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Pig Hunting (Part 2)

Another Day or Night Hunting

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.

When Things go Wrong

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.

Too Big to Handle

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).

Good Day

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.

Healthy Imagination

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. 

One From the Past

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.

Good-Shot          A

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.   

Hunting Party

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.

On The Run

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.

Too Close for Comfort

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. 

My First Pig-Dog

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.

Late Night Early Morning

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.

Old Friend

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. 

Radar Tracking Pig

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.

Training A Hunting Dog

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 Earl Boys

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.       

Kangaroo Dogs

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".      


Paddock Pigs

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. 

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