Wild Dog Hunt Double Success

Yesterday morning a pair of wild dogs attacked birthing cattle on a farm not too far from my place.  I had been there once previously for a look about with hunting buddy Peter.  I was pretty busy with other locations, so I left it to Peter to chase the wild dogs on this place.

However, with committments to other engagements, Peter was unable to respond to the farmer’s call.  So, early this morning, I drove to the farm in light drizzling rain, accompanied by visiting hunting buddy Jan.  We arrived just as first light was breaking.

By the time I had unlocked and loaded the rifle, and gathered my stalking kit together, there was just enough light to shoot by.  Jan was along as an observer on this trip.  We quietly made our way through a couple of stockyard gates and walked off towards the calving paddock where the trouble had occurred yesterday.

We had not walked a hundred metres, and were just at the corner boundary of the calving paddock, which ran uphill to our left, when I looked to my right and saw a dog.  He was a solid black specimen and was on alert and watching us, about a hundred metres away and down in the gully below the track.

I motioned to Jan to halt and then plonked my self down in the squishy mud and cow poo on the edge of the track.  The dog was close to dense bordering jungle and began to run for that cover.  Chambering a round, I gave a howl as he reached the fence and was about to disappear into the deep grass on the edge of jungle.

Luckily, he stopped briefly for a look back, and I immediately shot him through the chest.  As he flopped into the grass, his black bitch bolted past him and disappeared into the jungle.  We sat quietly for about ten minutes.  Then I gave a low call and was pleased to hear the bitch respond from a few hundred metres away in the jungle.  We climbed down the steep and slippery gully side to check the dog.  He had some divets out of him here and there; obviously, he had been in a big fight with another dog in the last day or so.

I figured the bitch would most likely follow the course of the river.  If we continued on over the hill, we would be in a good position to call her out into the open where there was a clearing on the bank where the river doubled back.  For about an hour I called now and then but, but even though she called back, it was clear she was reluctant to leave the dense jungle cover.

It sounded like she was retracing her path back to where we had shot the male, so we hiked back up to the top of the hill.  From a little grove of trees on the crest, we had a good view down to the dead male, about 200 metres away.  To our left, only 50 metres away, the jungle ran up and over the hill as well.

After a brief rest to get my composure and breath back, I started calling from the grove of trees.  The bitch responded a few times, and I was hopeful that she would pop out of the cover at close range, if not down at the carcass.  However, she suddenly stopped responding.

We waited a few minutes, and I feared the strong wind might have given her our scent.  Then down on the fenceline, not far from the dead dog, I saw a small movement.  I took it initially to be a small brown bird, a little pipit, that is in the habit of flying along fencelines to perch here and there.

A brief look through my stalking binoculars, however, revealed fleeting glimpses of a red dog’s ears.  I howled again and was pleased to see his ears prick up before he started to lope up the fenceline that climbed the spur from the gully.  It looked like he was taking the easiest path that would take him to the track that led our way.

Sure enough, he popped out on the open ground and looked our way.  We were both well secreted behind the trees and, given his response to the first howl, I figured he would come straight to us with a little encouragement.  I gave another low howl, and he instantly began loping up the track towards me.

He pulled up about thirty metres away and looked about, obviously a bit puzzled at the absence of the dog whose howl he thought he had heard.  A 60 grain Nosler Partition instantly ended his calf-killing career.

With the drizzle getting heavier, we slogged off back to the car and the promise of strong, hot coffee awaiting us at home.

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