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Pig Hunting (Part 3)

Right Place Right Time

I remember this day Bobby Carroll and myself decided to head out on a pig hunt. We never knew were we'd finish up. It could be any point of the compass and I often said to the missus. If I'm not home after dark or before tomorrow, don't worry about it and it's no good telling anybody because they wont know where to start to look. That's an understanding we had. I've said before, different things that happen on a pig hunt will stay with you, this day there's three reasons.



The first was we were travelling on a main gravel road,it was summer and we had the windows down. I said to Bobby  I heard something crashing in the bush and when I looked in my side rear-view mirror, I'm looking at a big black and white pig run across the road. It's very rare you'll find a pig in your rear-view mirror. It's happened to me three times in all the years that I hunted.


As the day got on a bit we had four pigs in the back and it started to get too hot for the dogs. I said to Bobby we'll head for the Murray River and get a few marron and kill the heat of the day. As we were driving along the edge of the river, we could see a car parked on the edge of a pool, which was rare to see in the early times. Sometimes you wouldn't see another soul for two or three months. We pulled up and walked down to these fellas. We asked them what they were up to. They said "we are just camping, we've got guns and hope to shoot something". I think they might have been after ducks. Then one of them said "we shoot da big fat snake". Straight away I knew they'd shot a carpet snake. He took us along the river and showed us. I said to them "he's a good snake, he's friendly and wont bite".


They were foreigners and didn't know any better. I asked where they had come from. They told us they were slaughter-men and worked at Robbs Jetty, which was about a two hour drive from where we were. They'd seen our dogs and asked what we were doing. I told them we were hunting pigs. He said "you catch some". I said "have a look in the ute". There were four big pigs tied up. They said "what you do with the pig now". I told him I had different people that would buy them. They said "how much you charge". I said $10 each. He said "we buy them from you". So they're going through their pockets to see if they can come up with right amount $40. He finishes up passing me $50. He said "we got no other money, but we're happy to give you $50".


I would like to have been able to give them $10 change, but I was battling to fill my tank in them days and Bobby wasn't much better off. Even though the cost of a tank of fuel was only $5. Then it got even better, they wrote a contact number on a piece of paper and said "when you have got 10 pigs or more in a sty, let us know and we will come to your town and buy them from you". We topped that day off by half filling a spud bag with big marron, then headed for the Dwellingup Pub. You'd have to ask the missus what time we got home.


There are days I wont forget also a mate I wont forget, Bobby Carroll.


The photo above shows Bobby Carroll on the right, Beau Ashton next to him then Kerry Davies and Lloyd Priest. They all liked to hunt the Brumby or wild horse. The photo was taken at the Collie show or a Rodeo


Keep Running


I remember another incident with Bobby. We'd gone out to an area that was exceptionally boggy. It was Wandoo country and the old bushmen used to say " it would bog a duck".  We used to hide the vehicle and then walk with the dogs. We had to cross over a wide flat that was running water, maybe 200yards wide. We'd take our boots and clothes off and walk through the water maybe chest deep. The dogs swimming along side of us. This day we get to the other side, put our gear back on and walk maybe a kilometre to where we knew there was a well-worn pig-pad that come away from the wet flats to their camps. There were grass-trees along the pad that the pigs used for scratching them-selves, also marking their territory.


It had rained heavy a bit earlier. I said to Bobby "it's hard to tell if the signs are fresh or old". We knew where their camps were, so we followed the pad. We hadn't walked maybe 200yards and we could hear one of the dogs growl up in front of us. Then we could hear barking. We started to run along the pad, when I looked up the bitch roo-dog is standing there looking back at me wagging her tail. When I looked up the pad further I could see the arse end of a big boar, slowly trotting away from us. Then the bitch give a couple of silly barks and when I looked to where she was looking, there's another big boar standing there looking at us.


Then the pit-bull (Buller) lobs on the scene and the boar made a break for the wet flats. I hadn't long had this dog and he was still learning. We could hear them barking and when we got to them Bullers locked on to the big boars family jewels. It was a sight to see, the boar cork-screwing as fast as he can and the dogs legs are off the ground. After awhile the boars exhausted and he sits on his arse, no doubt protecting what the dog had hold of. Then he puts in another charge at the roo-dog and Buller gets his same grip again.


After awhile the boars had enough, he's sitting on his bum and he wasn't going to stand again. Buller was even biting him on the flanks and he still wouldn't stand up. My mate Bobby said "I'll go and get a big stick and hit him on the head". When he came back , he's got a small tree that he broke down, about 10 feet long and as thick as your arm. This is not a smart move as the boars got a fair set of tusks. When Bobby gets in range and hits him, I think it was too long and Bobby lost his accuracy. Also he's a bit off balance and the boar charges him, he's gone for all money. I think it was more luck than judgement. Bobby lifts one leg to protect himself, maybe he was thinking of the family jewels. The boar comes up under his leg he's protecting himself with and when he brings his head up trying to rip him, he throws Bobby over his back.


Only pig-hunters will know the speed of a big boar when he charges or the power he's got when he throws his head up to rip a dog. I can see Bobby running down the edge of the water along the flat and he skittles up a forky river-gum tree. When I went down to him, I've said before Bobby had a saying "he's a nasty critter isn't he and he can get f!!!ed for mine". We never had a rifle. I said "Bobby I'm going to have one more go at him". So I went up on the side of the hill and got a half a dozen rocks about the size of an orange. When I get back to the boar, he's in the sitting position again and Bullers biting his flanks again, but no way was he standing up.


The worse part about getting him with a rock, I had to approach him face on, hoping I could hit the fore-head and knock him out. Plus I had to get within maybe 30ft. The first shot I missed all together, the next shot hit down the side of the head. Before I could get another shot off he's up and after me. I dropped the rocks and headed down the flat towards Bobby and the forky tree. I've got over-alls on and rubber boots and it felt like I was in slow motion, mind you I was never that fast. I was lucky Buller had grabbed hold of him from behind a couple of times, which would have slowed him up. I can also hear Bobby yelling "keep running".


I knew he was right on me and I made a jump for a limb, maybe 6-7 feet off the ground, but I was going too fast and I couldn't hold my body weight, it flung me up in the air and I came down on my back. I curled up into a ball thinking I'm going to cop it. Bobby told me when I climbed up the tree and I was sitting along side of him, he said "he had you you know, if the pit-bull had not locked onto his arse again". We were sitting there thinking "stuff him we'll give him a miss".


Then we heard a voice yell out "what have you got". I yelled out not to come down any further the dogs have got a big boar. It turns out, he was the Manager of a farm a couple of kilometres away and he was on his boundary fence and heard the dogs barking. He had a rifle, so he shot the boar. It turns out it was a fella I went to school with and I didn't know he was managing that farm. Then he said "what are you going to do with the boar". I said "why's that". He said "I wouldn't mind it myself". I said "no worries, it's yours". He was a beautiful boar as fat as mud.


There were a lot of pigs feeding off this farm and the owner would have nothing to do with hunters. I finished up with permission to hunt the pigs. We even built a pig-sty on the farm. I'd supply the pigs and the manager would feed them and we'd go halves. It was good hunting, I had it to myself. There was only a couple of different fellas that were hunting pigs at that time and they were too scared to come near this property. I had the same deal with a few other farmers.


Bobby didn't have to tell me to keep running.


I remember another time when I went out to the farm where we built the pig-sty. He was going to introduce me to another farmer who had troubles with pigs. I picked up the brother in-law Neil and his two dogs Cobber and Sam. I think I only had the one dog Lady. My other dog or dogs must have been out of action. As we were heading out to catch up with the farmer, we come onto him on the highway heading into town. He said his generator had broken down and he had to go to town for a part. He said "I'll introduce you to the farmer another time". Then he said "there's a good mob of pigs coming in to the bottom end of my farm". I said "well we'll have a go at them".


As we're driving down his boundary fence on the inside. I said to Neil "we'll stop 4-500yards this side of where he told us they're coming in". Then we started to walk the dogs towards the wet flats where the pigs had been feeding. I know it was spring time, maybe November and we were still having the big winters which we don't seem to have any more. The fence had a dog-leg in it to the left and there was timber on the edge of the flats.


