AUSTRALIA: A trip Up North


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Oct 13, 2017
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Australia, NZ, RSA
I'm not long back from a great trip to the Territory.

I was in a for a pretty rapid acclimatisation, it was 2°C (~36F) when I got up at home, and 26°C when I landed in Darwin just after dinner time. The pool at the hotel assisted with my climate adjustment :cool: .


Up early for a big breakfast at the hotel ... not sure about the Japanese decor of the restaurant given the air raids during the war :unsure:.
I was the only one at breakfast not in FIFO Hi Viz workwear.


An excited reunion with my local mate, a great bloke with LOTS of hunting under his belt and plenty of ripping yarns, and we're underway, our first stop is Adelaide River, I'd been through there previously, but had never made it to the War Cemetery so we righted that wrong, paying respects to the 423 souls resting there. The resting places being carefully watched over by a lone Kookaburra from atop the memorial cross.




A final bomb up on ice and fuel at the '303 Bar' at Adelaide River, where I saw the terrible news that the Marines Osprey had gone down with crew lost - I'd seen Ospreys lined up at the airport in Darwin as we landed.

With civilisation behind us, we're on our way to seeing our first buffalo sign for the trip.


Next up we got the home making sorted, it was 36°C by this stage and the game was being sponsored by Powerade in a big way.


A plan was made and our afternoon hunt was underway, heading from camp on foot to check out out some gullies that looked to have potential based on our imagery and maps (and a healthy dose of local expertise). The breeze came up a bit, improving player comfort levels, but then began to start shifting around a bit, not ideal, but it was a great afternoon out, and saw us getting onto some buffalo tracks that weren't real fresh and carefully checking some creek beds for pigs.


We got back into camp just on dark and dined well on sausages and coleslaw under a perfectly clear sky crowded with stars. Magnificent. Sleep came easily.

More to follow.
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Sounds like a great start to quite the adventure! Looking forward to more!
On the drive in we had spotted (and smelt) the remains of a 'scrubber' (feral cattle) and figured that it would be worth checking out the area for pigs that might be feeding on it, or bedded down near a mostly dry creek bed that was closeby.

In addition to buffalo, there are other unwelcome feral species in the area (scrubbers, pigs, donkeys, camels and horses) and the expectation is that they are culled when encountered.

Before we got to our carcass seen the previous day, we spotted a couple of scrubbers, grazing in some light cover, at about 300 metres.

They had also spotted us, and not liked what they saw, so were moving on. Once moving, we could see there were 5 of them. We watched them until they began to settle down and resumed grazing.

The first stalk of the hunt was underway and the wind was good. We carefully used the isolated cover to close the distance, keeping a careful eye on them and with frequent pauses as one in particular lifted her head looked in our general direction repeatedly, sensing something may have been up.

At about 50 metres, my cover ran out, I look over to my right for my mate, he's being a gentlemen and had hung back some distance to get a 'before' photo and give me a crack at them.


From my position, to the left, they are spread out about 20 m across my front.

So, leaning on the last small tree between me and them, with the biggest one of them broadside, I launch one of Murrabit's most famous exports (Murrabit is the small town where Woodleigh projectiles are made).



A rapid reload, in expectation of bovine bedlam. But they are not sure what is going on, moving a bit and looking around, but not bolting.

A solid hit and number 2 is down and out.

A very quick glance toward my mate, to see if he has moved up and so I can do the polite thing and give him a shot (or three), I'm thinking he's even more polite and it seems these could all be mine if I can shoot straight, and fast.

Number 3 is hit hard and drops.

I now have one round left, and two targets remaining. I have a quick decision to make, do I hit one and reload, or reload and hit both? Erring on the side of caution, in case I may need a follow up shot or two, I stuff three more from my belt into the magazine as fast as I can, keeping an eye on animals 4 and 5 as I do. By now the last two are edgey to say the least, but despite the racket I've been making, they look like they are still not sure where the threat is coming from.

