AUSTRALIA: The Burning Has Started

BenKK

AH elite
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
1,336
Reaction score
1,906
Location
Northern Territory, Australia
Media
175
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Australia/NZ
4
Hey, Paul! Great story! I’ve spent a bit of time around some bulls over the last few days where I had to maintain my thoughtfulness, but what really got me frightened was doing battle with a large grey spider in the house! He was athletic, too!
 

Dr Ray

AH legend
Joined
Apr 1, 2017
Messages
2,554
Reaction score
2,454
Location
Cairns, Australia
Media
52
Articles
5
Hunting reports
Australia/NZ
5
On Friday I noticed that a camp dog we have a real soft spot for was looking poorly, and we needed meat for our household, too. So when evening rolled around - the time when buffalo like to stand-up - my wife and dog and I went for a look-around to see what we could find. The annual cold-season burning has started. It promotes new growth and reduces fire risk later in the year when it would be disastrous. The buffalo love this time of year, and so do we. The new growth that erupts from the ash doesn't look like much at first glance, but is good fodder - better than the browned-off stuff left-over from the wet season.

The rifle I took may be of interest or even surprising. Thirty-five years ago my father bought this Sako .22-250 to tame some wild south-west country. I was probably nine or ten when I began using it on rabbits to feed the cats and foxes to save the lambs. This old rifle now has a new barrel and lives up-north where the country will forever stay wild, I pray. It brings good food to some of the nicest folks on God's Earth and nourishment to an assortment of canine characters, running the cute little 55 grain Barnes TSX. Anyhow, on Friday afternoon a thumper of a bull nganabbarru fell to my old childhood rifle, shot through the heart plus some insurance shooting.

There were some happy dogs, for sure.

View attachment 226573
I sure won’t be using a 22/250 on buffalo. I too have a Sako 22/250 but I’ll be using a 375 H&H with 300 grain Bullets.
Then again I’ll not experienced in hunting buffs. Hopefully by the end of the first week in June, I will be.
Congratulations on your excellent reporting. I will arrive at Darwin airport 31 May at 5pm ready to take in the wicked oz buff.
 

BenKK

AH elite
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
1,336
Reaction score
1,906
Location
Northern Territory, Australia
Media
175
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Australia/NZ
4
We sat quietly for some time to connect to our surroundings, and eventually what we thought was a dead buffalo calf twitched an ear, and my nephew stalked over and slipped a 55 grain TSX through the lone boar's ear.

P1000132.JPG


Some brown ducks nearby weren't bothered at all...

P1000150.JPG
 

PaulT

AH elite
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
1,154
Reaction score
820
Media
147
Articles
5
Member of
S.C.I. International. Rowland Ward. Sporting shooters Association of Australia. Australian Deer Association.
Hunted
Aus. N.Z & Zim.
An unusual connection between the living and the dead !

Last year we killed a feral Ox bull, an extremely large one, when dressing him out for local consumption we found a full piece vertebrae bone from another animal (maybe buffalo of another Oxen) lodged firmly in the throat.

The bull showed no signs of illness or poor condition and that bone had been in there for quite some time !!!!

Good pics Ben.

That bull in the final pic needs to be culled and the previous bull needs another fours years to grow out. :A Way To Go:
 

John J

AH veteran
Joined
Sep 14, 2017
Messages
228
Reaction score
260
Media
53
Hunting reports
USA/Canada
1
Australia/NZ
1
I thoroughly enjoy the posts.
Me as well. These pics make me wish I booked this year. The 500 Jeff Mr BenKK uses makes me want one. Been thinking about buying one just to shoot it. However when reality sets in its probably above my recoil tolerance.
 

BenKK

AH elite
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
1,336
Reaction score
1,906
Location
Northern Territory, Australia
Media
175
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Australia/NZ
4
An unusual connection between the living and the dead !

Last year we killed a feral Ox bull, an extremely large one, when dressing him out for local consumption we found a full piece vertebrae bone from another animal (maybe buffalo of another Oxen) lodged firmly in the throat.

The bull showed no signs of illness or poor condition and that bone had been in there for quite some time !!!!

Good pics Ben.

That bull in the final pic needs to be culled and the previous bull needs another fours years to grow out. :A Way To Go:
It’s fascinating the way they camp at carcasses. I don’t believe there is an emotional reason, but I do think they are curious and also value the calcium opportunities as they arise.

I think that cull bull had his horns tipped a few years ago by local catchers, and then they busted out of the holding paddock to escape export.
 

PaulT

AH elite
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
1,154
Reaction score
820
Media
147
Articles
5
Member of
S.C.I. International. Rowland Ward. Sporting shooters Association of Australia. Australian Deer Association.
Hunted
Aus. N.Z & Zim.
Hey Ben.

He could be cut, it's hard to tell in the photo, but normally when the catcher cut them they cut the horns about 10" out from the scull right through the nerve.
In that case the horn ceases growing.

I had an old magnificent bull in my area years back that was cut too but his horn confirmation and (expected) size was enough for me to leave him alone and let him continue breeding.
He had 17" bases.
Eventually he disappeared.

