Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fox Hunting

Today was hunting day, at least for some of us. As all the local are farmers here, some of the wildlife can cause some problems. Some more than others. Foxes are one of the worst. A lot of farmers around here have sheep next to other sort of farm things and an old fox who's teeth have been worn down will sometimes rip up to 20 lambs a night. Some of them seem to just be out for the thrill of it and leave the lamb intact but dead a lot of the times. If you estimate that the lambs will go for something between 50-160$ when they are older, that is a lot of money the farmers are loosing. Money they need to survive.
So I went with them on to the hunt. In the beginning it was three main farmers and some people they had brought along. In total we where seven people and six dogs. The dogs where there to hunt them out and the humans to shot them. The first patch we went through there turned out to be no foxes or they had all run of. The second patch we went through two foxes got away, after being shot at and missed a lot of the times. They have to use shotguns, as it is not a single hunt and the shotguns don't have that much of a distance to cause harm to the others with you. So after those two got away, we went to the next patch. Just under a farm who also had Angus (a type of cattle breed for meat) and went down along a creek to get the foxes. One was pressed in towards two hunters at the bottom by the dogs. The other one tried to double back and was hit by James. It nearly got away, too. It was behind James when it took a run for it. The first was shot by Bucky, a friend of James. We searched through some burrows along the side of the creek, but the dogs found them to be empty. On the way down one of us had spotted something unusual. An Angus calf had been wedged in between two rocks down in the creek, with no forward way out. It was lucky we found it then on the hunt, or it would have been smelled/found dead in the next few days. After getting a tow rope from the farmer who owned the paddock, we pushed/pulled it out backwards and back towards it's family.
We had some lunch after that. Grilled some meat from one of James lamb and had a chat with some of James's friend. Sometimes it was a bit problematic understanding them, as I don't really speak the slang of the area. We had a talk anyway and after a good lunch (plus some scones that Catherine made and bought along) we where back out with one more person. Drove to a patch where I was in a line driving the foxes out of a small forest and heard shotguns go of everywhere. Must have been a really good fox, considering how many pellets he evaded. Most of all hares where running around and I spotted a wallaby, which was not shot at. Wallaby's create quite a problem around here, too. They feed on the grass that the cattle and sheep need, basically taking away two sheep worth of field. When we came back from fishing the other day we saw about 50 kangaroos (similar to the wallaby) in one of the farmers fields. They are not allowed to be shot, thought, so it was left alone. The next paddock also proved worth the while, as it was surrounded by expecting sheep. One fox lived in there and could have caused massive damage. Also there where a load of bones lying around, because of animals the farmer had towed in or the fox is unknown. That was the first dead fox I picked up and dragged to the cars. The next patch was a gold mine in fox hunting. Around five where shot, and a few ducks where also targeted. The last creek was found to be the home of another fox. All in all the whole day a total amount of ten lamb killers and a few hares where got. The foxes where scalped for their bounty (the government of Australia has given out a reward of 10$ per fox, as they are introduced and not native to Australia) and the hares where prepared for dog meat.
In the evening we went to Luigi (nickname), a friend of James's, and had a wonderful evening talking and laughing about all sort of things. He and his girlfriend have a very friendly cat, too.

Interesting first hunt with first time seen use of real firearms.  

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