Friday, September 4, 2015

Hunting Down Under



We just got back from an incredible hunt with Simon Kyle-Little of Australian Big Game Safaris. Our trip began in Calgary, Alberta and five airplanes later and over-night in Darwin and we were at Simon's Walker River Camp. This is a fly-in camp in the north-eastern part of Arnhem Land and it is about as wild as it gets. Simon has access to over 2 million acres here and unlike much of Arnhem Land, the region has never had a buffalo cull and according to the Aborigines, it never will. With the Australian government stepping up its buffalo eradication program, we figured hunts would never be better nor cheaper so that was our real motivation to go this year.

Simon is famous for his "death marches" and we covered many miles the first day and saw a lot of really good buffalo but either they were on the wrong side of waterways or they spooked before we could get into position. Vanessa was hunting a management bull and I was looking for a trophy bull. Very late in the afternoon on the first day, while driving back to camp we came across an absolute monster of a bull that Simon figured would go 106 or better but I was enjoying the hunt too much to simply take one at the side of the road.

The following afternoon we got on a good old bull for Vanessa. It was on the wrong side of a river but Simon figured we could drive around to him and if not, we could build a raft to retrieve him. The bull was nearly up to his back in the water so Simon and Vanessa got into position and then waited for the bull to walk up onto the shore. Vanessa hit him perfectly in the heart on the first shot and a second round anchored him right on the spot. It took us an hour to find a spot to cross the river with the truck but we finally got it within a kilometre of the downed bull. We took a few quick photos and then got down to the task of field dressing the bull. With blood pouring into the croc filled river, none of us wanted to spend too long at the river's edge.

The following day we put many more miles on and passed on several good bulls but couldn't find one we wanted so on day four Simon suggested we go look for an ox. We headed about two hours from camp to a rocky ridge and got extremely lucky when we found an ancient bull after only an hour or so of walking. I hit him in the shoulder with the first round from the .375 and a follow up in the neck dropped him where he stood. While I really had no intention of hunting ox, when I saw just how wild they were and what an incredible trophy they were, I decided the grand old bull would make a fine addition to the trophy room.

On day five we headed for the coast where one of the Aborigines had seen several good bulls. It was just after noon when we spotted a worthy candidate in a bilabong right along the edge of the ocean. He was with two cows and a calf. We had to do a wide circle to get the wind right for an approach and just as we were easing into range, one of the cows busted us and started heading for the thick jungle. The bull was last in line and with the crosshair settled firmly on the leading edge of his shoulder, I touched off a round. I could tell he was hit hard but pounded another into his shoulder for insurance and he crashed to the ground.

We spent the next couple days fishing and hunting boar and just sightseeing. Simon runs a first-class outfit and puts a lot of emphasis on providing a high quality experience. You definitely earn your trophies with him. Camp was very comfortable with hot showers and meals around the fire every night were delicious, with a feed of mud crabs and barramundi being the highlight. On the hunt we saw hundreds of buffalo, ox, wild pigs, dingoes, walaby, wallaroo, crocs and more species of birds than one could count. Simon also offers some great fishing for barramundi and off-shore as well. For more information check out http://australianbiggamesafaris.com.au

1 comment:

BAILEY smith said...

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