The bull in your pics I estimate at 4 - 5 y.o and may never be bigger than 80 - 90" tops.
You can see the definite difference in genetics between him and the same (roughly) aged bull in the previous pic which matches the dead bull in the grass.
Although still young the horn style and long tips shows he has definite potential for a fine bull in a few years.

When I was managing my area I would cull the poorer types to release pressure from the pasture in the poorer months and to promote the better genetics.

It worked for quite a while until the choppers invaded.
 

BenKK

AH elite
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
1,336
Reaction score
1,906
Location
Northern Territory, Australia
Media
175
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Australia/NZ
4
17” bases are rare here. We struggle to get 16” on ancient bulls.

Which bull do you think might be 4 or 5? The pointy one, or both?

There are some awesome sweeper genes here, epic buffalo bulls that “only” measure 91” to 95”, due to bases and less curve. And we have a crazy gene that grows really compact horns of 87”, absolutely ancient.

How old do you think they get in the wild? I’m wondering if twelve to fifteen is about all, but have no way of knowing. Maybe lower life expectancy inland compared to coastal?
 

PaulT

AH elite
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
1,154
Reaction score
820
Media
147
Articles
5
Member of
S.C.I. International. Rowland Ward. Sporting shooters Association of Australia. Australian Deer Association.
Hunted
Aus. N.Z & Zim.
Out on the Coast we would target mature bulls with 17" bases, which were not uncommon.

Every now and then we would get one with 18" bases and once in a long while one with 19" bases, but that was rare.

Yes, the coastal areas are different for a number of reasons.
The main influencing factor is the level of moisture that the Sea breeze blows inland for quite a distance. This moisture keeps certain areas relatively "green" for a longer period than other dryer inland areas and then they have endless areas of mangroves to feed on as well.

We had one particular homeland which we nick-named the "retirement-home".
I pulled several bulls out of this area which I estimated at between 16 - 18 years of age.
Another outfitter, a good friend of mine, did the same in the same general area.

We did not have the number of sweepers you guys in the "center" do, the majority of our Trophy bulls were of a shape somewhere between a true sweeper and a lunar.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with a Trophy bull at 90 - 95, or even 85 for that matter, as an outfitter I refused to be pressured into the "measurement" factor of Trophies and concentrated on "mature" bulls only.
Mature being 8 - 10 year old bulls plus.
The majority of bulls we took had 17" bases and showed signs of maturity and age, some extreme. (I'll try find some pics for you).
I believe Simon took a bull in his area last year that had 20" bases !

Of the two you have pictured I believe they are of similar age, if anything the one I am suggesting as a cull may be a year older then the other bull, if that.
I would guess the sweeper type at being four or five and the other maybe a year older.

Regarding your question on how old they will make it in the wild depends heavily on where they live, obviously the better the conditions the longer, but I personally am aware of one bull shot by an outfitter that was taken by a client of his that had been captured and marked during the BTec program and killed some 18 years later.

I think in your region they do it a lot tougher than what they do on the Coast as your area dries up and stays drier for much longer than the Coastal country.
The sand in our area does wear their teeth down pretty quick but they can still survive with little or no teeth in the right area.

I (my clients) shot several bulls that had almost no discernable teeth left !
 

PaulT

AH elite
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
1,154
Reaction score
820
Media
147
Articles
5
Member of
S.C.I. International. Rowland Ward. Sporting shooters Association of Australia. Australian Deer Association.
Hunted
Aus. N.Z & Zim.
Ben, here's a typical bull I took out near the Coast last year.

This is the "typical" shape we get.
Somewhere between a sweeper and a lunar.

17.5" bases and 34" each side in length.
Around 9-10 years of age.

P1010294.JPG
 

PaulT

AH elite
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
1,154
Reaction score
820
Media
147
Articles
5
Member of
S.C.I. International. Rowland Ward. Sporting shooters Association of Australia. Australian Deer Association.
Hunted
Aus. N.Z & Zim.
Ben, attached is a pic of an example of one of the "extreme" aged bulls we took in that "retirement-home" area of the Coast.

Big bases !!!

P9070351.JPG
 

PaulT

AH elite
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
1,154
Reaction score
820
Media
147
Articles
5
Member of
S.C.I. International. Rowland Ward. Sporting shooters Association of Australia. Australian Deer Association.
Hunted
Aus. N.Z & Zim.
Ben, here's another example of an advanced age bull (12 -15y.o ).

It may be hard to see in the pic but when they get to this age it's almost like the male hormone is reduced and they begin to take on a lot of female like features.
The hair down the side of the face grows longer then normal bulls, the white hair in the ears re-grows and the neck becomes thin and female like.

Arnhemland 2009 - 2 031.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

PaulT

AH elite
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
1,154
Reaction score
820
Media
147
Articles
5
Member of
S.C.I. International. Rowland Ward. Sporting shooters Association of Australia. Australian Deer Association.
Hunted
Aus. N.Z & Zim.
 

 

 

Latest profile posts

Enjoy the bush with Respect
20 day hunt in May 2022 with Zana Botes hard part now starting the wait
Better a fool on his own than a wise man at someone else's discretion
... F. Nietzsche
perry madl wrote on Ignatius of Antioch's profile.
Is your double still available?
I am interested in Safari Animal Paintings
 
Top