A Copybook Perfect Afternoon
I had planned on an early morning stake-out over the carrion and then to swap out the trail camera card. However, a thick fog rolled in during the night so instead, I slept in this morning. When an expected afternoon visitor cancelled, I took the opportunity for a quick trip to change over the camera SD cards. I like to check them every couple of days.
Howling them in
After swapping the trail camera cards, I made my way up the spur to sit over the carrion until dark. I was not expecting any success as, for the last couple of weeks, all the action had been at night and early morning. Three-quarters of an hour passed quickly, the sun set and night began to fall. I stowed my binoculars and Primos Third Degree caller in my backpack. Stowing my binoculars has become a bit of a good luck talisman for me lately.
The neighbouring farmhouse is just over the crest of a ridge, nearly a kilometre away. I could see the roof from my spot on the slope. Around sunset, their stock dogs began to raise a ruckus. Those dogs are normally pretty quiet, but now they sounded riled up.
While I had been expecting to see a pig or dog appear directly in front of me at the carrion, the disturbance amongst the stock dogs off at ninety degrees to my left sounded promising. After a minute or two, the dogs ceased barking, but I kept glancing that way.
Suddenly, I noticed a black speck about 500 metres away, where no black speck had been before. I retrieved my Swarovski 10×25 binoculars and had a look. Sure enough, a black wild dog was sitting there and seemed to be staring fixedly straight at me. I was settled into a slight depression, behind a tuft of grass, my favourite spot on that slope. The dog may have noticed a slight movement when I was packing up but could not work out what I was.
I cupped my hands and gave a dog howl and was overjoyed to see the dog stand up and come trotting directly towards me. When he disappeared into a fold in the landscape I hastily changed position to face that way and get my rifle ready. I expected he would come straight toward me and cross the creek before continuing on.
Some time passed, not long I suppose, but the dog did not reappear. I was wondering where it had gotten to when I noticed him through a screen of trees, again sitting and looking my way. I tried a couple of short, soft howls which got him moving again. However, instead of crossing the creek to appear on the floodplain a bit over 200 metres away, he seemed content to trot along the opposite creek bank.
It was too far to try a running shot, but time was rapidly running out for me as it was getting darker by the second. I gave another little howl and was overjoyed to see the dog stop in a gap between the intervening trees. He decided to mark his territory with a poop, as wild dogs will do. That was a fatal error on his part.
Weatherby, Swarovski and Nosler
The big Swarovski z6i scope was cranked up to its full 15x power and the reticle’s illuminated centre dot was on. Even though the dog was a bit over 250 metres away, I had a good stable shooting position with the Champion bipod legs on my Weatherby Vanguard rifle.
The wild dog was facing slightly away from me, so I aimed to hit the front off-side shoulder via the on-side rear ribs. I squeezed off the shot and was pleased to hear the solid whop of a good hit above the echoing roar of the 257 Weatherby Magnum. The dog flopped without so much as a twitch.
I made haste to check the dog and get a couple of photos in the dwindling light. The creek was deeper than it looked and some water overflowed into my high Muck Woody boots. I squelched my way up to where the dog was lying. Looking back through the gap in the trees, to where I had fired from, confirmed my initial impression; it was a long shot.
The 110 grain Accubond had hit exactly where I wanted it to, demolishing the Dog’s heart for an instantaneous kill. While I do not normally go into the gory details, I feel obliged to mention that the Accubond, even from that distance, had blown an enormous exit wound where the dog’s neck met his chest and sprayed blood and gore over the grass for metres.
The Swarovski z6i 2.5-15×56 scope, with its outstanding twilight capability, had given every advantage to the rifle and the load. The 110 grain Nosler Accubond, leaving with an MV of just over 3,300 fps, shoots sub-MOA out of the Weatherby Vanguard. I cannot imagine a better twilight combination for wild dogs at long range.
He was a particularly big male, with a large powerful head and a greying muzzle indicating some age. I had been keen to get that dog, having seen him many times on the trail camera photos and video. His absence will make things safer for the cattle and new calves, for a while at least.
Trail Camera Action
The only action on the trail camera over the last couple of days was the visit of a goanna to the carrion. There have been no dogs or pigs there over the last few days.