The top photo's show the size these wild boars can get to, and a photo of myself and the rifle leaning on the tree is the ideal gun to hunt these big fellows. In close quarters and thickish bush, you don't want telescopic sights because they will blurr at close range and you will miss the target. It is a 3.0-2.5 I have never tried this, but they say with the right projectile, they will drill a hole in quarter inch steel. I remember this particular boar, the day was hot and two of the three dogs had collapsed with exhaustion, the boar kept breaking and the third dog was ready to give it in.
All the time I was running over a long distance I only spotted him a couple of times as the bush was reasonably thick along the creek bed, most of the time I couldn't get any closer than 50yards, I decided to run up the hill and run parallel to the creek, when I was opposite the boar there was an opening in the creek-bed, I took aim and he crossed the opening, I fired you can rest assured this was a fluke shot. I'd hit him through the heart area, for running the distance I'd run and shaking like I was I would have considered it a good shot, if I'd have hit him anywhere between the grasshole and the arsehole. In fact I thought I'd missed him because I seen a puff of dust. But the dust came from the dry mud caked on his body.
As you can see with the pig in the ute there's not many to a ute load. I remember this big boar also, he'd been feeding on a farmers crop of oats. The morning I got him he'd been feeding on the stubble, that's when the crop's been harvested. I saw his diggings in the paddock and his tracks under the fence where he had gone back into the bush. The dogs weren't too interested in his tracks, so I knew he was out of range. For the ability of my dogs to scent for pigs you had to see to believe. We continued hunting through the bush taking different tracks, I remember we hadn't caught up with any pigs.
My dogs would scent the wind from the back of my ute at any speed I traveled, about 3or4 hours later I was driving along a sandy flat about 3or4 kilometers from the paddocks where the big boar was feeding, when the dogs started howling and spinning around in the back of the ute. I pulled up and they all took off running into the wind up a sandy hollow, I knew it was pigs, for the dogs wouldn't play up for anything else. I don't often make this mistake, when I caught up with the dogs they had the big boar in reasonably thick bush.
I snuck into position trying not to let the boar see me, took aim for the temple, I pulled the trigger and it went click, In all the excitement I had forgot to load the rifle. I had to run back to the ute, load the rifle, return and shoot him. The rifle is that lever action 22caliber with telescopic sights. I have shot hundreds of boars with this rifle, and if you hit the right spot, just above the eye and the side of the temple they will not close their eyes, they are dead on their feet, 9 times out of 10.
The photo on the top shows the size of the boars tusks, and why they can kill a dog really quick. This boar had bayed up against this log, they do this to protect their back, I was lucky because it was fast getting dark, so I was able to lean over the log put the barrel to his head and shoot him.
The picture on the bottom shows a lot bigger boar than the one on the log, but not quite as dangerous. They don't seem to charge the dogs as often, the dog in the picture we did not know his breed, this photo's was taken in the late 60's. We were mainly hunting with kangaroo dogs, which rely on speed to catch their prey and not their nose, so they are more inclined to go on eyesight. The smaller breeds of dogs go on scent and become a better dog for pigs.
When we first started hunting for pigs, we would go out to areas where we had hunted for kangaroos in the past with my father, he was not interested in pigs at all. I remember one day hunting kangaroo's with him and Nipper, we would go to certain areas in the bush and we would walk for hours, looking for kangaroos, the dog would bale-up a big kangaroo, we would shoot him and take the hindquarters from the third rib. One of us would put his hindquarter on our shoulders and walk out to the nearest bush track, on the way sometimes the dog would get another kangaroo, so the both of us would be carrying, we would hang them in a tree next to the bush track, to avoid ants getting on them.
We would then walk out the opposite side of the track through the bush and look for more kangaroo's. My father had trained Nipper to only catch the big male kangaroo which was called a boomer, the younger male ones were called bucks. How my father achieved this was when Nipper was a young dog learning he would kill a young buck or female, then he would take my father through the bush and show him where he'd killed, my father would say" you silly mongrel" you don't catch them and he'd never pat him or praise him for the kill. But if he showed my father where he'd killed a big boomer, my father would put his arm around him and give him a pat and say good dog.
We witnessed Nipper do this many times, in very open bush we would watch him put in his run for the roo, if they were small roo's, when he got in range of them he would realize and pull out of the chase, dad again would give him a pat and tell him he's a good dog. Of all the kangaroo dogs and hunters I've seen in my time I have never seen this combination between man and dog. Many old bushman would say he's got a good dog and I used to think the dog had a good master.
This sequence of photo's show's my father cutting wood into 12inch lengths and loading them into the back of the ute, they were cut this length to suit his meters wood stove. I got this big boar while he was cutting the wood, I had found this particular firewood tree while I was hunting a few weeks earlier.
This day I returns with my father so he could cut it up for himself. As we were approaching the area were the tree was, maybe a kilometer or two back ,I spotted a half a dozen big male kangaroo's heading down through the bush to a paddock. I waited for my father to drop the tree and I said while your cutting it up, I'm going to walk back through the bush, with my dog Rusty and the rifle. For I was out of dog meat and I knew that Rusty would catch one of those roo's.
I had hunted this area ever since I was hunting and over the last couple of years I had seen the tracks of this big boar and I'd always wanted to get him. As we approached where we had last seen the roo's. I saw Rusty picking up speed with his head to the ground and disappearing. I started to run thinking he would be on the tracks of the kangaroo's, it was sandy soil I could see Rusty's footprints and then the big boars prints. I knew I had him Rusty was barking, I got halfway to them and the barking stopped. I got a bit closer and Rusty was coming to me wagging his tail he was very excited. Rusty knew that this boar had picked this spot to stand and fight and he had all day.
The bush was very thick along a creek-bed, I said to Rusty "get hold of him". Pigdogs love to hear those words, but he looked at me with his tail still wagging as if to say "you get hold of him". I knew how to suck him in, I pointed the rifle at the thicket and fired a shot, he give a scream of excitement as he took off into the thicket and then started barking ,I knew he had him for sure. As I was getting into the thicket I could hear the moans and the boar chomping his tusks together.
They do this to scare the dog and to let them know they are dinkum. Luck had it that about 15-20meters from him a massive tree had fell over, as tall as myself lying on its side, I climbed up on to it, the massive root systems another 4-5 feet higher than the log, I climbed up the root system and looking down into the thicket I could see the big boar with his back to me, I could only see the top of his hindquarter.
This boar was capable of killing my dog with the flick of his head and the longer you take to kill him the more chance of this happening. So I took aim thinking I could hit his spine and paralyze him, I shot for the kidney area, but missed the spine, the boar charged my dog, at no time could I see the dog but I could tell by the bushes were he was, I was lucky the boar came back to the same spot, I tried the same shot again I missed the spine. He charged the dog then everything went quiet.
Then I heard an unusual thumping and the top of a big Grasstree was shaking, then no more noise from the dog or the pig, my rifle was a 22lever action with a telescopic site, no good in close quarters in thick bush. After awhile I climbed down off the log, I found a little bit of an opening, I got down on my hands and knees and crawled in, every 10feet or so I would listen. Still no noise from the dog or the pig, you can't help but think that the worst has happened, but as I got to the end of the opening the bush and all the rushes had been flattened were this bail-up had taken place and Rusty was standing there looking at me wagging his tail, he then looks to the side.
I knew what he'd be looking at, the big boar was looking towards me laying on his belly, both the shots had hit his kidneys right along side the spine, he had bled out internally. I stood up and walked over to him, put the rifle to his temple and finished him. I then went back and got my father, loaded the ute with wood then took him and showed him the big boar. As we were coming home ,my father on the passenger side, Rusty sitting in the middle , I remember when I was a young boy sitting on the passenger side and Nipper in the middle.
This photo shows the condition these wild pigs can get to when the tucker is right. I've seen when they've got inside a farmers crop of oats, when it was maybe 3-4 ft high. They will pull the crop up and stack it like a mattress and camp there for months, unbeknown to the farmer. Sometimes the sows would have their young there. By the time he came to harvest his crop, you can imagine the damage. Bad for the farmer but good for me as this is when their at their best for eating.
The man sitting on the tailgate, it's his first day hunting wild pigs, his name is Barry Harvey. I met him in the Picton Hotel roughly 50-60 klms from Collie. I remember when I walked into the Hotel. Barry and two other men also an Aborigine fellow, they were playing darts.
I was brought up on this game, I even remember when I was unable to reach the board, without throwing it like a stone. My Father and three older brothers were all good dart players, my oldest brother Tom in particular. I remember him telling stories.There were six Hotels in Collie and being a Coal-mining Town, there was a lot of gambling on the dart board.
The drinking age at this time was 21 and I was 17. This was 1964. The Pub that my father and brothers mainly played in was the Club Hotel better known as Coppers Canyon at that time. Every Friday night they would hold a dart tournament, called the Knockout.
I recall my father saying to me "do you want to come down to the knockout". I said I did, and I remember walking into the Bar. There would have been between 30-50 men, miners, timber-workers and many other trades. I remember being so nervous, but a few beers soon settled me.
You drew numbers to see who was going to play each other, the losers of each game would drop out. Then you would play the next player in line of the winners. Until there was only two left. I won the knockout. When it finished they would start playing a game where you had to score 51 with 3 darts, 2 shillings(20cents) a throw. I went home with a pocket full of money.
Back to Barry and his mates, I remember standing at the bar watching these fellows playing darts. I'm about 28-29 yrs old and I've been around the best of the best in WA.
A friend of mine Johnny Burnett won the Australian Title and many others, also played in World Darts. Now and then a World Champion would tour and I witnessed Johnny beat a couple of these on his merits. Another friend Timmy Brown, who also won the Australian Title and also could beat some of the best in the world on his day. I could not split these two.
I remember talking to Barry, he asked me where I was from, I said Collie. He asked me what I done with myself on weekends, I told him my main interests were pig-hunting and I also played darts a bit.
He told his friends and they asked me if I wanted to join in. I said I would, they told me to have a couple of practice shots, I knew the aboriginal fellow(Mick) would have his eye on me, so I sprayed them, just missing the 20 I hit a 1, then a 5 then a 20, this shot is known in darts as bed and breakfast and it's a bit embarrassing.
Straight away he said "how much you want to play for mate", I said what you's have been playing for, a glass of beer. Mick say's what about 50cents and buy your own beer, so he's sneaking up on me, I agreed with him. I had another throw and sprayed them.
When I goes back to the bar, Barry whispers to me, he's sharking you mate and he beats us every weekend. So I go back to the board and spray's it once more, but this time I hits the triple 1, then the triple 5 and the 20. Mick doesn't realize I've aimed at these, thinking it's still a bad shot, Mick say's" what about a dollar mate", I agreed.
As I was emptying his pocket, I knew he was ready to fold. I needed 52 to finish the game, so I hit dbl 13 dbl 13. I knew this would rattle Mick, but when I went back to the bar, Barry suggested I'd gone the wrong way, that it was best to hit 20 dbl 16 for 52. I said I suppose that's another way, the game finished, Mick had not drawn blood, and took off home.
I sat at the bar having a few drinks with the boy's. Barry say's you've made me feel silly, I said how do you work that out, he said "me telling you, how to peg 52". Also he said you were sharking him, again I agreed.
You won't believe what happens 8 or 10 yrs later, I walk's into another little Hotel, which was about 20klms from the Picton Hotel, where I stitched Mick, called the Boyanup Hotel. I was with a friend and we were looking for a game of darts for money.
There were 4 players on the board, maybe ten fellows sitting at the bar. One of them was Mick. He'd forgot me, I said to my friend, the aboriginal sitting at the bar is a bit of a money player. So I thought I would try and set Mick up again. The 4 on the dartboard were playing doubles or partners.
We asked if we could join in.They agreed, I could see they were just sociable players or friendlies, I told my friend not to hit too much and spray them a bit. We were playing for a beer and we let them win a few. All the time I was watching Mick out the corner of my eye, when my friend had his shot and sprayed them. Mick was nearly falling off his bar stool, leaning over to watch my friends shot.
He gets off his stool and walks passed me and my friend, with a cheeky smirk on his face, not unlike a cat coming out of the back of a dairy. The toilet was at the end of the bar, as Mick was going through the door and disappearing into the toilet, I yelled out loud 51 for a dollar, Mick yells out (anytime). Even though we couldn't see him.
When he comes back, he say's you boys want a game 51 for a dollar. We agreed, Mick has a few shots on the board to loosen up. Then we empties his pocket, the game was finished. Mick looked at me and he said "I know you fella", I said I don't think you do. Mick say's your from Collie, I said "where the !!!! is Collie". He say's "by gee you remind me of someone". Until this day he knows no different.
The photo of the pigs and Barry shows his first day hunting, because while we were sitting at the Bar, Barry asked me if I could take him out. I said that I'd be more than happy to take him out. He was keen and asked if it was possible if we could go out next weekend. I told him my address and to be there at 6 o'clock Sunday morning. I'm not too sure but I think we had 5 or maybe 7, I think there was a couple more to go into the ute.
We got off to a bad start, the dogs would scent the pigs with the wind from the back of the ute. It didn't matter what speed I was doing. The first pig they scented was a long way from the road, also on the backside of a big swamp. We could just make the dogs out barking, by the time we got through the big swamp, we were both knackered. Also it had been raining and we couldn't get any wetter than if we jumped in the river. I said to Barry, I'm not sure if were capable of getting this pig back to the ute, again he was keen and said we'll get it back and we did.
I thought this might take the shine off of the hunt for him. I suggested we might head home as we were so wet. He said that he would like to keep on hunting and we should light a fire and dry ourselves. So I drove over to an area where they had not long put a big power-line through the forest.
I was going to light up one of the wind rows of timber. As I pulled up the dogs went over the side of the ute, Barry said your dogs have gone, I said their just keen. I went to throw a match in the wind row when the dogs started barking a couple of hundred yards from us, It was open Jarrah forest, good conditions.
The barking stopped then started, they done this a few times. I said to Barry I know the dogs have got trouble, because the barking will only stop and start when they have got a big boar, or more than one pig. When we gets to the barking, they had three or four big pigs, but when I looked around there were pigs everywhere.
I have never seen this before, they were all sows and they were all in season. They didn't seem to want to breakaway, so i'd take one off of the dogs and tie it and they'd grab another one, until we had five or six tied up and the rest were gone, the two dogs were exhausted. Barry and myself as well by the time we got them to the ute.
While we were driving home, Barry asked me what I was going to do with them. I said I would try and find buyers . A lot of people made Italian sausages out of them. Also the meat was as good as domestic pig or better, we thought. Barry told me that his job was making sausage skins at an Abattoir. Also he said he knew a lot of people who would buy the pigs. He asked what price I was charging, I told him 10 dollars a pig, It didn't matter if they weighed 150lb or 100lb or 80lb.
So I followed Barry back to his home town and into the Picton Pub, I also said that I know some Italians in Bunbury, which was another 10klms on from Picton. I rang them and told them what I had, they said they would come out and take three. Barry turns up and hands me ten dollars, I told him I just got rid of three on the phone, he went away and came back with another ten dollars, he done this 2 or 3 times and I told him he had better not sell any more as the Italians would turn up for their three, he said you've got an argument on your hands, I said why, he told me to come outside.
There was a big man standing at the side of my ute, we were introduced, he said are you only charging ten dollars for these, I said yes, he said that I'm taking the biggest one. I told him they were all gone the Italians were taking the last three. He leans over the side of the ute and picks the biggest up and walks off to his car. I remembered how me and Barry battled to carry that pig out of the bush, and something told me not to argue with him. We were still there when the pub closed that night, we'd had a good session on the dartboard. I slept at Barry's that night and went home next morning.
Many hunting trips will stay in your mind, for what ever reason. Especially if one of your good dogs are killed, or you've had a near miss yourself or one of your mates. Or something exciting has happened. I remember having trouble catching up with this mob of pigs. The farmer was concerned they were getting into his crop, when it was maybe a foot high. It was about a 4 to 6 thousand acre farm.
I'd tried a few times but was unable to find them, I couldn't find their pads leading back to the forest, I remember asking the farmer if he could find where they were going back into the forest. He also failed. As time went on and the crops were maturing fast.
It was Christmas and I would take the family to the coast for 4 weeks, fishing and diving. My oldest boy is 45 now and you can count on one hand how many Christmas's we missed. I've done this myself for 60 yrs, thanks to my father.
When I returned home from the holidays, the farmer told me why we couldn't find their tracks on the boundary, they were camped in the middle of the crop. I goes out there late in the evening, the dogs picked their scent with the wind, I waited and I could hear their barking in the distance. When I caught up with them they had the big mob, all bailed up on the edge of the river among the paperbark swamp.
The dogs become a bit cautious in this situation, because if they grab one pig the others will get into them. It was maybe a half an hour before dark. I shot a big boar and knocked him to the ground, I remember looking at him as I ran past, his eye's had rolled back and I reckoned he was dead, the dogs were still barking with the rest of the mob further on.
The pigs know that their safety is in numbers. There was different size litters, some 80lb some 20lb. One of the 80lbs made a break to get away, the dogs went after him and had him in about 50yds. I took it off them straight away and tied it and they were barking with the mob again. It worked out good because this happened another three times, giving me four pigs tied up. By this time it was well after dark, the dogs were a bit tuckered out.
I remembered after getting the 4 pigs back to the ute, then returning to have a look at the big boar, he was gone. I must have grazed his head and stunned him. Also I realized my dogs were not there with me, I knew they must have got a second wind and gone up along the river somewhere looking for the mob again. I got in my car and drove a kilometre, when I listened I could hear them barking.
They had gone back to the second camp the pigs had made after the farmer harvested his crop and disturbed them. There was 2 big sows and a litter of small pigs. I took the biggest sow that was not feeding young and the first photo shows the other sow with it's young, I left them. More than happy with the photo's I had taken of them.
The second photo shows you the sow that I took and the condition they were in, living inside that crop. The third photo shows the dogs and the pigs in a standoff, until I said " Get hold of him". The dogs love to hear those words. I would say that to them in the backyard just to stir them up, sometimes 4 of them. They would eventually get me to the ground, without marking me or drawing blood. It was a game we played. They were as friendly as friendly comes.
This photo shows myself in front, brother in-law Peter in the middle and his mate Starky. The both of them had just returned from Vietnam. This boar would have weighed between 2-3 hundred lb and we had carried him a long way.
The macho image kicks in and you don't want to be the first to give in. Starky was new to the game and I thought he was ready to collapse, I know I was. I suggested to Starky that he should keep swallowing, for the lump in his throat, might be his arsehole, it worked, he laughed and collapsed, then I looked at him and said your as weak as piss. All in fun!
This photo shows my oldest boy at the back carrying the pig with his mate Flapper, also the third oldest boy Brett, who is a bit young, but would love to have a go. You can see their knackered, they've carried it a long way. I remembered telling Starky to keep swallowing, because of that lump in his throat, but as you can see they are ready to collapse.
I have lost count of how many people I have taken out the bush hunting pigs, women included.
This photo shows my oldest boy Dave when he was maybe 12 or 13 and his mother, loading the pigs into the ute. We had carried them a long way, with the wife and Dave rotating in turns of carrying it with me. I remember we were trying to get across a creek, the wife slips and drops her end and all but sits me on my arse in the creek. I remember jumping up grabbing her by the neck and rolling on the ground. (no I didn't)
I remember this day in particular, we get's up the road about another ten klms and the dogs played up again on the back of the ute. They would scream and howl and spin , like someone had put turps on their arse, but they had got the scent of pigs in the wind. They got going and disappeared for about 5 or 10 mins, they had gone to the right hand side of the road.
Luck had it I was looking up the road about 4 or 5 hundred yrds, in time to see the dogs come across with their heads to the ground. No doubt on the pigs tracks. I knew which way to run, straight up the gully that I was in. There was a big swamp and I thought that's where the dogs would find them.
About halfway I run's into a boar, coming away from where the dogs were barking, I stood and watched, he was maybe only 10 yrds away, he was running towards my ute, my 2 boys were running towards me, and told me later they also seen the boar.
This is the only time this has happened to me, I could hear another vehicle and I knew that it was very close to mine. Also I thought they might have seen the boar on the road. I know my dogs would have had the biggest boar in the mob, that was a habit they had, nine times out of ten they would pick on the biggest boar. They couldn't handle him, I got close enough to grab the dogs by the scruff of the neck and coaching them to leave him.
When I get's back to the ute. The vehicle I heard, was a pig hunter, the boar had run out in front of him and his dogs. He had him, he said that he'd been out most of the day walking through the forest looking for the pigs. I don't think he had dogs that were capable of scenting from the back of the ute while it was travelling at that time.
I knew him well and I was a very good mate of his brother, his name was Micky Tylor. I knew he kept his pigs in sty's. He'd put good tucker through them and then sell them. I would say that Micky's dogs maybe started to scent with the wind, because I know that he was getting a lot of pigs in the finish. I told him I had no plans for the two pigs that I had. Micky was happy to take the both of them.
I believe the hunters were controlling the wild pig to a degree, but then the Authorities or the white collar decided to close access to our forests, by putting it under Quarantine, using what a lot of the old bushman said was not necessary right the spread of Die-back. It caused an explosion in the pig population. The hunters and their dogs were unable to get access to them.
The farms that the Quarantined forests surrounded were being tipped upside down by wild pigs. There was complaints go into the papers about the damage they were causing. One farmer took photo's of his paddocks, then asked me if I would go through his back gates and hunt these mobs, I said I would, he said if there's trouble over this, he would go to court with the photo's and sue for damage. I could not believe when I got into these forests, the damage the Timber Contractors had done, I have many photo's of this destruction.
In the early 70's a gentleman came to my house and asked me if I would talk to him about the destruction these pigs were causing. He was working for the APB (Agriculture Protection Board) his job was to locate and poison all the noxious weeds, like (blackberry)(capetulip)I think (pattersons curse)and a few others.
Also he had a small farm and there was a mob of pigs giving him trouble, his neighbour also had trouble with pigs. I hunted off many farms. When the pigs moved in they would let me know. Some of these were under lock and key and they would give me a spare key for my keyring. I was more than happy to rid them of their problems. He told me that the APB also the PWD (Public Works Dept) and CALM ( Conservation and Land Management) had very little or no knowledge of the wild pig. Personally I would say no knowledge.
If you remember my mother is in her 90's and remembers when she was a little girl, her father hunting with dogs in the day of the horse and cart. I don't know the exact year, but my mother was maybe 16 when she met my father when he was roughly 20. At the time he was working on a farm that was on the Blackwood River, maybe 70 or 80klms south of Collie. The little town was called Balingup. Dad told me stories of his hunting and fishing. He moved to Collie and they were married two years later. Hunted our forest the rest of his life.
I agreed to do a research program on the pigs, roughly how far and wide they were spread and what their eating habits were. Also if they had any disease. I know they were scared if Foot and Mouth ever got into the wild pig, it would be nearly impossible to control.
I think all of the Governments Departments shared the costs of paying another gentlemans wages over two years in this research. We would tag many pigs over this time and release them. We would take blood samples also (faeces). I presumed they studied what they were eating. The feedbag of the big boars that I had to shoot, also some of their carcasses were taken to Murdoch University for research. I can't recall a bad report.
I remember one boar, he was nearly dead with old age, he had a couple of big lumps on his body, also he was a bag of bones. I remember the fellow who was being paid for doing the research suggesting if Murdoch University was going to find any disease in these wild pigs, there was a chance it would be in this boar. The next weekend he told me there was no difference between that boar and a domestic pig. The photo below shows that boar.
This photo shows my two youngest boys Craig about 8 and Brett 12. They loved to go out spotlighting at night, looking for rabbits. Also I would let them shoot a kangaroo for dog meat, this was all done on farms.Where these animals were damaging crops.
This night the boy's were standing on the back of the ute and they spots this wild pig, I started chasing it through the paddocks in the ute, I would cut in front of it and turn it, I done this a few times and all of a sudden he stops, I was about 15 yards from it, the boy's were normally good, they knew not to make a noise or move when I was about to shoot.
I had zeroed in on the temple, when they both started laughing, they were out of control, the pig bolted, so I had to chase after it again in the ute. I'd hit the brakes, shoot at it on the run, I hit it three times before it dropped. The rifle was a small caliber 22. I said I should kick you's in the arse. I did'nt tell them but I was laughing a little bit myself as I was chasing it.
This photo shows a mob of wild pig's, the boy's are on the back of the ute with the spotlight on them, I was driving, the wife was on the passenger side, I told her to set the camera up and pass it to me, she then lent over and was steering the ute while I hung out the window with the camera.
This photo show's the 2 dogs and both my youngest boy's and the wife positioning a good size boar alive. Some people who have seen this photo ask how come the wife is doing that and I tell them that the pig will bite you and I don't like handling them.
You can see the youngest boy Craig has a torch in his hand and Brett has the spotlight in his right hand. We were'nt hunting pigs this night, we were after marron and if you look in front of the brown and white dog Rebel you will see a scoop net.
We were on private property which had a river running through the middle of it. The boy's had 3 or 4 meat baits on string in one of the pools, they would scoop a few marron off of these baits, then we would drive about a kilometre to another pool, where they had also put some baits. We would stay there for maybe half an hour, then go back to the first pool.
I had left some spare bait wrapped up in paper, something had tore the paper and taken some of the bait. I said to the wife I don't know what has done this, so I wrapped it up and put it in the fork of a big paperbark, about 6 ft off the ground.
Another thing as we would travel from one pool to the next, when I hopped out of the ute, I could hear all the farmers sheep in the distance making a hell of a din. He'd been having trouble with town dogs, travelling out about 6 or 7 klms and killing sheep.
I said to the wife that we'll go and check it out, they were on the opposite side of the river, so I had to drive about 4 or 5 klms to cross over. The two boy's were on the back with the spotlight and the two dogs, I also had my rifle. I pulled up and listened and they were still going mad, just over the hill in front of me.
The boy's shone the spotlight on them and they were running to us. I said to the wife I know what's going on, it was late in the summer and the paddocks were low on feed and the farmer had been hand feeding them, in a diesel ute the same as mine and they thought they were going to be fed. False alarm.
While we were on that side the boy's knew the paddocks as well as I did, they said can we check the rabbit warrens, there were a few rabbit's running around. The boy's said can we try and get them with the machette. I said they could, I was holding the spot and they were running around like they were the last of the Mohicans.
They climbed into the back of the ute and they said that the dogs are not here dad, I thought they'd maybe got onto another rabbit in the night. When one of the dogs started barking, also I could hear another pig squealing in the distance, I grabbed the little torch and some pig rope and the boy's were shining the spot down towards them.
When I get there Rebel has got the boar that you see in the back of the ute. The other dog had a smaller pig in the river, which he let go, I'd say because he heard the other dog barking. After we sorted thing's out and headed back to the pool where the baits were. The boy's continued catching marron. I realised that the spare bait that I had wrapped up and put in the fork of the paperbark was gone and I realised it was water rats.
This is a photo of my three oldest boy's, who's ages are today Dave 45, Jamie 42 and Brett 39. Craig hasn't arrived yet. The photo is misleading, the stick was bent that way, it is a Redfin Perch and we consider it as good as any fish in the ocean.
The dogs you see in the background, the white one was named Sandy and the other was Red, they died young. Red was 14mnths and Sandy was killed 3 weeks later, they were brothers. Also they were very aggressive and known as grabbers, they loved the battle and handled many big pigs. They were also first class scenting dogs from the back of the ute. They would hunt on the wind at any speed I would travel.
Different people that I took out over a time could not believe when the dogs started howling on the back with scent, because sometimes there would be half a dozen or more pigs in the back it made no difference. They scented on the incoming wind and the distance they could scent these pigs you had to see to believe. But grabbers don't go the distance. A boar will one day catch up with them.
I remember this day, with Sandy and Red and their father Rusty, they had got onto a bad boar, who would not bay up and kept breaking into the distance, so I just had to keep running ,every now and then I would stop and listen and would just make out the barking in the distance, I would run again and when I listened, there was no barking.
I'd left a friend back at the car, when I finally caught up with them, I shot the big boar, both Red and Sandy were ripped, Red the worst, I fired two shots into the air, hoping my friend would hear it, but he was out of range. As I was walking back the dogs were no doubt sore and feeling sorry for themselves. Red was bleeding pretty bad.
As I was approaching a main gravel road, that I had crossed over while chasing them, I could hear a vehicle coming. I knew it wasn't my friend by the sound of it, it was a four-wheel drive. It turns out they are Fishery Officers or Wardens. He hits the brakes and being on gravel, slides to a stop, maybe 10ft from where I was standing, he said how you going, I said do you want me to tell ya, he said you do look f!!!!d, I could have said exhausted but this is a true story.
When he saw the state of the dogs, he said what's happened. I told him I'd shot a big boar up on the side of the hill, they seemed pretty keen, they wanted to have a look at it. So I took them up and showed them. When we come back to their vehicle, he asked me where my vehicle was. I told him it was a fair way off inside a pine plantation. He told me to put the dogs in the back and he would take me back to my vehicle. I said the dogs were bleeding to much and they'd mess up his car. So I said if you don't mind, I'll tell you what roads to take and you can tell my friend where I am, which he did, they were a couple of decent fellas.
The Red dog was out of action for about a month. More Vet bills. And his next hunt would be his last. There was a young fella that used to like coming out the bush with me when I had room, he was about 14 or 15yrs old. He'd been on quite a few pigs with me.
On this particular afternoon we had tagged a boar and released him and we were on our way home when the dogs picked up scent, I said to the young fella I'm not going to stop, it's too close to dark, also I'd seen the tracks of a big boar a couple of days earlier with my father, and I had commented on the size of his tracks.
The young fella was keen and he said that it might be different pigs, I did'nt need much convincing. I hit the brakes and the dogs were screaming over the tailgate and back up the road. I reversed back, there was quite a thick swamp. When I hopped out of the vehicle, I could hear the dogs trying to find the pigs. They seemed to be taking too long to catch up with it, I said to the young fella that we've got troubles the dark was fast coming on us.
Then all the dogs fired up barking, troubles for sure. I knew they had that big boar.I always carried a torch in the car. I pick up my rifle and I told the young fella to wait at the car, the barking would stop and then start again, I was within maybe 20 to 30 yrds of him. I could hear the big boar moaning and smacking his tusks together.
I couldn't see this, but he lets out a large grunt and charges the dogs, I knew he had one of them by the mournful howl, things went quiet, then I heard a noise coming to me. I've got a rifle with tellies and a torch inside a swamp, not a good feeling, it turns out it's the Red dog, as he's heading passed me to the vehicle I could see he was in a bad way.
The dogs started barking again with the boar, he charges again and the barking stops, I could hear the dogs noise going away from me, then deadly quiet. I've seen this many times in the day time. Inside a swamp the boar will stand still and listen for the noise and charge at it. I knew not to make a noise, but I thought he might hear my heart. I waited for the dogs I could hear them returning. I thought I hope they don't come to me. Luck had it they didn't.
When they started barking, I turned and got out of there as quick as I could. The young fella said that Red's in the front of the ute. I always had hessian bags in the ute, I picked him up and laid him on the bags in the back of the ute. I didn't like his chances. All this time the dogs were still barking about 50yrds from the road, I would whistle and call them every now and then but they would not leave him.
I wiped the blood off of the front seat with one of the hessian bags, I said to the young fella we'll drive off into the distance. When we pulled up and I got out of the car and listened, you could just hear the dogs barking, maybe a klm away, I waited for 10-15 mins, then I drove back a passed where they were and kept going for about a klm the opposite way, done the same and you could just hear them barking in the distance.
I sat there for maybe another half an hour, I was going to drive passed them again, as I was taking off there was a set of headlights coming towards me on a gravel road, as it gets closer to me, this fella pokes a sign out the window of his car, which read Fisheries Stop, I pulls up along side of his door, he recognises me and asked !How ya going!, it was the same Fisheries Officer that came onto me when Red and Sandy were wounded. I said no things aren't too good. He said why's that I told him to hop out of his vehicle and listen, he could hear the dogs barking, he said what have they got pigs, I said yes.
He had a dog with him, I asked what he was like and he said he was a good dog, I said do you want to see "how good", then I said have a look in the back, he saw the Red dog and said no I'll give it a miss. He said I hope things turn out alright as he drove off. I was starting to worry, it was a couple of hours after dark, and I knew the young fellas parents would be starting to worry. So I drove passed one more time and headed home about 25-30klms, I dropped the young fella off at his place.
Then I was going to head back out, but as I was driving passed my sisters house, her husband was getting off the bus, from afternoon shift from the Underground Coalmines. I pulled up and told him what was happening, he was also keen on his pig hunting, and he went back out with me. When I pulled up at the swamp and we hopped out of the car to listen, we could hear the noises of the dogs coming out. The ordeal was over.
Red died that night.
This is maybe the last photo of Sandy & Red with their father Rusty. Like I said they were killed three weeks apart. Many people commented on Sandy and they would ask his breed, most of them thought he was a white dingo, the pricked ears and curled up tail, he's a little dirty in the photo, but he was as white as snow and a champion at six months old. Red would get me pigs, but not in the same class as his father and brother.
It's funny how the real good dogs will pick up some type of habit or an unusual trait. With Sandy you could guarantee every time I pulled up at the service station, the young fella that used to serve me was my cousins son (Macca). When he used to put the nozzle in the fuel tank, which was close to where you can see the dogs feet. Sandy would lean over and put his mouth around the hand piece of the nozzle, all the time he would be looking at young Macca with his tail wagging. The young fella said this day, why do you reckon he does this, I said he more than likely wants to go out all day and he's making sure that you fill it. ( Macca I hope you didn't tell too many of your customers that.)
I remember another time when I pulled up to get fuel. I had not long put a heavy duty roo bar on my ute, there was an elderly lady in front of me in a mini minor, which was maybe the smallest car on the road at that time. Again I remember an old bushman telling me that they had trouble with the mini minor in Collie, he reckoned when the kangaroo dog cocked his leg to pee on the back tyre, it went through the window.
