Well, I headed out on Tuesday afternoon to meet some friends and go hunting mainly foxes on a property about 5 hours north-northwest of Sydney.
The fact that it rained the entire trip up wasn't a good omen and when we arrived we found the track down to the little house we were staying in was like the Somme....not a great start.
It was even too slippery under foot for my V6 4wd Rodeo dual cab pickup so we left it and my mate's late model Honda Accord Euro on slightly higher ground and lugged the gear down to the house.
Someone had already been down there since it had rained & had kindly stomped mud throughout the place. It's pretty tumbledown and just workable(power, fridge, running water & toilet) so we didn't need it dirty as well. Too late.
The next morning, Wednesday, the sun had come out and the place was drying up. Just as well. The mud on our boots was like glue and it would've sucked gumboots off. We walked up the creek, me with my Martini Cadet 25-20 & my mate and his son toting a Weatherby Vanguard Deluxe .243 and Brno .22LR repectively to try and whistle a fox. The wind was blowing the wrong way unfortunately and one took to his heels as soon as my buddy started blowing but a roo came up within 10 feet of him while he was trying to lure in any other reynards about the place and it was more than a little irritating as a curious roo tends to scare off predators.
The rest of the day saw us drive around looking for bunnies and foxes but nothing doing. The tracks were starting to dry out but it was still a little hairy for traction in my 4x4 which doesn't have LSDs or traction control. There were more ominous clouds and we headed back and had lunch. I had a rest and woke up around 5. At 6pm a thunderstorm hit for around an hour. More wet tracks. But since the sky cleared we hopped in the truck after dinner and headed for a likely looking field. The river bed had nothing to offer so we motored up onto the field itself and shone the spotlight around. FOUR sets of eyes looked back at us! It was fox central
. After some hassles with my mates 243 I retrieved my k98 8x57 sporter with 3-12x40 scope and tried to get a fix.
My first shot was wide. But the next 2 were quite different. I now completely understand what people mean when they say the muzzle blast & recoil don't worry them so much & that you can make out what's going on. You could clearly hear the bullet move. Each time I squeezed the trigger the round went BOOMssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhTHUNK!
as you heard it fly out and hit. I'm certain I hit at least one of the little devils but in the dark and soaked dirt do you think we could find their bodies?
So with a good idea of their probable location we left the search until the morning and tried the main roads on the property. After a short fiasco chasing a bunny that came to nought because my friend's son didn't have his Brno at hand & another skittish fox that crossed the road & disappeared into the long grass we finally happened upon a young fox sitting straight up in the paddock below us only about 50yds away looking at us! My mate was taking his time aiming the 243 and I'm in the drivers seat thinking "Just shoot the thing!
" when BOOM!!
the 243 goes off and the fox takes to his heels!
He missed it from 50 yards!
After some more messing around we headed back to the house and this time it was safe for me to take the truck and park it beside the house.
And then it began to rain, around 2am......
At 6:45 when we woke up it was still raining and the low ground where the house....and my truck
.....sat upon was sodden and watery. We decided to get the truck out asap so I got all my kit into it and by a process of careful driving and gunning it in the right places(in other words by the grace of God!
) I just got her up off the river flat the house was on.
Then after breakfast we carted all the stuff up to my mate's car and I got mine onto the safety of the gravel track. The Honda, despite all it's ABS and traction control moved an inch forward and back and then sat & spun. Two wheels just doesn't cut it where 4 has big problems. So it was off to the farmer's house to get the tractor.
So, where does that leave me after 2 days shooting? No carcasses or proof of success, a filthy car and a sense of anticlimax and disappointment. Why do I always seem to come back empty handed?
Further, we were supposed to be there another day but the property had 40mm of rain over night and 4" in the past 5 days! It would've been foolhardy to try and keep shooting. I found out on the news last night that the state maximum rainfall for the day had been 100 kms north and the 4th highest for the day had been about 100 south.
I guess I learnt one thing. NO ONE
will tell me that the 8mm isn't capable of a long distance shot. My mate's son was completely certain I nailed one with the third shot and it was around the 200yd mark. We walked it so I know.