Stake-out Stand for Wild Dogs

This morning I again rose at 5AM.  Today I did not waste any time with coffee but set off to my neighbour’s farm.  I turned the vehicle lights off before I turned and coasted through his gate and down the track, but not as far as I normally go.

This morning I stopped at the place where I had a pair of wild dogs cross in front of me yesterday.  With carefully, quiet movements I assembled my gear and walked to the nearby fence.  I sat behind one of the timber posts and made myself comfortable.  The location offered a great view down the valley to where the dead cow lay.

You can see in the photo how the valley hooks around to the left, behind the large tree in the foreground.  Just after the creek enters the bordering forest, it drops through a series of steps into an even deeper gully; you can make that out from the dip in the forest canopy in the photo.  This morning’s hunt was a good chance for a field test of the Weatherby Vanguard HSP Varmint rifle in 223 Rem that I am reviewing.  It is nicely sighted and shooting my 55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip handloads at around the 0.7MOA mark – ideal for a stake-out over the open valley before me.

The dead cow is about 15 metres inside that wall of jungle.  The cow had slid down into the deep gully bottom.  The trail cameras show plenty of wild dog interest in the carcass but, surprisingly, it has not been ripped apart.  In fact, it is now grossly bloated, turning green, and swarming with flies and maggots.  I am keeping away from it now until it pops.  I do not want to be anywhere near that when it happens.  And, besides, even though I am not in the least squeamish, sitting five metres from that reeking pile of corruption is not the most pleasant way to spend an hour two.

As the light came, I swept the distant tree line with my binoculars and was pleased to see the cows in under the trees with their calves.  The white-faced cow was there too, with her newborn suckling at her side.  I was glad the wild dogs had not killed the little calf, that I nearly stood on yesterday.

Surprisingly, up on the ridge, sitting behind the fence post, the mosquitoes were just as bad as they were in the gully yesterday.  The open country and light breeze was not deterring them a bit.  A series of mizzles came through.  The area is famous for them and is the reason that the trees and posts are covered in grandpa’s beard, moss and lichen.  Mizzle is heavier than a mist, but not a drizzling rain either.  It can make you damp rather quickly.

Luckily, an avenue of trees along either side of the driveway to the farmhouse protected me from most of the prevailing mizzle.  Over the hour I sat there, the daylight came with the mizzle and eventually, the sun rose behind some heavy clouds.  I called a few times, but there was no sign of any dogs this morning.

The slightest change in the air warned me that the mizzle was about to give way to proper rain, so I packed up and made the short walk to the car.  By the time I had stowed the firearm and ammo, a solid shower of rain was upon me.  Breakfast and coffee began to have great appeal, so I headed home.