So while I was parked behind the elderly lady, I said to my older brother Reg, I'll just duck over to the shop which was opposite the fuel station and grab a bottle of cool-drink for out the bush, we were going pig hunting. As I opened the door of the shop, I heard quite a loud bang, when I looked over, she had reversed into my roobar. When I get back over there, the brother and the lady were looking at the damage.
She was a well groomed lady with a bun in her hair, She looked at me and said I usually have trouble finding reverse, I thought why would you want reverse when I was parked behind you, I didn't say anything, then she said that it's not even my car, it's my daughters and she is away on holidays. I said that it might have healed by the time she comes home, she never spoke to me again. Not a good time to test someones sense of humour.
This is a photo of Red and Sandy's father Rusty and also my father. You can see that Rusty in his own rights is equally as good looking as Sandy. His build was a little bit larger than a Labrador, but with the same nature. And all his sons were of the same temperament. He reigned for twelve years, so there's many stories to be told on him.
Because a pig dog has to have a bit of luck to last twelve years. The main reason for them not to go the distance is the many boars they come up against in that time, also snake bite. Plus in later years the authorities sprayed tens of thousands of poison baits over hundreds of thousands acres of forest's for fox. ? if you travel our highways, were the paddocks come up to them, there is hundreds of foxes run over in a season. Especially along the low lying coastal paddocks.
They are being sighted inside the towns. I actually seen one at the Entertainment Centre in the city of Bunbury which is 50-60 klms from Collie. I've known them to come into town killing chooks on a quarter acre house blocks. Yet of all the years that I've been associated with hunting I believe that I could count on one hand the amount of foxes I have seen in the middle of the forest also before they were baiting.
Another way they were being controlled again was by hunters, but they stopped the market for their skins. I know different fellas that were killing them in their hundreds, in three or four months in the winter, when their skin was at it's best. And you would get anywhere up to $40 for their skin. And it scares you to think what effect they have on our fauna.
This photo shows you the conditions we sometimes come up against.The thick undergrowth in the foreground and the steepness of the hills. The pigs like to feed around the small Pines. It was dangerous for the dogs with a big boar.Where the dogs had trouble manoeuvering, the boar would travel through at top speed and the dogs would be unable to pull him up, until he hit the bottom of these big hills. Many pigs were lost, they'd be out of range and we couldn't hear the dogs barking. They would turn up sometimes 2hours later, worn out because of the conditions with no result. This is one of those memories that will stay with you. I had a good friend with me, who today is 88yrs Bobby Harrison. We were on a hill similar to this maybe 40yrs ago, when my dog Rusty picked up scent. They will normally howl and spin around in the back of the ute, but this time he was pretty calm.
When I pulled up he was on the left side of the ute, with his head in the air and fairly sucking in the wind. Also his tail wagging. You can sometimes hear them scenting from the front of the ute. We hopped out and we were standing there. I said to Bobby that he's got something in the wind, I thought maybe there had been a big boar somewhere in the area maybe the day before. They leave scent on the ground for a long time.
I walked back up the road, the dog followed me, but he didn't leave me.So I said to Bobby we'll give it a miss, told Rusty to get on the back. As I went to get in the ute, I said to Bobby he's still interested. So I made like I was going to walk off the road and said "where is he." He thought that was enough reason, no doubt he wanted to check it out.
He headed down the big hill pretty fast. We couldn't see any of this the pines were about 10-15 ft high. I said to Bob that we'll head up the road and take the next two turns to the left. The pines are in square apartments and I thought we might cut across his line. I pulled up roughly where I thought it might be. It was maybe a couple of kilometres by road but only 1 klm the way Rusty went. We walked around thinking he may start barking.
After about 20mins or half an hour. I said to Bob he's on to something, because he very rarely went for anything other than a pig. As we were walking around, I noticed car tracks and fresh boot marks on the ground, I said these look fresh. When I looks up to my car Rusty comes out of the bush wagging his tail as though he had done his job. I said to Bobby I think I know whats going on.
These boot marks are from pig hunters and Rusty has been to where they have got pigs. Bob knew Rusty's ability and didn't dispute it. I give him a pat and said show me and he set off back up the hill. About 4 or 500yrds and shows me a pig trap. And they had just taken a couple of pigs that morning. So way up on top of that hill a bit earlier, when Rusty was confused. No doubt he could smell pig also human, plus they had the top quarter of a kangaroo with sawdust over it, plus a big bag of apples.
We kept on hunting, we had three or four good pigs in the ute and we had released a couple. We decided to head to the pub or as we used to call it a watering hole. It was only about 20-30klms from where we were, it was a small bush town, one hotel, a police station and one store. The main employment was the big timber mill and forestry.
We were sitting in the corner of the bar next to the wall also the dart board. And Bobby liked to play as well. It' a Saturday and there's 15-20 mill-workers sitting at the bar. We'd had a few drinks. We could look through a big window at the ute and see if the dogs were alright. If they got out, it was for a piddle. Then I would go out and say stay in the ute and they wouldn't get out again, they were very obedient.
This time when I look out to check them, there's a gentleman walking up from the railway line. He looks over and see's the dogs, because Bobby had a big brindle kangaroo dog as good as they come. This fella walks off his line to have a look in the back of the ute. I said to Bobby, he's checking us out. Then comes into the pub, looks up and down the bar, spots us and comes over, orders a beer.
Then he say's "I see you boy's have been out pigging". He asked where we were from, I told him. Then he said I've been out myself and got a couple this morning. I looked at Bobby and give him a wink. I said you got yours out of a trap mate. A real startled look on his face, and he said how did you know that? I said we get around. He's a local and a few of the fellas at the bar were his mates, and they were listening.
Both Bobby and myself laugh a little and it gets the better of him. He said you don't know where my trap is. I said I believe I do. He say's I'll bet $20's you don't. I said listen matey, before you get too carried away. You've got a kangaroo top quarter with sawdust over it and a bag of apples. That real disappointed look comes over him.
Would you believe he pulls a set of darts out of his pocket. While he's having a conversation with us and after a few drinks. He keeps throwing the darts, he turns around and say's we've got dogs too, me and my mate and I think they'll be better than yours. Not the sort of thing you say to another man about his dogs. But I let it go.
I commented on his darts. He said do you play darts. I said yes I do, a couple of years ago I had a game. So he challenges me. I said yeah I'll have a game with ya. So I grabs a set of darts from behind the bar and went up and had a few throws. One throw I nearly missed the pub and he say's what are we going to play for mate. I said just a game and have a throw.
He said we usually play for a beer. I had a couple more throws and I was getting closer to the board. He said hey mate a beer costs 40cents, why don't we play for 50cents and pay for your own beer. I said you've got me. When I looked at Bobby, he had a grin a foot wide. I slowly emptied his pocket and I knew I had his Saturday's allowance. He surrenders, also he said I thought you said you didn't play darts. I said I told you I had a game a couple of years ago. He said I don't know about that I'm an A grade player. I said well that's how it is.
He gets back on about how good his dog's were. He's not happy. I said I'll tell you what I'll do with you. I'll come over here next weekend and take you out with my dogs. Then the following weekend, we will go out with your dogs. He's got himself in too deep and his mates are listening and he agrees. I said we won't do this for nothing and I'll bet you $20's on the outcome. He excepts. I've even got photo's of him ( sorry Johnny).
The photo shows Johnny on the right and this is the first weekend I went over and took him out with my dogs. You can't quite make my mate Bobby out on the other end of the pole. There was another pig with this one, but we could only get one across at a time.
I remember when we picked him up at his house and we were still on the bitumen road, when the dogs started howling on the back. Our first mob of pigs. I hit's the brakes. Sometimes I had to pump the brakes to pull the dogs away from the tailgate, because they would try and go over while I was travelling too fast.
I said to Johnny you better get going, the dogs will have pigs in a minute. Because you have to get to them as quick as you can, if you don't they may damage the pig. He seemed to want to wait for me, so we got going and I could hear a big pig squealing. I took it off the dogs and they got going again. It was a sow and she had not long weaned young . They would have been maybe 20-30lb. So I put a tag in her ear and released her.
Then started to run the way the dogs had gone. We got to the top of a big hill and we couldn't hear nothing. I said to Johnny their out of range, and there's a good chance that they will kill one of those 30pounders. We waited about another half an hour and the dogs returned with blood on them. I told him they had definitely killed one of them youngens. He said do you reckon, like he had a bit of doubt. So I said to the dogs " show me" and they headed off into the distance.
It was quite warm and the dogs were exhausted and they takes us back to a wet swamp. The dogs laid in the water, they would have still showed us where it was, but it was too thick and we will give it a miss. We walks back to the ute, the dogs have had a spell, also they'd been in the water and they were keen again.
We must have drove about 2klms and the dogs were spinning on the back again and howling. They only went about 100yds and I could hear a pig squealing. We runs up to it and I take it off the dogs, it was the same sow we had released an hour ago with the tag in her ear. We let her go again and continued hunting.
Johnny was a Forestry worker and he took us into areas I hadn't been. We were traveling along the top of a big hill. Looking to our left at the bottom of the hill about 3-400yrds, there is a big freshwater creek, that you see the boy's carrying the pig across. It was very open bush.
The dogs played up again and we stood at the car and watched them get to the creek and disappear. We walked around but we couldn't see any diggings or pig tracks, Johnny said do you think it's pigs, I said I know it's pigs, they won't do this for anything else. On the opposite side of the creek there was also a big hill equal to the one we just come down. There was a hollow running up this hill.
There was a bit of a storm coming in from the Northwest and blowing towards us from that hollow, I said to Johnny I reckon that's where those pigs will be. A little bit of luck. I was not always right but this time I was. I know this impressed him. We run a long way before we get to them, I could hear a pig squealing and further on I could hear a dog barking. I grab the pig that was squealing off one of the dogs and he takes off to where the other dog was barking and he starts up barking as well. So I know that they've got a pretty mean pig bayed up.
The pig I had was about 80lb. I could see Johnny coming up the hill, so I didn't bother tying it. I thought I'll give it to him, which I did and I told him to tie it while I went up further to where the dog's were barking. I could also see Bobby coming up from the bottom of the hill. It turns out it's about a 150-180lb boar and full of fight.
I took my jumper off and I sneaks up along side of a tree to about 6-7yds from the boar, you stay blind to the boar if you can. I throws my jumper to him and he charges at it, grabs it and shakes it like you can hardly see it. The dogs know this, as he hits the jumper, they hit him. They'll grab an ear each, the boar thinks he's got something and there's less chance that he'll rip a dog. Also I'll have him by the back legs as quick as I can. All their power is in their back legs.
I will then kick at the weakest dog and tell him to get back, which they usually do. Then I will tip the boar the same way the strongest dog is pulling. And it's quite easy to get him to his side. I will drop on his neck with my knee, then I will tie the back leg to the front leg on the same side, roll him over and then tie the other two legs.
When I finish with this boar, I was wondering where Johnny and Bob were. So I walked down the hill to where they had the other pig. They hadn't tied it, I said I'll tie him. Johnny said what did the dogs have up the hill further, I said a fair lump of boar. I told him I had tied the boar up, he said can I go up and have a look at him while your tying this pig. I said yes.
While he was gone Bobby suggested he hadn't been around pigs much at all. When Bobby got to him, he had tied one end of the rope around one front leg and the other end of the rope around the opposite front leg, the ropes about three feet long and it had about as much effect on the pig as if he had tied it around his ear.
On our way home to Johnny's place to let him off, he said can I call that bet off. I did not know that dogs could scent on the back of the ute with the wind and especially at the speed we were doing.
The top photo is of myself on the left and my mate Bobby on the right. photo below is of Bobby with his dog Harrow, short for Harrison, Bobby's last name.
This photo shows me with the mother and father of all the wind scenting dogs I ever owned. The big dogs name is Lady, she is a half breed stag-hound and short-hair kangaroo dog cross and very similar to my fathers champion Roo dog Nipper. The other dog is close enough to a full breed American Pit Bull. His name is Buller and I bred five generations from these two.
Before Buller came on the scene the only hunting dogs were roo dogs. My father tells me before my time, when they were hunting kangaroo's only, the dogs would now and then bay a pig. My father was not interested in them. He would shoot them with an old army rifle a 303 and leave them.
You can see in the photo that Buller is a ripple of muscle and I know he had a bad past. He may have even been used in dog fights, which I hated with a passion. A real good mate of mine Bobby Carroll, his brother Richie was living in Bunbury, which wasn't a City then.
I don't know how but Richie got word that they were going to put Buller down, he had killed a couple of dogs. Maybe a friend told Richie and he said that he would like to have a look at him. He said rather than put him down I will take him to my brothers place in Collie and see if they want him for a pig dog, which he did.
My mate told me to come over and have look at him. I told the wife and we both go over, he was on a rope and tied to a fence. When we pull up alongside of him, he was sitting, looking at us. Whether it was because I told the wife that he had killed a couple of dogs, she instantly said I don't want him. Buller had stood up and his tail wagged, I don't believe I've had a better feeling, (well since I first touched my missus on the arse.) Love at first sight, both way's.( isn't that romantic.)
He had many white scars over his head from teeth marks. He was carrying a lot of weight, nothing like he looks in the photo. I put the tailgate down and I had to help him get into the back. I don't know if he'd ever been in a ute, I don't think he had. He was all over me like a rash, licking my hands when I patted him, on our way home, he was going from side to side checking things out. When I pulls up, Lady comes over to the ute, instant mates.
The three pigs in the ute are alive and tied. The bitch is standing on the spare tyre and looking bigger than she is.
The photo below shows a bit of our history, it is an old steam boiler, I think used as a winch on the old formations to load the train. You can see Buller and Lady in the foreground, myself leaning on the wheel and my mate Bobby Carroll on top. If you look between the wheels in the background, you can see a small kelpie type dog that belonged to Bobby, we weren't too sure of his breed. Thanks to another friend who was keen on his camera, Terry True or otherwise I would not have had these early photo's.
I remember when Bobby and myself took the small kelpie out hunting for the first time. We were walking through some hilly country, looking for the pig camps. When Bobby's dog started barking , we could see the dog but there were a few bushes and we couldn't make out what he had. Then we realised he was barking at the ground, I said to Bobby it could be a snake. But turns out it was a bobtail goanna. They've got a big mouth for their size and a blue tongue.
The kelpie who's name was Smoker was running circles around it barking. Both of us were watching and laughing. I said to Bobby we shouldn't be doing this, because he will think this is what we are hunting. Bobby growled at him and said that's right. Plus I said the next one might be a snake.
We kept walking about another half a kilometre. There were some good pig signs and smoker hadn't been with us for awhile, and he starts up barking 3 or 4 hundred yards in front. As we were getting up closer, I said to Bobby this might be a snake. Smoker was barking at the back of a big tree, and it turns out it's what they call a hollow butt, where the fires over the year have got inside the base of the green tree and burnt out a big hole. He had two big boars, it was their camp. We took the both of them.
Over the next 6mnths Smoker started to show good signs, he'd scented a couple of mobs from the back of the ute. Which he had learnt from the pit-bull. Then his luck run out. He'd bayed a boar at the base of a tree, he wasn't all that big, his tusks were about an inch and a half long. I was standing at the back of the tree when the dogs grabbed him, it was like ten seconds and I had him by the back legs and tipped him.
But Smoker had already been hit. It looked like the tusks went in then out. There was no rip, but it was the base of the throat and it had hit an artery. We carried the boar back and put him in the ute. I said to Bobby we'll head home as Smoker was bleeding pretty bad. We done the wrong thing, on the way home we had taken a different road, because we knew there was a big mob in that area.
The dogs started howling on the back, like fools we stopped, the dogs were gone, Smoker as well. When we caught up with them barking they had as mean a boar as you can get. The pit-bull would pick the biggest boar in the mob every time. It was good open bush and he had picked up a habit with the big boars, when they chased one of the other dogs, he would fly in and lock on the big boars testicles.
They would corkscrew trying to get hold of him that fast that his four legs would be in the air and he took a lot of shaking. Lady makes the mistake going in to try and give him a hand, the boars tusks are maybe 4 or 5inches long and he hits Lady between the front legs in the chest. It must have been at the end of his swing, again the tusks went in then out without ripping. I shot the big boar. We couldn't handle him, we left him there.
All this time we hadn't seen Smoker, I said to Bobby maybe he went back to the ute. He wasn't there, it was good sandy country, so we tracked from where they left the ute. Halfway back to where they had the pigs, Smoker was laying up under a bush. He'd lost too much blood and they know, they will camp up.
When we got home Smoker stood up in the back of the ute. Bobby picked him up and laid him on some bags at the back of his house. We have seen dogs lose a lot of blood and survive and I said to Bob I think he'll make it, I went home and Bobby came up about an hour later and told me Smoker had died. It's so hard when you lose a good dog, they become part of the family. The boy's all get upset, the wife gets upset. And it puts a lump in your throat.
This photo shows my mate Bobby Carroll on the left and myself also smoker under the pig. Before the big timber mills became automatic, press a button or push a lever. Bobby's job was man handling everything and he was the number one bench-man. He had a real good eye for timber, because they have to get the maximum out of a log. (His workmates reckon he could skin a rabbit on a bench.)
Another thing Bobby was an absolute gentleman. He would not tolerate any swearing around a female, maybe once, he would step in and they wouldn't swear again.
I remember a time we were out hunting. We had a couple of pigs and the pit-bull had been missing for maybe an hour. There was a gully that went away from the roads with no access. I told Bobby to drive around and listen in different spots while I walked up this gully in case he'd gone that way. I had walked some distance and when I listened I could just make him out barking in the distance. No doubt the boar was breaking on him and he could not stop it, it was in a thick swamp gully.
I knew this country, the swamp ran for kilometres. I couldn't take the risk and go back to Bobby and tell him because they would get out of range and I would lose him again. When I caught up with him, the swamp was only 40-50yrds wide. It was bad conditions, no protection for me. I called out to Buller and I could hear the boar put in after him. He came out of the swamp and he's looking at me wagging his tail, then looks back.
The big boar comes out onto the edge of the thicket. I put the rifle to my shoulder, as if he knew he went back into the swamp,with Buller behind him. I never saw or heard them again, after about an hour I went back to where I knew Bobby was, told him what had happened. We decided to go for a drive and pick up that big gully a couple of kilometres away.
We walked around for maybe an hour or more. I said to Bobby that he's a real dog killer, he's as big as boars come and a mean set of tusks. We decide to sit it out, every now and then we would fire the rifle. Another hour passes, it's not looking good. I said that we'll drive along a couple of the major roads. Because sometimes the dog will hear another vehicle go through. They will come out onto that road and follow that car track.
At that time Buller was the only dog scenting with the wind from the back of the ute. You get a sick feeling come over you, money can't buy this dog, he's your pride and joy.
Then to make matters worse we drives onto a vehicle, parked on the side of the road, it was a T junction. He was a bush-worker waiting for his mates to show them what road to take. When I pulls up, he comes walking over to our ute. He's a fair lump of a man. We had two other dogs with us.
Bobby said to him, you haven't seen a dog have ya? He said actually I've seen two, in the back of your ute. He doesn't realise its not the time to test Bobby's sense of humour. As Bobby opens the door to step out, he say's your a smart fella aren't ya. Also he say's I'm going to see how smart you are. He ran for his car and I'm not too sure if he opened the door or dived through the window.
We drove back to where Buller got onto the pigs. I had left my jumper on the side of the bush-track and he was standing there. A real good feeling.
This is another photo of Bobby Carroll, who has since passed away. He contracted Motor Neurons Disease in his early 60's. A good mate is sadly missed. I will tell many stories on him.
His wife Val and daughter Donna and family kept him at home while he battled the devastating disease for ten years. A credit to them. If ever a disease foundation needs all the support possible, it's MOTOR NEURON.
This photo is of myself and shows what I consider to be one of the most deadliest Boars the dogs can come up against. He is the runt of the litter and is full grown. The first thing the dogs think, we can handle him because of his size. You can see the tusks he is carrying. Also he has no doubt been knocked about by the big boars, and has got a grudge on the world. In the human world it's known as the little man syndrome. We will shoot these as quick as we can. The boar not the little man.
This photo shows two of my dogs with a big boar in the water. They first picked him up about 1 kilometre in the forest along side of a creek that ran down to this water catchment. After I shot it and we were standing there debating on what to do. We either had to carry it back up the gully, which would have been about 4 or 500 yrds to where we could get it across the creek, as you can see he is a big boar. I said to the two fellas with me, the other alternative is to swim him across from here.
The timberline you can see on the opposite side of the water is where the bushtrack is and I can get my ute to there. The biggest fella said right we will swim him across, me and you, I said you should be able to handle him by yourself. He wouldn't take his eye off me for awhile, then agreed. Me and the other fella set off to get the ute and come back down to the closest point. I hopped out of the car and took a photo of Bill coming out of the water with the boar. His tusks stand out like they do, because I had put a stick about 6 inches long in his mouth to show them off. We load him in the ute, we had another pig as well about 20 or 30lb that the dogs had killed.
We pulled into a hotel and had a few beers and then we take the other fella home, his name was Les. When we pull up he said I will get my mum and wife and show them the big boar. They came over to the side of my ute and they said "he's a big mean pig isn't he" I don't think they'd seen one before. His mother said, look at the big teeth. Then she say's whats that stick in his mouth.
When you have got maybe a bit too much beer in you, your inclined to mishandle the truth. I told her that the dogs had the boar in the middle of a water catchment. And I said that they will kill the dogs every-time under those conditions.
I told her I never had time to take my clothes off, I dived in and swam out to meet the boar, he left the dogs and came straight for me. She said what happened, I said that piece of wood in his mouth, was floating along side of me, I grabbed it with my left hand, and when he went to bite me, I poked it in his mouth and he could not close it, she again asked me "what happened then". I said while I was hanging on to the stick in his mouth, I put my right arm under the water and grabs him by the balls and squeezes as hard as I could at the same time pulling his head under with my left hand. And drowns him.
It all come undone when Les said Mum when we cut him open this little pig was inside him. She said now I know you mongrels are lying. I shouldn't have to tell you but we were.
These pups are not yet 3 months and their the fourth generation of the pit-bull and Lady the kangaroo dog. It's because they start at this age and brought up learning from their father, they become champions. Lady was the only female I ever owned. I would only keep male dogs and I would pick the bitch to put them over.
I remember in the early day's when I put the pit-bull over Lady and their first litter was maybe the same age as the two pups in the photo. I liked to take them out the bush, not necessarily to get anything. I liked to walk them around the open forest and they would be watching their mother and father run around scenting the ground.
This particular day the two adults put in a run and I watched them disappear with the two little pups trying to keep with them, but they lost sight of them. One pup turned back and came to me and I lost sight of the other one. Straight away I thought this could be bad for the pup. A couple of minutes later I could see the big dogs coming back, but no pup.
I stood there for a minute looking into the distance. I spot the pup coming back, he's maybe 2 or300 yds from me. He turns right angles and go's away from us. I started to run and I was pointing towards him and I was telling Lady to get hold of him, like I'd seen a kangaroo. She spots him and hits top speed, until she gets to him, they turn and come back. I thought I could have lost him so easy.
I put the two pups in the front of my ute and I thought I would go for a drive. It all helps, they get used to traveling in the ute. We were having a good winter and the day before, we had 2 or 3inchs of rain. I turned up a main gravel road and it crossed over the river.
The pups were playing up, they could see the big dogs on the back through the window and they were climbing onto the back of the seat behind my head trying to get to them. I was grabbing them with one hand trying to pull them back and telling them to settle down. I didn't realise the amount of rain we had had. The river had burst it's banks and the bridge was under water.
As I pull up, the big dogs went over the side and headed up the road to the edge of the river. One dog went to the left, the other to the right. I knew it was on, they were not going by sight they were on scent. The one that went to the right realised and returned and went to the left. I wound the window up in the car, grabbed the rifle, shut the door to keep the pups in.
The dogs were really cranked up barking. As I ran along the edge of the flooded river. I could see where the big boar had been digging. There was thousands of worms. The water rose that quick the worms were coming up from the ground trying to get away. Also the bushes and shrubs about 2 or 3ft into the water, were a mass of worms. I have seen this three times in my life. The boar had been feeding on them.
When I get within a couple of hundred yards I could smell him. I get to about 30yards, he'd backed into the water. As it rises the water on the edge is calm. The boar doesn't know I'm there, also he didn't know what hit him. I was using a small 22 calibre lever action with telescopic sights. I would always shoot from side on and I would aim for the temple just above the eye. Like I've said before I've shot hundreds. If you hit the mark it never fails, they will not close their eye's. Sometimes they will very slowly sink to the ground, they don't know their dead.
I snug the big boar out of the water as much as I could and I headed back to the ute to get the pups. As I was taking them back to the boar, when I got to about 50yrds, they were smelling his diggings also the air and they would not go any further. I went and sat on the boar and rolled a cigarette. I couldn't coach them in. It makes you wonder if they don't get vibes off the big dogs that this is danger. They eventually came to me and showed a bit of interest, they started to smell him and check everything out.
Like I said when you shoot a big boar and hit the spot. The photo above shows the results. His front legs will stay stiff, even while his back end is on the ground. He'll eventually roll over and the nerves will kick in and start to thrash. The dogs seem to like to have hold of them when they do that. You can see the dog running in.
This photo shows myself squatting along side of a boar that is as mean as you will get. You can see the size of his tusks and the power in his short body. You can see on his shoulder what they call the fighting pad and it is just starting to overlap his front leg. I've only seen this once, where I could put my hand up under the overlap.
I remember skinning a big boar one time and there was the lead of a 303 army rifle, lodged under the fighting pad, it hadn't got to his body.
This photo shows the gentleman, who I done the two years study of the wild pigs with. Kim and his lady friend at the time Vicky. I know they got off on pig hunting and enjoyed every bit of it.
This photo shows how the boars will protect their back with whatever is there. This is the same boar you see Vicky and Kim with in the previous photo. I remember taking Vicky up to where the photo was taken at the back of the log. There was plenty of protection for her, also I thought there wasn't too much danger for the dogs, I couldn't see any tusks. So I was taking my time letting her have a good look. But when he charged the dogs and came back to the log, I was looking at the other side of him and there was a 4 or 5 inch tusk, the other had been broken. So I shot him.
I remember before we got this boar, I had shot another big black boar. Also we had hit two other mobs of small pigs. I forget how many we tagged and released, I know one was a little sow about 60lb and she was heavy in pig maybe 2 or 3 day's from having them.
Vicky was carrying a little cardboard box with whatever Kim was using to document the pigs. A set of pliers he used to put the metal tags in the ear, a syringe for taking samples of blood, a notebook for writing down the details. This was their first time in the bush hunting and the box was a little bit awkward carrying. Later on when he realised he got himself a briefcase and I used to think he looked like a Philadelphian Lawyer in gum boots.
I will always see in my mind Vicky standing there with the cardboard box in her arms and Kim had the little sow that was pregnant. We would normally snig it over to a log or stump. So when Kim released it he had protection. But this time I said to Kim just release her and run . Vicky and myself were standing about 30yrds from them. Being so heavily pregnant I thought she would be a bit slow, she was'nt, she was on her feet and after Kim.
I can see him zigzagging around the shrubs and bushes with rubber boots on and Vicky screaming keep running Kim. The pig eventually lost sight of him, then turns and looks at me and Vicky. Lets out with a grunt and comes at us. I yelled run Vicky. She took off with a scream. It looked so funny with that cardboard box in her arms. I made sure I kept that little bit in front of her and every time she looked back the pig was closer and the screams got louder. I knew the pig would veer off and get going. I also knew Vicky would not know that. She was quite a lady and not long out of University. As we were driving along the road she said that was quite exciting back there. Good memories.
This photo shows you two wild boars, that I shot on a small Private property, that was surrounded by Jarrah Forests.
This day my wife was with me and my youngest son Craig, he was about 5 also a young
pig-dog about 6 months old. He'd been in quite a few pig hunts with the good dogs. I used to like to test them by themselves occasionally and to see how good they were.
. We had actually gone out for some soil. The property had what they call
red loam soil, no better for the vegetable garden. I remember pulling up at a mound of loam that had been pushed up by a machine. Which made it easier to shovel into the ute.
I noticed a big boars track, I said to the wife that this looks fresh, so I'm going to take
the pup for a walk. This property had been planted in small pine tree's and there was quite a few clumps of bracken fern.
They varied some were half an acre others an acre and thick enough to hide pigs. I had walked for maybe a kilometre, there were good signs of pigs. The pup had shown interest in them and then he disappears. I kept walking and hoping I'd hear a bark.
I looked up about 1 hundred yards and the pup was coming to me, pretty fast and wagging his tail, very excited.
I thought he'd been to the big boar and maybe was scared of him. Your adrenalin starts to pump. I said to the pup "where is he" they love to hear that.
He turns and heads back up the hill pretty fast, the way he came from. There was a thick clump of bracken, the pup gave a couple of barks and it sounded like a piggery.
. Then all of sudden this big boar comes out and chases him. He stayed on the pup
and I watched them go out of sight amongst the other clumps of bracken. After a few minutes, the big boar comes prancing back.
All this time I'm sitting on a stump, he doesn't know I'm there. He go's into the big clump of bracken and all the pigs start grunting again.
Then it goes deadly quiet. I'm sitting roughly 25 yards off of this and absolutely engrossed. Then I see the pup coming to the bracken on the top side.
I could see he was spooked, but enjoying it. No doubt those pigs were listening for him. The big boar came out again at top speed again, I watched them
disappear. The big boar done the same, came back to the bracken and what I have just told you happened three times. The third time, he paused a little
when he came out after the dog. I was watching him through the telescopic sights, he moved when I fired and I missed.
He bolted down the hill with the pup chasing him, I was also running in the direction they went.
. This was the last thing I wanted, I was desperate to shoot him for the pup's sake.
After a half an hour or so, I knew I'd lost him. When the pup came back he was worn out, so I headed back to the ute. The wife had shoveled a full load of soil.
Some of my mates said that I'd set her up. We drove off, the ute was low to the ground and a bit overloaded.
The pup was standing on top of the soil, wagging his tail pretty happy with himself.
We traveled about a kilometre and the two boars that you see in the photo walked out onto the road in front of us. He was over the side and
had the first boar close enough for my wife and son to see me shoot him. He was in beautiful condition as you can see the one on the right.
I remember bleeding him and thinking it couldn't have happened any better for the pup. Then I realised he was missing, I said to the wife has the pup been with us
she said no. When I listened I could just make him out in the distance barking. So I shot the second boar as well. The wife and I couldn't handle them,
so we went home. I unloaded the ute, washed it out, got a couple of mates and returned to carry the boars out. I sold them to some Itlalians for sausages.
This photo shows you Lady the kangaroo dog circling a big boar and it's one of those day's that will stay with you forever. It will tell you of her ability. This day I had gone out to a farmer who I knew well, with my mate Bobby Carroll.
I picked the farmer up and we drove out through his back gate and into the forest about 5 or 6 kilometres. Parked the vehicle and started to walk back through the forest towards the farm, looking for the big mob of pigs that had been giving him trouble. I remember there were pig diggings everywhere and also pads that they travel on. They had not been hunted.
We could see the dogs running with their heads to the ground. I knew it was going to be on and started to run to where we last seen them. You could hear grunting and then squealing. I grabbed 2 about 20lb off Lady one after the other,tied them and put them into hessian bags. When we listened the dogs were all barking, they had a real big boar, the farmer had his rifle and shot it. I'd left my gun back at the ute.
We bled the big boar and gutted him, the farmer was going to give it to a friend. Also he said that we have to get going now it's getting late and I have to play Hockey this afternoon, it's an important game were getting close to the finals. Another thing he said it's closer to my farm house from here than back to the ute. So I'll walk it's quicker. I will return after hockey with my tractor and carryall, which is a platform you can lower up and down on the back of the tractor.
I suggested he mark his way back to the boundary of his farm. He gave me a bit of a look and said I won't have any trouble finding this. So he left us also he had taken his rifle. Bobby and myself headed back to the ute, which was about 3 or 4 klms. Roughly halfway the dogs started barking again when we got to them, they had another big boar in an open tea-tree flat which is a low shrub or bush.
I said to Bobby you run back to the car and get the gun and I'll stay with them. Because if the dogs grabbed the boar, they will eventually weaken and that's when the boar will maybe rip them or kill them. When Bobby returns,we were standing there watching, when all of a sudden there was a hell of a noise coming up the flat towards us. It was an army helicopter and it was quite low, no doubt they saw us and were hovering above. No doubt looking at the boar and the dogs, me and Bobby as well. It seemed like a couple of minutes and it was deafening. Then they left us.
We bled and gutted the boar, carried him out to the bush-track and loaded him in the ute. When we got back to the farm-house, the farmer and his wife were there. He said it was later than we thought and he had missed his hockey match. He was going back with his wife to pick the big boar up. I said it will take you quite a while and I'm going over to another water-hole to see if there's any signs of another mob there. Then I will catch up with you and give you a hand to load it.
I was gone for maybe half an hour. Then I came back and drove down through the paddocks about 2klms from his house. So now I'm on the opposite side from where we shot the first big boar. We can hear the tractor in the distance for the next half an hour. I said to Bobby he can't find that boar. We got through the fence into the forest. I patted Lady and said show me, she took me in a straight line, for maybe 2klms, straight to the big boar.
The farmer was in the next gully, so I went over and told him where the boar was and he followed me back. When you think that Lady had got another boar after leaving the one she just showed me, also we had drove out and checked another water-hole, plus I had asked her to show me from the opposite direction. It made me think of my fathers dog Nipper, and on his memories this is the truth.
This is another sight I only witnessed once in my life. I was driving along an old formation or railway line, from back in the past maybe 100yrs or more. The line and sleepers had rotted away. The forest department had formed it up as a bush track. Back in the time when we had big winters and our forests would become a hazzard as far as bogging, because we only had the two wheel drive ute's. And over all those years the weight of the trains, with their big Jarrah logs had compacted the soil and we could travel these all winter.