I was 30-50 yards to the right of Neil and it allowed me to look into the flat before Neil. Luck was on our side, I'm looking at the mob of pigs feeding in the clover, which was maybe 15" high. There was very little if any diggings. They were chewing the clover off like a cow would. I whistled to Neil and he came over to me, I said "have a look in the flat". He grabs me by the neck and throws me on the ground, so he'd get there first (I'm bull-shitting). But I bet you he thought about doing it. Mind you he wouldn't have to as he'd beat me every time.


We crept down to the edge of the timber and we were laying there looking at them. We counted 17, I think there were 4 big boars, 4 sows and the rest were 50-60lb. Neil said "I'll shoot one". I dunno why but I said "we'll just take what the dogs get". So we run the dogs at them, they were a bit scattered, but they know they are in trouble and they all come into a tight group and they ran inside  the thick t-tree that grows in the centre of the flat. I lost sight of Neil, even though we were only 30 yards apart.


Lady had one of the small pigs in the open, so I ran over and took it off her. Then I watched her put in across the open flat through the clover and I could see one of the smaller pigs she was heading for. All this time I could hear Neil yelling out for me, but I couldn't go to him I still had to tie the pig I had. I tied it as quick as I could and I can hear Lady with the other one squealing, so I had to run across the flat as quick as I could, knowing she would kill that size. Neil's still yelling out for me. It was too late, the pig was dead.


So I ran back towards Neil who was still yelling. Here he is with a sow about 100-120lb by the back leg with his left hand and a 50-60lb pig with his right hand. I took one of them off of him and we're crouched there tying them up. He said "my arms were nearly falling off". I said "you sissy prick, what about the time the fox had my thumb in his mouth and you were laughing". I still haven't got over that and it's 40 something years ago.


Neil said "what did you get". I told him I tied up one of the 60lb's and the bitch killed one as well. So we walked over to have a look at the one I tied. I'd also wedged him upside down in a flood-gum that forked at ground level. He was gone.  I'd tied him too quick trying to get to the other one that the bitch had on the other side of the flat. I think Neils dogs were still with us, but the bitch had been gone awhile. We waited for a long time and when she came back she was covered in blood. I said to Neil "she's killed one of the 50-60 pounders".


So I asked her to show me. She takes us back out of the farm and into the bush. Then takes us to a pig camp, which was a big hollow-butt tree. The pigs laying there dead. I said to Neil "it's the one I tied" the rope was still on one leg. She was a clean and fast killer, she would crush the scull of a pig that size. I've said before the bitch was a natural all rounder.


I remember taking  her out the bush when she was about 4 month old with Neils kangaroo dog Cobber and they put in after a kangaroo. Cobber was exceptionally fast as I've said before, there was no way the bitch was going to stay with them. I said to Neil "at least she's keen and trying to stay with them". We started to walk to where we last seen the dogs. When I look up here she is coming back to me, she's all excited running around me. Then heads off back to where she came from. I said to Neil "I think she might have been to the kill". Then we look up into the distance and Cobber was standing there with his kill. So that was the bitches first involvement in a kill. Like I've said she was a natural and couldn't wait to return to show us.The photo above shows the bitch in later life also an emu she had killed. The fella leaning over it is Terry True. Emus done a lot of damage to crops. They trample more than they ate. The Government once had a bounty on them two and sixpence a beak. They weren't wasted, I used them for dog meat as well. 


The photo above shows the bitch in later life also an emu she had killed. The fella leaning over it is Terry True. Emus done a lot of damage to crops. They trample more than they ate. The Government once had a bounty on them two and sixpence a beak. They weren't wasted, I used them for dog meat as well. 


A Young Fellas Experience

I remember this hunting trip like it was yesterday but it was 44 years ago. There were three of us, Bobby Carroll, the brother-inlaw Pete who was just back from Vietnam and we decided to head out on another one of our adventures too the Murray River. I've said before there were pools along the Murray that had too many marron in them and that's not a joke. I feel I done it justice by thinning them out a bit.  We had to travel maybe 60-70 klms to get to this particular pool and I would zigzag along many different bush tracks, increasing our chances of picking up a pig. The dogs we had at that time were not capable of scenting with the wind. So the more country you covered the better chances you had of coming onto a pig. They were pretty thick in them times. I remember once driving onto three different mobs  on the road.


This particular day a boar about 150-180lb runs across the road and the dogs were over the side and had him pretty quick. We took him alive, tied him and put him in the back. When we got to the spot where we were going to camp, we carried the boar down to the edge of the river. I think we made a better camp for him than we did for ourselves. We broke down a few small trees and bushes and laid him on top of them. Then we broke down some more and covered him over.


We put out a half a dozen marron baits and about mid afternoon we've got half a spud bag of marron. Bobby said "I think we've mis-judged this". I said "what Bob", he said "have a look at the esky, it's 3 quarters empty and I don't want to run the risk of running out". So we put the bag of marron in the river and tied it to a tree. We had about 30klms to travel to get to a bush Pub called Dwellingup. All three of us were quite excited knowing where we were going. I don't know how long we stayed. We filled the esky and headed back to our camp.


As we were approaching the Nanga Brook bridge that goes over the Murray, there was a lady leaning on the hand rails. One of the boys said "we'll ask her were the Murray river is". As we were pulling up I said "no we wont be cheeky". It's only a one lane bridge, so when I stopped she was only 4-5ft from my door. When I looked at her I could see something wasn't quite right. I asked her what she was up to, she said "my son is under the bridge and he's trying to catch a marron". I said "how old is he", I think she said 12. Then she said "we've been here most of the day and he hasn't seen one". She said "I haven't been able to stay down there with him, because I sprained my ankle pretty bad".


Then she said "what are you's doing". I said "we're camped up the river about 30klms from here and we're chasing marron as well, also pigs". She said "is it better up there for marron". I said "we've got half a bag laying in the river, that we caught earlier today". She said "would there be any chance of us following you back". They were in a little Torana Holden car. I said "the roads are pretty rough, but I think I could stay on the better bush tracks that would allow you to get there in your little car". She called out to the boy and told him to come up . I can still see that little fella looking at the pig dogs and when his mother told him they were going to follow us back to our camp and there was a lot of marron in the pools, you could see his face light up. Then I told him we had a wild pig tied up at the camp. So they followed us and it's all gravel road so I told her not to travel to close and the dust wont be a problem.


We'd only travelled 2 or 3 klms and we came onto an area that had recently been bull-dozed and cleared of all the natural forest. There were wind-rows of big Black-butt trees, Jarrah and Red-gum. They were all going to be burnt and replaced with pines. I can get carried away a bit here, but I wont. Environmentally Friendly, they're not.


As we were driving along one of us spots pigs about 4-500 yrds away on the side of the  cleared hill and they're running through a gap in the wind-rows. The dogs didn't know they were there, so we had to run them across the creek and up the big hill. The dogs know something is going on but they can't work it out, there is no scent. There's a good chance the dogs were thinking we were drunk, if they were ,they were right. We finished up with two about 30lb. We took them back and put em in the ute. When we got back to our camp we took the two pigs down and put them with the boar.


Then we showed the young fella how to snare a marron and he took to it like a duck to water. I'm sorry but I cannot remember the young fella or his mothers name. I remember she said she was a hostess. I didn't ask about the father or why he was not with them, if she had wanted us to know she would have told us I suppose. I knew one of the pigs would not make it so I killed and dressed him and hung him in a tree. Later that night when the young fella was still catching marron I cut up some of the pig and his mother cooked it.


I cant remember what time we ended up going to sleep, but the young fella would have stayed up all night if he was allowed to. It's an experience I don't think he would ever have forgot. He slept by the fire with Bobby, Peter and myself and the pig dogs. His mum slept in the car. The next day we took them back to the Nanga Bridge where we first met them. I'm not too sure if it was 2 dozen or 4 dozen marron they took home, or that might have been how many cans we drank that night I'm not too sure.


(If the mother or the boy reads this on my web-page it would be nice to hear from you in the guest book.)


Bushed


I came onto the two gentlemen above while I was pig-hunting. They told me they were lost. They'd come through the back way from the city and they were trying to find a little hotel called Quindanning, which is in farming country and surrounded by the Jarrah forest. They were driving a panel-van also towing a closed in trailer. They were both tradesmen, I think one was a bricky and the other one maybe a carpenter, or they were both brickies, not sure. Another thing they weren't Aussies and they had trouble pronouncing Quindanning. There were too many bush-tracks they had to take for me to tell them which ones. So I told them to follow me and I would take them out to a major road that would take them to Quindanning.


