Hut renovations

I had been planing on putting up windows around the lean-to on the hut for quite some time now so I finally got around to this job. I had to cut the grape vine back and lead it around inside the lean-to so it should do well this year and also the possums won’t be able to eat it. Just got to put a door on so it works like a conservatory inside. Also I have pulled the exterior cladding off the front of the hut and added batts into the walls to help the hut to hold the heat inside longer.

Shade’s 2nd wild boar


Out for a quick early morning hunt. Fog was the standout on this hunt tracking off 200 meters above me before breaking out to the left for about 800 meters then straight down to the bottom of the gully beside the 4wd track that I had the motorbike parked on. Fog did not let out one bark untill he had this young boar well stopped. Me and the other dogs were about 500 meters away before we could hear Fog bailing away. All three dogs Snow, Sassy and Shade went all of the way to the bail. When I arrived I let the dogs carry on bailing to see how they were working on a wild boar. Sassy is an 18 month old brown and white bitch that I have not written much about so far. she was saved by my son Bryce as the current owner was going to shoot her because he believed her to be no good on the pigs. Her only problem was that she was not let out of her kennel and giving the chance to prove herself. When Bryce got her it was with the intention of getting her started on the pigs and then passing her on. He asked if I would put her onto some pigs for him.  Normally I don’t like having a bitch in my team as they can be a pain in the arse when they come on heat.  I quickly took a liking to Sassy and have been quite happy to keep her on. She has been no trouble and loves bailing pigs.  With 4 dogs on this young boar is almost too many dogs and I can see the time in the very near future when i am going to have to split the dogs up as they will start to put too much pressure on the pigs causing them to go in and hold which is what I don’t want. Shade had bailed well but still has a fear of the water which he is slowly overcoming. I let the dogs bail for about twenty minutes before taking this boar right beside the track where I could ride the motorbike to.

Shade, Fog and Sassy bailing from the bank while Snow is in the water

 

Shade’s 1st find

  • Shade with his 100 pound boar

    Shade is really shaping up to be one of those exceptional dogs as he loves bailing the boars in the training block. He is now 27 weeks old and I have taken him out hunting once so far where he did not get onto a pig. The last couple of days I have been doing some work on my hut, recladding, putting in batts and building a conservatory around the lean-to. While I have been doing this I have had all of the dogs hanging around while wearing tracking collars so that I could keep an eye on them. Watching Shade on the tracker I could see that he was doing a lot of looking around. When he was 360 meters away up in the native covenanted block he started bailing.

Re cladding the walls of the hut and adding batts

This got all of the other dogs to take off up to see what he had. While the other dogs were making their way up I heard a possum cackling just out to the right of Shade’s barking. When the other dogs arrived and carried on bailing I started to wonder if maybe he did have a pig. I stopped working and listened for a bit and it sounded like they had everything under control as there was no pig squealing so I carried on with my building project to see how long they would keep bailing for before coming off. Snow was the first dog to come back to me after about 45 minutes so I decided to drive the truck up to the house and get a knife.

Windows on one side of the lean to

While at the house I sat down and had some lunch while listening to the dogs carrying on with their bail. I was not too panicked about getting up to the dogs as I expected the pig that the dogs had would have been either a black boar Snuffle’s of about 120 pounds or a grey boar Arnold of about 150 pounds. Both of these boars frequent my house from time to time. While Snuffle’s normally comes in during the daytime Arnold only comes in during the night. The last time Arnold came in it was about 3am as he woke me up with Jeff bailing him and the other dogs barking in their kennels. I walked up to him, called Jeff into heel and put some pig nuts on the ground for him to eat. While he was eating them I slowly moved closer until I was rubbing him behind the ear.
In the whole time that the dogs had this bail going it did not move and I did not hear any dogs getting hurt. The dogs would have been bailing for 90 minutes when I drove back down towards them. This is when Shade did come back to me leaving Fog, Jeff and Sassy still bailing. This hill face is quite step and the part I was about to go up through I have never walked through in the ten years I have owned this place as it is real thick scrub. When I got up to the dogs it was real thick as I opened a gap up with my hands there right before me was the back end of a black and white boar that I had never seen before. I was quick to take control of his tail and slip my knife up between his ribs. To get the boar out was just a matter of dragging him downhill to the creek where I left him to cool while I went back to my hut building work. Half an hour before dark I went up to the house to put the dogs away and when I put Fog in his kennel I noticed that he was not wearing his tracking collar. Looking at the hand piece I could see that Fog’s collar was back up where I had caught the boar so in the near dark I had to try and find my way back up through the scrub before the batteries ran out in his collar. The one advantage of it being dark was that I could turn the lights on his collar on making it easier to find. The boar weighed exactly 100 pounds. I think Shade is telling me that he is ready to start hunting.

Greta valley comp

A big line up of animals

This competition is run by the locals as a fundraiser for both the local school and the play group. On the day of the weigh in there were a lot of volunteers to give our Ridgeline team a help out. One great piece of equipment that they had brought along was a set of animal scales that sit flat on the ground so that we only had to lift the animals onto them.
One of the standouts for me at this comp was the involvement of the children.

