Yesterday was chores day; catching up on a variety of household maintenance issues. Today, I was finishing off a few of those jobs and then loading a few batches of 243 Win ammo to test at the range tomorrow.
I had only just laid out my brass, ready to prime and load, when the phone rang. It was the farmer where I have been concentrating my efforts the last few weeks. He could see a black dog out in the paddock behind his house.
His place is quite close as the crow flies but, given the nature of country roads, a bit further by car. Nevertheless, I was at his place in less than 15 minutes from his call. “I should have waited for you,” he confessed, “but it chased the calves and cattle, then just stood on that ridge, so I took a shot at it. How far do you reckon that old stump there is.”
“Well before I put the range finder on it, I reckon it is at least 400 metres,” I then paused to take a reading on my Leupold 1200i range finder, “yep, it says 429 metres to that old stump.”
“Hmmm, yeah, that is further than I thought. The bullet dropped low and the dog took off into the jungle.”
“No worries, you’ve gotta have a go sometimes, and protect your cattle. I’ll go for a walk up there and do some calling, see what I can do.” I spent a couple of hours working my way up to, then along a spur that paralleled the jungle-clad one where the dog had gone. I found a lone, shady tree and sat under it.
It was a good spot that I had not noticed before, being well located with a good 360 view across a series of spurs that led down into a deep, jungle-filled valley with a spring-fed creek. The farmer had slashed the few hundred acres around me and the visibility was much improved. I could easily have seen a rabbit if it popped up within 400 metres.
I waited there about 45 minutes, calling every ten minutes or so. With nice shade and a gentle breeze, it was very comfortable sitting with my back to the tree. The cows and their new calves wandered in closer to check me out. Luckily, they kept about 60 metres distant and were well spread out. If a dog appeared on the spur behind them I could safely shoot over them. If a dog appeared amongst them I could, with care, take shot there as well.
Anyway, that was all academic. My stomach eventually informed me that it was lunchtime, so I hiked back to the farm for a quick chat with the owner before heading home. However, it occurred to me that I should invest a bit more time and swap the trail camera cards, so lunch got further delayed.
The dead calf with the trail camera over it would by now be starting to lose its appeal, whereas the boar had only just begun, so I was not expecting to see much on the camera. Also, I needed to reposition the camera to better centre the carrion, and any animals that come to it.
I trekked down to that other location, in the next valley over. The dead boar was starting to blow up. He had been moved a little, by something that had gnawed his tail off and then eaten the soft area beneath it. Likewise, the lips and snout had been chewed off as well. It will probably need a few more days before it really starts to draw in the scavengers though.
I was a little disappointed when I checked the photos at home. While they did show a scrawny old black bitch in milk had been there at 9:45 yesterday, there were no photos of the animals that had commenced work on the boar. I have a few photos and video of the bitch. She seems to avoid the dawn and dusk when there are a couple of big male dogs sniffing about and feeding on the carcass.
I spent some time better positioning the camera so, hopefully, I will get better photos of the dogs and pigs that come to visit. Later this arvo I will complete that reloading and then be ready for the range session tomorrow.