Not being edgey enough proved to be their downfall, they both drop with a shot each. As things transpired, the extra round was not needed. It was a case of 'better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it'.

It had been frenetic. I felt like I should have turned behind me and asked someone with a PACT timer 'how was my time?'.

I was confident all five hits were good, but let things settle and carefully scanned them all to make sure there was no 'Lazarus' amongst them.


I guess we're not chasing pigs on that other carcass now. One must take what the Territory gives.:)

We inspect the animals, one in particular was heavily invested with ticks.


One had very striking coloured hide, that in hindsight, would have been good to recover. A nice rifle case maybe? Some chair backs? Next time.


We both look around, in vain, for some trackers to appear take care of meat recovery. No such luck. :ROFLMAO:


I think this is what 'they' mean when 'they' refer to 'plant based protein' :unsure:


Eventually back at camp, with the meat in the ice, it was time to get to other ice related tasks, with some celebratory G&Ts (0% alcohol so as not impair further hunting opportunities). My mate, with his ever impeccable sense of pukka, gently reminds me that it would be appropriate to savour this moment wearing suitable headwear :cool:.

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More to follow.
@Tintin Well done sir!

It’s 40C here now so 36C sounds pretty good, I’ll be in the NT in a couple weeks.

Maybe I missed it in the write up, but what caliber rifle were you using?
@Tintin Well done sir!

It’s 40C here now so 36C sounds pretty good, I’ll be in the NT in a couple weeks.

Maybe I missed it in the write up, but what caliber rifle were you using?

Thanks @deewayne2003 you'll have a ball ... and you'll love the cool, refreshing weather :ROFLMAO:

My .416 Rigby did the job, ably backed up (and outclassed) by my mate's 400 Jeffery double. (y)
Good shooting! Looks like you put them down hard.
Thanks @deewayne2003 you'll have a ball ... and you'll love the cool, refreshing weather :ROFLMAO:

My .416 Rigby did the job, ably backed up (and outclassed) by my mate's 400 Jeffery double. (y)

Damn right I’ll enjoy the cool weather!… it’s 40C here now and my power went off, power company says another 4 hours until service restored.

Good on yah with the .416Rigby and I agree it’s hard to outclass a Jeffery Double.

I’m hoping to pass out Woodleigh Hydros from a .404 like candy to the invasive fauna of your big damn island!
Thanks @gillettehunter - the .416 proved effective.

After a leisurely lunch at camp, we were out into it again. From our map recce we liked the look of a couple of little valleys that we'd hope might still be holding a few water holes in what was left of the creeks.

Before long we hit some serious sign, I'm no expert tracker by any means, but it looked there had been a few buffalo around these parts ;)

The easy, flat ground gave way to a climb as we laboured up and over a rocky feature.

On the way up, my mate turned back to me, camera in hand, for a candid picture, 'try to look knackered' he said. It wasn't much of a stretch. We took a moment from the top to take in the expansive views and re-hydrate.


Dropping down into the gully floor, and moving along the first creek, we came across water here and there and enjoyed the verdant scenery and dappled shade. But that wind! We were not Demis Roussos and it was not our friend. :(

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On to another creek line, this one was two almost parallel dry creeks, with a natural 'levy bank' of sorts in between, so we take one side of the levy each and move carefully along. Next minute, my mate is sprinting along the levy bank, back the way we've come, with the speed and grace of a thousand startled gazelles. When we eventually regroup, he tells me a large boar had bolted from my side, up and over the levy and he'd given chase - in vain.

We had a bit of a scout around and found were the boar had been wallowing, and fresh, high speed tracks as he decamped.

We take a breather, and discuss options for the remains of the day, light will be slipping away soon and we have a bit of a walk out. We eventually settle on a plan, and get moving again. Literally 30 seconds later, my mate, whispers 'or we could just shoot those buffalo'. I skulk to my right to see what he sees and there they are. Four of them. They havn't clocked us and are only at about 25 m. Ever the gracious host, my mate breathes 'you take the biggest one'.