As we were driving through the different bush tracks. I said to the fella with me "they're sitting too close". So I pulled up, walked back to them. I told them that the dogs hunt with the wind while we're travelling and if they pick up scent they will generally go over the tail-gate and back up the road to where they first picked up the scent. So it's better if you stay back a bit giving you time to pull up. We hadn't travelled much further and that's just what happened. They jumped out of their car and they watched the dogs come back a past them, then the dogs left the road and went into a swamp.


We were standing there talking to them. One of them said "do you reckon it's pigs" I said "I know it is. They don't do this for anything else but pig" and it wasn't long before they started barking. As you can see he's not a very big boar, but he had a fair set of tusks. We heard one of the dogs howl, it was Rebel, who I've told a few stories on. So I went in and shot the boar. Rebel was only a young dog and I watched him go back up to the ute. I knew he was wounded by the way he was walking.


The two fellas carried the pig back to the road and when I checked Rebel out, it's no wonder he was walking a bit funny. The boar had caught him with his tusks and taken the pad off both his testicles and they were exposed. He was out of action for a few weeks. The two gentlemen said "what are you going to do with the pig". I said "do you want him". they said "we wouldn't mind trying it". I think they only took  both back legs. This is maybe 30years back or more. I forget the two fellas names. But if you happen to read this, let me know in the guest-book. 


Memories of a Child


The photo above shows my father and myself in the mid 60's. I'm holding the back leg of a pig that I shot while walking through the bush hunting kangaroos for the pet-meat shop. I've said before if the pig is on good tucker, they're good eating. I remember dressing another wild pig one time that was as fat as mud, it had been feeding on clover that was maybe 15" high. The wife cooked a roast from this pig and while we were eating it the boys asked "what sort of meat is this" and when they finished they asked if they could have some more. Not very often kids will comment on what they are eating other than it's nice. But they wanted to know what sort of meat it was. 


I remember another time I'd left home before daylight, allowing me to get to a farm that had problems with pigs. After I drove around for awhile, I realised they hadn't come in that night so I went out into the bush and drove around hoping to find them. I was in a 64 EH Holden sedan, which you can see behind my left arm in the photo. I only had the one kangaroo dog at that time. I'd take the back seat out of the car and he'd stand with his head out the window. Whenever I drove onto fresh diggings, I'd pull up and take the dog for a walk, hoping there was enough scent on the ground so he might track them. More often than not, I'd miss out.


This particular day I decided to give it a miss, it was getting close to mid-day. When I got home, the wife had lunch ready. It was a Sunday, she said "why don't we take the kids to the football". Which we had done many Sunday afternoons. A lot of the mates would be there as well. Before half-time they'd be half pissed and when the siren went to end the first half, we'd be all out on the ground kicking a football.


One fella stands out in my mind Rossy Ingram alias Porky. He had a problem with the drink. I can see him taking his high-fliers or spekky's, so Porky thought. He wouldn't get 2 feet off the ground and he'd come down on his belly every time. Many of the cars would toot their horn. I think he got more applause than the game itself when it was on.


This particular afternoon when we get to the oval, there's no parking room. I said to the wife, "I don't really want to walk in and watch the game", I said "what about if we go back home, grab the kangaroo dog and go out the bush". She agreed.


As we were driving around the outside of the paddock where I'd been that morning at daybreak. I let the dog out on a big male kangaroo. Which I would have sold to the pet-meat shop to cover my fuel. The dog came back about 10 minutes later and he was favouring one of his legs. When I had a look, he'd cut the main pad in half. So I had to give it a miss and head home.


As I was travelling along one of the bush tracks, which I had also travelled along that morning. I come onto pig diggings. They'd ploughed up the road over my car tracks from the morning. I told the missus that they were in range and I want to go for a walk. Even though the dog was on three legs, he was keen. The wife said we have to go home now, it's getting close to feed time for the bub, she was still breast-feeding. We'd left him with the mother-inlaw. So we drove off.


The oldest boy Dave was maybe 3 and was standing on the front seat between the wife and myself. They were bench seats, not like today. We'd only travelled about a kilometre. As we were going around a bend I looked up in front and there were 7 pigs standing in the middle of the road. Two black ones and the rest were black and white. I said before in the early times we didn't score too often. The dog could see the pigs through the front windscreen and was bouncing all over the place. I jumped out and opened the back door and the dog was gone. I think he forgot about his cut pad.


I grabbed the rifle and was running the way the dog had gone. I looked to my right maybe a couple of hundred yards and I can see the biggest of the pigs which was an all black boar, maybe just short of 200lb and he wasn't travelling to fast. So I decided to run after him. When I got to maybe 50yards off him there was a small tree in front of me. When I got to it I yelled out as loud as I could and he stopped instantly. I lent off the little tree and fired, he didn't know what hit him.


Then I could hear the dog barking. When I caught up with him, he had the other black pig which also was a boar, maybe 140-150lb.  I wanted to try and take him alive but the roo-dog was not a grabber, he was actually scared of pigs. So I knew I had to grab the pig myself. They usually back up to a tree or a log and I'd sneak in from the side and grab the back legs. He was savager than the average pig and he would put in bursts after the dog. Like I said he was scared and he'd disappear for a few minutes. Then I'd watch him come sneaking back looking for the pig, I think he was tiptoeing.


I'd lent the rifle up along the side of a tree and I was sneaking to a log  where the boar had bayed up against to protect his back. It's best if they don't see you, but he did and he charged the dog. He only went 40-50ft, the dog had disappeared. Then he looks back at me and charges. I stood there thinking the logs too big for him, but it wasn't. He'd cleared it and I'm standing there flat footed. He hit me between my knee and my thigh. I'm not too sure if I scrambled over the log or jumped it in fright. After about another 15-20 minutes I'd had enough. So I ran back to the car.


The wife and the young fella went back with me to where I'd shot the big boar. I cut the head off and gutted him and it was a real battle for the wife and myself to get him into the boot. I could still hear the dog barking in the distance with the other one. I said to the wife "I'm going back and I think I'll shoot him". When I got to them, I decided to have another go at taking him alive. So I lent the rifle up against the tree again. But I couldn't handle him. He broke away a couple of more times and went further into the bush.


I caught up to him again and I'm standing there looking at him and I decided to give it a miss and let him go. Then I heard the wife say "how big is it". When I looked around she was standing there with our three year old in her arms. I said "get behind a tree". Then I went over to her and we walked back to the car. I'd left the gun a couple of hundred yards back leaning on a tree. She didn't realise the risk she had taken. I said "I'm going back and if I cant get the dog off the pig I'll shoot it".


As I was heading back I picked up my gun and when I get to about 100yards from where the dogs got him bayed. The boar looks up and sees me. Straight away he runs at me. I've seen this happen before, the dogs had him too long and he knows he's got the dog beat. That's when they'll charge anything that moves. So I fired and hit him between the eyes as he was coming up to me. 


Would you believe 5 years later, I'm driving passed  where this took place, I've got a friend with me Terry True also my young bloke who is now 8 years old. He said "Dad this is where we drove onto those pigs with Mum". I said to Terry "you don't realise what he has said, it was 5 years ago and he was only 3". Then the young fella said "we weren't going this way we were coming from the other way".


There was a big jarrah tree on the edge of the bush-track, which the Forest Dept used as a reference tree. They would cut a big pyramid shape  scarf out of the side of the tree, paint it white with black serial numbers on it. The forest workers would check their map for the serial numbers and they'd know their location in the bush. So no doubt the young fella knew that tree was on his left when we drove onto the pigs. No doubt because we were there so long that day sorting things out, the young fella must have zeroed in on the big white scar on the side of the tree and it stayed with him. Like I've said these are true stories and good memories.


Feral Pigs out of Control


This story was in our local paper.



Wild Pigs from the Past


The photo above was taken in 1911. If you look at the base of the building you can see two little wild pigs that have been tied and I would say they may have run them down on horse back. I'd also suggest it's a wild horse or brumby. When you think a sow can have maybe 12 or 14 in a litter or more, you don't have to be too smart to work it out. If it wasn't for the pig hunter they would be in plague proportion, as I've already stated in previous stories.


