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  1. #1

    Lifes Tug of War

    Been going thru my archives and cant find if I posted this story before, it has been published in a bowhunting magazine but I could not find here on the forum, so enjoy the read of a past hunt.

    Lifes Tug of War.

    Ps got a few others ive found as well that ill try and get up in the near future.


    The darkness upon the horizon had only just started to show signs of dispersing as the first rays of sunshine broke through the clouds and they filtered on down to earth bringing some warmth and some hope that it would burn off the fog that enveloped the area I was traveling. We had had some recent rain in the area which is a blessing as the outback is so dry and sparse at present but it made it so eerie and spooky as I travelled in the early hours of the misty morning by myself out to my hunting destination.

    Once the fog had lifted it became a glorious day to be in our great wilderness, a wilderness I seem to never get enough off, it just reaches out and pulls you in, a great big gravitational pull that never relents and never let’s go. It’s this pull that makes us do what we do, the traveling day in day out both night and day. The endless walking the vast flats of the outback or the trudging up and down of the mountains that never seem to end.

    The pain we endure and put our bodies through to get that one trophy of a lifetime whether it be a great big billy or even a doe for meat, it’s a goal that you have set yourself to harvest and the feeling once you accomplish your goal is indescribable, only you the hunter knows how it feels as your excitement and emotion flows through your veins once its completed.

    Today would be a day that I would have this feeling of accomplishment. I was in a new area to hunt and had used Google earth and some topographic maps to my advantage and printed out in a colour view one of the 30,000 acre paddocks I was to hunt today, within this map was the boundary outlined in one colour and the roads throughout in another. I also put various symbols in to highlight the watering points and likely looking spots to find game.

    I use these maps to gauge where I am to begin my hunt with the current wind hoping it stays true to give me the small advantage of a favourable condition, this usually entails picking a creek line which I was going to hunt today or a valley or similar to hunt along.

    Once I enter in to the paddock I intend to hunt I check the wind I then have my printed map with its north pointer and align this with the north pointer on my GPS. This gives me an overview of my surrounds and the lay of the area I wish to hunt and an exact wind direction for where I am to hunt. I then make my way to my starting point best indicated with the current wind and begin my hunt maximising my chances of encountering game undisturbed.

    The wind today would be a bit of a cross wind but if I stayed close to the edge of the scrub line on the western side of the creek and take my time glassing and only venture east when I encountered game to hunt I could potentially have the best of both worlds and hunt down the creek for several kilometres and then hunt up the other side back to my vehicle in a favourable wind as well late in the afternoon.

    With plenty of water and food for the day and in cool conditions I could hunt all day and so set off taking in the sights and sounds that our country can only provide. Being still cool and after the recent rain not much game was located until mid-morning when I started to here bleats and calls from some goats in the distance. I took it extra slow walking several meters and stopping and glassing, I did have all day after all. You never know when a big mature billy would pop his head round the corner.

    So in taking my time the mob started materialising from the scrub line which consisted of hopbush and other woody weeds, with no real shooters showing themselves I was happy to let them be undisturbed, I ventured in deeper and skirted out around them so as not to spook them. This scenario played out for the majority of the morning with many goats sighted and stalked with several opportunities available but just not what I was after.

    Nearing the midpoint of my intended route some pig sign became very apparent so I nocked an arrow just in case, as there was plenty of leaf litter and debris about but still with a favourable wind I progressed slowly into the area. They were definitely bedding here so I marked the spot on my GPS for future hunts and continued on with the hunt up the other side of the creek as nothing was seen.

    It was nearing midday and my stomach was growling at me so I stopped by some nice big logs that would act as seats in some shade by the water and had a little bit of a chew and a rest. When I stop for a bite to eat I always nock an arrow just in case and it wasn’t long before a small mob of around 15 animals proceeded down from the scrub line to the water’s edge to quench their thirst, I just left them undisturbed and had a chuckle as the few small kids within the mob milled and played around upon some logs near the water.

    After my rest I geared up again and decided to glass up ahead and as Murphy ’s Law would have it a nice big billy was seen ambling down to the water’s edge but alas back on the other side, lucky I was only a few hundred meters up from the turning point. I glassed the side he was on for some land marks for his location as it looked like he and another smaller billy and nanny were set down in the sun for a little rest themselves.

    So I started the trek back and took my time glassing as I went and then advancing a little further and doing the same until I finally located them. They were situated in a small clearing of sorts, I started the stalk and stayed in close to the coolabah trees and the shadows they provided as cover and with the wind in my face everything was going fine until “snort” an unseen nanny bedded down with a kid deep within the shadows alerted the mob of the unseen danger that was me, the shadows not only work for me but also for my quarry as well.

    The mob moved off further up the creek to bed again but closer to the sand ridge that followed the edges of the creek. I glacially moved back keeping the two billies’ and nanny in view but allowed the alert nanny to see me and she slowly but surely moved away with kid in tow. I back tracked and circled right around into the hopbush and then restarted my assault on the ferals as they had bedded down again in the shade.