I had a friend with me Terry True, who I said was keen with his camera. But this day he didn't bring it with him, I think he just forgot. On one of the long stretches of the formation, I must have been looking out of my window and Terry said it looked like a little black rabbit crossed the road along way up in front. I said that's unusual in this bush.
I must have started looking out my window again and Terry said there go's another little black one. I said they must be little pigs. So I put my foot down and when I get to where they were, I hit the brakes and the dogs went over the side. Terry ran the way the dogs were going and I ran up the formation in front.
Thinking my mate would grab the first pig and I would maybe get the second one. I'd gone about 2 or 300yrds and I started to walk listening for a squeal or a bark. But there was nothing. Then up in front of me further I could hear moans and groans and I thought the dogs had a big pig. I ran up along the formation another couple of hundred yards. It was good conditions big open clear patches.
When I looks down, the two big boars you see in the photo, were locked together, it looked like they had a grip on each others mouth and they were trying to manhandle each other big time. I was only 20-30yrds off this, so I squatted down on my haunches, and couldn't believe what I was watching. This went on for maybe ten minutes, then I hear some grunting up in front of me, when I looked up I watched two big sows walk out onto the formation. Also a boar as big as you get.
I would say the sow's were in season because he was grunting too. No doubt he was the number one boar and the other two who were still locked together, were sorting out who was number 2 and 3. Looking back I wished I'd had a camera, more so than a gun.
Then I started to wonder what was happening with the dogs and Terry. I look back towards the ute and Lady comes out onto the formation and looks up and see's me squatting there and comes to me pretty fast, wagging her tail, no doubt thinking I'm being silly with her. I said to her listen, all my dogs knew that word and would stop breathing instantly.
I points to the two big boars and Lady can't believe what she is looking at. She runs to them and starts barking. They seem to ignore her for a couple of minutes, then another dog turns up and starts barking. They let go of each other and shake themselves. They walk to a dry creek-bed and were standing there while the dogs were running around barking.
Terry and myself climb up a river-gum. They fork at the ground, it was convenient we climbed up it like it had steps. The boars were no more than 15-20ft. I said to Terry, shoot one of them, which he did. The other one was standing maybe 20ft away. The dogs grabbed the one Terry had shot and it's nerves kicked in. I said the other boars not going to leave, the dogs went to him and started barking, he knew he had trouble and he came over to the boar Terry had shot and stood there along side of him.
He passed me the gun and said you shoot him. Which I did and as you can see in the photo they are touching each other. When we had a good look at them, one of their big tusks were broken fresh and you had to see the rips one of the big boars had on his body over his fighting pad and rib-cage. It looked like someone had taken to him with a cut-throat razor. On our way home we were talking about how one boar stood there and wouldn't go away. We believe he stood there, because had he gone away, he would have been admitting defeat to the other boar. Like I said they were sorting out who was number two and three.
We went back the next day with Terry's movie camera, and ran a little bit of movie on what had happened. The photo was taken off the video.
This photo shows myself with a fair lump of boar, and for whatever reason I cannot remember this photo. I came onto it when I was going through the old photo albums, to put onto the computer and tell my stories. I suppose after 64 yrs and hundreds of photo's it's not too bad to lose track of one or two. I hope!
But it does show you the conditions and there's no room for error,when your sneaking through thickish bush or shrub like this, to get him in your sights. The little fat green leaf in the foreground, was named by the old bushman or early settlers as soap bush. You can drag a handful off the bush, it grows mostly along the creeks and when you put it in the water and pull it out and rub your hands together you would think you had a cake of soap in you hands it would lather up.
This photo shows my father at some cattle yards on a farm, which we turned into a pig trap. You can see that the yards have been dug up by some pigs, also the trail of grain that runs to the right of this photo for about 30yrds to the river. That's where the pigs were coming in from. We were hoping that they'd follow the trail and into the trap. Thinking we had it pretty secure we went home.
My youngest boy Craig was with us maybe 9 or 10. This was a Sunday morning and no way was he going to go to school on Monday, before checking the trap. So we left early in the morning before school and when we get there the pigs had eaten all the tucker, made themselves a hole and got out. We had designed it so the pigs could squeeze through the opening you can see on the left of my father. But they could not come back through it.
We blocked the hole, re-baited and headed home and the young fella was a bit disappointed. I said we'll have them in the morning mate. But they had been and gone again. We done this 4 day's in a row, on the 5th morning my son said do you think we'll have them today dad. I said it's just a matter of how many.
As we were approaching the trap on the 5th day and we were about 3 or 400yrds away looking through the timber line you can see in the background. I said to the boy you keep looking over to where the trap is, because I had seen a little bit of movement and I didn't tell him. Then he yells I can see pigs. I put my foot down just to make it a little bit more exciting for him. When we hopped out of the car and walked to the edge of the trap. There were 12 pigs. 2 big sow's, 9 about 20-30lb youngens and a big boar.
I took maybe 6 photo's of them. The big boar was absolutely mental and kept charging the fence, sometimes he sized the fence up by standing on his back-legs with his front legs on the fence. My father said shoot the mongrel, so I put the camera away and got the gun, but before I could get a shot, he ran at the entry of the trap and jumped and lobbed on top of the lowest point which was about 3ft or better. He seemed to balance there for a second or two.
I took aim real quick and fired and I hit the steel railing in front of me, then the boar was gone. As I was tying the 2 sows and 7 young, the other 2 escaped. The farmer had pig sty's, he fattened the little ones up to about 80-90lbs, also the 2 sows and we both had meat for the freezers. It helped towards the cost of our food bill. We believe it had a better flavour than domestic pig and so did my customers.
At the same time controlling the wild pig. Quite a few pig hunters done the same, free of charge to the Authorities. I remember telling you my young fella was excited, apparently I was too, I'd left the cap on the camera. But I do have lots of photo's of pigs in traps, which I will show you in time.
This photo shows you a pig's camp. It's a big Jarrah tree and it is called a hollow butt for obvious reasons. They will only choose a tree that the hollow is on the off side from where the weather comes from, southeast 10 out of 10. I have seen where sows will go around pulling up small shrubs and bushes, they take them into the hollow butt and lay it down like a big mattress. No doubt to keep their young off the cold ground.
A good dog knows not to grab them in these conditions. I will usually throw my jumper just in front of the pig and when it grabs the jumper the dogs will grab the pig. Then I'll grab the backlegs at the same time if possible.
This is another angle to the hollow butt. Over the years I've shot many boars like this. If you look on the left side and up about 3ft you can see there's a hole. I'd put the rifle through the hole and I could all but touch the boar on the head.This photo shows you the effect of the jumper. Even though the dog has got him by the ear, he is content thinking he has something. Then I will jump over the log and grab his legs.This photo shows you a mate of mine who is no longer with us, his name is Les. Also he's the one that told his mum, when we cut the big boar open the little pig was inside him.
I remember this day, the dogs had a fair size boar, with a reasonable set of tusks and the dogs were keen to take him. I said to Les give me your cardigan, so I can throw it too him. I only had a light t-shirt on. He said I'm not too sure about this, but he took it off and give it to me. I threw it to the boar and he grabbed it and the dogs hit him instantly, I had him by the back legs and tipped him.
Les said "he's still got my bloody cardigan in his mouth and his tusks have gone through it". I handed the back-legs to another bloke that was with us. I told them you's tie it while I take the dogs to water. It was very hot and the dogs were feeling the effect.
As I was walking away I could hear Les asking the pig to let it go. I cant use the words he was using. He had one end of the cardigan in his left hand and he was slapping the pig on the head with his right. The other bloke was laughing and so was I as I walked away. I took the dogs down to a water hole, where they had a swim and cooled off.
Then I thought maybe this boar wasn't a loner he might have had a mate or two. So I decided to do a loop on the apartment of pines we were in. When I got back around to where I'd left them. Les was walking out onto the road and his hand was a mess, covered in blood. I thought at first he'd cut himself. I asked him what had happened. He said "the prick of a thing has bit my finger off". I said to Les "we'll have to clean it up quick". I grabbed some water and washed his hand, I said "we have to stop the flow of blood", so as you can see I have tied a piece of pig rope around it.
My knowledge on first aid was nil, so I tied a granny knot. I said "that's as good as a doctor could do hey Les" but he didn't smile. I said that looks so silly I'm going to take a photo of it, again he didn't smile. As I took aim with the camera, I said smile Les and the photo shows you the result. He must have wanted his good side in the photo.
Les had a problem with drink. It was standard when I picked him up to go out hunting. He would have fishing net shopping bag with a couple of bottles of beer and a flagon of plonk. We heads home to get him to the doctors, even though it was summer and hot. We had to have the windows wound up because Les could not stand the wind blowing on the exposed nerves. He was into the flagon of plonk and he reckons it was his anesthetic.
This photo shows us carrying a pig back to the ute. The gentleman in front was a good friend of mine, his name was Norm Milligan, he was the local tailor and he won the Queens Prize in rifle shooting. Which made him at the time the best in Australia. He was also a professional roo shooter and loved his fishing. Norm sold up and left Collie, he moved to a coastal town which is a City now called Geraldton. Roughly 700klms from where I live.
He knew how much I liked hunting and fishing and he asked me if I would move to Geraldton with my family and he would set up a pet-meat business and we will hunt for whatever was wanted in the market. Also the fishing is good and I will get a boat.
I told Norm that I could never leave Collie. Even when I went to Augusta for 3-4 weeks at Christmas, diving and fishing. I couldn't wait to get home to my dogs and back out to the bush. I was addicted and known to go out 7 days a week, now and then.With a fishing rod and reel behind my seat in the ute.
The missus used to have a shot at me now and then. I remember a few of the mates and their wives were around having a few drinks and then a couple of more. And the girls were starting to speak their mind. One said your never home ya mongrel your always out pig hunting and the other women agreed.
Then the missus say's he even dreams about the bastards. I said bullshit. She said he does. The other night he had me by the legs and he was trying to tie me up. The women laughed, their getting a bit too much of the giggle juice in them, although the mates did too. I knew how to stop their laughter, I said I can prove that's not the truth. They said how, I said I only used to tie the good ones.
This photo shows the dogs with a boar in a farmers dam. The story starts on a Saturday night and there was a knock at the front door, when I opened it, it's a farmer who I knew real well. His name is Henry Martin and the farm he owned was about 40klms East of Collie. Also he was share farming a neighbors farm.
He told me there was a mob of pigs digging his paddocks up. I think he'd put a crop on his neighbors farm and the pigs were into that as well. He said my son would like a couple of pigs to put in a sty on his farm. I told him I would come out and pick them up before daylight in the morning. Which I did and we hit the neighbors crop just after daylight. The farm was surrounded by forest.
As we were driving around the boundary on the outside. We couldn't see the paddocks, there was strip of forest between the road and the fence. The kangaroo's were pretty thick and they were darting across the road in front of the ute and the dogs were a bit active in the back going from side to side. Then about half a dozen big male Kangaroo's came across, I all but hit them and the dogs started to scream and spin on the back.
I kept traveling, their screaming got louder. As I hit the brakes to stop, the farmer said their playing up for those boomers for sure. I said Henry they only do this for pigs. By the time I turned the ute around the dogs had covered a bit of ground. I caught up to them right where the boomers went across and Henry said I told you that's what they were playing up for. The roo's had gone to the right but the dogs turned to the left.
We jumped out of the car and it wasn't long before we heard them barking. When we got to them they had the boar you can see in the dam. As we were driving around looking for another mob, Henry said that was a top performance. It's times like this that it makes you proud of your dogs. Like I've said before, money cannot buy the dogs.
Then I told Henry, that these two dogs are the son and grandson of a bitch roo dog that he bred, Lady. The best performing roo dog I have seen, next to my fathers Nipper.
I remember when I first heard that Henry Martin had kangaroo dog pups for sale. He had a good name as far as good dogs go. The word was three dollars for a dog and two for a bitch. A friend at the time also wanted one, he was a shearer and he used to do Henry's sheep for him. His name was Joe Murphy, so we both go out to Henry's farm.
When we pulled up Henry wasn't home. I forget which one it was but one of his three boy's, he was only young, 10 or 11 came walking over to us. I could hear all the pups in the distance. When I looked up there was 7 or 8 pups coming towards us. One has caught my eye instantly. It's like turning back the hands of time and it looks like my fathers dog Nipper. But then I realized it's a bitch and being in town in a house with no fences, they become a problem when they are in season.
But I liked the look of her that much, I thought I will take her. So I said to the young fella I'll have this bitch. He said I think my dad wants that one. I said I reckon your dad would want the red one that looks like the mother and I convinced him. Joe took a bitch and I think I ran to the car hoping Henry wouldn't turn up.
A couple of weeks later I goes back out there. I used to hunt off his property and surrounding forests a lot. When I pulled up at the house. Henry came walking over to me and I could tell by his body stance I had some explaining to do. Especially when the greeting started with "you cunning mongrel". I said "what what, whataya mean". He said "don't you what what whataya mean me". And we both started laughing.
Actually Henry used to keep her on the farm when she came into season, the first couple of years. This took place in 1968-69. Over the next 30 years or so I lost score of how many pigs I took off Henry's property and also when his son Neil took over in the early times. Henry Martins farm in the early days below.
The boar you can see in the ute, is still alive and tied. Like I've said lb for lb there is no animal tougher. I've seen them at times throw a dog in the air with a flick of the head, or roll them along the ground effortlessly. But Buller jnr had mastered the art of taking these boars alive. Even though he received some bad wounds and came close to dying a few times, he went the distance. Twelve years of pig hunting. So there's many stories I can tell about him and some of his performances you would have to see to believe. But as I've said before, on my fathers memory this is the truth.
A fella that used to hunt with me and also lived next door had no previous experience with pigs. But after hunting maybe 18 mnths to 2yrs with me, he became real keen. This day he comes over my house and asks if I wanted to go out the bush for a run. He said we'll go out in my car, which was a little two door Escort, a family car. I had a ute, but maybe the fuel tank was in the same state as my pocket, (empty). So I agreed to go out with him. He said "put Buller on the back seat". I said "I'm not too sure about that". He said " it's no worries he can't hurt the car", so we headed off out the bush.
We were driving along a main gravel road in an area we were not allowed to be. Entry forbidden comes to mind, maybe that's why I didn't take the ute, also me being a law-biding citizen and he can speak for himself. There were lots of pigs breeding up in this bush. I looks up and there's a white vehicle coming towards us, I ducked under the dash, I said "I can't be identified", he said"what about me" and I said "there's no room under here"(joke) It turns out it's another pig hunter. Dogs hanging over the side of the ute.
As we got up the road a kilometre or so, we could see his tracks on the road going side to side, maybe looking for pig tracks or going slow for his dogs to scent.I said " we'll get out of here and go to another area", so he puts his foot down. Remember this is a two door family car and Buller jnr was on the back seat. We'd got about another 2-3klms up the road and the dog starts to turn and spin on the back seat also whinging. I said "pull up he can smell pigs". I jumped out and the dog was gone, he went up the road and to the left.
It was real good conditions open bush and I could see into the distance. As I was running the way he was going, I could see him 3 or 400yrds away. Then he turns and comes running back passed me across the road and disappeared. When I runs back to the car, the mate said "he's gone the other way". So what had happened no doubt the scent of the pig had come through the side window to him on the back seat. When we let him out, he could not get a line from where the scent come from.
About ten minutes later we were standing there waiting to hear barking. I'd looked back up the road roughly 4-500yrds from where we had come from, just in time to see Buller come back across the road and head out the other way. We jumped in the car and drove back, pulled up and we were standing there for maybe 5-10 mins and we can just make him out barking in the distance. When we gets to him, he's got pigs bayed up at their camp. This was on the north side of the road. Our storms come in from the north and I believe he smelt those pigs from their camps.
Remember another hunter had passed with his dogs hanging over the side and drove passed here. They were not capable of scenting with the wind. There's some good hunters out there with some good dogs, but I don't think they could dream up a better performance with a dog for scent, for a start there not going to be out here in the bush, in a two door Escort family car. On my fathers memory this is the truth.
The photo below shows you Buller jnr on the left and his half brother Rebel. They both went the distance and in time I will tell you many stories of their hunting abilities..
This is a photo of the two half brothers, Buller in the foreground and Rebel in the background. You can see the dogs are a bit worn out. They'd taken this boar over a long distance before I caught up with them. Buller was lb for lb the best dog I had ever owned, as far as taking a big boar alive. He was even better than his grandfather the American Pit-bull, who was my pride and joy. Also named Buller.
Maybe it was because his grandson, reigned for 12 years and the Pit-bull was maybe 3 or 4 years. Also they had a different style. The Pit-bull would lock onto the testicles and the big boar would corkscrew trying to catch up with him. Like I've said before, they would turn that fast the Pit-bull would be in the air going around in circles. When the boar started to tire, the dogs legs would be back on the ground, then he'd keep pulling sidewards, which would cause the big boars back-legs to collapse under him, then you'd have to jump in and grab his back legs. Tip him and tie him.
Which was a bit risky because the dog would be in the way as you were trying to grab the legs. Where as the grandson's technique was to grab the ear. As the boar was turning trying to hook him with his tusks, the dog would turn with him. If there was another dog , they would come in and grab the other ear. Again I would grab the back legs with no dogs in the way. As I've said before most grabbers will die young. Sometimes they need a little bit of luck and Buller junior had more than his share.
If you look back at Buller in the photo above, you can see a white scar behind his left shoulder. It was maybe one of the worst wounds I have ever seen. The boars tusks had picked him up under the belly and ripped up the length of the side of his body, tore his main shoulder muscle in half and it stopped along-side of his backbone. I was maybe 50-60klms inside the forest and I headed for home as quick as I could. I knew it wasn't life threatening, but because the skin is tight and the length of the wound, it opened up to about 4-5 inches wide.
When I got home I laid him on the back verandah. When the wife seen it she couldn't believe it. I said it's not as bad as it looks. Also I said we can't afford the Vet bill so I'm going to have a go at it myself. Don't get me wrong, if this was a threat to my dogs life, it would not have worried me how much the Vet would have charged, I would have got a loan. Unfortunately I believe they know that, but I won't go down that track.
I filled the wound up with an antiseptic powder called Borasic. Then I got one of my finest fishing lines and proceeded to stitch the wound. I remember saying, that my first-aid knowledge was nil, when I tied a bit of pig-rope around Les finger after a boar had bit the end off. If you had seen the job I'd done stitching you would agree. Would you believe I stitched it like a spud bag, in one side,out the other back across. Through all of this the dog was not muzzled, the wife sat there stroking his head and talking to him. He accepted it without a complaint.
All of my dogs were of the same nature including the American Pit-bull. Who they all descend from. I remember when I first got the Pit-bull, there was no Veterinary Clinic in town. I used to take my dogs too two old bushman, who had stitched many kangaroo dogs. There names were Jackie Jones and Nooker Hann.
I remember walking into Jackie's place with the Pit-bull, he'd been hit three times and they all needed stitching. Jackie would put an old grey army blanket on the kitchen table. I laid the dog on the table. Jack said "I'll muzzle him", I said "I don't think you will have to Jack, try him". The first wound he stitched was in his chest, the other two were at the other end. When he was finished he said" I don't think too many dogs would let you do that". ( No charge) Nooker was the same. I'd drop them off a couple of rabbits or a couple of bottles. This is the boar that got Buller the Pit-bull.You can see the wound in his chest, which was deeper than it was long. It looks like he's checking out the two wounds at the other end. Maybe to check how close he came, to doing the family jewels.
This photo shows you one of the bigger pig traps the farmers use. As you can see it is on wheels. They will drive around their boundary fence and when they find a pig pad that is fresh they will dig two holes, so the wheels can drop into. And that will lower the trap to the ground. Once this mob has been trapped, they will then become trap shy. So they will move it too a different mob and reset it.
You can just make out Rebel on the left-hand side, checking the pigs out, also a friend Barry Rainer. We used to travel maybe 6-700klms, and we would stay maybe for a week or two at a time. I never used to take my dog, we would only use the traps off the different farms. You would not meet nicer people. These farmers also run thousands of sheep. Over the years they have had many sheep dogs and the exceptional dog becomes their pride and joy. I've known them to say it would take four or five men to replace that dog.
The farmer could have this dog on the back of his ute and he would be circling hundreds of sheep in the paddock. Some had different methods or signals and when the dog heard this, he would leave the ute and out of all the sheep if there was one fly-blown, the dog would separate it from the mob. The farmer would put a solution on it to kill the fly strike. He would drive around and the dog would repeat it. No doubt he does the same as the pig-dog, using the wind to pick up the scent of the sheep with that problem.
This was maybe twenty years back, I was telling him about the ability of my dogs back home. He asked me if I could bring up one of the dogs with me the next time, which I did and it was Rebel. While we were staying there, they would call up other farmers on the two-way and tell them we were having a kill. Sometimes there would be half a dozen or 8 farmers. We'd also put the camp-ovens on the fire, good meals, good times.
This particular day it was late in the afternoon and we're standing around the fire drinking. I had taken up a couple of my hunting photo albums and the farmers were going through looking at the different shots of some big boars. One of the farmers had brought two Stock Agents, I think they were from Elders, also they were from Ireland and not long over here. They were pretty impressed with the photo's.
It was getting towards dark, one of them walked over to me and he said "is that dog there the one in the photo's", I said "yes". He said "he will pull those big boars on", I said " he certainly will". He said "whats he like with men". I said " when it gets dark, don't go away from this fire to have a piss". He said "is that right". I turned my head and made like I was doing something. He went straight over to his mate and he said," he just told me, not to go away from the fire after dark if we want a piss" and I can still hear the farmers laughing.
This photo shows you Rebel in the back of my ute. Also you can see a little net we used to catch minnows and like I've said their live bait used to catch Perch.
I remember when I took Rebel out the first day with the farmer who asked me to bring him up. His name was Viv and I know he enjoyed getting pigs as much as I did. We were driving over to a section of bush between the paddocks, it was also between his farm and one of his sons farm. I'm not too sure but I think it was roughly 15-20klms between their farms.
As we were approaching the section of bush, Viv said " every time I come across here there's signs of half a dozen pigs across my car tracks from the day before". I said " you think their staying inside this section of bush". Viv said " yes their in there alright." There was a perfect wind blowing. I said "if their in there the dog will have them". Viv said " what from the back of the ute". I said " he certainly will". I said " all we have to do is follow the outside of the bush and do a loop around it".
Like I've said once before, my dogs would always be in top gear. I could hear Rebel sucking the wind in through his nose, from inside the cab. Again like I've said before a dog likes you to talk to him and spook him. I'd put my head out the window and say look here. Standing with his feet on the side of the ute he would stretch his head as high as he could. The area we were travelling around I'm not real sure, was maybe 5 or 600 acres. We had all but completed the circle. I was thinking maybe their not in there. We were maybe 200yrds short of where we had gone in.
I thought we'd missed and no doubt Viv did to, when Rebel started to whinge and bounce around in the back of the ute. He was over the side and gone and we could hear him barking and it was because of the angle the wind was blowing, that we had to do the complete loop before we cut across the line of the wind and it brought the scent to Rebel.
Another time we were driving around the edge of the crop, which was maybe 3-400yrds wide, then there was a strip of bush maybe 100yrds wide, then another strip of crop maybe 2-300yrds wide. The farmers leave these strips of bush to prevent wind erosion. Rebel starts to whinge and spin in the back of the ute again. This time when he takes off we're on a small rising hill and we can watch Rebel disappearing across the crop which was about a foot high. He's running into the wind. I said to Viv " the pigs must be in that strip of bush between the two crops".
We were sitting in the ute and watched him disappear into the strip of bush. A bit later we watched him come out the backside and we could just make him out in the distance, going across the next strip of crop. And heading for the next line of bush. I said "Viv the pigs are way off in the distance in that other strip of bush". Because we were surrounded by crop I said "how are we going to get to there", Viv said "I'll show ya". He turned the vehicle and put his foot down and straight across his crop. He went through the line of bush and over top of his next crop. When we pulled up Rebel was barking, he had the mob of pigs and I know this impressed Viv. The same as that sheep dog impressed me.
This photo shows you some gentlemen from the city carrying a couple of live pigs back to the ute. Their names fail me, I more so knew a friend of theirs and they were taking the pigs back to put in a sty on the farm he owned. I'm standing on a gravel road and the pigs were in the big gully you can see in the distance.
Rebel picked these pigs up from the back of the ute, while we were doing 70-80klms an hour and just passing through this particular bush. He could do this at any speed, also I've seen him pick them up from the back on a bitumen highway. I've said before there's some good young fellas hunting today with some good dogs. But there is also some bad boy's.
I don't hunt myself now, but I'm out there quite often with my camera. I've seen things that have been shot and left, a deadly sin and I know if these type of boy's were around when we were hunting and we came onto them doing this, they would have got a flogging. All the hunters of that time would have done the same.I remember an old fella once saying to me,( if it moves these young mongrels will shoot it and if it doesn't they'll chop it down.)
I'll add to this. There's more damage being done as I'm writing this, by the (white collar) or Authority. I don't believe Die-back could have done what these people have done in the next 500years. I'll stand corrected, for you's would know this is only my estimate, it could be more. Freedom of speech. I'll show you in time photo's of the damage done to the forests and waterway's and the animals that inhabit them.
I've gone off the track a bit haven't I. I was talking about Rebel. I remember saying when I used to take my family away for the Christmas holidays for 3 or 4 weeks. I would ask different fellas that I knew and had hunted with me a little bit, if they wanted to look after my dogs while I was away. I was never short of volunteers.
This particular Christmas, Rebel has got on in life and slowed up a bit, not unlike myself. There was a lady living next door to us, who I'd known all my life and I was good friends with her brothers, her father and mother. Don and Betty Fraser. Her name was Jenny, who I paid to water the lawns and feed Rebel while we were away. There was no front fence or gate, so Jenny only had to walk around to the back of my place.
When we came home from the holidays, Jenny came over to our place and we were sitting at the table. She said you won't believe what Rebel done while you's were away. She said I was sitting in the lounge and I heard Rebel give one bark at the front door. She said when I walked out he was looking at me and wagging his tail, she said I knew he wanted something. So I said what is it mate, he turned and walked away wagging his tail and looking back at Jenny. She knew he wanted her to follow him, so she did.
He took her over and around to the back of our place. He went up the back stairs, I think Jenny said he barked again and knew, he wanted to go inside. So she let him in and went back home and later let him back out. I believe he was missing you. I don't think Jenny knew, he liked to lay in the dart room. The Frasers were bought up with kangaroo dogs and house dogs all their life, I also used to keep wild pigs in a sty on Don's little hobby farm.
Every day when I went out there to feed and water the pigs . Betty would hear my car and put the kettle on. This day as I was scooping the water out of an old bathtub, I had to lean over a wire fence, which was electrified. So I used to listen for the click to see if the power was on, also I used to tip the wire with my fingers to check. I know if I was given a choice, whether to cop a charge off this fence or pick up a tiger snake by the tail, I would have to give it some thought.
Knowing the fence was off, I leans over with just shorts on, as I puts the bucket into the water and my guts is leaning onto the wire fence, I cops the meanest charge, I remember trying to get off the fence and water going everywhere. I thought what the fff!!k happened. I realized when my brain started to click back in, I looked down towards the house, just in time to see the bottom of his legs under the fruit trees running towards the house.
When I'd finished I walked down and into the kitchen ( first-light) was standing at the sink with his back to me. I said good morning Betty how are you. My cup of tea was already poured so I sat down at the table. I hadn't spoke to him. Still with his back turned to me, no doubt he was holding back the tears. He try's to get out how ya going Jock and he can't, he bursts out laughing. When he turns around, I said " that was a near death experience". All three of us sitting there laughing.
Don and Betty are no longer with us and when you look back through life at experiences like this, you realize how much you miss them. I remember once sitting in the lounge with Don, Betty was in the kitchen. She had a little brown dog, I think he had Corgi in him. All of a sudden, he comes running into the lounge, grabs one of his toys and bolts into I think Betty's room or his toy room, I'm not sure. Back out as quick as he can, grabs another toy and does the same, he repeats this half a dozen or 8 times. I said to Don "what's got into the dog mate I'd never seen this before". Don laughs and say's " he's a jealous little bugger".
Betty's daughter Jenny who lived next door to us had pulled up outside and I hadn't heard the car. Don said "the daughters here with her little dog and he does it every time, he will put everyone of his toys back in his room and won't let her dog play with any of them", as I've said on my fathers memory these are true stories.
This photo shows you Rebel when he's maybe 3mnths old. We'd been walking looking for pig signs and Rebel had found this dried carcass of a freshwater turtle. I'd taken it off of him and thrown it away maybe 3 or 4 times. But right or wrong he was taking it home. The big dogs were in the ute and the way he's looking towards them, maybe he's thinking you so called good dogs missed this. He's still an awkward gangly pup, but in time he turned into a beautiful looking dog as you can see in the photo's of him when he's grown up.
I believe no matter what the dog has been bred to do, the longer he lives the better he becomes. Especially the working dog. The likes of the dog that learns to guide the blind, also farm dogs. But no matter what their trained to do, there's only a handful that become exceptional. I once read a book called I think "True Working Dogs Stories". One was of an old farmer and an old dog. It will put a lump in your throat (check it out). As I'm telling these stories a dog called Nipper comes to mind and also my father.
Rebel has got a bit of age about him now and I was thinking he has learnt every trick in the book, but I was wrong. This night I was sitting in the lounge watching TV with the wife. Rebel had developed a habit, if his water container was empty or I had forgot to feed him, he would let me know with a distinct one bark and if I didn't respond he would let me know again and again.
This particular night there was a one bark at the front door. I said to the wife "I think he wants to come in and go out to the dart room". I had a dart board set up and he liked to lay there while I put a couple of hours in on the board. I didn't let him in and sure enough that one distinct bark again. I said to the wife " I'll let him in". I got up and opened the front door, which opened inwards. Any other time he would be slipping and sliding on the lino to get out to the dart room, but he doesn't come in.
When I looked out in the dark, I could see Rebel with the light of the lounge shining on him. He was looking at me and wagging his tail, I said "what is it mate", would you believe he looks to his left to the other end of the verandah, where we had an old lounge chair that he liked to sleep on. So I turned the outside light on, and when I looked there was the little dog from next door sleeping on his bed. She was very tiny maybe weighed 6 or 7lb, her name was Tina and she was very obedient. I said her name and she jumped off immediately, Rebel ran up and jumped on his bed. I went back inside and told the wife what had happened and I said "there's no doubt he dobbed her in". When I looked outside a bit later, Tina was laying back up there with him. We used to jokingly say to people she was his girlfriend.This photo shows you Rebel with our oldest grandson Scotty who is 23 now. I remind you he is a descendant of the American Pit-bull. Five generations and I can honestly say they have never bit or growled at anybody. Not only that, if someone handed me a million dollars and said you can keep this, if you can tell your dogs to savage me, bite me or show any aggression to me. I would have to give them their million dollars back. But you can rest assure I would train the next one's to kill on command(joke)(million dollars).
This photo shows you my mate Bobby Carroll and as time does it to us all, a bit of weight has come on him and a bit of hair has come out. Bobby and myself had drifted apart a little. He had an addiction now,(Antique Bottles) from old Bush Settlements that we had come onto at times, while hunting wild pigs. If you go back to the story Memories of my Mate you will see how super fit Bobby was. Even in the photo above it would not be wise to pick on him.
The red dog in the photo is the father of Rebel and Buller jnr and the cream or biscuit coloured dog is Bobby's dog. He is only a pup and you can see by his ears and body stance, he's not real confident yet. I believe Bobby wanted him educated for his son Robert (alias Boonga).
After a few hunts, Bobby was more than happy with his dog. Then he put something to me that I wasn't too keen on. He asked me if I would educate his oldest boy, the one they call BOONGA. I said " Bobby I will walk across broken bottles if you were in trouble to help you, but I draw the line with BOONGA." Bobby looked at me and said " we'll put him in the back of the ute". I shook my head and said "we tried that last year and the dogs wouldn't jump in the back of the ute with him and I'm definitely not having him in the front of the ute". I said "I don't want to fall out with you over this". He actually shook my hand and said "I wont hold it against ya." He even give me a photo of him, to show there was no hard feelings. BOONGA (I even thought about getting a pup out of him)
Some times you can hunt all day without success and sometimes there's day's like this. My old friend Bobby Harrison was with me and we had gone around to see another friend, his name was Selwyn Jones, better known as Taffy, who is no longer with us now. Taffy's memories will always be with us. He had a beautiful voice and could sing like a bird. Taffy loved the bush and loved hunting with roo dogs and ferrets, he was a shearer and also worked underground in the mines.
This day we called into Taffy's to see if he wanted to come out the bush for a run. He said he would love to but he had a mate who was doing some work on his house for him. So Bobby and myself went out alone. We were only ten minutes out of town on the bitumen, we turned onto a main gravel road and hadn't gone a klm when the dogs started spinning and screaming on the back of the ute. It was good open bush and it was all over in twenty minutes. I drove the ute to where the pigs were tied up, loaded them and back on the highway home, straight to Taffy's place. This is all taking place within the hour.
It's hard to write how a Welshman talks. But I can imitate him a little bit. When he seen the pigs, he said "It's forking morvelous". That's not really swearing is it. Another thing with Taffy, which he openly admitted, was he had no sense of direction in the bush. Once he lost sight of his vehicle or the road, you could grab him and spin him once and he was lost, this is the truth.( but it was a little bit mishandled about Boonga)
Like I said Taffy once worked underground in the mines. He was what they called a pumper and his job was to make sure the water pumps were always running, or otherwise it would flood what was called the dips, which was the bottom of the mine and the miners would be unable to work.
While Taffy was doing his job on nightshift, there would also be a deputy. They were the only two underground in the whole of the mine, humans that is. When you think this mine was maybe 4 or 5 klms deep and maybe as many klms wide and on the average there is a tunnel every 18mtrs or 36mtrs. I ain't smart enough to work it out but there is many hundreds of klms of tunnels. So if there was something lurking in these tunnels he had many hiding spots.
Some of the old miners used to say to the young miners who were newcomers just starting, you's fellas never leave any food in the pie warmers, cause the air will take the smell into the old workings (and George will get it).
