Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Silverplatter Hunters!

Pig Hunting.  It's a popular pastime for hundreds of Cape York and North Qld adults and there's a variety of justifications for the sport but you can't make a comment on it if you've never experienced it.  Pigs are in large numbers up here, so much that we have an annual Pig Hunt hauling hundreds of beasts into skip bins.  They are destructive, alien-looking beasts and they breed like rabbits.   That said, there are many people who take the sport very seriously.  Hours of stalking, preparation, stealth training for their dogs, hundreds of dollars worth of supplies not to mention the turf wars over hunting spots.  Some people use dogs and knives, others are bow hunters who prefer to stalk their prey themselves and others are shooters.  

We are more like "silver platter hunters" and I'll explain why....

For my birthday my friend took me out on a hunt so I could see what the hype was all about.  The dogs were on the back of the tray and when they got a whiff they jumped off and the excitement began.  Both of us jumped out and we took off into the bush, chasing the sound of the dogs barking.  My friend could tell they were on by the way they were barking and we could tell we were getting closer as the sound grew across the forest floor.  I fell over at least three times, face first into the mud in my haste to keep up.  When we arrived at the scene, we found a sow that had disembowled itself on a log but was not dead - my first kill was on a silver platter and an act of mercy more than anything else but it didn't stop there.... emerging from the innerds was movement and we quickly realised that she was giving birth.  With my skinning-knife, I sliced open the bag and out slid a wet piglet.  I breathed into it's mouth and it came alive.  Yes, I know what you're thinking! OMG! But in the  moment all I was thinking about was "oooh baby piglets as pets...."  Both my friend and I took a couple back to the trucks to show the kids.  I had obviously not thought this through because my hubby was not going to let me in the truck covered in blood and holding as many suckers as I could manage.  On the verge of divorce, I lost the battle and the piglets went to heaven to join their mum.

The second time I went out we were trudging through head-high razor grass, cutting my legs up and again I face-planted the mud at least half a dozen times trying to keep up.  The dogs would get on the scent and run, then the chase began.  Dog trackers are GPSs that pick up on the trackers on the dog's collars so they don't get lost.  It's soooo easy to get turned around in the bush and without them we wouldn't have been able to find our way back; let alone the dogs.  After about an hour of walking through swamps I was exhausted, and on the verge of spewing, when the dogs got on again.  We ran through across the waterway, hoping not to be eaten in the waste high creek, then into the long grass.  The dogs had come across a mob of sows and piglets and the screaming will stick in my mind forever.  I was panicked and frightened out of my wits end holding up a giant hunting knife as it shook in my hand - imagine a bad scene from a D-grade horror film when the victim has no clue on what she's in for.....  I looked for the closest tree to climb before realising I wasn't going to be able to haul my ass up it anyway when I came face-to-face with the boar.  He was about 90kg and his tusks could have torn me to shreds if it wanted to.  It was a face off and I dont know who was my frightened.  Luckily for me, it turned around and ran off.  I tried to yell out to my friend whom I'd lost in the adrenaline filled swamp and couldn't see more than 10cm in front of my face for the long grass.  Eventually we found each other and went to wash off in the creek.  On the verge of passing out the dogs got on again and once they're on, there's no going back.  Up we ran, across boulders, cutting my legs to shreds until finally we were upon a sow that had wedged itself in between two trees and wasn't going anywhere.  No need for dogs or stealth, it was handed to me, yet again, on a silver platter.

Last week my hubby went to Cairns to get supplies and on the way came across a big black boar eating a cow carcass on the side of the road.  They pulled up shortly afterwards to fill up the truck with the remainder of the jerry cans when they thought, what the heck. He had his rifle tucked into the back of the truck so pulled it out and got it ready. What were the chances of it still being there?  They pulled out, trailer load behind them to retrace their steps.  He stuck his new spotty out the window and low and behold this boar soaked up the rays and stood in the middle of the road just staring at them.  It was a sign. No dogs. No hunting or effort at all. Again, a giant boar handed to him on a silver platter.....

People hunt up here on a daily basis but we're starting to think perhaps we're just the "silver platter" hunters.

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