a couple of tracks featuring a pair of dogs in concert. There are also two tracks featuring distress calls of small game. I will be doing a more in depth review of the AJ Productions caller for the SSAA magazine in due course, after I have tried it on dogs and deer.
Despite a convincing series of howls and squeals in one of my more productive locations I did not get any answering calls or see any dogs. Most likely, breeding season fervor has not kicked in there just yet. That will change any day soon, so I will be revisiting that location and trying some more. The morning was not without interest and excitement even though no dogs appeared.
A Wedge-tailed Eagle came swooping down low before banking and lining up my decoy for an attack run. That alone told me location, under a fig tree with a screen in front was effective camouflage. Eagles have wonderful eyesight and the fact that the bird never picked me up on its first reconnaissance swoop was a vote of confidence in my concealment. However, I had to save my rather battered decoy from another savaging (not its first by any count), so I broke cover and waived my hat at the incoming eagle. That worked and the big sub-adult bird broke off and quickly disappeared.
I was also using a lightweight, portable hide for the first time. I had been wanting one for some time and even attempted a couple of home-made versions that did not work out too well. Recently, while browsing the internet, I chanced up a photo of what looked perfect for me; the Ameristep 4-Spur Blind with Realtree camo and had it delivered for less than $40. It comes as a bundle 84cm long and 5cm diameter, weighing 0.45kg with a convenient shoulder strap.
The Ameristep 4-Spur Blind is composed of three lightweight polyester fabric panels in Realtree green camo. The hide can be set up as a 2400cm long hide screen that can contain several hunters, or as three-sided wrap-around square of 81cm for a single hunter. It can be set up in seconds. The height of the blind panels is 68cm. There are four integral four carbon fibre poles and wind tie-downs. On a calm day I do not bother using the wind straps.
Walking back to the vehicle, along a muddy track through thick rainforest I was pleased to see fresh pig tracks and rootings from early this morning. There had been some good rain over night. In fact, it was raining when I got up this morning and I had to wait an hour or two for a break in the weather. There were repeated misty showers while I was calling for dogs.
Luckily, I was using my walking staff and keeping an eye open for snakes, as I always do. Walking along an overgrown cattle pad on my way to the car I was fortunate to detect the presence of 1.5 metres of Brown snake right beside the track. Its business end was pointing my way and another step would have placed my foot only 20cm from its head. I was wearing my Muck Woody Sports Boots for both the boggy conditions and the protection from snakes afforded by the knee-high, thick-skinned sides of these boots.
I paused and, after very carefully surveying my immediate surrounds for a possible mate to the snake I could see, took a few photos. Other than the flicker of its tongue, the snake never moved, and I suspect it was primarily trying catch a bit of sunshine and warm itself after a cool, wet night. I gave it a generous detour and headed for the car. I am also posting some short video clips of the AJ Productions caller on my Instagram account as well – https://www.instagram.com/aussiehunter333/ .