There're stories I've heard from old bushmen how the wild pig originated. They told me back in the past, maybe in the days of the depression and earlier, farmers would take their domestic pigs to the markets and nobody wanted them there was no sale. Times were hard, he could not afford to take them back to his farm and keep feeding them so halfway home, they would pull up in the bush or forest and release them by the truck load.


One story was the farmers young sons would walk some of the pigs from the farm into the forest so they could feed on whatever they could find. Again trying to survive the hard times and many were lost and became wild pigs.


Another story I was told was when some of the old bush settlements closed down they released  their domestic pigs into the forest. There's a lot of genuine pig hunters around today. The next sequence of photos show the different breeds that were released. 


The first  shows a ginger pig (Tamworth). The second  shows a black pig (Berkshire) and the third is a saddleback (Tamworth lge white cross) The 4th is all white, no doubt a throw back to the large white. I've caught many pigs that have all these colours in one.





I remember one big mob of pigs a farmer estimated 40 and he said there were ginger and white amongst them and that made me more determined to catch up with them. There was something about a ginger or ginger combination that turned me on. Another farmer  told me about this mob, he'd gone to visit one night and he drove onto the big mob in his headlights, he also estimated 40 (roughly).


I decided to head out this one morning before daylight. I had an old friend with me that I'd grown up with Derek Watts (now deceased) We pulled up at the boundary fence. I said to Derek "I'm going to walk along the boundary fence on the road" and I said "you give me 20 minutes and drive up to find me". As I was walking there was a pad coming under the fence and into the bush. I could see the tracks of two big pigs and a litter. There couldn't have been any scent on them the dogs weren't interested.


The american pit-bull Buller was still learning the game. Also Lady the kangaroo dog. I watched the two dogs go over the brow of the hill in front. They were no sooner out of sight and they cranked up barking big time.  It was towards the end of summer  and the fire break on the inside of the fence was dry and dusty. As I'm running I could see a big cloud of dust rising up on the other side of the hill. I knew my dogs knew better, I couldn't help but think it was a mob of sheep.


But when I came over the hill I'm looking at the big mob of pigs roughly 30. They're on the inside of the fence in a tight clump and the noise they make turns a pig-hunter on. The dogs are on the outside and they can't get through the fence, it was made with rabbit-proof netting. Straight away I'm looking for the ginger and whites, they were not there.


The dogs are banging into the fence trying to get through, the pigs are still in a tight clump thinking there's safety in numbers. They'll do this in open country when there's no thickets or swamps to run too. They eventually start to scatter. I got hold of the pit-bull and threw him over the fence, I can't remember if I threw the roo dog or she cleared it herself. When it settles down and it's all over I've got two nice pigs tied, we loaded them into the ute and we continued  hunting.


I'd taken a few different bush tracks. It's maybe an hour since I hit the big mob, when the pit-bull starts to play up on the back, spinning around in circles and howling. When I pulled up he goes over the tailgate and back up the road from were I come from maybe 3-400 yards and disappears into the bush the roo-dog with him. I ran back to where they left the road and there's a well used pig pad with fresh tracks heading the way the dogs went. So I started to run along the pad knowing it was going to be on.


I could hear a big pig squealing I get to about 100 yards from them and here's 2 ginger and white pigs coming back towards me, about 20 pounders.  I take the pig off the dogs which was maybe 100lb all black, they're gone again and they get another one roughly 100lb and black. The suns well up now and getting a bit warm, the dogs are starting to feel it. Derek and myself carry the two pigs back to the ute.


The pig-pad the dogs got these pigs on was the same one that came under the rabbit-proof fence that I said the dogs paid no attention to, so these two mobs would have been together when the farmer seen them. I said to Derek "I would have liked to have got those ginger and whites". It was getting too hot now and I said "we'll head home". We're about 3-4klms from where we hit the second lot, I cant believe my eye's a mob of pigs come across the road, two ginger and whites, the dogs are over the side and gone again. They finish up with two more black ones and I was thinking I wasn't meant to get one of those ginger and whites.


I'm not too sure if this is right or what, three or four years later, I'm maybe 10klms from where the ginger and whites were and the dogs start barking, they've got a mob bayed and I take two ginger and white sows off of them, maybe 150 pounders. If they were the same pigs they'd put on maybe 120lb. I released them. They were feeding young.


Bad Day From Start To Finish


The photo above was taken in 1967 it's me with my oldest boy Dave who's 49 next birthday and like all my boy's he loved to go out the bush for whatever reason we were out there. I'd like to forget this day. I'd gone down to visit my mother and father who lived down the road from our house 3-400yards. We'd been there a little while and I said to the wife I'm going to take the dogs out for a quick run.


Dave was maybe 4 years old then, he asked if he could come. I told him he couldn't as I was going to go for a walk, he started to cry and the wife said "take him out for a drive". I think we were poking tongues at each other. She walked off into the house and as I was reversing out of the driveway, Dave come running out to the car pleading to take him, I give in and told him to hop in. Then we headed out.


It's winter and the area I was going to hunt  was Wandoo country and the old bushmen used to say "it would bog a duck". I knew this and I knew not to go off the road. I drove onto some fresh pig diggings, so I let the two dogs out to hunt along the road in front of me. One was the American pit-bull and the other was the roo-dog bitch. I watched them pick up speed and leave the road to go across the flat, which was maybe 200 yards wide and covered in water maybe a foot deep. I told Dave they were on to pigs and that I had to go after them, also I said you're not to get out of the car for any reason.


I knew this country real good and the way they were heading, I thought the pigs were going to be in the farmers paddocks. Way off in the distance I could hear the dogs barking. They're just short of the paddocks in a thick tea-tree creek that's covered with tangle-weed a very thin vine that grows across the tea-tree and all the low shrubs, you cannot walk through it. It's that strong you can lay on top of it and it will support your weight. The only way I can get to the other side where the dogs are barking is on my hands and knees and crawl under the tangle weed. It's a bit awkward when you've got a rifle in your hand.


When I got into the open bush on the opposite side I started to run along the edge of the thicket. The dogs were barking maybe 200 yards away from the thicket on the side of a open hill. So I thought if I get between the thicket and the pig it might stay up in the open country. I was thinking the pig might be a bit scared of me, I should have known better the dogs had had it for a long time. It knows it's got the dogs beat and they will attack the next thing they see move.


It's about 100kilo all black sow and it charges at me, I could have stood my ground and shot it as it was heading for me but I wouldn't shoot a sow as good as this one. I thought I could outrun it to some river gums and black-boys for protection. I was at top speed myself with a gun in my hand when she hit me in the cheek of the arse and the thigh. The force took my legs from under me and ploughed me into the side of a black-boy. Lucky the pit-bull grabs her by the back end and she forgets about me. I walked off thinking stuff the pig and I knew the dogs would give her a miss before too much longer.


I started to run back to the car knowing it was fast getting dark and the young feller would be starting to get a bit scared. When I got in range of the car I could hear him crying. He said "I was busting for a pee". I think that was a cover up he was scared. It wasn't long before the two dogs turned up.


Thinking my troubles were over, again I was wrong, they were just starting. I done something you don't do in Wandoo or boggy country in winter. I reversed down hill to turn the car around and both back wheels went down and the cars sitting on it's belly. I knew there was no way I was going to get it out. It's as dark a night as you will get and no torch. I've got maybe 6-7 klms to walk through the winding bush tracks.


I've got the young feller on my shoulders and every kilometre or so I would put him down and he would walk for a little bit. To keep him interested I would light up a black-boy or grass tree. They only take about 5 minutes to burn out, then I'd start to carry him again. Then he said "can we light another straw tree".


I was pretty happy to see the light from the farmers house. I left the young feller with the farmers wife and we went back on his tractor. We had it out in very short time, then headed back to his farm. As we were heading home along a bitumen highway, I was thinking it was a hunt that you'd like to forget.


Worse was to come, when I pulled into the driveway the wife was standing there and I could see something wasn't right. She said "you didn't tell me you were taking the little feller with you". I couldn't believe I'd done that. Then she said what have you done to the side of your neck. There were 3 or 4 scratch marks down the side of my neck and the black soot from the base of the black-boy had gone into the wounds. It was too sore to wash out so I had to leave it. The next day I was going to my cousins wedding and a bit embarrassed about the black scratches.


The photo below shows how these grass-trees would explode in fire in less than two minutes. Over the years I've done this countless times. The wife and the boys all standing around it to get warm on a cold night, many times gutting rabbits by the light of the fire. This is only done in the middle of winter when the ground is water-logged otherwise you could start a bushfire. 