This is a clipping from the local paper. I don't want to dob anyone in, but I'm sure Taffy had a dog called Fido. I was talking to the pumper that found the dog only yesterday the 17th of Jan 2012. He told me when the light on his helmet hit the dogs eye's, they shone like neon signs and you can imagine what that done to him. He told me as he was coming out of the mine on a little machine they call a Wagner, the dog was sitting alongside of him. As they came around a bend in the tunnel they could see daylight at the end of the tunnel, he said the dog jumped off the Wagner and ran towards the daylight. The pumper had to find him again and take him to his owner. This all takes place in the 80's.
Getting back to the pumper that first saw the ghost. I was friends with the pumper that relieved him of his shift. I used to take this fella out the bush pig-hunting, his name is Bevan Davis. He came up to my place when he knocked off and he told me that there was a bit of excitement underground last night. I said "whats happened". He told me that there had been a ghost sighted. I said "who was supposed to have seen it". He told me his name Joey Hewson. I started to laugh and said , "you believe that". Bevan said "I'm telling you Jock, he was an idiot, shaking and talking a bit strange".
I said "I'll tell you something on Joey Hewson, you cannot believe a word he say's and only half of what you actually see him do". I said "I cannot stress that enough". I said "he will pull more capers than the third monkey going up the plank towards Noah's Ark." But I couldn't convince him. I'd have liked to have seen the performance myself. Well done Joe, you deserved a job on the surface.
A lot of the miners reckoned it was a bit of fun, myself included. I remember one of the tunnels, maybe halfway to the bottom of the mine, had a Rams scull and horns hanging from the roof, with a sign saying Spook country. Another tunnel miners had stuffed rags into overalls and also hung that from the roof, it looked like someone dangling from the gallows. But like it's been said it had effected a few miners. It stopped some of the men having early knock-offs, because they had to walk the tunnels up to the surface by themselves. I don't care who you are or how tough you are, if you are new to the under-ground scene, there are miners there that will spook you ten out of ten.
One of their main tricks to a new starter or a visitor, was when the miners were ready to fire the face, they would take them to a tunnel that had a tin stopping, which is a false wall used to direct the air to the miners. It is made of four by two timber and flat sheets of tin. While their standing there and waiting for the explosions, the experienced miner would say to them, this is a bad area in the mine, there is a lot of weight in the roof and some of the miners think we will lose it.
He's no sooner said this when the explosions start. They go off in a sequence from zero to twelve. Each time one explosion goes off, the visitor will scream every-time. The pressure from the explosion comes back through the tunnels and the noise it makes on the tin stopper where their standing is terrifying. It doesn't matter if their male or female, they will scream as loud as each other. If these visitors are men and their acting a little tough and saying their not scared, when the explosions go off the experienced miner will scream himself and fall to his knees holding his head and you can bet those fellas will do the same.
I remember another incident, we were about to fire the face. Some of the miners had gone back up the tunnels to make sure no-one was coming in to the area we were firing. While they were doing this I decided to go to the crib cabin to get a drink of water. You suffer under-ground if you've got a hang-over. When I gets up the tunnel a couple of hundred yards I was half running and the deputy who is the boss was standing there with a visitor. He was a big man maybe 6ft2 or 3, with white over-alls on as white as snow, in a black coal mine. I couldn't resist it.
The deputy was a good boss, his name was Mick Taylor and he would not interfere with any-one getting set up and there's a chance his hang-over was worse than mine. I said "Mick, Mick, Mick, what are you doing in this area, you know the weight in the roof is bad here". Mick just stands there and before he can comment, I said "I'm not staying here "and started to run again. I heard the big fella say to Mick" I don't want to take any chances". I turned my light off and stood in the dark and as each explosion went off I watched him bounce around like a big kangaroo in white over-alls. Later in the shift Mick came up to me and said "you destroyed that poor bastard, he didn't get over it". Mick is no longer with us, he died young. But it was bosses or gentlemen like him that made the job a little easier.
You cannot get better pigs out of a sty than these and they were within 4 klms from town. I remember pulling up at the farmers house and asking him if he had seen any fresh signs of pigs. He said he hadn't. Also he said he had just came through the back gate, which led into some forest between his two farms. This didn't worry me because a lot of the time these pigs would not leave much sign. Because they where feeding out of the self-feeding bins for the cows, which had a mixture of crushed grain, that the farmer grew himself.
I was by myself and I remember opening the gate, driving through and then going back to shut it. The dogs were extra keen and jumping from side to side in the ute. They'd also try and give me a nip as I walked past. The wind was picking up from the North and bringing in a storm. When I drove off I hadn't travelled 2-300yrds when the dogs started howling and screaming on the back. They were over the side and into the wind that was coming out of a gully. They were maybe 200yrds when they cranked up barking.
When I got to them, they had maybe a dozen pigs bailed up in some logs and bushes. The boar was a fair lump and he was protecting the mob. Coming out and chasing the dogs for 30-40yrds, then he'd go back to the mob. The noise the pigs all make cackling and grunting to themselves. It really spooks the dogs and turns them on, also the hunter. I wanted as many of these as I could get,(grain fed) and my freezer was empty.
I shot the big boar and the mob scattered. I ran as quick as I could, stuck the boar and bled him, left the rifle and I could hear one of the pigs squealing. They were about 60lb. When I took it off the dog. I knew I wouldn't have time to tie it, because the dogs would damage the next one. So I stuck that one and bled him as well. I caught up with the dogs with another one and stuck that one also. When I caught up with them the last time they were tuckered out, also I was tin fruited.
I took the last one alive as you can see in the photo. I returned to the farmers house, told him what had happened, he went and got one of his sons and they helped me load them onto the ute. The boar was in that good of condition, I showed a fella who handled a bit of meat and he swapped me with beef and sausages. Full freezer.
As I've said this is on my Fathers memory it is the truth. Would you believe it's the 21 June 2012, 5.15 in the afternoon and the wife said that smell is making my mouth water. She has got wild pork cooking and the smell is wafting to us, so hooroo I'm off.
The photo above shows the condition of the wild pig, if the feed is right. It's a fair lump of boar and he was feeding on a farmers crop. You can see the excess fat that I left on the hide. It was used for ding sausage and too much fat is no good.
I remember back in the past, I decided to go fishing for the red-fin perch with the wife and at the time three boys, the fourth had not arrived. There ages were 3, 7 and 9yrs also two dogs Rusty and Senior. I had an esky half full of water with little fish in it that I used to catch the red-fin their called minnows and they are the number one live bait.
I went out to a spot that I once used to fish quite often. It was the back-waters of a water catchment. There was a big granite rock and you would be looking maybe ten feet down to the water. It had a flat top and it was comfortable for the boys. The two biggest boys had a hand-line each and the wife was content to sit on a blanket with the youngest one and watch the excitement when the boys hooked a perch.
Like I've said before some memories never leave you. They had landed nine perch. The two dogs were lying on the bank, now and then if we got a small perch, I would throw it to them, they would devour the lot. They were always in top gear, thinking pig. There was a nice wind blowing and we'd been there about an hour. There was an exceptional big hill at our back, maybe 5 or 600 yards to the top.
When all of a sudden the dogs were slipping and sliding, trying to get going as quick as they could. I watched them as they disappeared out of sight getting to the top of the hill. I could just make them out barking. I said to the wife "they've got pigs". The barking stopped and as I was looking up I could see a big boar coming down the hill towards us. He knew what he was doing, he was heading for the water where he could hold the dogs off. When he got to the waters edge, he backed in leaving his head and top quarter showing out of the water.
This is all taking place 30yrds from the wife and the boys sitting on the rock. I had to run about a hundred yards to the car where my rifle was. When I returned the boar had not moved and the dogs know better than to pull him on. The rifle is a 22 with telescopic sights and I've told you before if you hit the spot, they will not close their eye's. The dogs wait for this and they seem to realize, they'll hit the boar not long after the bullet.
Too think the wife and the three boys had a ringside seat to this fight. When I pulled the boar to the bank. I said to the wife, I don't reckon we can load this into the ute. I said we'll head home and I'll get a couple of mates. She said why don't we try. I could get the ute right to him, also there was a slight mound on the ground, so I dug two holes just short of it, then reversed the car into the holes, which lowered the back almost to the ground.
Then we dragged the boar. I had one back leg and the wife had the other, the oldest boy Dave had the tail and the second oldest Jamie had the front leg. What a battle!! inch by inch. But we did succeed. I would have liked to have had a camera. Also I can't have had a knife as I would have gutted him as well as taken his head off and made it easier to load. I went to my sisters and brother in-laws place. Neil had a meat room also he had scales, which only went to 200lb. Neil has caught a lot of pigs in his time, not as many as me, not as big. But we both knew that these scales would not handle this pig. So we weighed the skin separate, with the head attached. Then the stomach and the carcass and it totaled 253lb.
I sold the boar to a regular customer, who had two Alsatians. He cut it into feed sizes and stored it in his freezer. The cost was ten dollars, that filled my fuel tank twice and it helped to keep me hunting and fishing.
I remember it was late in the evening when the dogs picked up the scent of the boar in the photo above. The dog is Rebel, who I've already told you about. I hit this particular mob of pigs a few days earlier. I was driving around the boundary of a farmers paddock which was in crop. There were 5 boars standing in the middle of the crop about 3-400 yards out. I pulled up and we were looking at them through the tele's on the rifle I'm holding.
The wind was strong and it was blowing from us to them, so the dogs were none the wiser. We commented on the condition they were in, they were shiny black. I also realized that these boars had been kicked out of the mob by bigger boars. We'd been there maybe 5 minutes watching them, when all of a sudden they bolted and the wind had taken our scent to them. It shows you a pig has the ability to scent with the wind like a dog.
I caught up as they were crashing through the corner of the fence. The two dogs grabbed the first one maybe 50yards from the road. I took it off them and by the time I tied it, I could hear them with the second one in the distance, which I also took alive and while I was tying that one the dogs were gone again. But this time they were out of range. It took us maybe half an hour or more to get the two boars back to the ute.
Then we drove for maybe a kilometre, when I pulled up and listened I could hear the dogs barking about 4 or 500 yards up a sandy hollow. So I took that one alive as well. They were all the same size and condition as the one in the photo. I would say they were from the same litter. You don't get better pigs for ding sausages. I had no troubles getting rid of them.
So a couple of nights later, I goes out to the same spot and drove around a couple of the bush tracks. The dogs played up on the back and they were gone into the wind. When we finally caught up with them, it was fast getting dark, it was another one of those five boars. I remember we took him alive and we were carrying him back on a stick in the dark. After we put him in the ute and we were standing there, I realized the dogs had gone.
So we jumped in the ute and drove around some of the bush tracks. We would pull up every half a kilometre or so and listen. We could hear them barking way off in the distance and it's times like this that turns a pig-hunter on. When we caught up with them and we were maybe 20-30yards from them, I knew they had that second boar. We couldn't see anything it was too dark, but you could smell him. Also they continuously moaned and smacked their tusks together.
We didn't have a torch but we were lucky it was all taking place on white sandy soil and black-boy's (grass trees). So every now and then I could see a slight dark movement on the white sand. I knew it wasn't my dogs as I could hear them off to the side. So looking through the tele's I could just make out the dark patch. I fired and nothing.
The dogs were still barking, so I fired another shot, again nothing. Then he charged the dogs and went into a different area where there was a bigger patch of white sand, this time I can make him out a little bit better, I fired another shot and I could tell it had hit him, so I fired again. I knew that shot had hit him as well. Then I could hear the dogs growling as they had hold of him. When I got to them the boar was dead. The first couple of shots I had shot the base of a black-boy or grass tree.
The photo above shows the Stirling Ranges and if you were standing on the top of the hill in the distance, you would be looking at the ocean maybe 20-30 klms away. As you can see the farmers have left pockets of forest on the top of the hill also some of the gully's that run down to prevent erosion. The wild pigs love these conditions. There hard to get too, no roads and they seem to know that. They will camp inside the pockets of forest.
The next photo is a close-up of the hills you can see in the distance, the little brown specks you can see just short of the top of the hill are kangaroo's. Maybe 50 of them and there are mobs like this for maybe 200 klms along the Stirling Ranges. They are the biggest of the grey kangaroo's. I know my father considered these conditions were the best to hunt what he called the coastal boomer.
I pulled up one day where this photo was taken from and it looked like the farmer had ploughed the paddock in the fore-ground. It was upside down with pig diggings. What your looking at is what the farmer calls a race, two fences close together and it makes it easier to bring his cows down and maybe load them on the truck for market or for whatever reason.
What the pigs are chasing are the worms, that are under the cow droppings. Which are thick in this area. I said to the fella who was with me, have a look at the diggings. Then he said "have a look at the end of the race" and there were two 60-80lb pigs and they were just going under the fence on the left. I ran towards them with the dogs and they put in. We watched them grab both of those pigs in the creek you can see on the left of the fence.
When we were almost to them, I looked to my right, there were maybe 15 big pigs heading for the top of the hill. We tied one and I said to Graham "you tie the other one while I run the dogs to where I seen the mob". Even though the dogs couldn't see anything, they ran towards the top of the hill and I watched them hit the scent of the pigs on the ground and disappear over the hill and gone. By the time I got to where I last seen the dogs, I was knackered. I picked up the tracks of the dogs and pigs on another fence line, there was another big hill in front of me and the fence line they were on went over the top of that.
There was another saying my mate Bobby Carroll had, when we had to negotiate big hills, he would say "if they were any steeper than this, you could piss in your back pocket". It's hard to laugh when your exhausted. When I finally got over the second hill. I could just make the dogs out barking in the distance and when I caught up with them they had two of the biggest boars you could get.
I had a 12 shot lever action 22. There was a few clumps of bushes where they had them bayed. When I got in range, I'm looking at the both boars through the tele's. I shot one and he dropped instantly, the other one started to run away. The dogs have got the one on the ground by the ears. I laid my gun down and ran in, pulls the big boar by the bristles to his side and I'm kneeling on him, then I realize I've only stunned him.
As I'm getting the rope out of my pocket to tie him. He's grunting and making a lot of noise. I happened to look up the fence line and here's the other big boar coming to the calls of his mate. I let go and got out as quick as I could. I ran the opposite way too where my gun was. The big boar went straight to his mate and the both of them were standing there with the two dogs circling them. I had to sneak around too the opposite side to get my rifle.
These conditions are as bad as you can get, open paddocks and no protection. It was a good feeling when I picked my rifle up. I took aim at the one that hadn't been shot. Would you believe I wounds this one as well. I re-loaded as quick as I could, pulled the trigger and it went click, an empty gun. One big boar crashed through the fence and was gone and the first one I had wounded was now prancing around like there wasn't much wrong with him.
We had him for maybe another half an hour, the dogs were totally exhausted. They stopped him a few more times, then they virtually collapsed on the ground. I remember laying there with them. I don't think they understood but I was saying "that's enough". Dogs are known to have a heart attack, especially if its warm and they have run themselves to exhaustion as they had. Actually I could visualize 3 graves on the side of that hill.
When I got back to where my mate was with the other 2 pigs, there were two farmers standing there with him. I didn't have permission to be on this farm, but they were a couple of nice fellas. They were Italians, (Mick and Chick Italiano). I told them what had taken place with the 2 boars and they told us their cousin owned the farm we were on and he would be very pleased. Then they asked me if I would hunt the pigs on their property. They were growing potatoes and the pigs were giving them a hard time. I was more than happy to do that.
They rang me one time and told me "the pig she in the potatoes". I was there within half an hour. They said "the pig she just walkaway in the bush". I said "you's come down with us you'll see the dogs in action". He said "we don't go, we stayim on the tractor, the pig she bite you". We could hear the dogs barking while we were talking to them.
The photo above shows one of my boy's on the left Brett and his mate Bruce McCartney, who was from the city and we were good friends with his family. They used to come down some weekends and stay with us, we would either be out the river marroning or spot-lighting for rabbits on different farms also pig-hunting.
The dogs got the big boar in the photo with them and they had taken him a long way from the road and we were unable to get him back to the ute. We were lucky to catch up with him when we did, I shot him 5 minutes before dark, he's not the sort you want to tangle with after dark. The photo above shows my oldest boy Dave watching while I tied the mouth of the pig, because they will grab a dogs leg when they jump into the back as there's not a lot of room. Only one dog I ever owned used to do this, he would stand on his back legs, put his front legs on the side of the ute and check where the pigs were before he jumped in.
I've also seen at times, he must have thought, there's not enough room and if the door of the ute was opened he would jump in the front. I would let him stay there if there was only two of us. He'd be pretty happy with himself looking through the wind screen. One time we were traveling and the mate said "if pigs come out onto the road, he's going to scratch the pisser out of me" and that's just what happened.
We came around the corner, there's a pig 2-300yrds up the road. The dog starts bouncing and screaming on the seat. Just as I gets too where it was 2 or 3 more come onto the road, now the dogs screaming real bad and me mate as well, the dog was all over him.
The photo below shows my oldest son Dave on the left and Peter who I took out the bush a few times hunting pigs.
Another time Peter was with me and a fella by the name of Ernest Fraser, who had only been out of hospital maybe a week, from having a piles operation. They done something that was unforgivable also unbelievable. After the operation they insert a wad that is lubricated to prevent it sticking to the raw wound.
Would you believe the fool, for the want of a better word did not lubricate the wad. You can imagine the pain when they tried to extract that wad. It was stuck fast to the wound and I know he squealed like a pig, I even give a couple of grunts myself as he was telling me. (this is a true story).
They laid him in a bath of water I think for a few hours, and I don't think it worked all that well. He said if he ever walks onto the road, I wont come off the excelerator. I said I'd like to be sitting along side of you.
He said he was right to go out for a hunt. I remember we were driving around the side of a big hill inside a pine plantation, when the dogs played up. They went over the side and headed down hill into the wind. We all hop out the ute and we were listening for a bark or squealing. They started barking in the distance.
Peter had a 22 hornet rifle and he started to run to the dogs. Ernest said I'm going down too. I watched him and he was favouring his toes as he was walking. I decide to drive around the apartments to see if I could get closer. When I was maybe 5 or 600yrds away I pulled up, got out of the car and listened. I was thinking if that boar broke away from the bail-up and came the way I was heading, the boy's mighten hear them start up barking the second time. And that's just what happened, I could hear the dogs barking further on.
When I caught up with them, they've got a real bad boar. He's got big tusks and he's a dog killer. The dogs seem to get excited when they see you turn up. One of the dogs was Buller jnr and like I've said before, he could handle these big boars when the conditions were right. I realized I had troubles, not having a gun and I decided to go and have a look for Peter and Ernest. But Buller runs in and grabs the big boar by the ear. They were going around in circles and the boar was trying to hook him. I thought I'll have to take him because I knew he would eventually get the dog.
As I was running in to grab the back legs, I was maybe 10-20ft away and he busted free of the dogs. When your this close it puts a bad taste in your mouth. I put maybe 50yrds between us as quick as I could and I kept running back to the ute. Then I drove around looking for the boy's. I was hoping Buller wouldn't pull that boar on while I was gone. I'd traveled maybe a kilometre and I came onto Peter on the road. I told him I knew where the dogs were and what had happened, there was no sign of Ernest. I eventually shot the boar. Then I said we'll leave him here and go and find Ernest. I remember when we came onto him, he was walking like he had high-heels on, I think the( hole) of his body was hurting.
I made out like the dogs had just come back to me and I said I think they had pigs. Ernest said "they had bloody pigs alright, I could hear them barking". I said "get in the ute I reckon I know where these pigs will head for". So I kept driving the way we were going, which was the opposite way to where the boar was. I kept taking different roads in the pines. After a couple of klms, we are getting close to where I shot the boar. I knew the dogs would know I was pulling up to go to the boar, before I stopped I said to Ernest "I think the dogs have got a faint scent". They went over the side and headed straight to that dead pig.
Peter and myself started to run and Ernest is back quite a way and he is battling. The bush is thick where the boar was laying. I starts yelling at the dogs to let go and I knew that Butch Fraser (oops I mean Ernest) would hear this and he yells "what have you got". I said "you come in here and hold the pig and I'll go after the dogs". He said "their out here with me". I said "well get in here and take this pig". He say's "right-o right-o I'm coming". When he sees the size of the boar that I'm kneeling on, I know it scares him.
The pig is laying on it's side and my knee is on it's neck. I've got the back leg in my left hand and the front leg in my right hand. I'm shaking it big time with my hands and it looks like it's alive. I said "hurry up get hold of it", so he takes the back leg off me, also the front leg and as I'm standing up he drops his knee into his neck. I know he had a tighter grip than a pit-bull. I couldn't hold it any longer I went into a fit of laughter, Peter as well and he's looking at us none the wiser. Then he realizes and he said "you prick of a thing". He asked us not to tell anybody and we said we wouldn't.
This is a payback from when your old man electrocuted me. ( this is on my fathers memory it is the truth).
The dog in the photo above belonged to my mate Bobby Carroll and they had named him Bobby. The first time I saw him I was working in the Shire. We'd had a bad flood and a little walk bridge in town had collapsed into the river. It was known as the Swingy Bridge. We had to snig it out of the water with a bull-dozer. There was only two of us working there for a few days. During our morning tea and our lunch break I watched this dog jump over a six foot picket fence and at top speed he would run around to the front of the house and jump back into the yard over a four foot fence. He'd do a circle of the house and jump both fences again. I know now he was doing that to entertain himself.
There was very few if any pig-dogs around at the time. We were mainly using kangaroo dogs. This was roughly 1968 before the time of the likes of the pit-bull, banana nose bull-terrier and many other breeds that are around today. I said to the fella that I was working with," I would like to own that dog and I'm going to find out who he belongs to." and that's when I first got to know Bobby Carroll. I had known of him, but never met him.
His brother Peter worked in the Shire with us, so I asked him if he would put it to Bobby that I would like to buy the dog. He told me he was working away and he would see him in a couple of weeks, which he did and it wasn't good news. He said the dog was a birthday present and he wouldn't feel right getting rid of him, even though he was giving them a hard time. He said his name should be (Houdini). We cant keep him in the yard, we even tried putting him in the chook-yard and we watched him claw his way up the chook wire and over the top. This made me want him even more.
About a month later, Peter came up to me at work and said, "you can have that dog if you still want him". He also said "he doesn't want anything for him. But down the track a bit, he wouldn't mind going out with you to see what he's like". I couldn't wait to knock off work and go and get him. I remember when I pulled up at Bobby's house and his wife Val came out and we were talking, the dogs walking around, looking a bit side-ways at me, wouldn't quite let me pat him. He also showed me how good his teeth looked and I said "Val he's not going to jump in the ute for me", so she went over and tapped the side of the ute and he jumped in, no worries.
I don't think he'd ever been hunted, nor been in the back of a ute. I knew how to win him over, I had the rifle in the car so I picked up a friend, Sid Riley ( alias Squidly) and headed straight out the bush with him. I wanted to make it as exciting as I could for him. I could see two kangaroo's going pretty fast about 50yards off the road. The dog was bouncing around, I knew he could see them. So I hit the breaks and let him go.
As the 2 roos came across the road I fired a shot but missed. Their at top speed and so was the dog. I said to Sid "I cant believe the speed he's got" also I said "he's right on them". It seemed like it was only 5 minutes and I could hear him coming back through the bush. He jumped in the back, I was patting him also saying "your a good dog". He's pretty happy with himself, wagging his tail. He's panting pretty hard from the run also a lot of froth in his mouth. As I went to get in the ute I give him another pat and I could see a bit of dirt in the corner of his mouth.
When I had a closer look I could see what looked like a bit of fur, so I dragged two fingers through the corner of his mouth and I said to Sid "there's definitely fur", so I walked away from the ute and he jumped out and started to go with me, so I said "show me" and he led me up the bush maybe 2-300yrds, the roo was laying there dead. He was a clean and fast killer. Also he was what they call a natural. He didn't have to be taught but I wanted him for a pig-dog.
I remember one of the first mobs of pigs I got him on to. We were driving around the different bush tracks in a little family car a Holden Torana that belonged to a friend at the time Joe Murphy also his wife Dot. We came onto where a big mob of pigs had cleaned up what was left of a dead kangaroo lying on the side of the road. We were walking around having a look at the tracks. I said to Joe "there's a lot of pigs in this mob". We had two dogs Lady, who was a 3quarter Stag-hound cross and Bobby.
They showed no signs and I said "I think their out of range". So we drove off maybe a kilometre or two and about 10 or 12 pigs walked out onto the sandy bush-track we were on. Its an absolute panic, it's a sight we hadn't seen too many times. The dogs were screaming trying to get out of the car, I think Joe and myself were too. As I started to run I could hear Dot saying "look at all the big pigs".
When I caught up to the dogs, they had one bayed and I could see other pigs to the right. Bobby didn't know what to do, his first pig and he came over to me. So I ran after the pigs I could see. Bobby would run to them and then back to me. I run myself to exhaustion for no result.
The next time I took him out, Lady grabbed about a 30 pounder. I don't know if it was the squealing or the excitement I showed as I was carrying it back to the ute, at times I had to put it above my head. Even then Bobby was leaping in the air trying to get at it. That was the turning point. He became as good as any pig-dog around at the time. He caught many pigs over the next couple of years. Also Bobby Carroll and myself became the best of mates. He was with me on Bobby the dogs last hunt, also the brother in-law Peter. We had 2 and a half dogs. (Bobby, Lady and the half dog Sparky) who's in the next photo.Over the years Sparky seen a lot of action. She was a dead set killer. I've seen her go hammer and tongs with a rabbit in the spot-light and if I shot a roo for dog meat she would lock on to that as well. I never used to take her out intentionally for pigs. She was so small she would lay at the back window and I wouldn't realize she was there until we were half way out the bush.
I remember this day we had decided to go out the Murray River marroning. We had no bait, I said "Lady will catch a kangaroo and I'll keep the hind quarter for dog meat and the top quarter we'll use for bait". But it was the middle of the day and things were quiet. I said we'll take Lady for a walk when we get to where we are going to go marroning, also Bobby (the dog) would catch any kangaroo and Sparky's the back-up. Also that big esky was full again.
I remember when we started to walk, I thought the dogs would have something within 4 or 500yrds of the river, but we didn't so we kept walking up the big hills that the next photo shows you. We were all but to the top when the dogs started to show signs. We watched them heading over the top of the hill. When we got to the top and we were looking down the other side, the forest floor was reasonably clean and we could see a long way.
It was a big hill like this one when Bobby Carroll would come up with his saying !Any steeper than this, you could piss in your back pocket! and we would just have enough energy to laugh. The dogs had been gone maybe 5minutes and we knew they were onto something. When we looked down the hill on the other side, we could see a real big saddle-back boar running.
A little bit later we could see the dogs on his trail. When we caught up with them, they had him bayed in some thick bush. Bobby the dog was a grabber and he locked onto the boars ear. As I went to run in the boar busted his grip and went in behind some thick bush, we couldn't see him but the dogs were barking. I know they were absolutely exhausted. Then I seen Bobby the dog coming towards me and he was all over the place staggering. I said to the boy's "grab hold of him and hold him, the heats got him". The boar started to move away from us with Lady and would you believe Sparky still barking.
Then Lady collapses on the ground with exhaustion as well. As I'm running behind the boar with the rifle, Sparky's in front of me yapping at it. He turns and looks at Sparky and I dropped him. As we're sitting there on the ground, three blokes , two and a half dogs, completely stuffed. I half expected Bobby Carroll to say "you wouldn't have a can on ya". We decided to take the back legs, that's all we could handle and I know Pork is one of, if not the best bait for marron.
Bobby the dog was laying along side of a log with his head up, but he didn't look good. I said to the boy's "there's something wrong with him". He was still panting when the other dogs were over it. When we decided to head back, I called him, he stood up and walked into a tree that was between us. I think he was blind. We took it in turns and carried him back over that big hill and back to the river.
I laid him on the edge, I can't remember if he lapped the water or I flicked some into his mouth. Then he went into convulsions, I knew that was the end of him. His body was rock hard, we couldn't bend his legs and his mouth was hideously open. I always thought there must have been a snake where they had the boar bailed. Then a farmer told me maybe 30 years later that it was the symptoms of heat exhaustion and he'd had a heart attack. To think the half dog was the last one standing. This is the truth. This is Sparky roughly in 1966, she was a cross Pekinese Australian Terrier. The photo below is the pig she is standing on. She was actually the wifes dog. I got her from a gentleman I worked with on the construction of the Muja Power-house. He was a rigger by trade Billy Hayhurst. He told me he had a little dog and he had to get rid of her. The construction work had finished and he was going to another construction job closer to the city, no dogs allowed.
I remember when I went to have a look at her, I was standing at the door talking to Billy and two little dogs appeared. I was looking at them thinking they are nice looking dogs. There body was an off white colour with a black snout and black tips on their ears. I think they were pedigrees. I thought the missus will be happy with this, then Billy said "it's not one of these two" and he called out Sparky.
You know the saying !love at first sight! it wasn't, as the photo shows the little front legs are bowed and no longer than the width of the palm of my hand. The front teeth on her bottom jaw were exposed full time, they actually over lapped the top teeth on the out-side, which is known as an over-shot jaw. It's funny what comes too mind,(I thought she'd make a mess of an apple). She became one of the family and she was talked about by many of the bushmen and the fellas that came out the bush with me. And some of them mishandled the truth.
I remember I worked with this gentleman and he would tell you stories and they were pretty much word for word how he read them in a book and he was quick to glorify anything that happened. Like the time I took him out to get some dog meat. We were driving along side of a farmers paddock. He had a double barrel shot-gun, Sparky's sitting at the back window, we were in the EH car. He takes aim at a kangaroo as we are traveling, he fired and knocked it down.
When I hit the brakes, Sparky leaps from the back seat onto his left shoulder and then jumps on top of the shot-gun which was still pointing out of the window then onto the ground and into that kangaroo which was already dead. The next day at work, we were sitting there having our lunch and he starts to tell what happened. He said to them "you wont believe this Sparky" he said "I shot a kangaroo with a double barrel shot-gun she leaps from the back seat onto my shoulder, then onto the shot-gun, she ran along the both barrels, jumped off the end and into the kangaroo I shot". Then he looks at me and say's didn't she. I remember the day I shot the pig above, because it was before the time of the good pig-dog. And it was rare to shoot a pig in the bush while walking. We were actually hunting roo's, my Father, myself also his kangaroo dog Nipper. Like I've said before we used to hide the ute in the bush. We would walk for hours following the big gully's. This particular day, Dad commented on all the pig diggings. He said they're big pigs and they're fresh. I've said before we have hunted all our lives and I don't think anything has turned me on like when he said what he said.
I remember as we walked along, praying we would walk onto them. Nipper was trained to only chase the big male kangaroo and nothing else in the bush. Dad was not interested in pigs. He said "we'll cut over the hill and go too the next gully". We were inside a section of bush that the farmer had leased. It joint onto his paddocks, it was known as the Ten Thousand, because that's how many acres it covered. I said "I'd like to keep following this gully and maybe walk onto these pigs". He said "we're after roo's". We were hunting for the pet meat shop.
When we get over too the next gully, it is also dug up from pigs. My Father said "this is real fresh, you can still see the mud moving in the water". I was carrying a Gevarm 22 automatic rifle 10 shot. I heard Nipper growl up in front of us. When I got too him, he was running out wide of about 10 or 12 pigs. One was a real big saddle-back boar. As I had him in the telescopic sights and about to put the magazine into him. I could see Nipper on the edge of the tele's and I couldn't shoot for fear of hitting him.
The pigs scattered in all directions. I could see one maybe 80-100yrds away and I fired 4 quick shots, as it went out of sight behind a big tree. I started to run up too where it was and Nipper came back. I watched him run up in front, when he got too the big tree I heard him growl. I couldn't believe my luck, the pig was standing there, so I finished him off. The four shots had hit him in the hind quarter.
Looking back I realize now, had I put the magazine into that big boar, I would not have dropped him, because I know I would have shot for the rib-cage, he was side on and the bullets would not have got half way inside the 2-3inch fighting pad they have and I wouldn't have got my pig.
The photo above shows the result of a good day's hunting. You can see seven pigs, three pigs about 40pounders are inside the bags and there was two more to come. I've only ever seen this once, the little pig you can see in the boys hand was walking along a bush-track. When I pulled up the dogs went over the side and ran over to the little pig. Then they just stood there and looked at him. The little pig was looking at them.
I believe what happened here was the mother had gone off to feed maybe two days after the birth and the little pig had wandered off and was lost. All the pigs are alive except the one on the left which had a fair set of tusks, so I shot him. The dogs that I had at the time were descendents of the American pit-bull and maybe the last ten years of their hunting, they would not kill or even damage a small pig.
I've seen times when they would run through a litter of young'ns and not touch them. They would circle out wide until they picked the scent of a big pig. Sometimes I've seen them after they've got big pigs and are worn out and they come onto a small pig. They would pin it with their front legs or mouth it and not draw blood. And I've always believed that the pit-bull is naturally good natured. Unfortunately there's some bad people out there that should not own not only the pit-bull but all other breeds as well. The photo above shows a couple of fellas who I used to have a bit to do with, Tom on the left and Jim. I've lost count of how many different people I've taken out the bush. Male and female also kids.
This particular day we were chasing perch, which you can see in Jims left hand hanging from a stick. We'd been fishing on a river that ran through private property and the farmer had been having trouble with wild pigs. I told a story earlier of the wild pigs feeding off a farmers self-feeding bins, these pigs were also feeding off those same bins. We'd finished fishing and as I was driving back through the farm which had a lot of natural forest. I was out of dog meat, Jimmy had his double-barrel shotgun, so I told them to get on the back of the ute. I also had two of my good pig-dogs, Buller jnr and Rebel.
As we were travelling the dogs started to howl and spin. I pulled up and we watched them disappear up and over a big open hill. The three of us started to run, we could hear a pig squealing, one of the small ones you can see in the photo. We were maybe 50yards from them when the big boar you can see on the back of the land-cruiser came straight at us at top speed.
