Yesterday afternoon hunting buddy, Peter, and I went out to a 60,000 acre cattle property that has been suffering livestock death and damage from wild dog packs. Pete and I have hunted there successfully in the past, so we knew where to start our campaign.
After an hour or two of stalking likely spots we had not had any luck. As planned, we moved on to set up a stake-out stand on the edge of a dirt bank. We have taken a few dogs from this spot in the past. It is the style of hunting that I described in my last blog about what gear to carry for stalking game.
257 Weatherby Magnum for Predator Hunting
I called intermittently and swept the surrounding terrain with my Swarovski 10x42 binoculars. After 40 minutes, the sun sank lower and lower to eventually slid behind the western ranges. We continued for another ten minutes or so before calling it quits.
As so often happens, as we placed our gear back in the vehicle, the wild dogs appeared. A pack of six came loping out of the surrounding bush, led by a large red male. They seemed to be on a hunt or some other mission, but luckily had not seen us, hidden as we were by the earthen wall.
Hastily Pete and I retrieved our rifles and made haste to the top of the bank. The dogs were travelling at speed and looked to be about 200 metres away. I howled loudly and was pleased to see the alpha dog come to an abrupt halt and look our way. I wasted no time and sent a 110 grain Nosler Accubond sailing across the field at 3,310 fps toward him from my Vanguard 257 Weatherby Magnum. The dog flopped over to an instant kill.
SSAA Hunter Magazine
Peter fired a split second after me, but his target had already begun to sprint, and the bullet narrowly missed it. I tried a couple of tricks to make the remainder of the pack stop and give us another chance, but the dogs kept going flat-out into the forest. After inspecting our prey, I used the rangefinder to check the distance. It was about 170 metres. The beauty of flat-shooting calibres like the 257 Weatherby Magnum is that when there is no time to measure range you can just aim dead on and fire.
When I got home late last night, I checked my emails and was pleased to see that one of my stories on hunting wild dogs has just been published in the new, 63rd edition, of the SSAA Hunter magazine. Even better, the editor had given me a cover shot. Appropriately, that cover photo was taken about 100 metres from where I shot that big red wild dog yesterday evening.
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