Pauls Camp


I got to know Paul through a friend of mine, who has since passed away Barry Carroll a brother of my good mate Bobby Carroll. They both lived the same life  style camped near the water when possible. Pauls been doing this for maybe 10-12 years and I think the rules state he has to move every 28 days, so he's got quite a few different locations that he move's to and he's named them all. He abides by the rules 100%.


The first thing he will do when he moves to a different location is clean up the rubbish that's been left by other people and on his way into town to get supplies he will drop off the rubbish in one of the big bins the Shire has left in different areas closer to town. He will also wander the banks of the Wellington Weir looking for rubbish to take to those bins. Over the years he's befriended many different people who camped with in range of him. Like the next photo shows.


Paul's  on the left then Kerry standing, his son Brody sitting in front of him then  Tarnia with her arm around him, the next two are Tarnia's sons (sorry if I spelt your name wrong Tarnia). They're all Kiwis except Paul and a good mob. If you look close at the fire there's two camp ovens covered with hot coals, like the next photo shows.


The photo above shows Tarnia stirring the contents of the camp oven with a post hole shovel. Would you believe they asked me if I wanted a feed, joke she's putting coals on top of the camp oven. I went out there another night I'd promised the boy's I'd take them rabbiting as the next photo shows. We finished up with seven. When we got back to the camp the oldest boy couldn't wait to tell his mum, he'd shot his first rabbit. A bit later Tarnia walked over to me with a plate of meat and vegetables that she'd just taken out of the camp oven and it doesn't come any tastier. 


Another night I'd gone out to visit Paul to have a coffee with him. I'd often give him vegetables from the garden. We were sitting at his camp, the wind was getting stronger and there was heavy rain coming at us. I said to Paul that a farmer had told me that he was having a lot of trouble with wild pigs digging up his paddocks. I told him I'd have a go at them with the rifle, even though I know longer hunt and I have no pig-dogs, they still turn me on.


It was about an hour and a half off dark and the farm was only ten minutes from Pauls camp. We'd had a bit of a storm two day's earlier as well, I said to Paul "there's a good chance the pigs will come in early, because they wouldn't have been able to feed as much as they'd like to due to the storms." As I drove over the brow of the hill looking over the paddock, I could see all the pig diggings. Then I looked into the distance and I could see seven pigs on the boundary fence just inside the paddock.


I had my rifle and a five month old pup that was a pet, not used for hunting. I knew I'd mess it up if I had a go at them, so I decided to head for town which was about 20 minutes away. I called into my nieces sons place, who has got three or four good pig-dogs and knocks off a lot of pigs. When I walked into his house, he was sitting at the table with his missus and his two kids. I said "do you want to shoot a pig". I'd told him what I'd seen and that we didn't have much time before dark. Alyce said "me and the kids are coming too."


As we were all heading out I said to Nathan "how many bullets does the rifle take". I think he said four in the magazine and one in the breach. The rifles a 243 and it can knock a pig over at long range. I said " put 5 extra bullets in your pocket". When we came over the hill and looking into the distance I said  "the pigs were heading over the hill to the left of the photo and out of sight". Then he said " look here in front of us" and the seven pigs were in the middle of the paddock feeding and coming towards us.


He gets out and walks over to a fence post and squats down, using the post to steady the gun on. Alyce is standing along side of the ute and the two little ones Max & Lily are standing on the back. After awhile Alyce said "why is he taking so long to shoot". I said "he might be trying to pick the best one", also there were two young pigs about 20-30 lb and I thought he might have been trying to avoid shooting the mother.


When he finally pulled the trigger Alyce said "two pigs fell over" and that's why he was taking so long waiting for two of them to be in line with each other. He hit the first one through the side of the skull just above the eye and the second one was closer enough to the heart area. I didn't actually check it but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a hole in the heart.


When I told Nathan to put 5 extra bullets in his pocket I was thinking there was a chance if he knocked the first pig down clean the others would get confused and stay there along side the one he'd shot and that's what they done. He fired again knocking another big one down and the other four ran for the bush line. He fired again and dropped the next biggest. So there's four pigs laying on the ground with three shots.


There's a chance he might have got the other three which was the sow and the two 20-30 pounders. But he'd run out of bullets. I said "how come you run out of bullets". He said "I don't know I must have ejected one bullet onto the ground and the other one's fell out of my pocket, when I was crouched down going from one fence post to the next". Why he stood a chance to get the other three, was in the confusion, they'd run back into the paddock.


The next photo shows Nathan, Alyce, Max & Lily and three of the four pigs, we dropped one off with Paul to try. My freezers full again. 



Wild Pig Movie From the Past

The above video shows you some short clips of pig hunting from the past, early 70's. At the start of it you will see were we throw a jumper to the pig also a hessian bag and generally as the pig grabs it the dog will grab the pig. I think it's the second last clip shows myself with a big sow, I'm holding on to the back legs. The last clip shows how lucky a dog can be. The boar has got big tusks and the dog was not marked.


The video was taken by Terry True who passed away recently. He also owned the black and white dog, Brutus one of my breed. The red dog is Rusty, brother to Brutus. The other dog is Lady, their mother.


If you've read some of my previous stories you'll know that Terry also had a camera and it's thanks to him that I've got photo's that I shouldn't have. One of the stories that I told on him, was when he stood his ground when a big boar charged him.


Terry was a gun collector and eventually became a gun dealer. The little room where he kept his collection was like Fort Knox and if he wasn't working, that's where you'd find him. I've said in the past Terry was a jack of all trades and he mastered the lot. He had a wonderful outlook. He seemed to get off on saving people money. I remember one time walking into Terry's back yard, there's a front-end loader with a gentleman standing along side of it. We introduced ourselves, he said "you won't believe the trouble I had with this machine until I met Terry". He said "I told Terry that the machine kept pinging it's right hand front axle. I'd had it replace a few times". The first thing that came out of Terry's mouth was I know what the problem is." The right hand front tyre is new and the left hand side is bald. The new tyre over loads the right hand axle."


When Terry had finished the job the gentleman asked how much he owed, Terry said $300. The gentleman give him $500 and he told me he was expecting it to be a lot more than that. 


 The photo above shows Terry with his arm around the American Pit-bull. When I first got the dog he used to stand on the little lip at the base of the back window and sometimes when I swerved in the bush to go around something the dog would slide off. I said to Terry "he'll kill himself one day". He said "leave your ute at my place  and I'll make you a frame". As you can see.


I was working in the Shire at the time. When I knocked off work this day and I got to my ute, there's a fella standing there, checking out the frame. He was a welder by trade. He said "Jock who done this". I told him Terry had done it. I think it was oxy welding. The fella said "it don't come better than this". I said the best thing about it, there was no charge.

I remember another time it was summer and stinking hot, the dogs had had a run and were hanging out for water. There were three of us in the ute Bobby Carroll, Terry in the middle and myself driving. I said "we'll take the dogs to the Treesville water catchment". Treesvlle is an abandoned Settlement in the middle of our forest. As we came up to the wall, there's a few bushes and scrub.


This was the first time I'd seen life at the Treesville water hole, human that is. Two women came out of no where stark bollock naked. Terry screamed "don't look Jimmy", he panicked he usually calls me Jock. They disappeared into the car. The two fellas that were with them just stood in the water, like they should have done. Bobby said "you've got to have a win now and then".


The photo below shows the Treesville water catchment. I would imagine it was done in the day of horse and scoop. You can see they've put face cut's or timber that was cut from the mill to reinforce the wall. On the opposite side of the wall at the base, they'd sunk a couple of wells, also a couple more further down. Bobby hunted the wild horses in this area or brumbies as they're known. There was talk that some of the old bushmen or brumby hunters had lowered a wooden carton of big bottles of beer on a rope and it snapped and it's still there today.


What would be nice is if the Authorities or the people who have the power were to take a machine out and make the Treesville water hole deeper. I would say it's dry after the winter we've had and it wouldn't take half a day to get a result. It holds water most years. There's very little water in the surrounding bush.


The next photo shows Terry sitting on a mean boar, not in size but in build.


The photo below shows Bobby and Terry carrying a pig. 