I know Jimmy and Tommy thought he was coming at us, but he wasn't, he'd just taken our line to get away. They both started to run and I yelled at Jimmy to shoot him, it was a quick snap-shot as he went passed, even though it was point blank range for a shot-gun, the boar did not flinch and disappeared. It's a real adrenalin rush but Jim said I had him in the sights when I fired.
I ran over and took the pig off the dogs. I knew by their condition these pigs were feeding out of the self-feeding bins, you don't get better in a pig sty. I didn't know how many pigs were in the mob, but I wanted as many as I could for the freezer, so rather than waste time tying the pig, I stuck him. Then I could hear another one squealing, I also stuck that one and bled him. We went back and got the ute, drove up and loaded the two pigs, the dogs had been missing all this time. So we drove over the big hill and into a gully.
When I pulled up we could hear the dogs barking. I said they've got the big boar. So the three of us are running to where the dogs are barking. This is Jimmy's first big boar and I knew he would be keen to get another shot at him. We were standing there watching the dogs stir him up, when all of a sudden the boar starts to goose-step and staggering, then he falls.
As you can see in the next photo it was point blank range and the shot-gun charge has not opened up. I said Jim would have got an adrenalin rush, which he was used to. He held the Oceanic Title in boxing also fought in Madison Square Garden for the World Cup. A good day's hunt, the freezers full again.
The photo above shows another one of those hunts you never forget. I was by myself and I had two young dogs that were maybe short of 12 mnth old and were already full blown grabbers. Sandy and Red, who I've already told stories on and if you've read the story you will know they were killed three weeks apart. I remember seeing signs of this boar on the side of the road and I pulled up. As I was walking around checking the signs and the tracks, I could tell it was a lone boar.
The dogs weren't showing a lot of signs to the diggings so I kept walking, following the road for maybe half a kilometre. If I remember right it wasn't the first time I'd made this mistake, a pair of shorts and thongs. The dogs start barking maybe 3 - 400yrds away in open Jarrah country, good conditions to pull on a boar. I wasn't too sure to run back to the car to get the rifle also the knife and some rope. Like many times I was too keen to get to the dogs.
I knew I had trouble when I seen him. Like you can see in the photo he's a dog killer. They seemed to get worked up when you lob on the scene and both of them are flying in trying to knuckle him, but the boar would shake them loose every time just missing with his tusks. I thought if I go back to get the rifle there's a chance he'd get a dog or both of them. So the next time they grabs him I went in and grabbed the back legs. I tipped him on his side, holding the front leg with my right hand and the back with my left.
It's not a smart move when you've only got thongs and shorts. But it's situations like this you get that rush of adrenalin, the dogs are still keen and flying in trying to grab him. They'll eventually settle down after I've back-handed them a couple of times as they're coming in and I think they even get off on you trying to back-hand them. Normally good dogs will take off again looking for the mob, but they seem to realise that this is a lone boar and they stayed with me.
I finished up killing him with a rock. The first two were too small you can see in the background in the photo and I finished him off with the big rock. Then I went back to the ute, got my knife and camera. I cut his jaw out for the tusks.
The young fella in the photo above descends from pig hunters. Both his father and grandfather hunted and were known to tell a story or two and no doubt young Buzza has been in ear-shot of a few of these stories. Which all pig hunters tell especially with a bit of drink in them and some of the yarns come out side-wards instead of straight down the line. I've been known to miss-handle the truth myself a couple of times, all be it in fun. But I will submit to this young fella.
He lived next door to my parents and since my father passed away and my mother is in care, I've been watering the lawns and garden a couple of days a week. At the time he was about 8 yrs old and it's only a couple of years ago. His father hunted with my sisters son, who lived across the road and a couple of houses up.
I was told you've never heard a young fella tell a story like he does. I didn't doubt them, his grandfather was good. So this day I was watering the lawn and around the corner of the fence he comes. As he's going passed he say's "g'day." then its around my mothers house and back down the other side, as he's coming back passed me, I said "by gee you can handle that bike", he agreed as he disappeared around the corner into his place.
Next minute he's back again, this time he pulls up right along side of me, straddling his bike with both feet on the ground. I thought here's a chance I'll crank him up. I said "you hunt wild pigs don't ya" he said "yeh I go out with dad and his mates". I said "I used to go out with my mates when I was young". He must have thought I meant as young as him. He said "yeh I go out with two of my mates ", I said "by yourselves", he said "yep".
I remember what my sister said about how good he was. I said "how do you get out the bush with your mates", he thinks a little bit and said "on our bikes". I said "It's good fun" he agreed, I said " whats the biggest mob you've seen ". this is where most pig-hunters will lose the plot and they don't need drink in them. He's really giving it some thought then he say's a hundred, I'm thinking I'll trap him here. I said "how many did you catch" again he pauses and say's three. I said " oh yeh one each eh", I said " how did you get them home".
This time I thought I've got him, then he said "we dragged them behind our bikes". So I said "that's how I used to do it to". I said "that fella that lives over the road, he goes out pig hunting too doesn't he". He say's "yes and that's my uncle Neil". I said "well I used to go out hunting pigs with his father a long time ago." He say's "that's Pop".
I said "one time the dogs got a big pig and when your Pop went to tie the legs, he said to me "we forgot the rope" I said "do you know what I done", he said "what". I said "I went into a swamp and I caught a tiger snake, then I ran up to your Pop and said we'll tie him with this."He said "Didya", I said "but it was to short, so I ran back into the swamp, let it go and caught a dugite." He jumps in and say's," dugites are a lot longer than tiger snakes. I've got to go now," on his bike and back around into his place. About a half an hour later his mother comes out and said "you've got him going, he's been in here losing the plot telling me the story."
Like I've said before this is one of those days you don't forget. The man who is standing there Terry is looking down at the clump of trees that you can see in the middle of the photo. It's hard to make out, if you look at the base of the trees you can see a white dot, which is my second youngest Brett when he was maybe 12 or 13. If you look to the right of Brett and the edge of those trees you can just make out a mob of pigs feeding.
Brett's got the rifle and he's going to see if he can shoot one. When I first told him to do it, he didn't want to fearing he might miss. I said that doesn't matter I've got the dog and we'll score whatever. When he fired, the dog went down to him, so did Terry.
Then I could see two pigs coming up the hill towards me, so I drove after them in the 4 wheel drive. They were knackered after coming up the big hill and it was easy for me keeping up with them. I followed them for maybe 6-700yrds hoping the dog would catch up to me. But I watched them go through the boundary fence and back into the forest.
When I got back to where I left Brett, Terry was coming over the top of the hill and I could see by the look in his face something was wrong. Then he said "the dogs been hit with a bullet, in his back leg". When I get back down to them I could see the look on Brett's face. He said "the bullet ricocheted off the boars head and hit the dog". I said "that's alright mate it's just bad luck, I done the same one day". I put Rebel in the back of the ute.
As we were driving through the paddocks, I look over and there's a sow with a litter feeding around the edge of the bracken. I was watching Rebel in the rear-view mirror, his tail was wagging and he was looking at the pigs. I was scared he might try and go over the side. The bullet had hit Rebel just above the ankle and it had knocked about 2 inches of bone off the leg.
Brett had got in the back of the ute with Rebel, he told me many years later, he didn't want me and Terry to see him crying. Like I said Rebel was wagging his tail when he seen the pigs after he'd been shot. I knew it wasn't life threatening and I felt more for the boy than the dog.
Rebel was a long time getting over this, all because they went about it (wrong). Many months and $800 dollars later they wanted to cut his leg off. I'd had enough, I wont say what I told them in fear of self incrimination. I was lucky when I decided to take the last cast off. After they told me they were going to take his leg off I remember sitting on the lawn with the wife and as we removed the cast you could smell it, but we'd got it just in time. We bathed it with warm salty water also we put mercurochrome on it.
I said to the wife the bone has started to knit on one side and I know the heavy plaster they had on it had re-broke the leg and stopped it from healing. This is maybe six months later, so we wrapped a light bandage around the leg. I said he will carry the leg himself and he wont try to use it. The smell went away after a few days and each time we took the bandage off to bathe it or check the break, it was hardening with less movement. Eventually it healed but it was slightly off- set and you could notice it when he ran.
I remember taking Rebel out for his first run after all the trouble he had, he played up on the back and went over the side and I could hear him up on the side of the hill. It was reasonably thick bush, I could hear the pig crashing through it also Rebel behind it. Then I heard a slight howl and a whimper, I said to the fella with me, I think Rebel's just re-broke his leg. I couldn't hear nothing for a while, I give a few whistles.
Then I could hear the noise coming towards me very slow. I said he's broke it alright and when he came out onto the road he's got his back leg in the air. You know I cannot remember what I done but I must have taken him to another surgery in another town. Which I'd done a few times, this time the jobs done a hundred percent and Rebel hunted for many years and reached old age.
Would you believe I was talking to Brett a few weeks ago about the incident when he shot Rebel , which was nearly thirty years ago and I could tell it still worried him. He said "when I dropped the big boar, I put another five or six bullets into his head as quick as I could". He said "I wasn't too sure if it was in temper or so you would hear it and come back". But like I said I was five or six hundred yards away and travelling in the ute, I heard nothing. Also I thought after the bullet ricocheted and hit Rebel in the leg the boar had got away. After all these years I was none the wiser, the boar was laying there dead.
The photo below shows Rebel on the left and his half brother Buller.
I spotted the pigs above from my car, so I snuck over with my camera. As you can see the pig in the bushes knows I'm there, also it's mate on the right has started to run.
The next photo shows a litter of little one's feeding and you can see the mother in the bushes on the right and the following photo shows them running off.
I remember an incident one time. I was driving around the boundary on a farm like this and I looked up in front and there was a mob of pigs running for the fence line to get back into the bush. There were three of us in the ute. It's the first time on wild pigs for one of them. This is the ultimate situation for pig hunters and their dogs and I know there's fellas that will kick your windscreen out to get to them.
I just forget how many we got. I know we put two about 30-40 pounders in a hessian chaff bag. We hadn't tied their legs, we only tied the top of the bag. When we came back after getting another pig, the bag was empty. It tells you the pig-hunters brain doesn't work properly when he drives onto pigs. I remember the last pig we got was maybe 100lb. I think it was the mother of the two 30-40lb young pigs that got out of the bag. I didn't want her and I was going to let her go. I was standing there holding onto her by the two back legs.
Like I've said this is Graham's first pig hunt. I said to him "your going to have to let this pig go, because my dogs wont go back to the car with you, they'll want to stay with me", he said "I dont know about this we'll work something out". I made like my hands were hurting and said "at least give me a spell and hold onto the pig for awhile". I can see him standing there, holding the pig by the back legs while we walked away. I said "you'll let it go when you get too tired to hold it". He's pleading with us to come back.
We get maybe a couple of hundred yards away and I yell out, "if you make it your the first one". I could hear his voice getting fainter when we get to the road. Then all of a sudden here he is at top speed, coming down the hill. When he gets to the road next to us, he lets out with a big sigh and puts his both hands on his knees and he's looking up at me. I looked behind him with shock on my face, I didn't say a word, I turned and ran for the car and Graham beat me there.
The above photo shows a friend of mine Terry True who done a lot of hunting with me in the early 70's. The rifle he is holding is a 44 lever action and it's the ideal rifle for shooting the big boars, especially in swamp country where Terry shot this one. If you look close at the boar you can see he's exceptionally hairy. I haven't seen too many like this. But every one I have seen have been vicious fighters and it's best you get too these as quick as you can as they are a dog killer.
There was another fella with us this day Les Allen who I have told a few yarns on. He was a bit timid on wild pigs and they didn't have to be too big. The three of us had gone into the swamp where the dogs were barking. We couldn't see each other and as we got closer to where the dogs had the boar, there's a hell of a noise, the boar crashes through the thicket after the dogs. Then it's deathly quiet, the dogs will stand still and listen, so they know where the boar is and the boar will do the same.
I've seen it or heard when a dog makes a move, the boar will crash through the thicket after him. So it's best if you don't make a sound yourself. Next minute I hear a terrified voice "Jimmy where are you". I know I almost laughed, but I was a bit scared myself. Then the big bang and its all over.
The next photo shows you the bad conditions you have to sneak into to get into position to shoot them. There's no protection, it's low scrub. We tried to take this boar alive, but the dogs couldn't quite handle him. But because he was a young boar with small tusks and exceptionally good condition, we let him go. Thinking he's a good breeder.
The photo above shows a close-up of the previous photo. The boar's sitting on his arse not wanting them to grab him by the family jewels again.
The photo above shows Terry with another boar that he shot with a 45 calibre pistol, which belonged to another gentleman that I've talked about Norm Milligan. Personally I did not like using the pistol to take out a big boar that the dogs had bayed. Because if you did not hit the mark, they could take a magazine and I've seen many dogs get ripped, because if you failed to drop the boar with the first shot, the dogs will fly in every time.
I remember one time the dogs had a bad boar in a narrow creek. There were rushes and shrubs so we couldn't see the boar or the dogs. We were standing on a big log that had fell across the creek. This is all taking place within 6 or 7 yards. All of a sudden we can hear Terry's dog let out three or four howls and we knew the boar has pinned him in the rushes. When the dog came out we could see the wounds, he had copped a few bad ones.
So the next time Terry seen movement, he fired at the body. Then he handed the pistol to me and said you have a shot, which I did also hitting the body. Then I passed it to Terry and we took it in turns and emptied the magazine. I think we were upset because he'd got the dog.
I remember another incident with Terry and that pistol. A few years had passed and I had the first litter of pups out of Buller the American pit-bull and Lady. I kept a pup and named him Rusty and Terry took one of the pups and called him Brutus. I remember going around to Terry's place after work to see if he wanted to take the pups for a run before dark. They were about six month old now and had seen a lot of action.
I didn't know that Terry had fell off the back of a log-truck and pinged his ankle, so I said to him "We'll give it a miss", he said "no I'll be right I'll hobble along". We were driving along a sandy track and I could see a lot of pig tracks. Next thing the dogs are over the side and we watched them disappear up a gully. We know it's just time and they will be barking or there will be squealing. We've got two experienced dogs and the two pups.
It seemed to be taking too long and I said to Terry "they should have cranked up by now". We're standing there listening, I said "Terry there's a dog barking in the distance, back behind us where we came from" and we'd watched our dogs disappear up in front of us. Then I thought maybe someone else is out here hunting. I think we drove back some of the way, then I ran to the barking.
When I got there, it's one of the pups by himself, Rusty and he's got as bad a boar as you can get. I stood there and watched him chase the pup and then he'd come prouncing back to a tree where he'd bayed up and I could see him looking for the pup and every time he would chase him, knowing he's got the dog bluffed. This can be a bad situation, because when the pup goes out of sight and the boar sees you move there's a better than even chance he'll come after you.
I'd been there quite awhile, I was crouched down looking up under some prickly-pear bush, maybe 50yards to the boar. Then I heard Terry say "what is it". I said "it's a real big boar and he's as bad as they come". He comes over to me and squats down to have a look. He's got the 45 in his hand. The boar saw us, I watched him lift his head up and look at us, I knew what was going to happen. I said "quick get to a tree Terry". The boar lets go with a grunt and comes at us at top speed. I remember when I got to the tree I was at top speed also. I heard a bang and when I looked the boar was ploughing into the ground head first right along side of Terry's legs. He cocked the pistol and put another one into his head. He looked at me and said "good shot a". I said "it had to be".
That was 40 years back and we were talking about it just the other day. I said "Terry when he was coming at ya, you aimed for the head and it broke his back", he said "I know but it was still a good shot" and it was. But I know that would have been the worse thing I'd seen had he missed. I used to think was it his ankle that made him stand his ground or did he fancy his aim with the pistol. He was a good shot and I'd back the latter.
The two photo's above shows another days hunt. The gentleman in the background on the left is my good mate Bobby Carroll, his brother Peter on the right, the little fella is another friend Taffy Jones, all three are no longer with us. The fella with the beanie on is another friend Doug Crowe also Strowy.
I remember it was a Saturday night and Bobby and myself were sitting at the bar, it was almost closing time. Bobby's brother Peter and Strowy walk in. We started talking and they asked us what we were doing the next day. We said we were heading out the bush with the dogs before daylight, Bob, Doug and myself. Peter said "what about I catch up with Taffy and the three of us will follow you around the bush tracks". I said "yeah no worries, but be at my place on time or we'll leave without ya".
Next morning I said to Bobby they were a bit intoxicated last night and I don't know if they'll turn up, but they did. No doubt because Taffy loved hunting with the dogs and he would have made sure that they were on time. The two coloured dogs in the photo belonged to Taffy, they're roo-dogs and the red dog is mine Rusty.
I remember when we first got out the bush and we pulled up. Taffy said to me, "these pair of mongrels didn't go to bed last night". He meant Peter and Strowy not his two dogs. I remember the first lot of pigs we hit, Rusty got their scent from the back of the ute as we were travelling. I remember Strowy taking off the way the dogs had gone and the way he was running you could see he was still pissed.
Then Doug started to run as well and Taffy. I could hear a pig squealing. I said "Bob we may as well stay here Doug will sort it out" and he did. But when he came back to me he said "for christ sake don't let Strowy go next time." He said "when I got to them, he had the sow by the ear with one hand and waving the other hand at the dogs to keep away". I think there would have been a few sparks had it been a boar. I remember saying to them, if we hit a good mob in the open, we should be able to knock a few off being there's six of us and that's just what happened if you look at the photo above it's she-oak and banksia country.
They all started to run after the dogs again. I was last to get away by the time I grabbed some extra rope. I was at top speed which wasn't very fast for me lucky for I stumbled and went for the meanest shit mixer, head over heels. I got going again and I could hear pigs squealing up in front also to the left. The boys were yelling at the dogs to let go. I couldn't see much of this it was quite a way off.
When I looked to my right I could see the big pig that's in the photo also another one about 80lb. You can see the condition of the pigs and I wanted as many of these as I could. I started to run the way the two pigs were going at the same time I was whistling as loud as I could, hoping that one of the dogs would hear me and come to me. Senior turned up, he's a kangaroo dog bull-terrier cross all black and I've told stories on him.
I watched him hit their line of scent and bolt with his head to the ground. Next minute I could hear the 80pounder squealing, I took it off him and again I watched him with his head to the ground and disappears. No doubt he'd seen the other pig when he grabbed the 80 pounder and was keen to find it. As I was tying the pig I heard Senior barking and he had the big sow what's in the photo. As I was getting to him Rusty lobbed on the scene and it's all over.
I remember as I was tying it thinking Senior would have had a pig that one of the boys would have taken off him before he caught up with me and got these two. I think Bobby and Peter had tied at least one or two pigs, I can't really remember. I do remember talking to Bobby and Peter and telling them what I had. Also Doug would have had a pig. I said "where's Taffy and Strowy". They said we could hear them in the distance with a pig.
We were standing there and Taffy comes walking up, he can't stop laughing. I said "what's happened Taffy". He told me they'd tied the pig and when they stood up, the pig did too and ran off with Strowy chasing it. Taffy's battling to tell us, he said "I watched him crash, his long hair was above his head as he hit the ground, back up and disappear chasing the pig." He eventually came back but no pig. Then we lit a fire and put the hot-plate on. There's a chance we had an esky full of cold cans.
On our way home the dogs picked up another boar, which I had tagged, I think a couple of years earlier. Then two weeks later, I was in the same area with another friend Bobby Harrison and the dogs got a pig in the creek and drowned him, would you believe the rope was still on his legs. It was the one that beat Strowy.
The photo above shows another fellas first time pig hunting. We were sitting in the backyard having a few cans and I had one of my pig-dogs with me Buller jnr and the conversation got around to pigs. Ray said I've never been pig hunting, then his brother in-law Mal say's why don't we go for a run. You don't have to say that twice to me, because there's nothing better than driving around a few bush tracks with a couple of fellas and a half a carton of cans. Well there is actually, a full carton.
I remember saying to Ray how good Buller was with his nose and it wasn't long before he was spinning and howling on the back and over the side. Ray grabbed the first little pig that he's got under his arm and Mal and myself took the sow off the dog. We carried it back out to the road. I laid her on her side and I said to Ray to put his foot on her shoulder and hold her down. This is not the way to hold a pig. I think we had ran out of cans so I'll blame that. I said "I'll get the camera and take a photo of ya".
As I was returning the pig give a bit of a grunt and kicked out from under Ray's foot and started to run off with Ray chasing. She wasn't in good condition and I was going to release her anyhow. But he didn't know that and he took a dive for the back leg and manages to hang on, but he dropped the little pig and it disappeared quick. That didn't worry me that much, we were out there for a bit of fun.
The above photo shows a young fella holding his jacket up to show off what a boar had done to it. I know he wasn't too keen to give it to me, when I asked him for it so I could throw it to the boar. I've said before when the boar hits the jacket, the dogs will hit him at the same time and I'll have him by the back legs and take him alive. He was unlucky, the tusks went through the jacket and while he was spinning around with the dogs hanging off him, his front legs got tangled in the jacket.
The young fella's name is Phill Tuckey, it's roughly 36 years ago and he was about 15. There was sadness in his voice when he said "look what he's done to my jacket". I said "Phill it could have been worse, had you been wearing it when the damage was done". I know I terrorised him as a young fella. He was petrified of snakes.
I remember we'd gone for a hunt one time and it was late in the afternoon. The dogs left the ute and it wasn't long before they were barking. When we got to the dogs, I said to Phill " you stand next to a pine tree". He was a big boar, also he had a mean set of tusks, so I shot him. He was an old boar and I knew he had been kicked out of a mob by the the big young boars.
Phill was with me the night Red was killed and he'd been on a lot of pigs and I had drummed it into him to never put himself in a position where a boar can have a go at him. After I cut the jaw out of the big boar, we continued hunting. We'd only gone maybe 2 or 3 klms and the dogs were over the side and gone again. We could hear the dogs start up barking and I knew they had another big boar.
When we get to them, he was chasing the dogs all over the place. It's on the side of a big hill and you have to see to believe the speed of a big boar when he launches an attack down hill and many dogs fall victim. Because they are unable to match his speed from a standing still take-off. So it's best if you approach this bay-up from the top side. A smart dog will do the same. I only took the jaw of this one as well for the tusks.
As we were walking back down the hill, Phill was in front of me. When I looked down I saw what I thought was a tiger snake, but it was a fan-belt maybe from a dozer or grader when they put the pine plantation in. I picked it up about 2 inches from the end and it really did look like a snake. I knew Phill would be on edge after watching the big boar chase the dogs. I said "Phill", he turned around to look at me, I didn't have to say snake, he bolted and I threw it at him and it hit the back of his legs. He didn't stop, screamed and kept running so I picked it up again 2" from the end and when I got down to the ute, he wasn't there. I looked back up the road and he's standing there.
I grabbed a hessian bag from the back of the ute and I yelled out come and give me a hand to put it in the bag. He was having nothing to do with it. So I said "if you don't come and help I'll leave you out here". Again he say's no no no. So I got in the ute still holding what he thinks is a snake, I reversed back to him and said "if you don't get in here now I'll leave you for sure", so he jumped in the back of the ute with the dogs. As I started to drive off, I had it in my right hand now, put it out the window and lobbed it in the back with him. Then there's a bang on the roof of the cab and a louder one when he hit the bonnet, then he's off down the road again.
You've seen the photo above in another story I've told, but this angle shows his true size. The gentleman is my father. As you would know by looking at the boar, he's not the sort you want to tangle with. I've always wondered what his weight was. The biggest I've weighed is 350lb and I believe the pig above would have gone around him.
I remember another time I'd gone out and young Phill was with me. We'd been driving around some apartments of small pines 5 or 6ft high. I remember seeing a lot of pig tracks on the road and we were walking around checking them. I said to Phill "they're all big pigs", but I couldn't tell how many. Their tracks were everywhere, they'd been there a long time. The dogs had shown a bit of interest, but I could tell they where out of range. So we drove off taking different roads through the apartments.
The dogs I had at the time were Sandy and Red and their father Rusty. We'd travelled maybe 2 klms. I remember there was a sweeping right hand bend and looking across to the road on the other side, I could see pigs on the road. When I came around the bend, I could see three big boars and the dogs were over the side. I could hear them barking maybe 200yrds and it was up-hill. I grabbed a hessian bag also the pliers and the tags. I was still doing that research for the authorities, tagging and releasing.
I threw the hessian bag to the boar and he locked onto it. He shook it violently like a dog does with a rag. Sandy and Red have waited for this and they grab an ear each and I went in and grabbed the back legs and tipped him onto his side. The dogs have gone instantly knowing there are other pigs. So I quickly put a tag in his ear. Phill and myself could drag him it was downhill. There was a big stump maybe 3 ft high. Phill took the back legs off me, the boar was still laying on his side. He's done this many times, when he releases the legs he'll jump up on the stump and 99.9% of the time the boar will run away.
I could hear the dogs barking again down in the creek, so I started to run to them. Then I heard Phill call out my name and by the sound of it I knew he was in trouble, so I ran back up the hill to him. I got to about 50yrds when I could see the boar at the base of the stump and he was definately sizing it up, like he was trying to get to Phill. I started to yell as loud as I could, also waving and hitting the ground with the hessian bag, but he was more interested in Phill.
He eventually looked down towards me. I knew what was coming. There was another stump about ten yrds from me, so I ran for that. There was a couple of suckers growing off the side of it. The stump was lower than the one that Phill was on. I remember bouncing off the stump and up the sucker as fast as I could. At the same time the boar was skidding to a halt at the base of the stump. He must have been really pissed off, because he slowly walked around the stump looking at me and then insult to injury Phill starts laughing at me. I cant tell you what I called him. Then I said I should have left him with you. The boar decided he'd had enough and wandered off.
Phill and myself started to head down to where the dogs were still barking. It was one of the other boars, so I tagged that one as well and released him. I said to Phill as we were driving around a bit later "you would make a good ballet dancer, the way you were balancing on your two big toes on the edge of the stump, so you'd be that little bit further from the boar". As we continued hunting, we came onto another pig-hunter from another town. He told me he was after a pig for sausages. His name was Micky Tyler. I said "your unlucky, I've just released two big young boars." I put them down in the book as 200lb each.
Two or three days later I was talking to another gentleman who hunted the wild pigs big time also his brother Trevor and Colin Tilbrook. Trevor told me he'd got a big boar with a tag in his ear. Then he asked me when had I tagged it. I said last Sunday about 2o/clock in the afternoon. He said well I got him about 5 o/clock which was three hours later.
In the photo above you can see how the pig will protect his back end. Many times when I first started hunting pigs I would have to sneak up to the log and grab the pig, maybe by the tail and lift his back legs off the ground or by the back legs, if I can get to them. But that wasn't the case with these two dogs, they were full on grabbers.
I remember the first dog that ever caught me a pig, he was a red kangaroo dog with a black snout. His name was Bruno, I got him from a fella I knew, free of charge and I know why, he was a chook killer. I heard my next door neighbour yelling and the squawking of chooks. When I ran outside, he said "him killum chooks", he was Italian and a really nice bloke. I grabbed the dog by the scruff of the neck and I said to the neighbour "bring the chook over to him", which he did and the dog went to grab it again and I give him three or four big open handed smacks across the top of the head. He tried to get going but I had a good grip with my left hand and I said "put the chook to him again" and he done the same, so I slapped him real hard three or four times across the head. He never looked at another chook.
Another reason I think he gave up on chooks was that I started to hunt him real hard and that's what he was lacking, good hunting. He eventually became a reasonable good hunter for kangaroos. It was the days of the pet-meat shop and I seen him get 7 one day from 7 runs and then there was days he'd have as many runs for none. I'd watch him chuck in the run and when he returned to me he was a little bit in the crouching position and I thought he knew he'd done wrong.
But it was me who was wrong, he was one of those dogs that were prone to pick up worms in his stomach, real bad. So every few months I would give him a dose of worm tablets from the chemist, no Vets in them days. They were cheap and the result would take place within half an hour of me giving him one tablet, they were called Tenoban. Soon as I gave him the tablet I'd put him in the car and take him out the bush, and like I've said you could see the result, they'd come away from him. Also I had a cake of Tilly- Joes dog soap and I'd wash him roughly once a week. All dogs should have this sort of thing done to them. Especially if there are children handling them.
I said he got my first pig but I cant remember which mob of pigs came first. I think it was a time I'd gone out to an area I used to hunt with my father when we were chasing kangaroos with his roo-dog and there was a farm there that had a lot of trouble with wild pigs digging the paddocks. I remember hiding my car, more so the farmer wouldn't see it, because in those days we would never see another vehicle. It was before the days of the modern pig-hunter.
I remember we'd walked about maybe a couple of klms following a creek, it was very sandy country and you could read the signs on the ground clearly. When we hit the fence-line we followed it back to our left which was taking us back to the car. About half-way we walked onto a pig pad. Even though the dog had no experience with pigs, he got a bit excited and started following the pad with his head to the ground. I could tell there was a lot of pigs in this mob. When I look back at all the pigs I've caught, I believe the feeling I got watching that dog follow that pad, ranks with the most exciting feelings I've had in the bush.
The pad was heading down to the creek that we'd walked along about an hour earlier. When I looked on the ground at the tracks, here's our boot marks and there's pig tracks on top of them. The dog didn't know what to make of it. He's just walking around with his head up in the air, no doubt scenting for the pigs. I said to Kenny the fella who was with me "they've got to be in that low scrub in the paddock", which was only 50yards from us.
Then the dog give a couple of barks and it sounds like a piggery, they're all grunting. It's all taking place in about a foot of water and it was about 100 yards wide. We could hear other pigs as they were running through the water to get away. The dog was now continuously barking in the same spot and when we get to him, he's got about 150lb sow and being inexperienced he didn't know what to do. When the pig chased him he'd run to us. We were standing behind a river-gum which forked at the base, so here's the both of us dancing around trying to keep the pig on the opposite side to us. Kenny was closest to the tree and I was on the outside. I had both my hands on his waist and we're still skipping around that tree.
Kenny is well known in our town for mishandling the truth or revving up a story. He told everyone, when I had my hands on his waist, I was trying to push him out to the pig, so I could get away. He descends from a fella who I consider to be the best story teller in town Bill Woods. I wont tell you Kenny's last name because he might take offence of this, but he used to call Bill dad and Bills wife mum.
I finished up grabbing the sow by the back legs and we tied her then snug her over to the other side of the flat. I was thrilled to bits, my dog had got a pig. We started to carry the sow back towards the car, we had to stop a few times for a rest. In all the excitement we didn't realize the dog wasn't with us. I said to Kenny "the dogs gone", then we heard him start up barking about 5 or 600 yards away on the other side of that big flat. When we get to him, he's got a fair size boar. I didn't want him to beat the dog, so I shot him. He never changed, he was a timid dog and scared of pigs, actually so was Kenny. I remember looking back to see where he was when I shot the boar, I could see his red hair sticking up behind a log about 200yrds away.
The second time Bruno tangled up with pigs, I'll never forget. It was a situation I've only ever came onto once all the years I've chased pigs. I knew this particular mob were in this area, but I'd never caught up with them. It was very hard in the beginning, because roo-dogs are more inclined to hunt by eyesight and they rely on their speed to get what ever it is. So we had to do a lot of hunting on foot. We'd walk for hours, most times for no result. But looking back I believe it was more exciting because we had to virtually walk onto them.
Kenny was with me this day. We drove onto a fresh pig pad coming across a sandy bush track we were driving on. So I hid the car up in the bush. I done this so that another pig hunter wouldn't see my vehicle and get a line on these pigs. We followed the pad, which was coming away from the flats where they fed and was heading for their camps. It's hard to keep track of it, most times it will run out and the pigs would wander all over the place again feeding. So you've just got to pick a line and walk for maybe a kilometre or two, then cut back on a different line.
As we were walking maybe an hour had passed, I noticed the dog acting a little strange. His tail was up and he was acting a little bit edgy, like I've said he wasn't too confident with pigs. It was as though he thought they were going to ambush him. So I was watching him and he was picking up a little bit more speed and running around. Looking up in front of me I could see a big old log or a tree laying on the ground and I watched the dog veer off to the left and slightly growl. So I walked off to my left which allowed me to look down the other side, there was nothing there.
The dog done a loop of the log again out wide and comes back to my end and gave a couple of barks. When I looks up the log I can see five big heads. They were all black, there was a big boar maybe 200lb and four sows between 100-150lb. You couldn't get a better camp. The fires had burnt the inside of the big tree and turned it into a shell. It was maybe 40ft long and 3-4foot off the ground. I remember whistling to Kenny who was off to the side of me and pointing to the log. He came over to me and said "what is it". I said "have a look up the log". It gave me an adrenalin rush like only pig-hunters would know. Especially having no experience or very little.
It was even before the day of the pig rope, would you believe I had a pocket full of butchers string. Today when the butcher wraps your meat up with white paper, he either puts a elastic band around it or a little bit of sticky tape. Where as in the old days they used to tie a bit of string around it. They used a loop so it would snap itself when they jerked it.
Back to the pigs, there was no way they were going to come out of that log. Kenny and myself were on the top of the log at times. One section had a split about 3-4 inches wide. I even put my hand down inside the split one time, got one of the sows by the tail and lifted her hind-quarter off the ground. I don't know if it was because I'd done that but they all laid on their belly's. At one stage I even laid along the side of the log, there was a gap about 4 or 5 inches. I could touch a couple of their legs, I even tried to tie them together at one stage. I said to Kenny "I don't know what we should do". I even thought about blocking the ends with small limbs and logs that were laying around.
All this time the dog was barking at the end that they were facing. We'd been there that long he was frothing at the mouth. I could have sorted this out, I had a rifle. But I didn't want to shoot, the thrill of pig-hunting is to take them alive. I remember yelling up one end of the log, even putting a bush up there and rattling it. I was starting to get pissed off with the situation, when all of a sudden they made a break.
The big boar went straight ahead, two of the sows went left and back down to the big flat where I'd first picked up their pad. The other two went to the right, which was up-hill and the dog went with them. We could hear him barking a couple of hundred yards off. When we got to him, the pig was mad chasing him all over the place. When she looked up and saw me, she bolted back down hill and straight up that hollow log again. We'd already been there three quarters of an hour or more.
