The farmer had a cattle yard filled with about 50 young cattle that he was separating off from the main herd. The yards were only a short distance from the house. He was shocked to look over at the yards and see a prime young heifer lying dead. She seemed to have been the victim of a snake bite. Even though we have had some cold nights, the days have been pleasantly warm and, in the last week I have seen big brown snakes on the move.
I had just returned from an early morning prowl, looking for boar and wild dogs. As he fixed to drag the carcass away, he asked, “Do you have anywhere in particular you’d like me to drop this carcass?”
That wasn’t a difficult question. About a kilometre from the farmhouse the property bounded onto a vast national park jungle. That great tropical rainforest was home to a healthy population of feral pigs and wild dogs that used it as a sanctuary and base to raid the bordering farmlands. The carcass had to be deposited somewhere and that spot would be sure to attract scavenging boar and wild dogs.
This morning was day two for that carcass. Like yesterday morning, this morning I stalked the carrion in the dull first light of dawn. A careful survey revealed no wild dogs or feral pigs, so I sat down and decided to try and howl up some wild dogs before sunrise. Normally, I would sit there for an hour or two, until the rising sun cleared the vast wall of jungle to the east, in front of me. However, this morning was cold, not far of being a frost. My hands were burning-cold and numb. I could not cup them properly to get the note I wanted, so I gave up early and headed home to light the fire and enjoy some hot coffee. Before departing, I swapped the cards in the trail camera I have placed over the carcass.
Sitting cosy in my lounge room, cradling a steaming hot coffee, I reviewed the camera card. I was pleased to find both photos and video of a jaunty, healthy-looking pair of young dogs. I was also pleased to see that the bitch was not lactating. That meant I could shoot either as opportunity allowed without having to worry about orphaning young pups in the jungle. This pair of dogs would be the new tenants, as it were, after Ryan and I accounted for the old pair of alpha dogs just over a month ago.
So, each morning for the coming days, I will make an early start to stalk the dead cow and see what the trail camera tells me has been transpiring out of office hours. Hopefully, along the way, I might just claim those wild dogs or a big old boar.