Laying a Scent Trail to Lure Predators
This morning I placed the guts and heads from half a dozen dressed rabbits into an old hessian potato sack, then dragged that smelly lure for a kilometre or two around a close by farm. I hunt there for wild dogs regularly but have not pulled the trigger on one for some time. On my most recent attempts, about a month ago, I did sight distant and fast moving wild dogs a couple of times, but no shot was possible.
After hauling the bag of bunny offal all along the boundary fence and along the bordering water line, I dragged it to a convenient tree beside a stock dam. I then set up a couple of trail cameras. One of those was my Ghost Eye MMS unit, which sends me the photos it takes, as they happen. I will know within seconds should a wild dog, or some other creature, trip the trail camera.
The cows in this paddock, like all cattle, are curious. So, I needed to place the camera above the height a curious cow can lick. Similarly, with the bag of offal. I hauled that up to a height I judged a wild dog would be unlikely to leap up and reach. The grass around the dam is shorter than the rest of the paddock and provides more opportunity to see any wild dogs drawn to the lure. A few, scattered, larger trees on the spur above the dam provide convenient locations to sit over the lure. Ranges are from 100 to 200 metres.
Over the next few days, I will report on what transpires around the lure. It looks to be very promising. However, a few months ago, with a dead cow to play with (so to speak) my confidence was not rewarded with any dead wild dogs (although there were some close encounters and missed opportunities).
So, where did a bag of bunnies’ bits and pieces come from? Yesterday, after scoring a double on wild dogs, I went out to hunt the sunset at another location. There has been a lot of rain, and this particular property was awash with all the creeks and gullies flowing. I kept to the gravelled road, dodging washouts and fording streams, all the way to the farmhouse. My usual haunts were too wet and boggy to consider detouring off the track to visit.
There have been wild dogs coming to the farmhouse each night. One strong drawcard is a domestic bitch on heat. The owner was concerned for the sizeable menagerie of poultry, pigs, sheep, goats and calves around the farmhouse. After a chat with the farmer, Jan and I spent the last hour of daylight calling, but no dogs appeared. The property owner had mentioned another concern at seeing too many bunnies about the yards and house, so I had brought the Ruger 22LR and my Primos scope-mounted spotlight.
Hunting buddy Jan was tasked with being the shooter while I carried the bunnies we collected. Just as we started off from the car, the shrill scream of a rabbit came from behind one of the sheds. Hoping for a wild dog, we made haste to that location and discovered a six-foot python coiled about a still-struggling bunny.
Jan shot well, and in no time I had a good brace of head-shot bunnies in hand. By the time we drove home, cleaned the rabbits and cooked a meal, it was midnight. It had been a long, but rewarding day, after a 5AM start on the wild dog hunt. We kept half of the bunnies for a proper Spanish farmhouse paella and this afternoon gave the rest away to a few old folks who relish rabbit.