I remember when Terry was living in Busselton and he used to travel up to Collie to go out pig hunting with us in the late 60's early 70's. This day we go out hunting in the Murray River area and as we're driving around, taking the little bush tracks and formations looking for pigs, I said to Terry "the marron are thick here". I didn't know it had been a long time since Terry had had a feed of marron. I said "if you want a feed, hop on the back and shoot a couple of birds for bait". I always left the snare stick and wire hanging in a tree.


When we get to the pool, Bobby said "I ain't going marroning". He told me what tracks he was going to stay on and to  catch up with him when we were done marroning. It might have taken a couple of hours. I think it was 4 dozen all as bigger marron as you would get out of a river. We decided to head off and look for Bobby and the dogs. Would you believe a mob of pigs came out in front of us, no dogs and no Bobby!  They were two good mates and there's many more stories on them.


Watching Pups Learn


The photo above shows Rusty on the right and two of his son's Rocky and Buller. They're roughly six months old and fast becoming top dogs. I remember taking the two pups out by themselves, they were roughly 4 months old and already they had been around a lot of pigs. I'd gone out to the head of the Harris River. I parked my car and walked the pups up one side roughly for a couple of kilometers, then I cut over to the opposite side and walked them back to the car.


The pigs were thick in them times and the river bed was upside down with diggings. It was towards the end of summer and the river had broken down into little pools and I've said before between the pools the river bed was covered with reeds and the pigs used to roll them up like carpets looking for worms and frogs. The pups were keen, disappearing up the river in front of me, then they'd come back jumping all over me being silly.


When I look back at all my hunting with top wind scenting dogs I think watching a couple of pups running around like they were and hoping we'd score, gave me a thrill equal to any. When I got back to within range of my car I realized we weren't going to do any good. The pups were travelling alright in the back of the ute by themselves. I decided to head for a power-line they had just put through in the middle of the forest.


As I'm driving along the power-line I was thinking of a mob of pigs that I had drove onto along the same power-line about a month earlier with the same two pups also the wife and the kids. There were two sows and maybe half a dozen eight 30 pounders. I've told this story before, it was the pups first catch, they got one of the 30 pounders. As I'm travelling, I'm watching the pups in the rear-view mirror, they're going from side to side throwing their head around looking every bit as good as their parents.


I couldn't believe my eyes as I came over a crest of a hill looking into the distance I could see the same mob. I put my foot down, the pups could see them and they're going mad in the back. I locked the brakes, more so to put the pups off balance so they wouldn't go over the side while I was going fast. I watched them disappear, heading the way I had last seen the pigs. As I was running up to were they had gone, I heard one pup barking to my right then the other one started barking 3-400 yards to my left in a dry creek bed. I ran to the one on my right first, it was the mother of the 30 pounders. So I quickly ran down to the creek. I wasn't there long and the other pup turned up.


They had it bayed for maybe half an hour. She was a big sow maybe 130-150lb and fat as mud. The pups were right in her face but weren't game enough to grab her. We'd got away from the car maybe 4-500 yards. I started throwing small granite rocks and bits of wood at her, hoping she would go back towards the car, which she did. Now I was going to try and take her myself as she was having a go at the pups, but she starts to go away from the ute again. I quickly cut her off and the pups had got her bayed again.



I started to think she was going to put it over us and that's the last thing I wanted for the pups. I've got two or three lumps of granite the size of an apple. I walk towards her and I threw one of the lumps as hard as I could, it hit her between the eyes on the forehead and went down like she'd been hit by a 303. I couldn't believe my luck. I quickly pulled her onto her side and I'm kneeling on her tying her two legs together, then rolls her over to tie the other two legs and starts thinking she should have moved by now. I looked and her eyes were wide open, I touched one with my finger and she didn't blink, stone motherless dead.  


First and Last Pig-hunt


The photo above shows myself, the dog is Buller who I've told many stories on and the pigs are both boars maybe 70-80lb. If a photo could talk it's telling you I'm stuffed. The dogs got these two a long way from the car and rather than make two trips we carried them both on a stick and when your getting to the exhausted stage and they both start to kick whilst your still carrying them, it bites into your shoulder. Which makes it sore when you put pressure on it for a couple of days. Terry True took this photo over 40 years back.


Another time I took two fellas out, it was their first pig hunt and their last. I worked with them under-ground in the Coal Mines (Jimmy and Martin), they were brother inlaws and liked to hackle each other, especially under-ground. Most the miners will do the same, especially if you've got a weak spot.


This is every word the truth. Jimmy and Martin are sitting at separate tables having their lunch. There's maybe 15-20 miners. When they finish eating they are either playing dominos or a card game called euchre. Many half hearted arguments start up between the different miners.


Martins got a couple of lamingtons in his lunch box, he comments to Jimmy how good they are, he leaves one for when he knocks off at the end of the shift. When he goes to get the lamington, it's gone! Now they're walking up the tunnel towards the surface Jimmy say's "hey Martin look here". Martin turns his head and shines his light on Jimmy in time to see the last of the lamington going down. He says "tell my sister they're tasty".


A couple of days later they're sitting at the table having lunch and playing dominos and cards. Jimmy pulls out a large block of chocolate, gives a couple of piece's too two or three of his mates then folds the top over and puts the chocolate back in his lunch box. When they're finished their shift and are walking up the tunnel to the surface. Martin say's "hey Jimmy look". Martins got the half block of chocolate and he's making a mess of it, big bites. Jimmy said "give it back Martin". He say's "no it's too nice" and Jimmy watches him swallow the last big lump. Martins licking his lips saying "that was nice Jimmy".


Then Jimmy say's "Martin you've just swallowed a half a block of Laxettes". Just in case there are a few of you that don't know what Laxettes are or does, you can buy it at the chemist and if you're bound-up and unable to go to the toilet a couple of squares will shift you and make you go. I didn't witness this.


The first time I got knowledge of it I was coming up onto the surface, after-noon shift. I was what they call riding the belt. As I stepped off and onto the ground and I'm walking over to the main area where the miners have their showers and put their lights away. I can hear them  all erupting in laughter. As I'm getting closer I can see the outline of a fella by himself.  I realized it was Martin. I said "what's going on mate" meaning all the miners laughing.

He said "Jock you won't believe what the bastards done too me". I said "who". He said "that prick of a brother inlaw" and he  tells me the whole story of how he came to eat a half a block of laxettes. I'm trying to hold back the laughter, it's killing me I didn't want him to know. Martins six foot four and not an ounce of fat.


I've heard of different people taking two or three squares and that done the job. Martins swallowed maybe ten. I'm looking up at him, I said "how ya feeling". He said "I am feeling funny in the belly and I'm getting movements there". That was me I burst out laughing and walked off among the other miners. The next day at the start of the shift I walked up to Martin and asked what sort of night he had. I think he said the best part of the night, he was on the toilet. (true story) 


First & Last Pig-hunt Contd


The photo above shows Jimmy on the left, the one who fed his brother in-law laxettes. The other gentleman is Kim Addis he worked in Jimmy's crew underground. I would say he was a witness to the laxette episode. If you have a close look at Jims face you can see the agony. There were two pigs on this stick, we'd left one on the ground so they could lift this one into the ute. Also they had carried the pigs from a long way off. When they first started, I said "you can carry one back to the ute and then we will have to return to carry the second". They said "we'll carry the two at once". I knew their angle, they didn't want to do the trip twice. I've done this myself a thousand times, more hundreds.


Part of the way back they're starting to complain. The pigs are alive and when one wiggles, the other one will too and it makes the stick bite into your shoulder, real bad. When we were standing at the ute and it's all but over, we realized the dogs are still not with us. So while we were waiting for them, we decide to have a smoke. I said I'll fire the rifle a couple of times, hoping to bring them back. Jimmy said "what are you going to shoot at". I said "nothing in particular just to bring the dogs back". He said "I bet you can't hit that Banksia nut in the tree up in front of us". I said "that's a pretty easy shot Jim". He say's "I think you'll miss it".


Like I've said before he liked to stir people up but it was all in good fun and I was tarred with the same brush. I said "Jimmy do you want to throw your packet of tailor-mades in the air as high as you can and let me have a shot at it". He was quick to except the challenge. When he walked over to pick up his cigarettes, there was a hole through the flat side not the fat side it took out most of his smokes. This is the start of his first and last hunt. He'd already gone through a lot but there was worse to come.