    By the time I got around the big billy was bedded on the right side of a tree broadside facing south while the other two were on the left side facing north but around 10 meters away from the big one. Keeping a large tree in line with the big billy I crouched down low to avoid detection from the other two of which the nanny was getting nervous and restless.

    I could see a large tree just to the left of my billy which was 28 meters from my position so with this information at hand I guessed the billy to be around 25 meters, nocking an arrow I slowly stood up and drew, this movement had the other two goats slowly walk off but I still had one obstacle, a branch of a fallen down limb was covering my billies vitals.

    This is where knowing your gear comes in to fruition, now I shoot a heavy Easton axis 260 spined arrow with a 250 grain VPA broadhead from my 80# Hoyt carbon Spyder, this along with a 5 pin sight I have nice even pin gaps from 20 to 50 meters (20, 30, 40, 45, 50). So with this branch closer than the 25 meters that I know my quarry is at, I can split my pins for the 25 meters I can also see that my 20 meter pin is above the branch and should not make contact with my arrow as it sails over it and into my billy.

    Thinking that my billy would run straight from the get go as the other two goats had vacated I cut the shot before he even had a chance to get to his feet, the arrow flew true and darted out arching over the branch before starting to descend down and punch clean through the billies chest with the VPA doing considerable damage as he only got to his feet before turning on a dime to run for several meters before stopping and falling over dead on his feet.

    Now that’s how you like a tracking job 10 metres from the impact zone to be on the ground set up for a photo, now as stated I had that feeling we as hunters can only get when you put in the effort from some basic homework of your hunting grounds to the spot, stalk and harvest of a fine trophy animal. I was pretty pleased with my effort so removed the 37 inch set of horns and strapped them to my pack before having a little rest and setting off again in pursuit of more game. The big billy later measured out record class at 116 4/8.

    I had not travelled to far when I started to encounter more bleats at a midway point where the creek widened out substantially, this section was thick with lignum and some goats were seen weaving in and out in their search of some fresh green shoots from atop of some of the smaller bushes. Not being able to glass any potential trophy’s due the vegetation I just had to nock an arrow and slowly progress through the foliage in the hope a decent head came forth and gave me a shot.

    I found a small clump of trees that appeared to be providing some shade for some resting goats in a small clearing, sneaking in closer using some lignum as cover I looked over the mob of a dozen or so animals ranging with the closest a mere 6 meters from me and the furthest at 40 meters but unfortunately nothing worthy of an arrow.

    Hearing some shenanigans going on 40 meters over to my left I slowly stalked over for a closer look and glimpse a nanny being followed by an amorous young bachelor group of billies. One by one they follow her past a small shooting lane but nothing with any potential shows.

    Seeing a small stream I travel along its route hoping I might find some swine having a wallow as they do prefer to wallow in such a place as it provides more cover and shade compared to that of the creek which was a lot more open at its edges with less cover. Rounding a bend I happen to notice that a large lignum bush was getting thrashed about wildly. Knowing goats have the ability to stand on their hind legs to reach leaves and alike and seeing that this bush was pretty large and wobbling all over it had to be something half decent in size to be moving it like it was.

    Waiting patiently the big billy appeared several minutes later on my side of the bush nibbling away at around 12 meters. With a smaller bush between him and I giving me cover I had to squat to find a shooting lane thru the entanglement of twigs and shoots that a lignum bush can only provide, in doing this movement and drawing at the same time he spots me and squares up to try and distinguish if any danger is present. Well danger was very apparent and came in quiver loads as a 250 grain VPA was unleashed with 80# of Hoyt Spyder venom pushing it along for a complete pass thru.

    Knowing he was smoked I calmly nocked another arrow and followed him up to see if he had a bigger brother about, rounding a corner I spot him on the ground only meters away from where he was shot, “man I love these short tracking jobs” I muttered to myself and had a little look for a another but nothing was seen.

    My arrows final resting location after a complete pass thru from his chest to his rear found deep within the entangled shoots of a lignum bush located several meters behind the billys last standing place.

    This billy too was a nice specimen going 33 inches for 101 points, not a bad day’s effort with a 37 and a 33 inch billy accounted for. I continued on with the hunt with only smaller family mobs seen and stalked and then passed up, this scenario seemed to be the measure for the rest of the day. The bigger boys were sure proving hard to find.

    It was getting late into the afternoon when I got back to my car feeling pretty content and satisfied for the day’s effort and what I had achieved. With just enough light to check a dam on my way back to camp nothing was found so I headed back to the shearers quarters for a well-earned rest and a feed. I demolished a couple of scotch fillet steak and onion sandwiches and washed it down with cold can of coke and a nip or two of rum, it was one damn fine day.

