Wild bulls of the NZ bush

Cervus elaphus

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These are not domestic cattle gone wild, these are bulls born in the bush who have not had contact with people and are not afraid of them, the younger ones are lean curious and territorial. Unlike domestic cattle in the bush which are noisy and flighty, these bovines are like ghosts in the forest. Many time when working in the bush, I could sense them coming and unslung my rifle. I didn't realise at the time that I was seriously undergunned which is probably just as well, but I had confidence in my rifle. A farmer caught a scrawny cow and with the help of dogs got her into a manuka log enclosure which she promptly started to wreck. He offered the animal to us for dog tucker (that's a lot of tucker for two miniature foxies and a border collie). It took two hits with a shotgun to the neck followed by a rifle round to the body to put her down and she was only half the size of the ones still up in the wooded gullies. Would like to hear any adventures you've had with the beasts of the bush, especially you hunters up in the Territory.
 

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They really are cunning animals who can can be very light on their feet when they want to be.
After flushing the guy in the pic, he quickly found the only patch of cover in burnt out country (barely big enough to conceal him) and stood motionless for us to pass, never moving a muscle or making a sound as I closed in to about 50 yards so I could make out exactly where I needed to aim.
NT Hunt  073.jpg
 

Cervus elaphus

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They really are cunning animals who can can be very light on their feet when they want to be.
After flushing the guy in the pic, he quickly found the only patch of cover in burnt out country (barely big enough to conceal him) and stood motionless for us to pass, never moving a muscle or making a sound as I closed in to about 50 yards so I could make out exactly where I needed to aim.
View attachment 408097
That sure is a big bull.
 

Von Gruff

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It would depend on whether you are shooting an undisturbed animal or one that is on the prod. For something that is aware of your presence and may not offer a simple broadside shot then you would be better off with something more than a deer rifle and I would want something with a 4 at the front of it. Heard some hairy stories of the wild cattle being cunning and aggreesive.
 

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Which areas and what island of new Zealand, these wild animals, wild cattle, inhabit?
Is there any estimate of their numbers?
 

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In the thick North Island forest akin to jungle in lots of areas the Wild Bull/Cattle is very much like the Red Deer to hunt but with a dangerous edge .

I hunted them in most the of areas they had been found in NI from Wild Bullock/Ox bloodlines Mamaku's, Pureora's, (looking for the Long Horn Breed) Feral's on the East Coast, Motu & abandoned Soldier Farm Settlement Bulls in Taranaki.

Shot a few & some close calls, we could sell the skins back then at 100lbs a load !
wild-bull-back-in-the-day-jpg.408105


wild-bull-back-in-the-day-2-jpg.408106


The Australian Scrub Bull or Red Bull of Old is different & lives in far more open country, I have hunted & guided on a lot of these, from the meat shooting days to trophy hunting in modern times, a great pity that BTEC killed off most of the Red Bull line & now we have Brahman crosses, much larger animal & horns but not as Wild to me .
 

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Cervus elaphus

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Which areas and what island of new Zealand, these wild animals, wild cattle, inhabit?
Is there any estimate of their numbers?
South Island coastal North Canterbury, Conway river area.
No I don't know about numbers or even if they are still in the area. Wild cattle have been around the Conway farms since the early 1900's. There are mobs in other places in NZ. Also in the area are red deer, rabbits, hares, opossums, mustelids, pigs. One hunter I knew of when I was working in the area, used to catch wild piglets, castrate the males and release them. When they grew up, these Barrows were not like a boar which would bail to protect its gonads, they would run your dogs into the ground. I cursed him many times but never discovered his ID. In Australia wild bulls are hunted up in the Northern Territory. They are big buggers and a good challenge. Along with them are Water buffs and Banteng. It's a bovine hunter's paradise.
 
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Cervus elaphus

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In the thick North Island forest akin to jungle in lots of areas the Wild Bull/Cattle is very much like the Red Deer to hunt but with a dangerous edge .

I hunted them in most the of areas they had been found in NI from Wild Bullock/Ox bloodlines Mamaku's, Pureora's, (looking for the Long Horn Breed) Feral's on the East Coast, Motu & abandoned Soldier Farm Settlement Bulls in Taranaki.

Shot a few & some close calls, we could sell the skins back then at 100lbs a load !View attachment 408105

View attachment 408106

The Australian Scrub Bull or Red Bull of Old is different & lives in far more open country, I have hunted & guided on a lot of these, from the meat shooting days to trophy hunting in modern times, a great pity that BTEC killed off most of the Red Bull line & now we have Brahman crosses, much larger animal & horns but not as Wild to me .
You nailed it Sarg, the NZ bush is different with viz sometimes down to 4-5m in punga fern groves and secondary beech growth. The worst I struck was around Pipiriki on the Whanganui rvr with it's supplejack and wait-a-while. Lots of pigs in there. It's also very dense around the Mamaku's iirc. Rotorua is like that as well. More open country around Te Teko where the big Sambars dwell at Mt Edgecumbe. I know of some of the country you mention but I never hunted for bulls up there. A joke going around at the time when a visitor to a back blocks farms asks the farmer if the cattle are wild. "Wild? they're bloody livid mate !"
thanks for the photos
 
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During my time running hunts on the far East Coast of Arhemland i spent a lot of time hunting Scrub bulls.