When I got to work the next morning, day shift. I can see Jimmy in amongst the miners. I knew his shoulder would be bruised and sore, so I walk up behind him, put my hand on his right shoulder and asked him how he was going as I pushed down. His knees give way as he moaned. Then he said "I've got red marks all over my belly and neck and I've been scratching like a mongrel dog". He'd copped a bad dose of pepper-tick, so bad he went to the doctors.


I don't know if the doctor knew what he was about, I think Jimmy had scratched some of the bodies off leaving the head behind. The doctor give him whatever to rub on them, it took weeks for them to come good. They're called pepper-tick because they are the size of a grain of pepper. I've had them and I think anyone who has hunted the bush would also have come up against them.


There's a few different methods used to get rid of them. I believe the most successful way to get rid of any tick from the bush is a hot needle and very lightly and quickly poke them on the bum, leave it for a minute and then repeat that  a few times. Most times he's all but dead when he releases and the head will stay with him. Even then you will still scratch for a few days.


Back in the 90's, late 80's the wife and myself were picking wild-flowers for a living, mainly foliage and we were in coastal country, the worst there is or as bad as you can get for ticks. Another place which is bad for ticks is in pine plantations, especially along the creeks where the natural shrubs are still growing, I believe the reason is, no fires or very little burn-offs in these areas. So at the end of each shift after picking, we'd have what we called the tick patrol. If someone had a bit of an itchy spot, some-one would check it. In the coastal country they're known as boomer tick or kangaroo ticks.


This particular day the wife has got a kangaroo tick on her back-side, high up on the ridge. I said to a couple of the others that were picking with us." I will show you how to get a tick off". One of them strikes a match while I heat the needle. I said "you watch as I tip him you will see his legs move". These ticks are half the size of your little finger nail.


I knew the missus was all ears as I was telling these people, so I put the hot needle as quick as I could on the missus arse, three inches from the tick. She give a little cackle. She's had quite a few ticks taken off over the time and she knows you have a little mishap now and then, but not three inches. I think the other ones started to laugh and that give it away. 


Roo-Drive


The photo above shows myself on the left and a fella that done quite a bit of hunting with me in the past, Graham Oliver. The brother in-law Neil took the photo. The gun Grahams holding is a 310 and they're not a bad little rifle in close quarters or inside a swamp, the rifle belonged to Neil, it was licenced and it was given to him by a policeman, the one that held the torch while I shot my first trout.


This is one of those photo's that if anyone said here's a million dollars tell me where the photo was taken, I couldn't. 


I remember another time with Graham, the dogs had gone missing and we'd been waiting for them for quite a while. We were walking along an old rail-way formation from back in the past. There were signs of where two or three maybe sleeper cutters had set up camp. Graham bends over and say's "look here" and he's picked up an old two shilling piece (20 cents in todays currency.) 


We kept walking up and down the formation and listening, but nothing. I said "Graham I'll fire a shot", hoping the dogs would hear. He said "what are you going to shoot at". I said "nothing in particular, just fire it". He said "you might as well shoot at something". He's got the two shillings in his hand. I said "flick the two shillings as high as you can". I missed the first shot then I said "give us one more go at it". I hit it and it made a zinging noise as it disappeared.


The rifle I was using was mine and the telescopic sight on it gave me a thirty two feet view of the target. Which made it easier to hit a target that was moving. I'd practiced that hundreds of times if not thousands in my time.


Another time I'd gone out on a roo hunt, the farmers called it a roo drive. When the days finished, we've got 56 roos. We'd finish up at the farmers rubbish dump, the roos had already been gutted. There was a big log there, a couple of fellas would hold the roos leg on the log and some one else would knock them off with an axe also the paws and the head. There's a bit of drinking going on while this is taking place, supplied by the farmer.

I've never seen so many different gun's, rifles, pistols. A lot of the farmers were gun collectors. One of the farmers yells to the other one. "See if you can hit this stubby with your shot-gun when I throw it". There was a few there with shot-guns so they're taking it in turns. After a while a mate who I had gone up with, Doug said "Jock will take them out with his rifle". One of the farmers say's "come on then" and he throws the stubby. I hit it, from then on whenever anyone finished a stubby, they asked if I was ready. They all put away their shot-guns.


I remember earlier on in the day when the shoot was on some of the farmers would go out to the back-blocks on motor bikes and scare or drive the roos to where the fellas were waiting on the fence-line with their rifles. The rules were, no-body shoots up or down the fence-line it's only at the roos that were coming in, also nothing behind the fence-line. I remember sitting on a pad that I thought looked like a good one. I could see maybe 15-20 roos coming to me.


You always pick the biggest. I hit one of the big ones and he turned and went back to where he came from. I'm watching him through the telescopic sights and he sits. I don't know what the distance was, but I never attempted to pull the trigger, it was too far for me. I was still looking at him through the tele's when I heard a shot and I watched him go back-wards and down, dead.


Trapping Wild Pigs


The next few photo's will show you different traps. As you can see the one above has been knocked about, but still does the job. If you are wondering how these pigs get so fat, especially when the country looks so poor. They are living off white lupins that the farmers feed their sheep.


I remember one time I had gone up with a mate, we were sitting there talking to the farmer, he said "that trap you had out on the back block is still there". So we went out to re-set it. As we get within range of the trap, the mate yells "it's full of pigs". Then he said "there's one on the outside". When I looked the pig had taken off to a strip of timber. The mate fired  and when I looked the pig was on his side. I was more interested in the ones in the trap they were as fat as mud.


Then the mate fires another shot, the pig had got back to his feet, this time he's dead. The rifle was a 243. We weren't too sure what to do with the pigs in the trap, so we went back and told the farmer. He said "oh well you've got a good start haven't ya". He said "we'll go back and load them into the ute". As we were heading out, there was two ute loads of us.

There's a real bad bend and two young ladies from the city had rolled their car. They weren't injured just shaken up a bit. Bevan said to me to take them back to the farm. He told the girls they could help themselves to whatever, make themselves a feed have a shower and whatever else, use the phone to sort things out with their family and what they were going to do with the car. He said "you'd better go down to the machinery shed and tell my brother what's going on".


As I'm standing there telling him. I also told him about the pigs in the trap. He said "here they come now" and when I looked I said "there were more pigs than what they've got in the ute". As they pulled up they were laughing. Apparently it was the wrong cage on the ute and half the pigs had gone over the side and got away.


The photo above shows Viv coming back from running out a 20 litre drum of lupins, to attract the pigs.


The photo above shows Barry and Viv throwing a pig into the crate on the back of the ute.  The one below shows Bevan putting a pig in the ute.



Another Pig-hunt



The  photo above shows myself holding the head of a fair size boar. The second photo shows the pit-bull not long after I got him. I remember this day, I was walking along a formation by myself. Terry True was back at the ute. I'd told him to give me 20 minutes and then drive to catch up to me. There were diggings everywhere. I knew there were a lot of pigs in this mob and I was hoping to catch up with them in open bush. Because sometimes they will stay together knowing there is safety in numbers.


I'd been walking for maybe 10 minutes. The pit-bull had been into a few pigs by this time and he was fast turning into a good dog. I also had two kangaroo dogs, Tosca and Boonga that belonged to Terry and they were still learning. I hadn't seen them for maybe 5 minutes and I thought  this might be the start of it.


As I was walking I looked to my left about 100 yards and I watched a boar stand up and shake himself. I squatted down and I'm looking around for the dogs, the pit-bull comes out onto the formation and he comes running to me and no doubt wondering why I was squatting. I lifted one hand and I'm pointing at the boar, I said to the dog "look here". No doubt he could see the boar because he screamed as he took off. I knew what was going to happen here, I turnt and ran as fast as I could.


Terry had come around a bit of a bend and watched me run across the formation. The boar was maybe 20-30 yards behind me. I skittled up a Banksia tree, the pig went straight past and into the thicket. I don't believe he was chasing me, he wanted to get into the swamp. I'd say he was kicked out of the mob. 


The photo above shows the two kangaroo dogs. I'd done the same this day, told Terry to give me ten minutes then catch up. This would have to be one of the most strangest places I've had a pig bailed up. I'm squatting on a flat-top railway bridge of an old formation from back in the past. The pig had gone up under the bridge and over the back of the bed-log roughly where the white faced dog (Tosca) is standing. I'd got down into the creek a couple of times and I'd had my head up under the bridge looking for him but it was darker than George Formans arse.