    The next day broke clear and cold and as it was to be my last would serve as a bit of a reconnaissance mission of sorts to some areas that I have not yet had the pleasure to venture too. Not too familiar with this neck of the woods I left a little later so the sun provided some light to see my surrounds, it was bitterly cold so it didn’t hurt to stay in the nice snug warm bed a little longer.

    I wish I had stayed a little longer in bed so to be closer to some amenities as I was only on about my third gate opening when a rumble and a grumble of my lower intestines decided to erupt with a violent implosion and luckily not an explosion. I moved pretty quick to my day pack for the ever present dunny roll (first thing packed in my kit) and found a nearby tree, if it was cold earlier it was damn near antarctic now with me strides down round near me ankles and my bare behind exposed to the elements of nature.

    After going about my business I continued on to my destination which was a dam that had a large creek system running from north to south. I had passed several clear openings on my way and had to navigate many small to large puddles of water from the recent rains so was not holding much hope of finding some swine within the creek system.

    Parking a ways off from the dam I snuck in closer on foot but found nothing, a kick of the dirt and a cloud of dust travelled north so I trudged on down south with the wind in my face. While this creek did not have as much water in it as my previous days hunt it still had many puddles and occasionally some much larger ones so I was happy when I finally found some game feeding along the creeks edge.

    With the wind in my face I knocked an arrow just in case and waited at the base of a large gum tree in the shade it provided hidden amongst some rushes and tall grass. It goes to show how a good wind and camouflage helps to conceal a hunters presence as this family mob fed into mere meters from my position with the lead nanny photographed from less than a meter before she got a good whiff of my scent and turned on dime to run away several meters and snort and stamp like they do before slowly moving off, surely was a thrill to witness.

    Walking on several hundred meters a very large pool of water was found with several goats nearby feeding and watering with lots of bleats and calls coming from the west indicating that many more were on the their way. I found a nice spot to wait on some logs and sat tight for a while to see if anything decent decided to show themselves.

    Eventually a nice black and white billy showed up that needed closer examination. By now I had 50-60 goats within an area as big as a football field and as they had water to quench their first they also had the sun warming up a bare spot by the water where they seemed to like to set down and sun themselves. This was going to be difficult.

    With the mob not going anywhere and with me having to leave in the next couple hours I decided to retreat and circle around to the west using the hopbush as cover to try and close the distance on the billy and if things went to plan he would hopefully wander in close enough for a shot. I had to contend with a few smaller billies in between that proved very frustrating. It seemed every time I was just about to draw this one particular smaller billy would suss me out and then settle down again, this scenario played out several times until…..

    My big billy spooked and took off never to be seen again (they don’t get big for being dumb) and I lost it with this smaller specimen, he was like that annoying burr in your sock or fly that constantly harassed you until breaking point and you snap, OOOOHHHH AND I SNAPPED, so with a burr you rip it out and with a fly you swat and squash it and grit your teeth and squeeze until your fingertips go white, then ya throw it on the ground and stomp on it, take that.

    Well this billy hung around too long and it cost him so when he stopped broadside at 25 odd meters I sent a 260 spined Easton axis his way and just like the little fly he will not annoy me again. Quite content and satisfied for the days hunt, I removed some meat for the owners dogs and turned about and headed back for the ute if I made good time I would have just enough time to check a couple of other likely spots for future hunts before heading home.

    Back at camp I packed up all my gear and thanked my hosts for the last few days. So now in contrast to my arrival I now left in the last hours of sunshine with the shadows lengthening and growing and the warmth from the sun dissolving into the coolness of evening for this was another gravitational pull occurring but not from the wilderness or the wilds of the outback but from my family back home calling and longing for me to be in their arms again and so this tug of war continues until I’m pulled away again and again for the cycle to continue and endure for many a year to come…

    Gear used for those interested.
    Hoyt Carbon Spyder @ 80# 26” draw
    Spot Hogg Hunter 5 pin sight and a Hoyt QAD drop away rest
    Easton Axis arrow @ 27.5” with 3x4” killer vanes with
    The ever reliable VPA broadhead up front in 250 grain, arrow weight 631 Gn.

  2. assassin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Gold Coast, Queensland
    Cool photos brother! Thanks for sharing your story mate!
    Sitting back from your trophy to make it appear bigger only makes you look smaller!

    Public Relations Officer, Head Bowhunting Instructor & past "Supreme Commander"- Pacific Bowmen inc
    Game Hunters Association of Australia inc - Life Member
    ABA Bowhunting Instructor
    ADA qualified measurer
    Former Game Council R Licence Examiner

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  3. #3
    Nice job Scotty. Love the videos you do. Well done

  4. bearmethod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    port macquarie
    Thanks for posting the story
    Stalker stickbow coyote schleyer classic
    Elite energy 35
    Impulse 34
  5. #5

    Lifes Tug of War

    Great write up as always, good to see you back on board and keen to see some pics of your African adventure I keep hearing about

    Sent from my 5044T using Tapatalk

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