Locally known as Red bull, due to a primary English Short Horn gene dating back to releases more than 200 years ago, they are seen as the main source of red meat protein of the region.

In addition to guiding numerous hunters on to Red bull Trophies i was also the main provider of protein to our local Aboriginal community during the Dry season.

Great hunting, very "switched-on" with a high flight response and potentially very dangerous in the wrong circumstances.

When shooting/hunting for meat i was often on my own, often in extremely remote areas, well away from vehicle access and no back-up. These conditions taught me to be careful, cautious and planned.

I absolutely LOVE hunting Scrub bull.

Arnhemland 2009 - 2 171.jpg
 
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Sarg

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Yes sure can be exciting hunting them, in our way out East Arhemland concession, the Red Bull only began to be seen in about 2008 with more ever year, similar with the Wild Boar, when I first started out there in the 90's very rarely did we see pigs & never any Red Bulls, we were a days drive (or more) from any Cattle Ranches .

Here is a nice Red Bull with Cold Steel Boss Lynn Thompson .

Lynn & His Red Bull.JPG


And strangely this Bull had a Stone Arrow or small spear head in his stomach when I cut him open !

Arrow Head Inside Bull.JPG



Ironically Lynn & the boys, Tim & Buck were doing a lot of they hunting with spears on that hunt, of course with the far superior Cold Steel spears lol !
 
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PaulT

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Awesome bull Sarge.

That stone arrow find is extremely unusual and interesting.

The bull pictured in this post had a vertibrea bone, the size of my fist, lodged firmly in his throat.
The remaining opening for him to feed through was but an inch or so of clearing and the rest was blocked.
How long he had that in there was anyone's guess but it didn't seem to be slowing him down.

P1010273.JPG
 
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Here's a nice black bull taken by a Danish client with a .458 Lott.

This bull was taken at Murwungi outstation, Arafura Swamp.

DSC01959.JPG
 
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PaulT

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Here's another nice, very old, Red bull from Eastern Arnhemland.

Taken by one of our own esteemed forum members.

P8070289.JPG
 
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My apologies to Cervus for photo-bombing his thread.
 

Cervus elaphus

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During my time running hunts on the far East Coast of Arhemland i spent a lot of time hunting Scrub bulls.

Locally known as Red bull, due to a primary English Short Horn gene dating back to releases more than 200 years ago, they are seen as the main source of red meat protein of the region.

In addition to guiding numerous hunters on to Red bull Trophies i was also the main provider of protein to our local Aboriginal community during the Dry season.

Great hunting, very "switched-on" with a high flight response and potentially very dangerous in the wrong circumstances.

When shooting/hunting for meat i was often on my own, often in extremely remote areas, well away from vehicle access and no back-up. These conditions taught me to be careful, cautious and planned.

I absolutely LOVE hunting Scrub bull.
As a 13-14 year old I worked weekends at a dairy farm up in the Nelson area of NZ. I seem to recall the shorthorn and jersey breeds of the district but can't remember which one chased me across a paddock, I think it was the jersey (nasty short temper) but I know I did the 50yard dash in under 5 seconds. NT has some great hunting not to mention barramundi fishing and croc dodging, I hope Aussie hunters are making the most of the Territory while covid-19 restrictions on international travel are in place. If we can't travel, then at least we can keep our eye in and support local PH's.
 

Cervus elaphus

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During my time running hunts on the far East Coast of Arhemland i spent a lot of time hunting Scrub bulls.

Locally known as Red bull, due to a primary English Short Horn gene dating back to releases more than 200 years ago, they are seen as the main source of red meat protein of the region.

In addition to guiding numerous hunters on to Red bull Trophies i was also the main provider of protein to our local Aboriginal community during the Dry season.

Great hunting, very "switched-on" with a high flight response and potentially very dangerous in the wrong circumstances.

When shooting/hunting for meat i was often on my own, often in extremely remote areas, well away from vehicle access and no back-up. These conditions taught me to be careful, cautious and planned.

I absolutely LOVE hunting Scrub bull.
I also spent most of my working life in the bush on my own, sometimes with a miniature foxie for company, and was rarely without my 30-06. Whether it's true or not but I left the scrubbers alone and they mostly ignored me once used to my smell. They are curious animals.
 

Cervus elaphus

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These are not domestic cattle gone wild, these are bulls born in the bush who have not had contact with people and are not afraid of them, the younger ones are lean curious and territorial. Unlike domestic cattle in the bush which are noisy and flighty, these bovines are like ghosts in the forest. Many time when working in the bush, I could sense them coming and unslung my rifle. I didn't realise at the time that I was seriously undergunned which is probably just as well, but I had confidence in my rifle. A farmer caught a scrawny cow and with the help of dogs got her into a manuka log enclosure which she promptly started to wreck. He offered the animal to us for dog tucker (that's a lot of tucker for two miniature foxies and a border collie). It took two hits with a shotgun to the neck followed by a rifle round to the body to put her down and she was only half the size of the ones still up in the wooded gullies. Would like to hear any adventures you've had with the beasts of the bush, especially you hunters up in the Territory.
Good thread people, keep the photos coming
 

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Here's another bull from the Arafura Swamp where the Scrub bulls have a fair portion of Bos Indicus blood in them.

DSC01914.JPG
 
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