Then I heard a voice yell out "what have you got". It was my second oldest brother Bob and he had heard my dog barking from the opposite side of that big flat. I said "we've got a sow up this hollow log". He seemed to think his dog would get it out, which was a roo-dog as well. But a half hour later we we're still there. I remember we lit a little fire at the end of the log, I'm not too sure if it was before my brother lobbed on the scene or after. She eventually came out and the dogs grabbed her.
My brother asked how many pigs was there. I said "just the one". A pig hunter will lie to protect a pigs camp like this one. As we were walking away from the log with the pig on a stick. Bob was on one end and I was on the other and he saw the tracks of the two sows that had run towards the flat. Being real sandy country, you couldn't identify the tracks other than there were two sets. He said "what are these tracks here", I said "that's where the dog bought the sow up to the log from down in the flats". It worked. The pigs would return to these camps every so often and I will tell you a couple of more incidents I had of these camps a little later.
Unfortunately I haven't got a photo of Bruno at the time I didn't have a camera.
The next incident I had with this mob of pigs that were using the camps, was maybe 12mnths later. I was working with a couple of shearers, one of them was Joe Murphy, who I've told a bit of a story about when we were in his little Holden Torana. He picked me up this morning in the same little car. He said we've only got enough work for three quarters of a shift. It's known as the cut-out and the last of the sheep. He said "put your roo-dog in and we'll come home the back way through the bush and try and get a pig".
I remember we'd been driving around. I was taking the better of the bush tracks, being we were in his little family car. The dog was on the back seat also Joe's brother-inlaw, who was only about 12 or 13. We'd had a heavy burst of rain only about 15 minutes earlier. I remember when we drove onto the pad that came away from their feeding grounds. I said to Joe "there's no rain over their tracks and they must be just up the pad somewhere", I also told him I knew where their camps were. As I've said before we missed out more times than we scored. But I knew this was a sure thing.
The three of us started to run along the pad, the dog was excited and disappeared up in front of us. Then I heard a pig squeal in the distance. I was still running along the pad, the young fella was running behind me with a single barrel shot-gun. Joe had gone to the right with a rifle. When I looked up the pad in front of me, it was patchy bush. I could see a tight clump of pigs, they didn't seem too worried and they weren't running too fast. So I picked up speed thinking I could maybe jump on top of one of them.
I know it sounds a bit silly, but in those early times I would have done almost anything to get a pig. Then I seen something move off to the side of me on my left, maybe 20-30 yards and it was about as mean a boar as you would see. All black which made the white tusks stand out even more. I think the squeal I heard earlier might have been from when the dog first run onto them and this boar may have chased him away from the mob.
I don't know where the dog was, but the boar would not take his eye's off me. I started to walk backwards with my hand out and saying to the young fella, pass me the shot-gun. All the time I haven't taken my eyes off the boar. I knew he was going to charge and he did. I was looking at him down the barrel and when he got to about 10 yards, the dog came from nowhere, the first time I'd seen him he went between me and the boar and as he turned to have a go at the dog, this all took place at top speed. I fired, it hit him in the bottom jaw and blew one of his tusks away.
Joe came over and I told him what had happened, then I could hear the dog start up barking in the distance. So we caught up with them and dropped him with the rifle. I remember this pig like it was yesterday, but it was 45 years ago. I rang a fella who was in another town he bought the pig for ding sausages.
I remember I was telling my father about the pig camp and he said he wouldn't mind having a look at it. This was maybe 6mnths after the incident with the big boar. My dog was out of action, he'd cut his main pad, so I borrowed one of my brother Bobs dogs. I remember when we pulled up, I hid the car away from the road so no-one would see it. Then we walked parallel to the road until we walked onto the pad and then followed it up to the big log.
The dog was showing a little bit of interest he started to run around with his head up scenting. I ran over to the log and I could hear little pigs grunting. There was a litter maybe 2 or 3 days old and I would say the mother had gone away to feed for the first time after giving birth. I took my belt off and put it around the dogs neck and I said to my father to hold him while I had a look. One of the little pigs had a hole in the side of his neck about the size of 10 cents, maybe from where one of the other big pigs had bit him, I don't know. I used my knife to flick a couple of maggots out of his wound, then put him back with the rest, none of them seemed to worry about me being there.
I know dad was pretty impressed with the camp. I never went back.
In the late 60's I remember Bobby Carroll and his wife Val and a few other mates and their women. Would turn up at my place on a Friday night and sometimes Saturday. In the winter we'd have a fire going next to the dart board and we'd kick on to the wee hours of the morning. This particular night I know we drank too much. As they were leaving I said to Bobby "we're still going pigging at daybreak". He said "I'll be up" and he was. I said "Bob have you had any breakfast", he said "no". I said "we'll go back to my place and have a bowl of Weeties". Which we did and we headed out.
We only got about 15minutes away from home through the bush, when the dogs started screaming on the back. They're over the side and gone. I said "Bob you go with the dogs while I grab some rope and the rifle". As he was going I could see he wasn't travelling to good, a little bit on the lean and I would think still half pissed or three quarters. When I got going I could hear the dogs in the distance. I only ran about 100yards and here's Bobby buckled over with his hands on his knees. As I was going passed, I said "whats wrong". He said "I've lost my weeties". I think it was due to me laughing at him while I was running, because Bobby caught up to me and I was in the same position as he was.
I'd like to tell you what the dogs had but I can't remember. I don't think it was from the effects of the night before, it was 45 years ago and I'll blame that. The photo below shows Bobby and myself carrying a pig back.I remember another fella who came out the bush a few times with me, Bobby King and he had a different way of looking at things than most of us. We were carrying a pig back like the photo above shows. It was down hill and Kingy was in front. He said "your a cunning mongrel", I said "why's that", he said "most of the weight is at my end because we're going down hill and you've got the light end." I said "what about when we start to go up the hill in front of us". He didn't say anything.
When your carrying a pig on a pole like we are and you've got a long way to go. The pole starts to bite into your shoulder, especially when the pigs alive and he wriggles. Kingy said to me, "how do you take your mind off the pain". I had no answer for that. He said "do you see that big tree up in front of us", which was maybe a couple of hundred yards. He said "I guess how many steps its going to take to get there and that seems to take away the pain". The photo above shows the brother-inlaw Peter on the left and his mate Starky on the right in the yellow shirt and they're not long back from the war in Vietnam. Starky had never had much to do with pig-hunting. He was from the city. We were driving around the boundary of a water catchment that was surrounded by pine-plantation. I said the next road we turn right, I'll bet you's the dogs will go over the side while I'm still travelling. It was uphill and they done it every time.
They'd leave the road and disappear through the pine plantation. They'd travel maybe 4-500yards to a creek that came down from out of the hills. It had little summer soaks or springs and was wet all year round. Ideal conditions for pigs, especially late in summer, they liked to wallow in the mud. Also feed along it. There was only ever two places my dogs would do this in 40 odd years of hunting.
They'd hunt that creek for maybe 4-500 yards, then they'd make their way back out to the road where I'd be still travelling slow in first gear. They would come across the road in front of me. I believe they done this so I would see them. Then they would continue on to the other side and make their way too another creek that also came down from the hills, which had springs and soaks along it. They'd hunt that to the boundary of the pines, which was maybe another 4-500 yards.
Then they'd make their way back along the boundary road to where I'd be parked waiting for them. I never had to tell them, they would jump in the back of the ute and I would drive off. They scored a lot of pigs over the time, by doing what I've just told ya.The second spot they used to do this was in the same pines but maybe 7-8 klms away. It was a tight left-hand bend and as I came back to second gear to go around it, the dogs would go off the right hand side and straight ahead on a pig pad and they'd follow that again for 3-400 yards to the top of a big hill and follow the ridge of that hill for maybe 6-700yards.
Then make their way back down to the road and come out in front of me every time. I would think they would have had to been listening for my car for them to do that. Many times over the years, when I'd pull up to listen for them, they would be barking or there would be squealing. True Story.
Quite often in the hot summer afternoon I'd take the wife and the kids out to this same area also the dogs and we'd all peel off and go for a swim. One evening we hit three different lots of pigs. One mob walked out onto the road in front of us. I can still hear the bigger boys on the back screaming PIGS, also the young ones in the front.
Good memories and good times.
I've told a few stories on the gentleman above, his name is Bobby Harrison and we done a lot of hunting, fishing and drinking together. This is one of those photo's that has been lost to the past. I've said before the only reason you will remember photo's from back in the past, is if something unusual took place, like having a near miss with a big boar or a mob of pigs.
I remember another time like it was yesterday. Harrow was with me also his kangaroo dog. I had two dogs and another fella had his dog. It was early morning, maybe an hour after daylight. We were travelling along an old rail-way formation that ran along side of a big flat, that was maybe 1000yards wide. It was a cold cold morning and I think there was a frost on the ground and a blanket of fog covering the flat. When the conditions are like this there is no wind to bring the scent of the pig to the dogs.
There were some good pig signs on the ground along the edge of the formation. So I pulled up and let the dogs check it out. They were all running around doing their own thing, then they disappeared. After about ten minutes, I said to Bobby "I think they're on to them". But after awhile we could see the dogs coming back. They jumped in the back of the ute and I realized Rusty was still missing.
I've told many stories on Rusty and his ability and I've said before he ran second to no dog. Especially in the early times. I could go on a bit here but I wont. There would be some fellas out there standing on there toes puting their hand up, wanting to challenge me on this. But if you recall some of the things he done. Like the time he led me back through the bush to show me where some hunters had tried to hide a pig trap. I think the only way the hunters with their hand up could match this. Would be before their alarm went off.
Getting back to when we realized he was missing. We walked back up the formation. I said to Harrow "I can just hear him barking on the other side of the big flat". Harrow's hearing wasn't the best. He worked in the Engine room of a battle-ship (The Shropshire)in World War 2, maybe it was this that effected his hearing.
Harrow and myself decided to run towards the barking and the other fella went back to the ute and was going to drive back to see if he could get closer. He also had the rifle. I finished up getting away from Harrow and I was about half-way across the big flat. The fog was that thick I could only see maybe 150yrds. Off and on I could hear a pig squeal and then stop, also the dogs were barking now and then, every few minutes the pig would squeal again and then stop. When I got to maybe 150-200yrds from them, there's no squealing and I thought maybe the dogs had killed it.
There's no protection in this flat and there's big open bare patches. When I looked up in front of me, I can see a mob of pigs just standing there. I know they hadn't seen me, because they were all looking up in front of me and they were looking at Rusty's mother Lady a kangaroo-dog bitch and she was coming to me.
The pigs know their safety is in numbers because there's no swamp or thicket for them to hide. I turned around and bolted. I had maybe 4 or 500 yrds to get back to the edge of the flat, where there were some logs and trees and a bit of protection for me. The last time I looked back all the dogs were running after me and the pigs were behind the dogs chasing them. I remember when I got back to a paper-bark tree. I turned to have a look and they're about 50yrds off me. There was a big boar that was maybe 250lb and I would say the number one in the mob, then there were 3 boars about 200lb, a half a dozen big sows and 2 or 3 litters. Some 50lb, some 20lb, roughly about 30 pigs.
When I said earlier I could hear a pig squealing and then stop, I know what was taking place. The dogs would either grab one of the smaller pigs or a sow and the rest of the mob would charge the dogs and they would have to let go. While I was standing at the paper-bark watching them, one or two of the dogs would run in and bite one on the back leg or the arse. They eventually decided to move off. As they were going the dog would nip in again and bite the biggest boar and he would turn and have a go at them. I couldn't see the mob any more and the big boar knew he had troubles, so he backed up to a log to protect his back.
Then I heard Harrow say "what have they got". I said "a big boar", then I told him to get to the log where I was for protection. I lent over and gets him by the tail and lifts his back legs off the ground. The dogs have been waiting for this, they think I've got him and they fly in. A couple have got an ear each, I jumped over the log and I've got him by the back legs and tipped him onto his side. I started to tie two of his legs, Harrow's standing along side of me. I said to him "there's a big mob here".
The dogs were pretty much knackered, making a lot of noise with their panting and moving around. I said to Harrow "listen" and I could hear in the distance the pigs coming back, all grunting. No doubt they were coming to the big boar, because he was making a lot of noise too. I said to my mate "get up on the log". Then I let the boar go and as I jumps up onto the log, Harrow grabs hold of me, because I'd lost balance a little. The three 200lb boars come skidding to a halt and they're standing there looking up at us. Then they all started to wander off in a tight clump, except for the big boar, he didn't want to turn his back on the dogs again. We took him alive.
As you can see in the photo above the pig has got a radar collar on, which was used to study how far they travelled and maybe what direction. I had nothing to do with the follow-up of this, so I'm not too sure. But I remember the day we got him. We were inside the forest which was quarantine and as I've said before the pig population exploded.
We'd had a pretty good run, I can't remember the amount. But it was all documented, they were tagged, tested and released. One mob we hit, I think we got 3 or 4 and while they were tagging and doing the tests, I said "I'll take the dogs to water" because it was quite hot. I got a couple or three klms away and the dogs played up on the back.
They finished up with the boar you can see in the photo. So I tied him and snug him back to the edge of the road. He was maybe just short of 150lb. Then I went on with the dogs to the water, let them have a swim for maybe 10mins. Then I went back to where they were doing the tests on the pigs. I'd left the boar where he was. We'd sorted everything out and as we were driving off, I said to the gentleman who was paid to do this research. "You want to put a radar collar on a boar about 150lb", he said "yes as they are more inclined to wander".
So we get up the road a bit further and I said to him "I know a spot up in front of us and every time I've been there, there's been a 150lb boar laying on the edge of the road, so I think we will get him". He looked at me like I shouldn't be out, without somebody hanging onto my hand. Then the dogs start to stir up in the back and I said to the fella "look here" and he's looking at the 150lb boar on the edge of the road. I think he told me I was too silly to go mad.
The photo above shows two pig dogs and you can tell by their body stance they're waiting for the boar to charge. The dog on the right is Rusty, who I bred from the American Pit-bull and kangaroo dog cross. The dog on the left belonged to my mate Bobby Carroll and I've told the story on how Bobby wanted me to educate him for his son Robert (alias Boonga). You can see he's got confidence about himself now. Where as in the other photo he was inexperienced and timid. I've seen young dogs change on the day.
I remember a time I was out and I had a young pup about 4mnths old that I had bred from Rusty. He'd been in a few pig hunts, but being so young he had no confidence and was scared. This day he'd gone off with one of the big dogs and when I caught up with them, the pup has locked onto a pig about 30lb. I took it off him and he flew in and locked on while I had it in my hands. I lifted it above my head and he was leaping into the air still trying to get it. I put it in a hessian bag and I carried it back to where the gentleman was tagging 3 or 4 other pigs we got. I said to him, "the pup has changed. He flies in and locks on now", so I took the pig out of the bag and that's just what he done.
Yet earlier that day he wouldn't go too close to them. I named him Buller after his grandfather the American Pit-bull and I refer to him now as Buller Jnr and he became pound for pound the best grabber I have ever seen. Once he matured, he never killed or even damaged a little pig. I've said before I've watched him run through a litter of little pigs and wouldn't look at them. He'd find the scent of the big pig and track it down ten out of ten.
His half brother Rebel, had the same style and they both hunted together for maybe 12 years. The reason they would not touch a young pig or bite him, was when they were young and they got one, I would back-hand them and say "NO" and when they got a big pig, after I took it off them and tied it, I'd give them a cuddle and rough them up a bit at the same time saying "your a good dog".
I remember telling you about my father and his kangaroo dog Nipper, who would not chase anything in the bush other than the big male kangaroo, known as a boomer. I believe other bushmen in the past have achieved that as well. Not that I have seen one, but I've heard old bushmen say that their dog was a boomer dog. They would not chase a female kangaroo or a joey also a brush, better known as the Black-gloved Wallaby. It shows you what a dog can achieve if he's taught the right way.
There's a lot of owners of kangaroo dogs out there that maybe think this is not possible, but on my fathers memories this is the truth. Many country people had kangaroo dogs, but there's not that many around now. They're a dying breed.
The photo above shows my niece Julies boys. Brendan (24)on the left and his dog Luka, then Nathan (27) and his dog Fish, then Shane (23) with Tucker. The boar weighed 232 pound, he's alive and it takes good dogs to handle pigs like this. The brothers hunt together a lot and at times they'll go out with different mates, even their women sometimes. Nathans married with two little ones Max roughly 5 and Lily maybe 3. They all love to go out on a pig hunt also chasing rabbits and whatever else moves. Especially if you can eat it.
They descend from people that had the same habits. Their father Brett and mother Julie who is my sister Phyllis's daughter. Actually Phyllis used to take her husband Neil out pig hunting some times. He's the one that laughed when the fox had my thumb in his mouth and I remember saying I will square up with him when I was sitting in the surgery waiting for the doctor. Gday Neil.
Actually Neil and Phyllis have hunted all their life and still today they like to go out together for a quick run. I've said before when you add the big picture up, the pig hunters take out thousands of pigs each year. They will also shoot a fox whenever they see him also a feral cat. So maybe the white collar or Authorities should give these people a bit of credit because they control the feral population with more effect than the Authorities. It's also done free of charge.
When you think of the time that's put in by the pig-hunters, the cost of their fuel and the wear and tear of their 4-wheel drives it would have cost the Authorities or the Government millions of dollars of tax-payers money to try and get the same result and they would have failed in comparison to the pig-hunters, whose knowledge will be passed down to the next generation of hunters. Pigs are intelligent, you make up your own mind about the Authorities because what I've just told you is fact.
I remember one time a gentleman came up to my place and he asked me if I would be interested in helping out a farmer who he worked for. He told me he had problems with pigs. He said the Authorities have had a trap set there for maybe 2-3 months, with no result. He said "I told my boss about you and your dogs and he asked me to put it to ya". So I went down and caught up with the fella.
His farm was situated at the base of the Darling Ranges, where the flat lands run to the coast. When I pulled up, I could see all the pig diggings not far from his house. I could see one of the pig-traps they had set. I could also see hills where a mountain goat would have trouble getting around. There were big granite outcrops. I thought of my mate Bobby Carroll, when he used to say. "If this hill was any steeper, you could piss in your back pocket". If you visualize that, you will know how steep it was.
I was talking to the farmer and he told me just what I didn't want to hear. He said the pigs go up under that fence over there, which was maybe 2-300 yards and up into that hilly country. He said "while your checking that out, I'll go out the back on the motor-bike to check on another mob." I said "how many pigs are doing this digging around your house?" He said "three". I didn't want to make it too obvious, but I had no intentions of walking up those big hills.
We got through the fence, I only had one of my dogs. There was a slight rise and then it flattened off a little bit before it climbed again heading for the clouds. I said to the mate " have a look at the dog, he's got his head up in the air and he's scenting hard, there was no wind". He no sooner went over the rise and out of sight then we could hear him barking. When we get up to him, he's got as meaner boar as you want, thick curly black hair and his tusks stood out. Billy had a lever action 22 magnum with tele's. I said "shoot him as quick as you can ".
I've said before they are a dog killer in these conditions. They can hit top speed in a very short distance. Billy fired and the boar dropped in his tracks. Then we saw a ginger sow head off down the hill and the dog had it a couple of hundred yards away. We tied it and as we were carrying it back to where the boar was laying. The dog cranks up barking up in front again. We put the pig down that we were carrying and run up. The dogs got the big boar that had only been stunned when Billy knocked him to the ground with the first shot. He fired again, this time the boar doesn't know what hit him, he's dead.
Would you believe his nerves kick in and because it's so steep, he was somersaulting and kicking himself. Maybe 30-40 yards before he came to a halt. We gutted him, tied him so we could carry him on a stick back to where we got through the fence. Half way back the dog gives a few barks and he's got a skinny sow that had been hiding in the low scrub. So we got all three back through the fence and we can see the farmer coming back on his motor-bike. When he pulled up at the house, I yelled out to him "can you bring my ute up to where we are". Which he did. He couldn't believe it when he seen the three pigs that had been giving him so much trouble.
I don't remember if he went back to his house or he had it in his pocket. He pulled out $50 and offered it to me. As much as I could have done with it I refused it and told him that I sell a couple of pigs now and then and that covers my fuel. I don't know about now but I think in the early times, the farmer had to meet the cost or a portion of it when the Authorities failed with their traps.
The photo above shows my first reasonably good kangaroo dog, he's on the left. I've told a couple of stories on him. His name was Bruno. The dog on the right belonged to who is now my brother-inlaw Neil. At the time the photo was taken he was maybe 15 or 16. He named his dog Cobber and he was as good a kangaroo dog as you would want, exceptionally fast a clean killer and he would show his kill. I think I might have mentioned it before. If old kangaroo hunters were talking about their dog. The first thing they would tell you about their dog was he could catch, kill and show.
In those times you could pick up a kangaroo dog for maybe 2 or 3 pound. Some old fellas that used to breed roo dogs, where known to say for an extra pound you can have the pick of the litter and most of the buyers would accept that. Remember there's maybe 8 or 9 in the litter, the next buyer that come along, the old bushman would say the same to him. So they'd all eventually think they had the pick of the litter and it reminds me of that saying (it's no good getting old if you don't get cunning) you wouldn't knock the grin off their face with a stick. If they trained up a pup to where he could catch, kill and show, they could ask for 10 pound.
I remember a night we were out spotlighting for roos. I was selling them to the pet-meat shop, Neil was maybe 15-16. We were in a 1964 EH Holden car, which I brought brand-new and destroyed in the bush over a period of about 5 years. I've said before Neil used to sit on the passenger side window, with his top quarter above the cab so he could spotlight both sides of the road. This particular night the bush was pretty thick over-hanging the road. I tapped Neil on the leg and told him to turn the spot-light off and hop back on the seat, then we'd head for some better bush.
As we were travelling, I said to Neil "I heard something crashing in the bush back there", so he climbs back out the window with the spot and I'm reversing back trying to find it. He taps on the roof, which is a signal to stop and when I looked he's got a big black and white pig in the spot, not ten yards from us. In those times the dogs and ourselves hadn't caught many pigs and it turned us on like you wouldn't believe.
It's about 2 o'clock in the morning, we've got 14 hind-quarters on board. So we get the smallest of them and puts it on the ground where the pig was, We were about 80 klms from home. Would you believe we headed for home as quick as we could, unloaded the roos and grabbed our both roo dogs and headed back out as fast as we could. We gets back to where the hind-quarter were laying on the ground just as it's breaking daylight. We walked around with the dogs for maybe half an hour or an hour, no result.
Thinking back it was because we were young and silly. Neil was sillier than me, only because he was younger than me. We finished up getting another 7 big boomers with the dogs and it topped the nights catch off. Like I've said we were young and silly, we hadn't been to sleep since Friday night and we've still got to skin and weigh 21 roos.
Nowadays Neil has to have a snooze in the afternoon or is it me, I can't remember!
Another time a few years later Neil has still got his kangaroo dog Cobber also a little border-collie dog called Sam and he was knocking off a few pigs. I've said before in the early times we had to walk our dogs to get a pig. The wind scenting dog that could get pigs while travelling from the back of the ute was not around yet. Then a dog lobbed on the scene called Buller, the American pit-bull. If you've read some of the stories I've told you will know how I came to own him.
I've said before the kangaroo dog relies on his speed to get his prey, so he mainly goes by eyesight. Where a small dog will rely on his nose to catch up to his prey. The pit-bull taught himself how to scent from the back of the ute. It was mainly by accident or luck this took place. I'd got him onto a couple of pigs by walking and no doubt he got off on the smell of them and the fight.
I remember driving through some of the bush-tracks and it just so happened as I was coming onto a rough section and I had to slow down, the pit-bull had got scent of pig coming in on the wind. He thinks I'm slowing up for the pigs and he's over the side and not long before he's barking. That's how he got to know to scent with the wind while travelling. He became that good he would do it at any speed and he'd also scream hysterically to let me know. Sometimes he went over the side while I was travelling a bit too quick and I watched him go for some mean shit-mixers. I've seen him somersault along the ground. It wouldn't worry him, he'd be off looking for the pigs.
He first started this habit in the 60's with his head hanging out the window of my EH car. Then I got a HR Holden ute. I remember telling Neil what this dog was capable of, so we went out for a run one afternoon. He had two dogs and I had two dogs. If you remember the pit-bull was used in dog fights and I had belted that out of him and I had control. I've said before all I had to say at the finish was eh! and he knew not to go any further.
We'd been driving around this afternoon with no results. We're making our way back to home through different bush-tracks, it's nearly dark when the pit-bull starts to scream. I said to Neil "it's too close to dark to let them go" because I know there's a boar here and I don't want to tangle with him in the dark. It's the big boar I seen on the formation the day Terry and myself shot the two boars when they were fighting.
He said "it might be different pigs". I said "I'm not going to take that chance". He sucked me in this time. He said "do you really think that was pigs back there". I said "I'll show you if it was pigs or not". As I was stopping he said "no no I believe ya". Too late the dogs were over the tailgate and heading down the road. I turned the ute around and put my foot down to catch up with them. I pulled up and whistled them, they came back and I told them to jump in the ute. We kept driving back along the road and I said to Neil "I think it was roughly around here that he first played up".
So I pulled up and the dogs went over the side and up the road in front of us. We were driving behind them and they're fairly putting it in and off the road and disappear. I said to Neil "I hope we don't hear him howl". Because he had a habit then, he would pick the big boar in the mob nine times out of ten and when he caught up with him, he'd let go a mournful howl like a wolf or dingo. I would say it was to call the other dogs in or me. It's pretty much dark now and we can just make out that howl of his.
As we start to run towards it, I'd stop and light up a black-boy or grass-tree every 100yards or so. When we listened for the dogs, there'd be no barking and we know whats taken place. He's too good for them and he keeps breaking into the distance. We'd keep running and lighting these black-boys as we are going, then we'd listen again and they'd crank up barking in the distance. I said to Neil "we're in the shit", he said "why", I said "by the time we catch up with this mongrel the black-boys are going to be all burnt out and we're going to have troubles finding our way back".
When we finally catch up with them. We've got no torch, Neils got a little lever action single shot 3-10 open sights. So I light up another black-boy that throws enough light for us to sneak in the last 100yards to him. We can just make the dogs out also the boar. If it wasn't the big one that I'd seen on the formation, when I'd shot those two boars fighting, he was close enough. Neil cant quite pick the sights up enough to shoot him, so we decided to break a handful of fronds off the black-boy, light them off the black-boy that was already burning. Neil went to his left while I went to the right and we lit up three or four more black-boys each. It doesn't matter if its been raining for a week, when you touch the bottom of the fronds with a flame, they will ignite instantly. It will slowly burn on the inside until it heats up, then a burst of flame will shoot maybe 30 feet in the air.
This bush has not seen a fire in 30-40 years and the light it throws lets Neil get a bead on the boar who was looking at us. When he fired the pig charged straight at us. I don't know if he was having a go at us or he just picked our line to make a break. I skiddled up a little tree and while I'm hanging there, I can see the boar coming to us, but he's goose stepping. The bullet had hit him in the base of the throat and stuck him like you would with a knife. There's no way we could handle him. We left him there. Like I've said before some hunts will stay with you and this was one of them. I said to Neil "now the fun begins, we've got to find our way back to the car". We grabbed a big handful of black-boy fronds each and with the small bunch that was alight in our hand, we started to make our way back. If you hold the ones in your hand upright they will burn slow, then when it gets too low, one of us would light up another small bunch and keep on walking. It's over-cast, plus a big canopy from the trees above us.
There's no stars that you can use making sure you walking a straight line. After about a half an hour we walks onto the clump of black-boys that we had lit and the big boar. We realized we had chucked a big loop to our right. I said "we've got to favour our left a bit" and we headed off again doing the same thing with the fronds. Maybe three quarters of an hour or a little bit more, would you believe we walk onto the black-boys and the boar again.
I'd had enough. I said to Neil "we'll light up some logs and camp along side of them". There was another way we could have got out of this and that was follow the creek that ran down to another big creek and then ran on down to the river. Then I could have got onto one of the roads and done a big loop. I knew the roads to take to get me back to the car. But it would have took us all night to walk it. Neil said "come on we'll have one more go at it". I'd stopped crying then (joke) and said "alright". We really favoured our left and we come onto the track where the car was. I said to Neil " I don't know if the cars to the right or the left". We were a bit unlucky the fronds in our hands had all but burnt out. So we dropped them on the road and decided to walk to our left.
After about 20mins to half an hour, I knew we'd picked the wrong way, so we turned around and went back and eventually walks onto the car. Insult to injury we drive off, maybe 50yards and in the headlights we can see the little bunch of black-boy fronds we dropped on the road. Had they been a bit bigger we'd have seen the grill shining. I started crying again.
I remember later in life an old bushman telling me if someones lost in the bush at night or on a cloudy day. If they are right footed they will unknowingly throw a loop to the left, because they will take a longer step with their right. I would agree with that because I'm left footed and that night with the big boar, I threw a loop to my right each time.The easiest way to light a fire in the bush in the winter is collect the small pieces of wood laying on the ground, stack them on top of each other at the base of the black-boy also a couple of bigger pieces of wood, then light the base of the fronds. A lot of the fronds fall to the ground while they're alight. After it's all burnt away 10-15 minutes later your fires going.
The photo's show some of our grand-kids Jaxon (in black), Toby & Jacobi (the girl)our oldest sons children.
I remember this night we were out chasing dog meat more so, but if we happened to get a couple of real big ones we'd drop them off at the pet-meat shop. The brother-inlaw Neil was with me and we were driving along a fence-line on the outside. Neils shining the spot-light into the paddocks and he yells out "pigs", there's three of them about 80-100lb and they're running towards the fence-line up in front of us. He passes me the spot and as we get to them, he's out the door and after them, like a mongrel dog. I think he started barking behind them, I've got the spot-light over the cab shining it on him. They're running uphill and they're nearly out of range of the spot. As they went behind some bushes out of sight I heard a squeal. Then I could see him with the pig by the back legs and walking it back to the car.
About a month or so later, I was working in the Shire, also my mate that I went through Primary School with and later in life done a lot of fishing and hunting with him, Derek Watts. The boss said "I've got a job for you two today" and he took us about 20klms out of town on a gravel road. There was a bridge that went over a creek and the decking was loose and a couple were broken. We had to replace the broken ones and re-spike the rest. There was an old abandoned house not far from the bridge. The boss said "I'll pick you up at the end of the shift". Also he said "if it rains you've got shelter in the old house". So we slipped into it.
Then we put the afternoon walking around checking things out. As we were scrounging through an old abandoned shed, we comes onto a chooks nest with maybe 20 eggs in it. I said to Derek "these are fresh"also there's quite a few fruit trees scattered through the paddock. As we were walking around checking it, here's 6 chooks and a rooster. Derek said "I wouldn't mind getting these". I didn't say anything but I was thinking the same. So when we knocked off and I got home, I told the missus. We only had to walk across the road, it was still all natural bush and we scrounged a dozen poles and built a chook yard. All be it a bit rough.
Then I caught up with Neil, I told him I was going for a run to get those chooks. So he said "I'll come with ya". I said "put your two dogs in". I also had two of my dogs. The same combination we had when we had that big boar in the night and had to light all those black-boys. Buller, Lady, Cobber and Sam. We left early thinking the dogs might get a run on a pig, but they didn't. It was after dark now, I don't know what made me think it but I thought all those chooks would be in that shed. We told the dogs to stay at the car then we sneak in with a couple of hessian bags and a torch, but there wasn't a sign of them. I said to Neil "there's fruit trees down the back". When we get there and shone the torch, here they all are. So we took the lot six chooks and a rooster.
As we were driving off I said to Neil "the moon is at it's fullest" I said "it's that bright we might be able to see the pigs in the paddock if they're there." I meant the ones when Neil ran that one down when I held the spot-light. So we decided to go and check it out and sure enough we could see the two dark shapes running across the paddock. His two dogs got one and mine got the other one. It turned out a good hunt. One rooster six chooks and two pigs.
The photo above shows Rusty and a ginger and white sow and as you can see she's in as good as condition as any domestic pig and I had no worries getting rid of a pig like this. I remember another time I was with my mate Bobby Carroll we had 3 or 4 nice pigs in the back of the ute that had been giving Hobby farmers a hard time. They had big crops of potatoes and many other types of vegetables. As we were driving past their little farm Bobby said "they're digging their potatoes. There were lines of full bags of potatoes.
Bobby said "I wonder if they would sell us a bag". I said "Bob we might be able to do a bit of bartering here". So I drove inside the property and pulled up 30-40 yards from them. I asked one of them if they were interested in selling a bag. He said "no worries". Then I said "we might be able to work something out if your interested", I said "come over to the ute". When he seen the pigs he said "they give us a lot of trouble here". I said "would you be interested in swapping one pig for two bags of spuds". He seemed that keen to do the deal. I said "what about two pigs for four bags". He agreed with that also. Then he said "whenever you want to hunt the pigs on our property, your more than welcome".
I like to chase pigs that were feeding off crop country like the next two photos show. It was like having them in a sty, fat as mud! I've said before the farmers would not know they were there until they came to harvest it.
I remember driving along the outside of a farmers fence. He had a reputation for not liking hunters and it was justified, he'd had a couple of cows shot over a time. I'd never met the man. Anyhow the dogs played up and they went over the side and under the fence where a creek went out. I watched them run around the paddock with their head to the ground trying to get scent off all the pig diggings. The older dog came back down the creek and under the fence then I watched him disappear into the bush. I said to the two fellas with me "that's where the pigs are going to be".
A bit later I looked back into the paddocks and I can see the young dog going in a straight line away from us. When I looked out in front of him in the distance I can see a dozen maybe 15 pigs. The old dog returned and headed in the same direction. The two fellas got through the fence and started to run after them. I watched them take one pig off the dogs, which they tied. Then I watched the two mates disappear over the hill and out of sight. They knew the dogs would have another pig.