When Terry drove up and lobbed on the scene, I'm standing on the bridge pointing to my feet. Terry hops out the car and he can hear the dogs barking under there. We had another dog with us, a Queensland Heeler that belonged to an old friend of mine, Boof Ferris and I'd taken him out to see if he was any good on pigs. Why Terry had the heeler in the front with him was  the pit-bull was looking sidewards at him. I said to Terry "let him out", would you believe he went straight over and under the bridge and grabs the pig. The other dogs joined in. Now I'm up under there with them and we snig him out. 


Rusty


The photo above shows Rusty, the son of the pit-bull and Lady the roo-dog cross. I don't know why but whenever I dreamt about pigs, 99% of the time it was Rusty. As you can see he's a very fit and powerful dog. He was not so much a grabber, more of a scenter and like I've told in other stories some of the things he's done, like the time he showed me where a pig hunter had hid his pig-trap up on the side of the hill.


Another outstanding performance, he'd been gone half to three quarters of an hour and when he returned I could tell by the blood he'd killed a pig. I had another gentleman with me who hadn't seen much pig hunting. So I said to Rusty "show me". I didn't want the pig, more so I wanted the other fella to see his ability. It was a hot day and Rusty was feeling the affects, he took me too water first. I could see all the pig tracks, I said to the fella "he's killed roughly a 30 pounder".


After about ten minutes laying in the water he's freshened up, so I asked him to show me again. So he heads off up a big open hill, but he seemed to be zigzagging a bit as though he was looking for another pig. So I picked up a little stick, Rusty's looking at me. I showed him the stick and said "where is it". He knew by the tone of my voice and he headed in a straight line towards the top of the hill. I said to the fella "now he's showing".


We walked for quite a way and Rusty had disappeared and started barking. As we were getting closer to him, I said to the fella "this is their camp" you could see all the trees and logs where they had been rubbing. There's a big hollow-butt Jarrah and Rusty's standing there barking at it. When I looked inside, there's an old skinny sow battling to stand. I give Rusty a pat, told him he was a good dog.


What I believe happened was Rusty had gone to the camp first and was not interested in the sow that was in the hollow-butt. He must have thought there's no battle here or fight, that's when he went off and killed one of the 30 pounders which he didn't end up showing. I think it was too hot. The sow was not marked he hadn't touched it, we left her where she was.


The photo above shows a hollow-butt stump that the pigs had used for a camp. You can see the little pine tree is dead, caused by pigs rubbing and biting to mark their territory. It's more so a summer camp than a winter camp. Another thing if you look close at the photo below it shows some of our history, you can see where an old bush-man has cut the groove into the stump allowing him to wedge a board in so he could stand on and get away from the fat or wider base, saving time and energy.


There's a lot of history here, there's a formation that runs off to the left from where this photo was taken and it goes to an old bush settlement which was called Tullanulla.  Another formation runs to the right and couples up with a formation which runs to Treesville. There's no name to this particular settlement where the photo was taken. If anybody would have known the name of this settlement, it would be my father, he never mentioned it and we hunted this area all our life. I found a couple of antique bottles not far from where the stump stands.


I gave them to an old friend who was a bottle collector, Don Fraser. He told me he hadn't seen these bottles before at any settlement. I took him out and showed him. He found another one he'd never seen before. I don't know if this is right but there was talk of a settlement called Little Treesville, maybe this is it and then they ventured further out to what we know is the Treesville Settlement.


This is a photo of my oldest boy Dave and his two boys Jaxon and Toby and Jacobi their half sister the photo was taken nearly three years ago. We were on a bush picnic.


Pigs in the Crop


The photo above shows another pig trap, I think there are 3 or 4 pigs in it. When we pulled up the farmers two sheep dogs run over  to check it out. The brown strip of soil under the dog on the right is all pig tracks. You can see it disappear into the distance.


It was conditions like this that I told another story on how Rebel picked up the scent from the back of the ute. We were following the edge of the first crop when he went over the side and headed for the first strip of bush you can see in the middle of the photo. We watched him come out the back side and head for the next strip of bush and that's where the pigs were camped and it shows what a dog can do with his nose.


Another time Rebel had a bad boar, he wouldn't stop and bay he kept running up the middle of the strip of bush you can see in the photo. I came out of the bush and decided to run up the edge hoping I'd get closer. Rebel hadn't barked for a while and I knew he wasn't far away from giving up, exhausted.


I was looking in the distance and I watched the boar come out of the bush line and he's going across the crop to the next line of bush. Just before he gets too it I fired two shots at him. I watched the boar and the dog disappear, then the farmers turned up in their vehicles, I told them what had happened and that the dog had given up on him, there was no more barking. They said "jump in the ute and we will go and check".


They drove across the crop, here's Rebel laying in the sand absolutely exhausted. As we hop out the car I said "he's knackered". We had a look at the boars tracks, were he'd gone behind some bushes and he's laying there dead. I would say my first shot hit him under the belly, the second one in the chest. The rifle was a 243 with variable 3-9 power tele's.


Long Shot


The photo above shows Bevan finishing off a young boar that I had knocked over from the distance with the 243. I seen a sight this day that I'd never seen before, Bevan had taken us over to another property to check if there were pigs. I don't think there was a house on this property. They have an understanding between themselves, the farmers that is. They don't ask permission they wander and check whatever they want to check and they are as honest as the day is long.


Australia would be a better place if some of the white-collar or bureaucrats had the same outlook. 


As we drive into the property, there's good pig signs. There's three of us in the ute, I'm on the outside, Barry in the middle, Bevan driving. I was looking across the top of low scrub and way off in the distance there's another paddock on the side of the hill. I said to Bevan "is that a line of cows I can see". He said "they're pigs". I've never seen a mob like this and I believe they were all big boars. Bevan put his foot down, now we have lost sight of them but we are heading roughly to the same area they were.


As we come around the bend, there's a gate and looking out in the paddock there's another big mob of pigs in a tight clump, which I believe were all sows and young boars. Next minute I can hear pigs out my window. It was that line of big boars, but they were scattered and they were coming across the road behind us, we'd over run them. I could still see the other mob getting to the timber on the other side of the paddock.


I had the 243 so I ran to the gate and lent off the top of the strainer post. I put the cross-hair on the top of the backs of the furtherest pigs and pulled the trigger and hoped. I could hear the whack and then the squeal. We drove over to it and Bevan done the rest with the 22. When we drove back out, I couldn't believe the tracks that were over our tracks.


The photo above shows another time similar to when we seen the line of big boars, but with a different farmer, Viv on the right, Barry in the middle and I forget the gentleman's name on the left.. Viv had said to us this day "we'll go for a drive and check out a spot called (Thatsamegonepiggin)". When we pulled up Viv said "look at all the tracks and wallows". It's a soak and you can see all the rushes on the left hand side of the photo. We gets out of the ute and walks over to check how fresh it is.


Calm as you like Viv say's "there's a pig on the other side of the swamp in the paddock". It was heading back into the swamp. I had the 243 in my hands, as I took off running I heard Viv say "there's a mob of them". When I got to the other side I heard one of the vehicles start up then I could hear them roaring around and every now and then the shot-gun would go off. I knew I'd done the wrong thing, I didn't look like getting a shot.


After a while Viv and the other two came back and as the photo shows you they've got three pigs and it reminds me of a joke of an old bull (viv) on a farm,  and a young bull (me) The young bull looks up and say's to the old bull, look the farmers left the gate open into the cows, what do you reckon we run down and do a couple. The old bull say's no, we'll just walk and do the lot.


That reminds me of an old bushman that once told me it's no good getting old if you don't get cunning.


Pigs for the Freezer


The photo above shows a ute full of pigs, there's a couple that have been skun that are going to be used for sausages. The back legs are for roasts and the rest are for chops. I remember one trip we'd loaded up to come home and there wasn't room for another chop, that's not a joke. The two mates sitting in the front had a cardboard box on their lap, which had about a 50 lb pig cut up inside it. One of the mates said "thank christ we aren't taking this box all the way home". Which was about 600 klmtrs roughly.


Barry had a mate about 200 klmtrs into our trip, who he was going to give the box to. When we pulled up at his mates place and Barry handed his pork over. The fella said "I've got a carton of fish fillets if you's want them". Rather than have it sitting on our laps for the next 400 klmtrs we knocked them back. 

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