This young girl was proud of her dressed hare

There was a competition for the best dressed hare and some of these younger hunters had put a lot of effort into dressing up their hares. I just had to take a photo of one young cute girl that had obviously spent a lot of time dressing her hare up and she was so proud of it. Instead of the pig carry the kids got to do a duck carry around the course while the adults ran the same course with a pig.

This young girl won this bike. A special day she won’t forget in a hurry.

At the prize giving for the children section there were so many prizes that every child must have got something. One young girl won a new bike, the smile on her face was infectious and it will be a day she will not forget in a hurry. Another young boy won a skateboard. I felt very privileged to be up the front witnessing these kids having the time of their lives.

Hanging the animals

After the weigh in had finished I got talking with one of the hunters, Robbie and he told me a story about when he started hunting at 14 years old some guys told him to go and see a certain farmer. He was being set up as this farmer hated pig hunters.

Weighing the animals on scales on the ground made the lifting easier

So he got his father to take him to the farmers place and he walked up and knocked on the door to ask for permission for a hunt. The farmer did not hold back his dislike for pig hunters and as poor Robbie turned to walk away a bit worse for wear the farmer noticed Robbie crying. This big tough farmer must have felt a weak spot come on as he said to Robbie, get your father to drop you off on Friday and pick you up on Sunday and I’ll take you out hunting for the weekend.
This turned out to be the start of Robbie’s hunting carrier as he learnt so much from this farmer. Moral of this story is don’t be scared to ask for permission, for every no that you get you will be one step closer to that yes.

Heaviest boar
1st Tim McKnight 162 pounds
2an Blair Hawkins 148 pounds
3rd Ryan Nesbit 143 pounds
Average weight Hayden Lye 111 pounds
best tusks Troy Neilson 17 7/8

Heaviest stag
1st Kris Sutherland 303 pounds
2nd Ryan Nesbit   285 pounds
3rd Louisa McClintock 278 pounds
Average weight stag 212 pounds

Ashley comp

There was more planning gone into this competition this year than previous years as the whole traffic layout and racks were different right down to even having a small digger on hand to lift all of the animals. John Bruce had gone above and beyond in organizing this comp, On previous years we had problems with vehicles trying to maneuver around the racks so this year things ran well with only one ute used to bring the animals into a closed off area to be weighed and hang on the racks.

All of the general public could walk around the outside of the racks to see the animals, leaving the centre area for the judges. For this competition it was stated on the entry form that all animals had to have all offal removed nuts in throats, arse and pizzel’s removed. It was good to see that a lot of hunters had taken notice which made my job of scrutineering much easier, however there was still over 50% of the animals had to have something done to them.

The idea behind getting people to clean their animals up is so that it is less likely that the meat will go off and be wasted. By removing the arse and throat you are allowing the air to circulate through the animal better to help keep it cool.
18 deer and 56 pigs were weighed in.

There were two standout animals that came in a 222 pound boar caught by Jacob Crow and his partner Sarah Boyd. This boar was bailed by two dogs just on dark and they had to go in with just a cell phone for a light. I can imagine the adrenaline rush they would have been feeling at the time.
The other was a huge stag shot by Ryan Nesbit that weighed in at 370 pounds. Ryan had to drag this stag down a tussock hillside to a vehicle. This is what keeps hunters so fit.

There was no shortage of prizes to hand out at the end of the day thanks to the many businesses that now support these comps. I was lucky enough to get the job of calling out the prizes and to stand up the front and see the smiles on some of those kids’ faces when they win a prize is priceless.

These are the hunters of the future so I’m sure the slingshots and cross bows will get well used. The weather all day had threatened to open the skies up on us but luckily for us we managed to avoid any big showers.

Kids section

Heaviest hare

1st Jackson Barrat
2ND Quin Brown
3rd Alice Hawkins

Heaviest rabbit
1st Matilda McMillan
2nd Jak Taylor
3rd Tom Brown

Heaviest Possum
1st Laryssa Burrows
2nd Kaylub Musson
3rd Sam Burrows

Heaviest Boar
1st 222 pounds Jacob Crowe / Sarah Boyd
2nd 168 pounds Jack Ashley
3rd 148 pounds Logan Doake
4th 146 pounds Tairi Mullen

Heaviest sow
1st 124 pounds Andy Stewart
2nd 107 pounds Brain Lunn
3rd 104 pounds Phill Bell

Average weight boar 111 pounds Simon Moar
Below average 108 pounds Glen Gamble
above average 118 pounds Gerald Smith

Average weight sow 85 pounds Corey Henderson
below average 84 pounds Brendan Simpson
Above average 86 pounds Tom Caulder

Overall average 100 pounds Dave Burrows

Best tusks 18 7/8 Andy Jones

Heaviest stag
1st 370 pounds Ryan Nisbit
2nd 223 pounds Cody Burton
3rd 220 pounds Duncan Mcintosh

Heaviest hind
1st 228 pounds Clint Stringer
2nd 143 pounds S coster

Average weight deer
191 pounds Jenny McMurdo

Glen and Lynette King