As I went to get over the fence, I can see about 150 lb boar coming to me. He runs along the fence-line on the inside. It was ring-lock and he's looking for a pad or somewhere to get under the fence. I started to run along the road, he's only ten yards from me, with the fence between us.I knew I was in with a chance of getting this pig myself, then he realizes I'm there and he stops running. He's standing there looking at me, so I ran at him and skittled over the fence. I knew if I could get close to him he would panic and try to barge his way through the ring-lock and that's when I'd have a chance to grab him by the back legs.
Then I seen another pig which was a sow and about the same weight 150lb. She was pretty puffed out and frothing at the mouth, so I turned onto her. As I caught up to her running I tried to kick her back legs from under her. It didn't work, but she panicked and tried to barge through the fence and I had her by the back-legs and tipped her. She's squealing real bad as I'm tying her two legs together. As I'm turning her over to tie the other two, I look up the fence-line and here's the boar coming back, no doubt he could hear her grunting and squealing. I'm kneeling on her and as he gets to about 10ft from me I yelled and threw my both hands in the air, he stops and looks at me.
They make a funny noise with their mouth when they're upset. They chomp their teeth together or their tusks if they've got them. His bristles were up and he starts to circle me, all the time I'm yelling at him waving my hands. I haven't been able to tie the other two legs of the sow, because I wouldn't take my eyes off that boars eyes. He decided he'd had enough and I watched him trotting off up along the fence. I quickly tied the sow and I could still see the boar in the distance. I jumped the fence again, thinking I could get in the car and catch up with him. But when I went to start it the battery was flat. This is the only time I've been in this situation and I would have liked to have had a go at that boar.
All this time there's been no sign of the dogs or my mates. So I walked out through the paddocks looking for them. I had a look at the first pig they had tied a boar about 150lb. Then I got up on top of a hill and I could see the two of them walking back towards me with the dogs. They told me they had another boar about 150lb tied up, so we walks back towards the car and the first pig they tied. He said "there was a big fat sow ran back this way". I said "she's fat alright, I got her and tied her". They said "bull-shit the dogs have been with us all the time". So I didn't say anymore I just let it go.
They pushed the car and we jump-started it. I said we'll go and check to see if we can get through the farmers gate and drive over to where the pigs are. But it was padlocked. I said to the mates "this might be an opportunity to get on the good side of this man," because his paddocks were a mess with pig-diggings.
I had to drive about 7-8klms to his house. When I pulled up, he came walking over to the car and I could see by his body stance and face, he wasn't too happy with what he was looking at. I told him that I'd been hunting pigs out in the bush along side of his back paddocks and the dogs had taken a couple of pigs onto his property. I said "I've got three pigs tied up inside your paddock and I was wondering if there was any chance of unlocking the gate so we can pick them up with the ute". Before he could say anything, I said "they've tipped your paddocks up-side down". He said "they have been making a mess of it and giving me a lot of trouble" then he said "you've got three of them have ya". So he came out with us and unlocked the gate.
As we were loading them onto the ute he said "do you hunt pigs all the time", I said "I'm addicted to it". Then he put something to me. He said "would you mind hunting the pigs on my property". I said "I'd be more than happy to do that". We became good friends. Sometimes the wife and myself would go out and have a cuppa with Tom Kelly & his wife Carol. Every now and then I'd call in and show him the different pigs that I caught. I'd got rid of the old Holden ute. I now had my first 4-wheel drive 1978 Land-cruiser diesel.
This day I was sitting in the 4-wheel drive talking to Tom out the window. He said "drive around the back of the shed Jock". Which I did and Tom was standing at a fuel bouser. He said "pull up here" and he filled up both my tanks, one was a long range. I said "Tom I don't expect this, I sell a few pigs and that covers me". He said "No no you save us money by getting these pigs". He was a real gentleman and I had a lot of time for him.
I remember this day Bobby Carroll and myself decided to head out on a pig hunt. We never knew were we'd finish up. It could be any point of the compass and I often said to the missus. If I'm not home after dark or before tomorrow, don't worry about it and it's no good telling anybody because they wont know where to start to look. That's an understanding we had. I've said before, different things that happen on a pig hunt will stay with you, this day there's three reasons.
The first was we were travelling on a main gravel road,it was summer and we had the windows down. I said to Bobby I heard something crashing in the bush and when I looked in my side rear-view mirror, I'm looking at a big black and white pig run across the road. It's very rare you'll find a pig in your rear-view mirror. It's happened to me three times in all the years that I hunted.
As the day got on a bit we had four pigs in the back and it started to get too hot for the dogs. I said to Bobby we'll head for the Murray River and get a few marron and kill the heat of the day. As we were driving along the edge of the river, we could see a car parked on the edge of a pool, which was rare to see in the early times. Sometimes you wouldn't see another soul for two or three months. We pulled up and walked down to these fellas. We asked them what they were up to. They said "we are just camping, we've got guns and hope to shoot something". I think they might have been after ducks. Then one of them said "we shoot da big fat snake". Straight away I knew they'd shot a carpet snake. He took us along the river and showed us. I said to them "he's a good snake, he's friendly and wont bite".
They were foreigners and didn't know any better. I asked where they had come from. They told us they were slaughter-men and worked at Robbs Jetty, which was about a two hour drive from where we were. They'd seen our dogs and asked what we were doing. I told them we were hunting pigs. He said "you catch some". I said "have a look in the ute". There were four big pigs tied up. They said "what you do with the pig now". I told him I had different people that would buy them. They said "how much you charge". I said $10 each. He said "we buy them from you". So they're going through their pockets to see if they can come up with right amount $40. He finishes up passing me $50. He said "we got no other money, but we're happy to give you $50".
I would like to have been able to give them $10 change, but I was battling to fill my tank in them days and Bobby wasn't much better off. Even though the cost of a tank of fuel was only $5. Then it got even better, they wrote a contact number on a piece of paper and said "when you have got 10 pigs or more in a sty, let us know and we will come to your town and buy them from you". We topped that day off by half filling a spud bag with big marron, then headed for the Dwellingup Pub. You'd have to ask the missus what time we got home.
There are days I wont forget also a mate I wont forget, Bobby Carroll. The photo above shows Bobby Carroll on the right, Beau Ashton next to him then Kerry Davies and Lloyd Priest. They all liked to hunt the Brumby or wild horse. The photo was taken at the Collie show or a Rodeo
I remember another incident with Bobby. We'd gone out to an area that was exceptionally boggy. It was Wandoo country and the old bushmen used to say " it would bog a duck". We used to hide the vehicle and then walk with the dogs. We had to cross over a wide flat that was running water, maybe 200yards wide. We'd take our boots and clothes off and walk through the water maybe chest deep. The dogs swimming along side of us. This day we get to the other side, put our gear back on and walk maybe a kilometre to where we knew there was a well-worn pig-pad that come away from the wet flats to their camps. There were grass-trees along the pad that the pigs used for scratching them-selves, also marking their territory.
It had rained heavy a bit earlier. I said to Bobby "it's hard to tell if the signs are fresh or old". We knew where their camps were, so we followed the pad. We hadn't walked maybe 200yards and we could hear one of the dogs growl up in front of us. Then we could hear barking. We started to run along the pad, when I looked up the bitch roo-dog is standing there looking back at me wagging her tail. When I looked up the pad further I could see the arse end of a big boar, slowly trotting away from us. Then the bitch give a couple of silly barks and when I looked to where she was looking, there's another big boar standing there looking at us.
Then the pit-bull (Buller) lobs on the scene and the boar made a break for the wet flats. I hadn't long had this dog and he was still learning. We could hear them barking and when we got to them Bullers locked on to the big boars family jewels. It was a sight to see, the boar cork-screwing as fast as he can and the dogs legs are off the ground. After awhile the boars exhausted and he sits on his arse, no doubt protecting what the dog had hold of. Then he puts in another charge at the roo-dog and Buller gets his same grip again.
After awhile the boars had enough, he's sitting on his bum and he wasn't going to stand again. Buller was even biting him on the flanks and he still wouldn't stand up. My mate Bobby said "I'll go and get a big stick and hit him on the head". When he came back , he's got a small tree that he broke down, about 10 feet long and as thick as your arm. This is not a smart move as the boars got a fair set of tusks. When Bobby gets in range and hits him, I think it was too long and Bobby lost his accuracy. Also he's a bit off balance and the boar charges him, he's gone for all money. I think it was more luck than judgement. Bobby lifts one leg to protect himself, maybe he was thinking of the family jewels. The boar comes up under his leg he's protecting himself with and when he brings his head up trying to rip him, he throws Bobby over his back.
Only pig-hunters will know the speed of a big boar when he charges or the power he's got when he throws his head up to rip a dog. I can see Bobby running down the edge of the water along the flat and he skittles up a forky river-gum tree. When I went down to him, I've said before Bobby had a saying "he's a nasty critter isn't he and he can get f!!!ed for mine". We never had a rifle. I said "Bobby I'm going to have one more go at him". So I went up on the side of the hill and got a half a dozen rocks about the size of an orange. When I get back to the boar, he's in the sitting position again and Bullers biting his flanks again, but no way was he standing up.
The worse part about getting him with a rock, I had to approach him face on, hoping I could hit the fore-head and knock him out. Plus I had to get within maybe 30ft. The first shot I missed all together, the next shot hit down the side of the head. Before I could get another shot off he's up and after me. I dropped the rocks and headed down the flat towards Bobby and the forky tree. I've got over-alls on and rubber boots and it felt like I was in slow motion, mind you I was never that fast. I was lucky Buller had grabbed hold of him from behind a couple of times, which would have slowed him up. I can also hear Bobby yelling "keep running".
I knew he was right on me and I made a jump for a limb, maybe 6-7 feet off the ground, but I was going too fast and I couldn't hold my body weight, it flung me up in the air and I came down on my back. I curled up into a ball thinking I'm going to cop it. Bobby told me when I climbed up the tree and I was sitting along side of him, he said "he had you you know, if the pit-bull had not locked onto his arse again". We were sitting there thinking "stuff him we'll give him a miss".
Then we heard a voice yell out "what have you got". I yelled out not to come down any further the dogs have got a big boar. It turns out, he was the Manager of a farm a couple of kilometres away and he was on his boundary fence and heard the dogs barking. He had a rifle, so he shot the boar. It turns out it was a fella I went to school with and I didn't know he was managing that farm. Then he said "what are you going to do with the boar". I said "why's that". He said "I wouldn't mind it myself". I said "no worries, it's yours". He was a beautiful boar as fat as mud.
There were a lot of pigs feeding off this farm and the owner would have nothing to do with hunters. I finished up with permission to hunt the pigs. We even built a pig-sty on the farm. I'd supply the pigs and the manager would feed them and we'd go halves. It was good hunting, I had it to myself. There was only a couple of different fellas that were hunting pigs at that time and they were too scared to come near this property. I had the same deal with a few other farmers.
Bobby didn't have to tell me to keep running.
I remember another time when I went out to the farm where we built the pig-sty. He was going to introduce me to another farmer who had troubles with pigs. I picked up the brother in-law Neil and his two dogs Cobber and Sam. I think I only had the one dog Lady. My other dog or dogs must have been out of action. As we were heading out to catch up with the farmer, we come onto him on the highway heading into town. He said his generator had broken down and he had to go to town for a part. He said "I'll introduce you to the farmer another time". Then he said "there's a good mob of pigs coming in to the bottom end of my farm". I said "well we'll have a go at them".
As we're driving down his boundary fence on the inside. I said to Neil "we'll stop 4-500yards this side of where he told us they're coming in". Then we started to walk the dogs towards the wet flats where the pigs had been feeding. I know it was spring time, maybe November and we were still having the big winters which we don't seem to have any more. The fence had a dog-leg in it to the left and there was timber on the edge of the flats.
I was 30-50 yards to the right of Neil and it allowed me to look into the flat before Neil. Luck was on our side, I'm looking at the mob of pigs feeding in the clover, which was maybe 15" high. There was very little if any diggings. They were chewing the clover off like a cow would. I whistled to Neil and he came over to me, I said "have a look in the flat". He grabs me by the neck and throws me on the ground, so he'd get there first (I'm bull-shitting). But I bet you he thought about doing it. Mind you he wouldn't have to as he'd beat me every time.
We crept down to the edge of the timber and we were laying there looking at them. We counted 17, I think there were 4 big boars, 4 sows and the rest were 50-60lb. Neil said "I'll shoot one". I dunno why but I said "we'll just take what the dogs get". So we run the dogs at them, they were a bit scattered, but they know they are in trouble and they all come into a tight group and they ran inside the thick t-tree that grows in the centre of the flat. I lost sight of Neil, even though we were only 30 yards apart.
Lady had one of the small pigs in the open, so I ran over and took it off her. Then I watched her put in across the open flat through the clover and I could see one of the smaller pigs she was heading for. All this time I could hear Neil yelling out for me, but I couldn't go to him I still had to tie the pig I had. I tied it as quick as I could and I can hear Lady with the other one squealing, so I had to run across the flat as quick as I could, knowing she would kill that size. Neil's still yelling out for me. It was too late, the pig was dead.
So I ran back towards Neil who was still yelling. Here he is with a sow about 100-120lb by the back leg with his left hand and a 50-60lb pig with his right hand. I took one of them off of him and we're crouched there tying them up. He said "my arms were nearly falling off". I said "you sissy prick, what about the time the fox had my thumb in his mouth and you were laughing". I still haven't got over that and it's 40 something years ago.
Neil said "what did you get". I told him I tied up one of the 60lb's and the bitch killed one as well. So we walked over to have a look at the one I tied. I'd also wedged him upside down in a flood-gum that forked at ground level. He was gone. I'd tied him too quick trying to get to the other one that the bitch had on the other side of the flat. I think Neils dogs were still with us, but the bitch had been gone awhile. We waited for a long time and when she came back she was covered in blood. I said to Neil "she's killed one of the 50-60 pounders".
So I asked her to show me. She takes us back out of the farm and into the bush. Then takes us to a pig camp, which was a big hollow-butt tree. The pigs laying there dead. I said to Neil "it's the one I tied" the rope was still on one leg. She was a clean and fast killer, she would crush the scull of a pig that size. I've said before the bitch was a natural all rounder.
I remember taking her out the bush when she was about 4 month old with Neils kangaroo dog Cobber and they put in after a kangaroo. Cobber was exceptionally fast as I've said before, there was no way the bitch was going to stay with them. I said to Neil "at least she's keen and trying to stay with them". We started to walk to where we last seen the dogs. When I look up here she is coming back to me, she's all excited running around me. Then heads off back to where she came from. I said to Neil "I think she might have been to the kill". Then we look up into the distance and Cobber was standing there with his kill. So that was the bitches first involvement in a kill. Like I've said she was a natural and couldn't wait to return to show us.The photo above shows the bitch in later life also an emu she had killed. The fella leaning over it is Terry True. Emus done a lot of damage to crops. They trample more than they ate. The Government once had a bounty on them two and sixpence a beak. They weren't wasted, I used them for dog meat as well.
I remember this hunting trip like it was yesterday but it was 44 years ago. There were three of us, Bobby Carroll, the brother-inlaw Pete who was just back from Vietnam and we decided to head out on another one of our adventures too the Murray River. I've said before there were pools along the Murray that had too many marron in them and that's not a joke. I feel I done it justice by thinning them out a bit. We had to travel maybe 60-70 klms to get to this particular pool and I would zigzag along many different bush tracks, increasing our chances of picking up a pig. The dogs we had at that time were not capable of scenting with the wind. So the more country you covered the better chances you had of coming onto a pig. They were pretty thick in them times. I remember once driving onto three different mobs on the road.
This particular day a boar about 150-180lb runs across the road and the dogs were over the side and had him pretty quick. We took him alive, tied him and put him in the back. When we got to the spot where we were going to camp, we carried the boar down to the edge of the river. I think we made a better camp for him than we did for ourselves. We broke down a few small trees and bushes and laid him on top of them. Then we broke down some more and covered him over.
We put out a half a dozen marron baits and about mid afternoon we've got half a spud bag of marron. Bobby said "I think we've mis-judged this". I said "what Bob", he said "have a look at the esky, it's 3 quarters empty and I don't want to run the risk of running out". So we put the bag of marron in the river and tied it to a tree. We had about 30klms to travel to get to a bush Pub called Dwellingup. All three of us were quite excited knowing where we were going. I don't know how long we stayed. We filled the esky and headed back to our camp.
As we were approaching the Nanga Brook bridge that goes over the Murray, there was a lady leaning on the hand rails. One of the boys said "we'll ask her were the Murray river is". As we were pulling up I said "no we wont be cheeky". It's only a one lane bridge, so when I stopped she was only 4-5ft from my door. When I looked at her I could see something wasn't quite right. I asked her what she was up to, she said "my son is under the bridge and he's trying to catch a marron". I said "how old is he", I think she said 12. Then she said "we've been here most of the day and he hasn't seen one". She said "I haven't been able to stay down there with him, because I sprained my ankle pretty bad".
Then she said "what are you's doing". I said "we're camped up the river about 30klms from here and we're chasing marron as well, also pigs". She said "is it better up there for marron". I said "we've got half a bag laying in the river, that we caught earlier today". She said "would there be any chance of us following you back". They were in a little Torana Holden car. I said "the roads are pretty rough, but I think I could stay on the better bush tracks that would allow you to get there in your little car". She called out to the boy and told him to come up . I can still see that little fella looking at the pig dogs and when his mother told him they were going to follow us back to our camp and there was a lot of marron in the pools, you could see his face light up. Then I told him we had a wild pig tied up at the camp. So they followed us and it's all gravel road so I told her not to travel to close and the dust wont be a problem.
We'd only travelled 2 or 3 klms and we came onto an area that had recently been bull-dozed and cleared of all the natural forest. There were wind-rows of big Black-butt trees, Jarrah and Red-gum. They were all going to be burnt and replaced with pines. I can get carried away a bit here, but I wont. Environmentally Friendly, they're not.
As we were driving along one of us spots pigs about 4-500 yrds away on the side of the cleared hill and they're running through a gap in the wind-rows. The dogs didn't know they were there, so we had to run them across the creek and up the big hill. The dogs know something is going on but they can't work it out, there is no scent. There's a good chance the dogs were thinking we were drunk, if they were ,they were right. We finished up with two about 30lb. We took them back and put em in the ute. When we got back to our camp we took the two pigs down and put them with the boar.
Then we showed the young fella how to snare a marron and he took to it like a duck to water. I'm sorry but I cannot remember the young fella or his mothers name. I remember she said she was a hostess. I didn't ask about the father or why he was not with them, if she had wanted us to know she would have told us I suppose. I knew one of the pigs would not make it so I killed and dressed him and hung him in a tree. Later that night when the young fella was still catching marron I cut up some of the pig and his mother cooked it.
I cant remember what time we ended up going to sleep, but the young fella would have stayed up all night if he was allowed to. It's an experience I don't think he would ever have forgot. He slept by the fire with Bobby, Peter and myself and the pig dogs. His mum slept in the car. The next day we took them back to the Nanga Bridge where we first met them. I'm not too sure if it was 2 dozen or 4 dozen marron they took home, or that might have been how many cans we drank that night I'm not too sure.
(If the mother or the boy reads this on my web-page it would be nice to hear from you in the guest book.)
I came onto the two gentlemen above while I was pig-hunting. They told me they were lost. They'd come through the back way from the city and they were trying to find a little hotel called Quindanning, which is in farming country and surrounded by the Jarrah forest. They were driving a panel-van also towing a closed in trailer. They were both tradesmen, I think one was a bricky and the other one maybe a carpenter, or they were both brickies, not sure. Another thing they weren't Aussies and they had trouble pronouncing Quindanning. There were too many bush-tracks they had to take for me to tell them which ones. So I told them to follow me and I would take them out to a major road that would take them to Quindanning.
As we were driving through the different bush tracks. I said to the fella with me "they're sitting too close". So I pulled up, walked back to them. I told them that the dogs hunt with the wind while we're travelling and if they pick up scent they will generally go over the tail-gate and back up the road to where they first picked up the scent. So it's better if you stay back a bit giving you time to pull up. We hadn't travelled much further and that's just what happened. They jumped out of their car and they watched the dogs come back a past them, then the dogs left the road and went into a swamp.
We were standing there talking to them. One of them said "do you reckon it's pigs" I said "I know it is. They don't do this for anything else but pig" and it wasn't long before they started barking. As you can see he's not a very big boar, but he had a fair set of tusks. We heard one of the dogs howl, it was Rebel, who I've told a few stories on. So I went in and shot the boar. Rebel was only a young dog and I watched him go back up to the ute. I knew he was wounded by the way he was walking.
The two fellas carried the pig back to the road and when I checked Rebel out, it's no wonder he was walking a bit funny. The boar had caught him with his tusks and taken the pad off both his testicles and they were exposed. He was out of action for a few weeks. The two gentlemen said "what are you going to do with the pig". I said "do you want him". they said "we wouldn't mind trying it". I think they only took both back legs. This is maybe 30years back or more. I forget the two fellas names. But if you happen to read this, let me know in the guest-book.
The photo above shows my father and myself in the mid 60's. I'm holding the back leg of a pig that I shot while walking through the bush hunting kangaroos for the pet-meat shop. I've said before if the pig is on good tucker, they're good eating. I remember dressing another wild pig one time that was as fat as mud, it had been feeding on clover that was maybe 15" high. The wife cooked a roast from this pig and while we were eating it the boys asked "what sort of meat is this" and when they finished they asked if they could have some more. Not very often kids will comment on what they are eating other than it's nice. But they wanted to know what sort of meat it was.
I remember another time I'd left home before daylight, allowing me to get to a farm that had problems with pigs. After I drove around for awhile, I realised they hadn't come in that night so I went out into the bush and drove around hoping to find them. I was in a 64 EH Holden sedan, which you can see behind my left arm in the photo. I only had the one kangaroo dog at that time. I'd take the back seat out of the car and he'd stand with his head out the window. Whenever I drove onto fresh diggings, I'd pull up and take the dog for a walk, hoping there was enough scent on the ground so he might track them. More often than not, I'd miss out.
This particular day I decided to give it a miss, it was getting close to mid-day. When I got home, the wife had lunch ready. It was a Sunday, she said "why don't we take the kids to the football". Which we had done many Sunday afternoons. A lot of the mates would be there as well. Before half-time they'd be half pissed and when the siren went to end the first half, we'd be all out on the ground kicking a football.
One fella stands out in my mind Rossy Ingram alias Porky. He had a problem with the drink. I can see him taking his high-fliers or spekky's, so Porky thought. He wouldn't get 2 feet off the ground and he'd come down on his belly every time. Many of the cars would toot their horn. I think he got more applause than the game itself when it was on.
This particular afternoon when we get to the oval, there's no parking room. I said to the wife, "I don't really want to walk in and watch the game", I said "what about if we go back home, grab the kangaroo dog and go out the bush". She agreed.
As we were driving around the outside of the paddock where I'd been that morning at daybreak. I let the dog out on a big male kangaroo. Which I would have sold to the pet-meat shop to cover my fuel. The dog came back about 10 minutes later and he was favouring one of his legs. When I had a look, he'd cut the main pad in half. So I had to give it a miss and head home.
As I was travelling along one of the bush tracks, which I had also travelled along that morning. I come onto pig diggings. They'd ploughed up the road over my car tracks from the morning. I told the missus that they were in range and I want to go for a walk. Even though the dog was on three legs, he was keen. The wife said we have to go home now, it's getting close to feed time for the bub, she was still breast-feeding. We'd left him with the mother-inlaw. So we drove off.
The oldest boy Dave was maybe 3 and was standing on the front seat between the wife and myself. They were bench seats, not like today. We'd only travelled about a kilometre. As we were going around a bend I looked up in front and there were 7 pigs standing in the middle of the road. Two black ones and the rest were black and white. I said before in the early times we didn't score too often. The dog could see the pigs through the front windscreen and was bouncing all over the place. I jumped out and opened the back door and the dog was gone. I think he forgot about his cut pad.
I grabbed the rifle and was running the way the dog had gone. I looked to my right maybe a couple of hundred yards and I can see the biggest of the pigs which was an all black boar, maybe just short of 200lb and he wasn't travelling to fast. So I decided to run after him. When I got to maybe 50yards off him there was a small tree in front of me. When I got to it I yelled out as loud as I could and he stopped instantly. I lent off the little tree and fired, he didn't know what hit him.
Then I could hear the dog barking. When I caught up with him, he had the other black pig which also was a boar, maybe 140-150lb. I wanted to try and take him alive but the roo-dog was not a grabber, he was actually scared of pigs. So I knew I had to grab the pig myself. They usually back up to a tree or a log and I'd sneak in from the side and grab the back legs. He was savager than the average pig and he would put in bursts after the dog. Like I said he was scared and he'd disappear for a few minutes. Then I'd watch him come sneaking back looking for the pig, I think he was tiptoeing.
I'd lent the rifle up along the side of a tree and I was sneaking to a log where the boar had bayed up against to protect his back. It's best if they don't see you, but he did and he charged the dog. He only went 40-50ft, the dog had disappeared. Then he looks back at me and charges. I stood there thinking the logs too big for him, but it wasn't. He'd cleared it and I'm standing there flat footed. He hit me between my knee and my thigh. I'm not too sure if I scrambled over the log or jumped it in fright. After about another 15-20 minutes I'd had enough. So I ran back to the car.
The wife and the young fella went back with me to where I'd shot the big boar. I cut the head off and gutted him and it was a real battle for the wife and myself to get him into the boot. I could still hear the dog barking in the distance with the other one. I said to the wife "I'm going back and I think I'll shoot him". When I got to them, I decided to have another go at taking him alive. So I lent the rifle up against the tree again. But I couldn't handle him. He broke away a couple of more times and went further into the bush.
I caught up to him again and I'm standing there looking at him and I decided to give it a miss and let him go. Then I heard the wife say "how big is it". When I looked around she was standing there with our three year old in her arms. I said "get behind a tree". Then I went over to her and we walked back to the car. I'd left the gun a couple of hundred yards back leaning on a tree. She didn't realise the risk she had taken. I said "I'm going back and if I cant get the dog off the pig I'll shoot it".
As I was heading back I picked up my gun and when I get to about 100yards from where the dogs got him bayed. The boar looks up and sees me. Straight away he runs at me. I've seen this happen before, the dogs had him too long and he knows he's got the dog beat. That's when they'll charge anything that moves. So I fired and hit him between the eyes as he was coming up to me.
Would you believe 5 years later, I'm driving passed where this took place, I've got a friend with me Terry True also my young bloke who is now 8 years old. He said "Dad this is where we drove onto those pigs with Mum". I said to Terry "you don't realise what he has said, it was 5 years ago and he was only 3". Then the young fella said "we weren't going this way we were coming from the other way".
There was a big jarrah tree on the edge of the bush-track, which the Forest Dept used as a reference tree. They would cut a big pyramid shape scarf out of the side of the tree, paint it white with black serial numbers on it. The forest workers would check their map for the serial numbers and they'd know their location in the bush. So no doubt the young fella knew that tree was on his left when we drove onto the pigs. No doubt because we were there so long that day sorting things out, the young fella must have zeroed in on the big white scar on the side of the tree and it stayed with him. Like I've said these are true stories and good memories.
This story was in our local paper.
The photo above was taken in 1911. If you look at the base of the building you can see two little wild pigs that have been tied and I would say they may have run them down on horse back. I'd also suggest it's a wild horse or brumby. When you think a sow can have maybe 12 or 14 in a litter or more, you don't have to be too smart to work it out. If it wasn't for the pig hunter they would be in plague proportion, as I've already stated in previous stories.
There're stories I've heard from old bushmen how the wild pig originated. They told me back in the past, maybe in the days of the depression and earlier, farmers would take their domestic pigs to the markets and nobody wanted them there was no sale. Times were hard, he could not afford to take them back to his farm and keep feeding them so halfway home, they would pull up in the bush or forest and release them by the truck load.
One story was the farmers young sons would walk some of the pigs from the farm into the forest so they could feed on whatever they could find. Again trying to survive the hard times and many were lost and became wild pigs.
Another story I was told was when some of the old bush settlements closed down they released their domestic pigs into the forest. There's a lot of genuine pig hunters around today. The next sequence of photos show the different breeds that were released.
The first shows a ginger pig (Tamworth). The second shows a black pig (Berkshire) and the third is a saddleback (Tamworth lge white cross) The 4th is all white, no doubt a throw back to the large white. I've caught many pigs that have all these colours in one.
I remember one big mob of pigs a farmer estimated 40 and he said there were ginger and white amongst them and that made me more determined to catch up with them. There was something about a ginger or ginger combination that turned me on. Another farmer told me about this mob, he'd gone to visit one night and he drove onto the big mob in his headlights, he also estimated 40 (roughly).
I decided to head out this one morning before daylight. I had an old friend with me that I'd grown up with Derek Watts (now deceased) We pulled up at the boundary fence. I said to Derek "I'm going to walk along the boundary fence on the road" and I said "you give me 20 minutes and drive up to find me". As I was walking there was a pad coming under the fence and into the bush. I could see the tracks of two big pigs and a litter. There couldn't have been any scent on them the dogs weren't interested.
The american pit-bull Buller was still learning the game. Also Lady the kangaroo dog. I watched the two dogs go over the brow of the hill in front. They were no sooner out of sight and they cranked up barking big time. It was towards the end of summer and the fire break on the inside of the fence was dry and dusty. As I'm running I could see a big cloud of dust rising up on the other side of the hill. I knew my dogs knew better, I couldn't help but think it was a mob of sheep.
But when I came over the hill I'm looking at the big mob of pigs roughly 30. They're on the inside of the fence in a tight clump and the noise they make turns a pig-hunter on. The dogs are on the outside and they can't get through the fence, it was made with rabbit-proof netting. Straight away I'm looking for the ginger and whites, they were not there.
The dogs are banging into the fence trying to get through, the pigs are still in a tight clump thinking there's safety in numbers. They'll do this in open country when there's no thickets or swamps to run too. They eventually start to scatter. I got hold of the pit-bull and threw him over the fence, I can't remember if I threw the roo dog or she cleared it herself. When it settles down and it's all over I've got two nice pigs tied, we loaded them into the ute and we continued hunting.
I'd taken a few different bush tracks. It's maybe an hour since I hit the big mob, when the pit-bull starts to play up on the back, spinning around in circles and howling. When I pulled up he goes over the tailgate and back up the road from were I come from maybe 3-400 yards and disappears into the bush the roo-dog with him. I ran back to where they left the road and there's a well used pig pad with fresh tracks heading the way the dogs went. So I started to run along the pad knowing it was going to be on.
I could hear a big pig squealing I get to about 100 yards from them and here's 2 ginger and white pigs coming back towards me, about 20 pounders. I take the pig off the dogs which was maybe 100lb all black, they're gone again and they get another one roughly 100lb and black. The suns well up now and getting a bit warm, the dogs are starting to feel it. Derek and myself carry the two pigs back to the ute.
The pig-pad the dogs got these pigs on was the same one that came under the rabbit-proof fence that I said the dogs paid no attention to, so these two mobs would have been together when the farmer seen them. I said to Derek "I would have liked to have got those ginger and whites". It was getting too hot now and I said "we'll head home". We're about 3-4klms from where we hit the second lot, I cant believe my eye's a mob of pigs come across the road, two ginger and whites, the dogs are over the side and gone again. They finish up with two more black ones and I was thinking I wasn't meant to get one of those ginger and whites.
I'm not too sure if this is right or what, three or four years later, I'm maybe 10klms from where the ginger and whites were and the dogs start barking, they've got a mob bayed and I take two ginger and white sows off of them, maybe 150 pounders. If they were the same pigs they'd put on maybe 120lb. I released them. They were feeding young.
The photo above was taken in 1967 it's me with my oldest boy Dave who's 49 next birthday and like all my boy's he loved to go out the bush for whatever reason we were out there. I'd like to forget this day. I'd gone down to visit my mother and father who lived down the road from our house 3-400yards. We'd been there a little while and I said to the wife I'm going to take the dogs out for a quick run.
Dave was maybe 4 years old then, he asked if he could come. I told him he couldn't as I was going to go for a walk, he started to cry and the wife said "take him out for a drive". I think we were poking tongues at each other. She walked off into the house and as I was reversing out of the driveway, Dave come running out to the car pleading to take him, I give in and told him to hop in. Then we headed out.
It's winter and the area I was going to hunt was Wandoo country and the old bushmen used to say "it would bog a duck". I knew this and I knew not to go off the road. I drove onto some fresh pig diggings, so I let the two dogs out to hunt along the road in front of me. One was the American pit-bull and the other was the roo-dog bitch. I watched them pick up speed and leave the road to go across the flat, which was maybe 200 yards wide and covered in water maybe a foot deep. I told Dave they were on to pigs and that I had to go after them, also I said you're not to get out of the car for any reason.
I knew this country real good and the way they were heading, I thought the pigs were going to be in the farmers paddocks. Way off in the distance I could hear the dogs barking. They're just short of the paddocks in a thick tea-tree creek that's covered with tangle-weed a very thin vine that grows across the tea-tree and all the low shrubs, you cannot walk through it. It's that strong you can lay on top of it and it will support your weight. The only way I can get to the other side where the dogs are barking is on my hands and knees and crawl under the tangle weed. It's a bit awkward when you've got a rifle in your hand.
When I got into the open bush on the opposite side I started to run along the edge of the thicket. The dogs were barking maybe 200 yards away from the thicket on the side of a open hill. So I thought if I get between the thicket and the pig it might stay up in the open country. I was thinking the pig might be a bit scared of me, I should have known better the dogs had had it for a long time. It knows it's got the dogs beat and they will attack the next thing they see move.
It's about 100kilo all black sow and it charges at me, I could have stood my ground and shot it as it was heading for me but I wouldn't shoot a sow as good as this one. I thought I could outrun it to some river gums and black-boys for protection. I was at top speed myself with a gun in my hand when she hit me in the cheek of the arse and the thigh. The force took my legs from under me and ploughed me into the side of a black-boy. Lucky the pit-bull grabs her by the back end and she forgets about me. I walked off thinking stuff the pig and I knew the dogs would give her a miss before too much longer.
