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  1. Myst's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    Darwin, NT
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    #1

    A hunt with Shanks - a bowhunting story several years in the making!

    For many years Paul (Shanks) and myself have been chatting, either on the forum or the phone, and always coming back to the same topic – when are you coming to the Territory for a hunt?! So it was awesome when Paul messaged and said he was finally coming up to Darwin late June, so a plan was hatched and a hunt locked in.

    After a massive wet season in the Top End, some scouting was done in May and I found that there was still lots of water on the property (which measures 80km long by 30km wide), and the hogs were still scattered over a large area and copping pressure from the local doggers. Success looked like a lot of kilometres on foot and a good dose of luck on our side, but the opportunity to review a new StealthCam for Arrowhead Mag arose and I opted to hike in a feeder to keep some animals on a particularly active billabong and get them in front of both the trail camera and Paul when the time was right.

    With the camera and feeder in place for a month before the date of the hunt, the couple of opportunities to check the camera showed little in the way of hope – few animals and nothing of size coming through. Damn….

    After what felt like an eternity, Paul and his wife Michelle arrived in Darwin and swung past to drop his hunting gear off and catch up for a feed. Over a great meal at one of the local spots, a plan was hatched and following a restless night in anticipation of the hunt, I left home to collect Paul from his accommodation. The headlights showed a lonely figure standing in the darkness, but the grin on his face was unmistakable – like two kids at Christmas we were! We arrived at the property just on first light, and had barely travelled two kilometres from the gate when a large boar was spotted trotting alongside the track towards the ute. With barely a care in the world he left us clambering to get ourselves sorted, an oversight rectified on the spot!

    We made it to the end of the track just on first light, and pulled up under the close watch of a young buffalo bull standing about 300 metres off. We set off from the car and covered the one and a half kilometres to the billabong searching some paperbark swamps along the way. While there was lots of sign, there was nothing recent and I was hoping that the hunt wasn’t going to fruitless.

    Arriving at the billabong, there were no hogs only dozens of whistling ducks that took off and continuously circled the waterhole. We checked the camera and were relieved that it had recorded a group of pigs arriving around 5:30pm most afternoons, but didn’t record any activity for 36 hours before our arrival. The area showed heavy sign of recent rooting and wallowing, so there was hope yet. The voice of doubt still niggled the back of my mind, but we decided to check some other spots across the day and return mid-afternoon to see if the mob would come back. Fingers, toes and testes crossed…

    STC_0692.jpg

    After a fruitless afternoon wandering several waterholes in 34 degrees, we returned to set up and wait it out. Typically for the NT at this time of year, the wind was horrid for Bowhunting – stiff swirling breezes that worked to spread our scent far and wide, so we gave the waterhole a wide berth and came in from downwind. We set up, discussed options and waited.

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    After feeding countless mosquitoes and watching the waterbirds chase down their food, darkness began to close and hopes for a successful outcome began to fade. With little more than half an hour of usable light, we heard a tell-tale squeal and Paul suddenly turned to me and pointed – a good mob of pigs moving across the far side of the waterhole. Through the Maven’s I counted six larger pigs and a good assortment of bacon seeds with them snuffling around, but hopes were soon squashed as a previously unseen boar emerged from the reeds surrounding the waterhole and chased them back into the scrub. As quickly as hope came, it faded once again.

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    After about ten minutes of continuously scanned the billabong through the Mavens, shadowy figures were again spotted on the opposite side of the billabong. They seemed to be moving with purpose and preparations were made – Paul readied the bow while I looked ahead through the binos and kept the video handy. A quick pic was taken and anticipation kicked in as success at last seemed possible.

    IMG_0518.jpg

    First there was one. Then two, then a dozen or more hogs rounding the edges of the billabong and headed directly towards us. While most bee-lined for a spot near the feeder, a large boar broke off of the pack and casually patrolled the edge of the billabong, occasionally stopping to turn some mud with his snout before joining the snuffling hoard. He’d stopped at 10 metres and stood perfectly broadside.

    Swiftly and silently, Paul drew back his longbow and released the shot – the arrow disappeared completely through the boar, and with little more than a confused grunt he trotted off towards the long grass leaving the other hogs largely undisturbed. In a matter of seconds, another arrow was winging its way to a pork-rich environment, this time burying deep into the chest cavity of a medium size coloured sow. The sow squealed and ran, scattering the mob and bringing an end to the shot opportunities.

    A quick blood trail in the failing light led straight to the sow, her final resting place about 40 metres from where steel, cedar and pork became one. Photographs were hastily taken and a search for the boar commenced, but time and light were not on our side and we had to end the search without finding the boar despite knowing that its final resting place would be nearby. Partly shattered but partly elated, we made our way back to the car and headed for home with Paul having shot his first two feral pigs with a bow.

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    Paul, well done mate – it was a great day and we made some amazing memories mate. Looking forward to your next trip up here so we can do it all again!

    https://youtu.be/_a5LOzjiaWo
    Last edited by Myst; 11th July 2018 at 07:00 PM.
    Alan Specketer

    I am currently experiencing life at a rate of several WTF's a minute
  2. Aaron's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Location
    Stanthorpe, Qld
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    962
    #2

    A hunt with Shanks - a bowhunting story several years in the making!

    What a great read Myst, gotta love a pork rich environment lol, very descriptive. Well done Paul, stories to tell there for years to come, great shooting mate.
  3. #3
    Awesome,I've been seeing shanks photos on Facebook. Bloody awesome. He deserves it
  4. assassin's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    Gold Coast, Queensland
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    #4
    Awesome story Alan! Paul is 1 of the nicest, most humble blokes anyone could ever meet...he's had his fair share of bad luck this last few years too. I know exactly how much this would mean to him! Well done brothers!!



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  5. Myst's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    Darwin, NT
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by assassin View Post
    Awesome story Alan! Paul is 1 of the nicest, most humble blokes anyone could ever meet...he's had his fair share of bad luck this last few years too. I know exactly how much this would mean to him! Well done brothers!!
    Couldn’t agree more mate. We spoke of you too brother, and the feelings are all mutual :o)
    Alan Specketer

    I am currently experiencing life at a rate of several WTF's a minute
  6. #6
    Nice one guys. It's a great time to visit the Top End, especially if you can get out for a hunt.
  7. #7
    Sweet as guys good stuff.
    VPA prostaff, BONE SPLITTING PERFORMANCE.


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  8. #8
    Great read Alan and great success Paul, Did you go back and find his boar and send the head to him in the post?

    Randal
  9. Myst's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    Darwin, NT
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by randal View Post
    Great read Alan and great success Paul, Did you go back and find his boar and send the head to him in the post?

    Randal
    Hey Randal, it wont be far away from where it was hit, am heading down again in a couple of weeks so i’ll Follow my nose and grab the jaw out for Paul, then send it over when its not so fragrant!
    Alan Specketer

    I am currently experiencing life at a rate of several WTF's a minute
  10. Donkey's Avatar
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    Jan 2016
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    Adelaide River N.T
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    #10
    Only just had the chance to take a read. A really well written story Alan. Thanks for taking the time to share. Being able to picture the country you are in takes you away from ones hectic day and makes you feel like you are there for a brief moment.
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