I rest the rifle against the nearest tree and watch, there are two buffalo front on that I have an OK view of, but there are trees partially obscuring them. Trees that were likely not going to defeat a .416 bullet, but given the animals appeared pretty relaxed, I waited for the biggest of them to move, taking the trees out of play. In doing so, the biggest buffalo, started to turn, 'a few more seconds and I'll have a good broadside opportunity' I think.

I was now a bit self conscious, feeling like this is all taking while, but the animals still seem relaxed, and I've had my illuminated centre dot held right on the chest the whole time - just in case.

Broadside now.

Bang. Down. Reload. Bang. Down.

Simultaneous reports from my right and my mate has had two solid hits on number three. Number four, the smallest, has taken off and crossed a creek before copping what looks like a good hit from the 400 ... and then starts heading toward us - slowed up, but not as wobbly as he should have been after the first shot, a tough critter for a small package. He gets the second barrell, front on into the chest at about 25 m, rearing up on his back legs at the impact, reminiscent of something one might see on a 1911 slide from Hartford, CT. Then crumples in a heap.

'A bit more excitement' I say to my mate.

'Eventually - it wasn't too exciting waiting for you to take that first shot' was his response. :LOL:

Fair call. ;-)

But it had all worked out.


What a day. Nine ungulates on the deck between us.

We recovered meat and cut horns from the smaller cow (that will end up on rifle forends) and determined to return in the morning for the head and some hide.

The last part of the walk out was under a full moon, on another pristine, clear night.

And to cap off a perfect day, I realised that I'd even managed to retrieve all my empties.:ROFLMAO:

More to follow.
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Damn right I’ll enjoy the cool weather!… it’s 40C here now and my power went off, power company says another 4 hours until service restored.

Good on yah with the .416Rigby and I agree it’s hard to outclass a Jeffery Double.

I’m hoping to pass out Woodleigh Hydros from a .404 like candy to the invasive fauna of your big damn island!

Coincidently, our power has just gone out - it's 6° C (42.8° F) here.

Plenty of class with a .404 (y)

You could consider your power outages as 'trip preparation' :ROFLMAO:

Or maybe you are going to do it in luxury here, with a generator in camp :unsure:
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Next morning we out to retrieve the head of the best buffalo, that will likely end up as a Euro mount.

In our travels, we come across some interesting relics, the area was used during WW2 for training, and alongside what looked to once have possibly been mortar positions or MG pits were these bottles, once full of morale boosting liquid, dated 1942. Amazing they had survived the decades and fires since being discarded in the midst of one of our bleakest periods.


As on every day, we saw plenty of Antilopines - the local Kangaroo species, with distinctly different colouring to the Eastern Greys that we have down south.


We retrieve some buffalo hide that will hopefully end up as a souvenier belt, sling and ammo slide or the like.


The hide also added some shoulder comfort while carrying the head out. (y)


After working on the hide and head at camp, we got back on Shank's pony and continued hunting in some amazing country for the rest of the trip.


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Our final encounter was to come on the last day, while moving through waist high grass, we almost trod on a mob of pigs, I only heard the ruckus as they exploded in all directions, invisible through the long grass. My mate caught a fleeting glimpse of one massive boar that had run behind us and darted over a nearby creek bank, we had no joy finding him.

Then, not five minutes later, we had a re-run of the same episode, with no sightings this time as they scampered.

Camp was struck, the vehicle loaded and the journey from hunting life back to real life was underway.

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Sounds fantastic! What a great hunt and time in the bush. Thanks for sharing!
Got into some of the buff backstrap - it went down very well with the wife's special homemade Thai sauce.

Tintin, I enjoyed your hunting report. Those "one and done" shots are what we all hope to achieve.
A great adventure, congrats .

That buff backstrap looks delicious :E Drooling:
Wow, what an amazing trip. don't know how I missed this report.

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