I started to run back to the car knowing it was fast getting dark and the young feller would be starting to get a bit scared. When I got in range of the car I could hear him crying. He said "I was busting for a pee". I think that was a cover up he was scared. It wasn't long before the two dogs turned up.
Thinking my troubles were over, again I was wrong, they were just starting. I done something you don't do in Wandoo or boggy country in winter. I reversed down hill to turn the car around and both back wheels went down and the cars sitting on it's belly. I knew there was no way I was going to get it out. It's as dark a night as you will get and no torch. I've got maybe 6-7 klms to walk through the winding bush tracks.
I've got the young feller on my shoulders and every kilometre or so I would put him down and he would walk for a little bit. To keep him interested I would light up a black-boy or grass tree. They only take about 5 minutes to burn out, then I'd start to carry him again. Then he said "can we light another straw tree".
I was pretty happy to see the light from the farmers house. I left the young feller with the farmers wife and we went back on his tractor. We had it out in very short time, then headed back to his farm. As we were heading home along a bitumen highway, I was thinking it was a hunt that you'd like to forget.
Worse was to come, when I pulled into the driveway the wife was standing there and I could see something wasn't right. She said "you didn't tell me you were taking the little feller with you". I couldn't believe I'd done that. Then she said what have you done to the side of your neck. There were 3 or 4 scratch marks down the side of my neck and the black soot from the base of the black-boy had gone into the wounds. It was too sore to wash out so I had to leave it. The next day I was going to my cousins wedding and a bit embarrassed about the black scratches.
The photo below shows how these grass-trees would explode in fire in less than two minutes. Over the years I've done this countless times. The wife and the boys all standing around it to get warm on a cold night, many times gutting rabbits by the light of the fire. This is only done in the middle of winter when the ground is water-logged otherwise you could start a bushfire.
I got to know Paul through a friend of mine, who has since passed away Barry Carroll a brother of my good mate Bobby Carroll. They both lived the same life style camped near the water when possible. Pauls been doing this for maybe 10-12 years and I think the rules state he has to move every 28 days, so he's got quite a few different locations that he move's to and he's named them all. He abides by the rules 100%.
The first thing he will do when he moves to a different location is clean up the rubbish that's been left by other people and on his way into town to get supplies he will drop off the rubbish in one of the big bins the Shire has left in different areas closer to town. He will also wander the banks of the Wellington Weir looking for rubbish to take to those bins. Over the years he's befriended many different people who camped with in range of him. Like the next photo shows.
Paul's on the left then Kerry standing, his son Brody sitting in front of him then Tarnia with her arm around him, the next two are Tarnia's sons (sorry if I spelt your name wrong Tarnia). They're all Kiwis except Paul and a good mob. If you look close at the fire there's two camp ovens covered with hot coals, like the next photo shows. The photo above shows Tarnia stirring the contents of the camp oven with a post hole shovel. Would you believe they asked me if I wanted a feed, joke she's putting coals on top of the camp oven. I went out there another night I'd promised the boy's I'd take them rabbiting as the next photo shows. We finished up with seven. When we got back to the camp the oldest boy couldn't wait to tell his mum, he'd shot his first rabbit. A bit later Tarnia walked over to me with a plate of meat and vegetables that she'd just taken out of the camp oven and it doesn't come any tastier. Another night I'd gone out to visit Paul to have a coffee with him. I'd often give him vegetables from the garden. We were sitting at his camp, the wind was getting stronger and there was heavy rain coming at us. I said to Paul that a farmer had told me that he was having a lot of trouble with wild pigs digging up his paddocks. I told him I'd have a go at them with the rifle, even though I know longer hunt and I have no pig-dogs, they still turn me on.
It was about an hour and a half off dark and the farm was only ten minutes from Pauls camp. We'd had a bit of a storm two day's earlier as well, I said to Paul "there's a good chance the pigs will come in early, because they wouldn't have been able to feed as much as they'd like to due to the storms." As I drove over the brow of the hill looking over the paddock, I could see all the pig diggings. Then I looked into the distance and I could see seven pigs on the boundary fence just inside the paddock.
I had my rifle and a five month old pup that was a pet, not used for hunting. I knew I'd mess it up if I had a go at them, so I decided to head for town which was about 20 minutes away. I called into my nieces sons place, who has got three or four good pig-dogs and knocks off a lot of pigs. When I walked into his house, he was sitting at the table with his missus and his two kids. I said "do you want to shoot a pig". I'd told him what I'd seen and that we didn't have much time before dark. Alyce said "me and the kids are coming too."
As we were all heading out I said to Nathan "how many bullets does the rifle take". I think he said four in the magazine and one in the breach. The rifles a 243 and it can knock a pig over at long range. I said " put 5 extra bullets in your pocket". When we came over the hill and looking into the distance I said "the pigs were heading over the hill to the left of the photo and out of sight". Then he said " look here in front of us" and the seven pigs were in the middle of the paddock feeding and coming towards us.
He gets out and walks over to a fence post and squats down, using the post to steady the gun on. Alyce is standing along side of the ute and the two little ones Max & Lily are standing on the back. After awhile Alyce said "why is he taking so long to shoot". I said "he might be trying to pick the best one", also there were two young pigs about 20-30 lb and I thought he might have been trying to avoid shooting the mother.
When he finally pulled the trigger Alyce said "two pigs fell over" and that's why he was taking so long waiting for two of them to be in line with each other. He hit the first one through the side of the skull just above the eye and the second one was closer enough to the heart area. I didn't actually check it but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a hole in the heart.
When I told Nathan to put 5 extra bullets in his pocket I was thinking there was a chance if he knocked the first pig down clean the others would get confused and stay there along side the one he'd shot and that's what they done. He fired again knocking another big one down and the other four ran for the bush line. He fired again and dropped the next biggest. So there's four pigs laying on the ground with three shots.
There's a chance he might have got the other three which was the sow and the two 20-30 pounders. But he'd run out of bullets. I said "how come you run out of bullets". He said "I don't know I must have ejected one bullet onto the ground and the other one's fell out of my pocket, when I was crouched down going from one fence post to the next". Why he stood a chance to get the other three, was in the confusion, they'd run back into the paddock.
The next photo shows Nathan, Alyce, Max & Lily and three of the four pigs, we dropped one off with Paul to try. My freezers full again.
The above video shows you some short clips of pig hunting from the past, early 70's. At the start of it you will see were we throw a jumper to the pig also a hessian bag and generally as the pig grabs it the dog will grab the pig. I think it's the second last clip shows myself with a big sow, I'm holding on to the back legs. The last clip shows how lucky a dog can be. The boar has got big tusks and the dog was not marked.
The video was taken by Terry True who passed away recently. He also owned the black and white dog, Brutus one of my breed. The red dog is Rusty, brother to Brutus. The other dog is Lady, their mother.
If you've read some of my previous stories you'll know that Terry also had a camera and it's thanks to him that I've got photo's that I shouldn't have. One of the stories that I told on him, was when he stood his ground when a big boar charged him.
Terry was a gun collector and eventually became a gun dealer. The little room where he kept his collection was like Fort Knox and if he wasn't working, that's where you'd find him. I've said in the past Terry was a jack of all trades and he mastered the lot. He had a wonderful outlook. He seemed to get off on saving people money. I remember one time walking into Terry's back yard, there's a front-end loader with a gentleman standing along side of it. We introduced ourselves, he said "you won't believe the trouble I had with this machine until I met Terry". He said "I told Terry that the machine kept pinging it's right hand front axle. I'd had it replace a few times". The first thing that came out of Terry's mouth was I know what the problem is." The right hand front tyre is new and the left hand side is bald. The new tyre over loads the right hand axle."
When Terry had finished the job the gentleman asked how much he owed, Terry said $300. The gentleman give him $500 and he told me he was expecting it to be a lot more than that.
The photo above shows Terry with his arm around the American Pit-bull. When I first got the dog he used to stand on the little lip at the base of the back window and sometimes when I swerved in the bush to go around something the dog would slide off. I said to Terry "he'll kill himself one day". He said "leave your ute at my place and I'll make you a frame". As you can see.
I was working in the Shire at the time. When I knocked off work this day and I got to my ute, there's a fella standing there, checking out the frame. He was a welder by trade. He said "Jock who done this". I told him Terry had done it. I think it was oxy welding. The fella said "it don't come better than this". I said the best thing about it, there was no charge.
I remember another time it was summer and stinking hot, the dogs had had a run and were hanging out for water. There were three of us in the ute Bobby Carroll, Terry in the middle and myself driving. I said "we'll take the dogs to the Treesville water catchment". Treesvlle is an abandoned Settlement in the middle of our forest. As we came up to the wall, there's a few bushes and scrub.
This was the first time I'd seen life at the Treesville water hole, human that is. Two women came out of no where stark bollock naked. Terry screamed "don't look Jimmy", he panicked he usually calls me Jock. They disappeared into the car. The two fellas that were with them just stood in the water, like they should have done. Bobby said "you've got to have a win now and then".
The photo below shows the Treesville water catchment. I would imagine it was done in the day of horse and scoop. You can see they've put face cut's or timber that was cut from the mill to reinforce the wall. On the opposite side of the wall at the base, they'd sunk a couple of wells, also a couple more further down. Bobby hunted the wild horses in this area or brumbies as they're known. There was talk that some of the old bushmen or brumby hunters had lowered a wooden carton of big bottles of beer on a rope and it snapped and it's still there today.
What would be nice is if the Authorities or the people who have the power were to take a machine out and make the Treesville water hole deeper. I would say it's dry after the winter we've had and it wouldn't take half a day to get a result. It holds water most years. There's very little water in the surrounding bush. The next photo shows Terry sitting on a mean boar, not in size but in build.
The photo below shows Bobby and Terry carrying a pig.
I remember when Terry was living in Busselton and he used to travel up to Collie to go out pig hunting with us in the late 60's early 70's. This day we go out hunting in the Murray River area and as we're driving around, taking the little bush tracks and formations looking for pigs, I said to Terry "the marron are thick here". I didn't know it had been a long time since Terry had had a feed of marron. I said "if you want a feed, hop on the back and shoot a couple of birds for bait". I always left the snare stick and wire hanging in a tree.
When we get to the pool, Bobby said "I ain't going marroning". He told me what tracks he was going to stay on and to catch up with him when we were done marroning. It might have taken a couple of hours. I think it was 4 dozen all as bigger marron as you would get out of a river. We decided to head off and look for Bobby and the dogs. Would you believe a mob of pigs came out in front of us, no dogs and no Bobby! They were two good mates and there's many more stories on them.
The photo above shows Rusty on the right and two of his son's Rocky and Buller. They're roughly six months old and fast becoming top dogs. I remember taking the two pups out by themselves, they were roughly 4 months old and already they had been around a lot of pigs. I'd gone out to the head of the Harris River. I parked my car and walked the pups up one side roughly for a couple of kilometers, then I cut over to the opposite side and walked them back to the car.
The pigs were thick in them times and the river bed was upside down with diggings. It was towards the end of summer and the river had broken down into little pools and I've said before between the pools the river bed was covered with reeds and the pigs used to roll them up like carpets looking for worms and frogs. The pups were keen, disappearing up the river in front of me, then they'd come back jumping all over me being silly.
When I look back at all my hunting with top wind scenting dogs I think watching a couple of pups running around like they were and hoping we'd score, gave me a thrill equal to any. When I got back to within range of my car I realized we weren't going to do any good. The pups were travelling alright in the back of the ute by themselves. I decided to head for a power-line they had just put through in the middle of the forest.
As I'm driving along the power-line I was thinking of a mob of pigs that I had drove onto along the same power-line about a month earlier with the same two pups also the wife and the kids. There were two sows and maybe half a dozen eight 30 pounders. I've told this story before, it was the pups first catch, they got one of the 30 pounders. As I'm travelling, I'm watching the pups in the rear-view mirror, they're going from side to side throwing their head around looking every bit as good as their parents.
I couldn't believe my eyes as I came over a crest of a hill looking into the distance I could see the same mob. I put my foot down, the pups could see them and they're going mad in the back. I locked the brakes, more so to put the pups off balance so they wouldn't go over the side while I was going fast. I watched them disappear, heading the way I had last seen the pigs. As I was running up to were they had gone, I heard one pup barking to my right then the other one started barking 3-400 yards to my left in a dry creek bed. I ran to the one on my right first, it was the mother of the 30 pounders. So I quickly ran down to the creek. I wasn't there long and the other pup turned up.
They had it bayed for maybe half an hour. She was a big sow maybe 130-150lb and fat as mud. The pups were right in her face but weren't game enough to grab her. We'd got away from the car maybe 4-500 yards. I started throwing small granite rocks and bits of wood at her, hoping she would go back towards the car, which she did. Now I was going to try and take her myself as she was having a go at the pups, but she starts to go away from the ute again. I quickly cut her off and the pups had got her bayed again.
I started to think she was going to put it over us and that's the last thing I wanted for the pups. I've got two or three lumps of granite the size of an apple. I walk towards her and I threw one of the lumps as hard as I could, it hit her between the eyes on the forehead and went down like she'd been hit by a 303. I couldn't believe my luck. I quickly pulled her onto her side and I'm kneeling on her tying her two legs together, then rolls her over to tie the other two legs and starts thinking she should have moved by now. I looked and her eyes were wide open, I touched one with my finger and she didn't blink, stone motherless dead.
The photo above shows myself, the dog is Buller who I've told many stories on and the pigs are both boars maybe 70-80lb. If a photo could talk it's telling you I'm stuffed. The dogs got these two a long way from the car and rather than make two trips we carried them both on a stick and when your getting to the exhausted stage and they both start to kick whilst your still carrying them, it bites into your shoulder. Which makes it sore when you put pressure on it for a couple of days. Terry True took this photo over 40 years back.
Another time I took two fellas out, it was their first pig hunt and their last. I worked with them under-ground in the Coal Mines (Jimmy and Martin), they were brother inlaws and liked to hackle each other, especially under-ground. Most the miners will do the same, especially if you've got a weak spot.
This is every word the truth. Jimmy and Martin are sitting at separate tables having their lunch. There's maybe 15-20 miners. When they finish eating they are either playing dominos or a card game called euchre. Many half hearted arguments start up between the different miners.
Martins got a couple of lamingtons in his lunch box, he comments to Jimmy how good they are, he leaves one for when he knocks off at the end of the shift. When he goes to get the lamington, it's gone! Now they're walking up the tunnel towards the surface Jimmy say's "hey Martin look here". Martin turns his head and shines his light on Jimmy in time to see the last of the lamington going down. He says "tell my sister they're tasty".
A couple of days later they're sitting at the table having lunch and playing dominos and cards. Jimmy pulls out a large block of chocolate, gives a couple of piece's too two or three of his mates then folds the top over and puts the chocolate back in his lunch box. When they're finished their shift and are walking up the tunnel to the surface. Martin say's "hey Jimmy look". Martins got the half block of chocolate and he's making a mess of it, big bites. Jimmy said "give it back Martin". He say's "no it's too nice" and Jimmy watches him swallow the last big lump. Martins licking his lips saying "that was nice Jimmy".
Then Jimmy say's "Martin you've just swallowed a half a block of Laxettes". Just in case there are a few of you that don't know what Laxettes are or does, you can buy it at the chemist and if you're bound-up and unable to go to the toilet a couple of squares will shift you and make you go. I didn't witness this.
The first time I got knowledge of it I was coming up onto the surface, after-noon shift. I was what they call riding the belt. As I stepped off and onto the ground and I'm walking over to the main area where the miners have their showers and put their lights away. I can hear them all erupting in laughter. As I'm getting closer I can see the outline of a fella by himself. I realized it was Martin. I said "what's going on mate" meaning all the miners laughing.
He said "Jock you won't believe what the bastards done too me". I said "who". He said "that prick of a brother inlaw" and he tells me the whole story of how he came to eat a half a block of laxettes. I'm trying to hold back the laughter, it's killing me I didn't want him to know. Martins six foot four and not an ounce of fat.
I've heard of different people taking two or three squares and that done the job. Martins swallowed maybe ten. I'm looking up at him, I said "how ya feeling". He said "I am feeling funny in the belly and I'm getting movements there". That was me I burst out laughing and walked off among the other miners. The next day at the start of the shift I walked up to Martin and asked what sort of night he had. I think he said the best part of the night, he was on the toilet. (true story)
The photo above shows Jimmy on the left, the one who fed his brother in-law laxettes. The other gentleman is Kim Addis he worked in Jimmy's crew underground. I would say he was a witness to the laxette episode. If you have a close look at Jims face you can see the agony. There were two pigs on this stick, we'd left one on the ground so they could lift this one into the ute. Also they had carried the pigs from a long way off. When they first started, I said "you can carry one back to the ute and then we will have to return to carry the second". They said "we'll carry the two at once". I knew their angle, they didn't want to do the trip twice. I've done this myself a thousand times, more hundreds.
Part of the way back they're starting to complain. The pigs are alive and when one wiggles, the other one will too and it makes the stick bite into your shoulder, real bad. When we were standing at the ute and it's all but over, we realized the dogs are still not with us. So while we were waiting for them, we decide to have a smoke. I said I'll fire the rifle a couple of times, hoping to bring them back. Jimmy said "what are you going to shoot at". I said "nothing in particular just to bring the dogs back". He said "I bet you can't hit that Banksia nut in the tree up in front of us". I said "that's a pretty easy shot Jim". He say's "I think you'll miss it".
Like I've said before he liked to stir people up but it was all in good fun and I was tarred with the same brush. I said "Jimmy do you want to throw your packet of tailor-mades in the air as high as you can and let me have a shot at it". He was quick to except the challenge. When he walked over to pick up his cigarettes, there was a hole through the flat side not the fat side it took out most of his smokes. This is the start of his first and last hunt. He'd already gone through a lot but there was worse to come.
When I got to work the next morning, day shift. I can see Jimmy in amongst the miners. I knew his shoulder would be bruised and sore, so I walk up behind him, put my hand on his right shoulder and asked him how he was going as I pushed down. His knees give way as he moaned. Then he said "I've got red marks all over my belly and neck and I've been scratching like a mongrel dog". He'd copped a bad dose of pepper-tick, so bad he went to the doctors.
I don't know if the doctor knew what he was about, I think Jimmy had scratched some of the bodies off leaving the head behind. The doctor give him whatever to rub on them, it took weeks for them to come good. They're called pepper-tick because they are the size of a grain of pepper. I've had them and I think anyone who has hunted the bush would also have come up against them.
There's a few different methods used to get rid of them. I believe the most successful way to get rid of any tick from the bush is a hot needle and very lightly and quickly poke them on the bum, leave it for a minute and then repeat that a few times. Most times he's all but dead when he releases and the head will stay with him. Even then you will still scratch for a few days.
Back in the 90's, late 80's the wife and myself were picking wild-flowers for a living, mainly foliage and we were in coastal country, the worst there is or as bad as you can get for ticks. Another place which is bad for ticks is in pine plantations, especially along the creeks where the natural shrubs are still growing, I believe the reason is, no fires or very little burn-offs in these areas. So at the end of each shift after picking, we'd have what we called the tick patrol. If someone had a bit of an itchy spot, some-one would check it. In the coastal country they're known as boomer tick or kangaroo ticks.
This particular day the wife has got a kangaroo tick on her back-side, high up on the ridge. I said to a couple of the others that were picking with us." I will show you how to get a tick off". One of them strikes a match while I heat the needle. I said "you watch as I tip him you will see his legs move". These ticks are half the size of your little finger nail.
I knew the missus was all ears as I was telling these people, so I put the hot needle as quick as I could on the missus arse, three inches from the tick. She give a little cackle. She's had quite a few ticks taken off over the time and she knows you have a little mishap now and then, but not three inches. I think the other ones started to laugh and that give it away.
The photo above shows myself on the left and a fella that done quite a bit of hunting with me in the past, Graham Oliver. The brother in-law Neil took the photo. The gun Grahams holding is a 310 and they're not a bad little rifle in close quarters or inside a swamp, the rifle belonged to Neil, it was licenced and it was given to him by a policeman, the one that held the torch while I shot my first trout.
This is one of those photo's that if anyone said here's a million dollars tell me where the photo was taken, I couldn't.
I remember another time with Graham, the dogs had gone missing and we'd been waiting for them for quite a while. We were walking along an old rail-way formation from back in the past. There were signs of where two or three maybe sleeper cutters had set up camp. Graham bends over and say's "look here" and he's picked up an old two shilling piece (20 cents in todays currency.)
We kept walking up and down the formation and listening, but nothing. I said "Graham I'll fire a shot", hoping the dogs would hear. He said "what are you going to shoot at". I said "nothing in particular, just fire it". He said "you might as well shoot at something". He's got the two shillings in his hand. I said "flick the two shillings as high as you can". I missed the first shot then I said "give us one more go at it". I hit it and it made a zinging noise as it disappeared.
The rifle I was using was mine and the telescopic sight on it gave me a thirty two feet view of the target. Which made it easier to hit a target that was moving. I'd practiced that hundreds of times if not thousands in my time.
Another time I'd gone out on a roo hunt, the farmers called it a roo drive. When the days finished, we've got 56 roos. We'd finish up at the farmers rubbish dump, the roos had already been gutted. There was a big log there, a couple of fellas would hold the roos leg on the log and some one else would knock them off with an axe also the paws and the head. There's a bit of drinking going on while this is taking place, supplied by the farmer.
I've never seen so many different gun's, rifles, pistols. A lot of the farmers were gun collectors. One of the farmers yells to the other one. "See if you can hit this stubby with your shot-gun when I throw it". There was a few there with shot-guns so they're taking it in turns. After a while a mate who I had gone up with, Doug said "Jock will take them out with his rifle". One of the farmers say's "come on then" and he throws the stubby. I hit it, from then on whenever anyone finished a stubby, they asked if I was ready. They all put away their shot-guns.
I remember earlier on in the day when the shoot was on some of the farmers would go out to the back-blocks on motor bikes and scare or drive the roos to where the fellas were waiting on the fence-line with their rifles. The rules were, no-body shoots up or down the fence-line it's only at the roos that were coming in, also nothing behind the fence-line. I remember sitting on a pad that I thought looked like a good one. I could see maybe 15-20 roos coming to me.
You always pick the biggest. I hit one of the big ones and he turned and went back to where he came from. I'm watching him through the telescopic sights and he sits. I don't know what the distance was, but I never attempted to pull the trigger, it was too far for me. I was still looking at him through the tele's when I heard a shot and I watched him go back-wards and down, dead.
The next few photo's will show you different traps. As you can see the one above has been knocked about, but still does the job. If you are wondering how these pigs get so fat, especially when the country looks so poor. They are living off white lupins that the farmers feed their sheep.
I remember one time I had gone up with a mate, we were sitting there talking to the farmer, he said "that trap you had out on the back block is still there". So we went out to re-set it. As we get within range of the trap, the mate yells "it's full of pigs". Then he said "there's one on the outside". When I looked the pig had taken off to a strip of timber. The mate fired and when I looked the pig was on his side. I was more interested in the ones in the trap they were as fat as mud.
Then the mate fires another shot, the pig had got back to his feet, this time he's dead. The rifle was a 243. We weren't too sure what to do with the pigs in the trap, so we went back and told the farmer. He said "oh well you've got a good start haven't ya". He said "we'll go back and load them into the ute". As we were heading out, there was two ute loads of us.
There's a real bad bend and two young ladies from the city had rolled their car. They weren't injured just shaken up a bit. Bevan said to me to take them back to the farm. He told the girls they could help themselves to whatever, make themselves a feed have a shower and whatever else, use the phone to sort things out with their family and what they were going to do with the car. He said "you'd better go down to the machinery shed and tell my brother what's going on".
As I'm standing there telling him. I also told him about the pigs in the trap. He said "here they come now" and when I looked I said "there were more pigs than what they've got in the ute". As they pulled up they were laughing. Apparently it was the wrong cage on the ute and half the pigs had gone over the side and got away.
The photo above shows Viv coming back from running out a 20 litre drum of lupins, to attract the pigs.
The photo above shows Barry and Viv throwing a pig into the crate on the back of the ute. The one below shows Bevan putting a pig in the ute.
The photo above shows myself holding the head of a fair size boar. The second photo shows the pit-bull not long after I got him. I remember this day, I was walking along a formation by myself. Terry True was back at the ute. I'd told him to give me 20 minutes and then drive to catch up to me. There were diggings everywhere. I knew there were a lot of pigs in this mob and I was hoping to catch up with them in open bush. Because sometimes they will stay together knowing there is safety in numbers.
I'd been walking for maybe 10 minutes. The pit-bull had been into a few pigs by this time and he was fast turning into a good dog. I also had two kangaroo dogs, Tosca and Boonga that belonged to Terry and they were still learning. I hadn't seen them for maybe 5 minutes and I thought this might be the start of it.
As I was walking I looked to my left about 100 yards and I watched a boar stand up and shake himself. I squatted down and I'm looking around for the dogs, the pit-bull comes out onto the formation and he comes running to me and no doubt wondering why I was squatting. I lifted one hand and I'm pointing at the boar, I said to the dog "look here". No doubt he could see the boar because he screamed as he took off. I knew what was going to happen here, I turnt and ran as fast as I could.
Terry had come around a bit of a bend and watched me run across the formation. The boar was maybe 20-30 yards behind me. I skittled up a Banksia tree, the pig went straight past and into the thicket. I don't believe he was chasing me, he wanted to get into the swamp. I'd say he was kicked out of the mob. The photo above shows the two kangaroo dogs. I'd done the same this day, told Terry to give me ten minutes then catch up. This would have to be one of the most strangest places I've had a pig bailed up. I'm squatting on a flat-top railway bridge of an old formation from back in the past. The pig had gone up under the bridge and over the back of the bed-log roughly where the white faced dog (Tosca) is standing. I'd got down into the creek a couple of times and I'd had my head up under the bridge looking for him but it was darker than George Formans arse.
When Terry drove up and lobbed on the scene, I'm standing on the bridge pointing to my feet. Terry hops out the car and he can hear the dogs barking under there. We had another dog with us, a Queensland Heeler that belonged to an old friend of mine, Boof Ferris and I'd taken him out to see if he was any good on pigs. Why Terry had the heeler in the front with him was the pit-bull was looking sidewards at him. I said to Terry "let him out", would you believe he went straight over and under the bridge and grabs the pig. The other dogs joined in. Now I'm up under there with them and we snig him out.
The photo above shows Rusty, the son of the pit-bull and Lady the roo-dog cross. I don't know why but whenever I dreamt about pigs, 99% of the time it was Rusty. As you can see he's a very fit and powerful dog. He was not so much a grabber, more of a scenter and like I've told in other stories some of the things he's done, like the time he showed me where a pig hunter had hid his pig-trap up on the side of the hill.
Another outstanding performance, he'd been gone half to three quarters of an hour and when he returned I could tell by the blood he'd killed a pig. I had another gentleman with me who hadn't seen much pig hunting. So I said to Rusty "show me". I didn't want the pig, more so I wanted the other fella to see his ability. It was a hot day and Rusty was feeling the affects, he took me too water first. I could see all the pig tracks, I said to the fella "he's killed roughly a 30 pounder".
After about ten minutes laying in the water he's freshened up, so I asked him to show me again. So he heads off up a big open hill, but he seemed to be zigzagging a bit as though he was looking for another pig. So I picked up a little stick, Rusty's looking at me. I showed him the stick and said "where is it". He knew by the tone of my voice and he headed in a straight line towards the top of the hill. I said to the fella "now he's showing".
We walked for quite a way and Rusty had disappeared and started barking. As we were getting closer to him, I said to the fella "this is their camp" you could see all the trees and logs where they had been rubbing. There's a big hollow-butt Jarrah and Rusty's standing there barking at it. When I looked inside, there's an old skinny sow battling to stand. I give Rusty a pat, told him he was a good dog.
What I believe happened was Rusty had gone to the camp first and was not interested in the sow that was in the hollow-butt. He must have thought there's no battle here or fight, that's when he went off and killed one of the 30 pounders which he didn't end up showing. I think it was too hot. The sow was not marked he hadn't touched it, we left her where she was.
The photo above shows a hollow-butt stump that the pigs had used for a camp. You can see the little pine tree is dead, caused by pigs rubbing and biting to mark their territory. It's more so a summer camp than a winter camp. Another thing if you look close at the photo below it shows some of our history, you can see where an old bush-man has cut the groove into the stump allowing him to wedge a board in so he could stand on and get away from the fat or wider base, saving time and energy.
There's a lot of history here, there's a formation that runs off to the left from where this photo was taken and it goes to an old bush settlement which was called Tullanulla. Another formation runs to the right and couples up with a formation which runs to Treesville. There's no name to this particular settlement where the photo was taken. If anybody would have known the name of this settlement, it would be my father, he never mentioned it and we hunted this area all our life. I found a couple of antique bottles not far from where the stump stands.
I gave them to an old friend who was a bottle collector, Don Fraser. He told me he hadn't seen these bottles before at any settlement. I took him out and showed him. He found another one he'd never seen before. I don't know if this is right but there was talk of a settlement called Little Treesville, maybe this is it and then they ventured further out to what we know is the Treesville Settlement.
This is a photo of my oldest boy Dave and his two boys Jaxon and Toby and Jacobi their half sister the photo was taken nearly three years ago. We were on a bush picnic.
The photo above shows another pig trap, I think there are 3 or 4 pigs in it. When we pulled up the farmers two sheep dogs run over to check it out. The brown strip of soil under the dog on the right is all pig tracks. You can see it disappear into the distance.
It was conditions like this that I told another story on how Rebel picked up the scent from the back of the ute. We were following the edge of the first crop when he went over the side and headed for the first strip of bush you can see in the middle of the photo. We watched him come out the back side and head for the next strip of bush and that's where the pigs were camped and it shows what a dog can do with his nose.
Another time Rebel had a bad boar, he wouldn't stop and bay he kept running up the middle of the strip of bush you can see in the photo. I came out of the bush and decided to run up the edge hoping I'd get closer. Rebel hadn't barked for a while and I knew he wasn't far away from giving up, exhausted.
I was looking in the distance and I watched the boar come out of the bush line and he's going across the crop to the next line of bush. Just before he gets too it I fired two shots at him. I watched the boar and the dog disappear, then the farmers turned up in their vehicles, I told them what had happened and that the dog had given up on him, there was no more barking. They said "jump in the ute and we will go and check".
They drove across the crop, here's Rebel laying in the sand absolutely exhausted. As we hop out the car I said "he's knackered". We had a look at the boars tracks, were he'd gone behind some bushes and he's laying there dead. I would say my first shot hit him under the belly, the second one in the chest. The rifle was a 243 with variable 3-9 power tele's.
The photo above shows Bevan finishing off a young boar that I had knocked over from the distance with the 243. I seen a sight this day that I'd never seen before, Bevan had taken us over to another property to check if there were pigs. I don't think there was a house on this property. They have an understanding between themselves, the farmers that is. They don't ask permission they wander and check whatever they want to check and they are as honest as the day is long.
Australia would be a better place if some of the white-collar or bureaucrats had the same outlook.
As we drive into the property, there's good pig signs. There's three of us in the ute, I'm on the outside, Barry in the middle, Bevan driving. I was looking across the top of low scrub and way off in the distance there's another paddock on the side of the hill. I said to Bevan "is that a line of cows I can see". He said "they're pigs". I've never seen a mob like this and I believe they were all big boars. Bevan put his foot down, now we have lost sight of them but we are heading roughly to the same area they were.
As we come around the bend, there's a gate and looking out in the paddock there's another big mob of pigs in a tight clump, which I believe were all sows and young boars. Next minute I can hear pigs out my window. It was that line of big boars, but they were scattered and they were coming across the road behind us, we'd over run them. I could still see the other mob getting to the timber on the other side of the paddock.
I had the 243 so I ran to the gate and lent off the top of the strainer post. I put the cross-hair on the top of the backs of the furtherest pigs and pulled the trigger and hoped. I could hear the whack and then the squeal. We drove over to it and Bevan done the rest with the 22. When we drove back out, I couldn't believe the tracks that were over our tracks.
The photo above shows another time similar to when we seen the line of big boars, but with a different farmer, Viv on the right, Barry in the middle and I forget the gentleman's name on the left.. Viv had said to us this day "we'll go for a drive and check out a spot called (Thatsamegonepiggin)". When we pulled up Viv said "look at all the tracks and wallows". It's a soak and you can see all the rushes on the left hand side of the photo. We gets out of the ute and walks over to check how fresh it is.
Calm as you like Viv say's "there's a pig on the other side of the swamp in the paddock". It was heading back into the swamp. I had the 243 in my hands, as I took off running I heard Viv say "there's a mob of them". When I got to the other side I heard one of the vehicles start up then I could hear them roaring around and every now and then the shot-gun would go off. I knew I'd done the wrong thing, I didn't look like getting a shot.
After a while Viv and the other two came back and as the photo shows you they've got three pigs and it reminds me of a joke of an old bull (viv) on a farm, and a young bull (me) The young bull looks up and say's to the old bull, look the farmers left the gate open into the cows, what do you reckon we run down and do a couple. The old bull say's no, we'll just walk and do the lot.
That reminds me of an old bushman that once told me it's no good getting old if you don't get cunning.
The photo above shows a ute full of pigs, there's a couple that have been skun that are going to be used for sausages. The back legs are for roasts and the rest are for chops. I remember one trip we'd loaded up to come home and there wasn't room for another chop, that's not a joke. The two mates sitting in the front had a cardboard box on their lap, which had about a 50 lb pig cut up inside it. One of the mates said "thank christ we aren't taking this box all the way home". Which was about 600 klmtrs roughly.
Barry had a mate about 200 klmtrs into our trip, who he was going to give the box to. When we pulled up at his mates place and Barry handed his pork over. The fella said "I've got a carton of fish fillets if you's want them". Rather than have it sitting on our laps for the next 400 klmtrs we knocked them back.