Well, that went fast, way too fast, but I did get to see an amazing amount of places and meet some great people. Wiz and smb were like long lost family even though I had only met them once before.

I arrived in Darwin on Friday afternoon and was met at the airport by Wiz (Dan). Only waited a few mins for my bag and then the rifle case. The whole flying with firearms thing was a very simple affair and the only questions I got in both directions were about what I was hunting . On the way home one of the stewards was interested in my AHN shirt and he is now a member on here .

We headed from the airport to Spinna’s (Geoff) house where we sat around and yakked until 01:30 before hitting the sack. Next morning we headed to Woolies for some supplies, both for us and for Matt G as we were calling in to his hog camp to say gidday.

First destination was Pine Creek where we were very lucky to get accommodation as the Rodeo was in town. We offloaded as much crap out of the truck (Nissan GU) and headed off an hour or so out of town to meet a close friend of Dan’s to show us around. Rhys, a local, was already at the property waiting to go. We offloaded the quad and then set off.


A couple of the local kids showing their gang signs



Nice spot to meet up and it certainly looked promising.



Dan and Rhys deciding which direction to head.

We drove around for a few hours without seeing any sign of critters, but I was in heaven anyway as it was all new country for me and my camera was doing ten to the dozen taking images of everything and anything I could. I took over 700 pics in the two weeks but of course many have been culled out as there were way too many of the same things.

It soon started to get dark and so we headed back to town and a nice meal at the pub. I even had a couple of beers there, mainly to shout an old mate (another local) that recently passed away, but also to be social and of course there would be little or no chance for a drink over the next two weeks as the area we were staying is alcohol free.

Next day seen us in a different direction and Rhys manned the quad again, this time he spotted some hogs and soon had us chasing them. We got two, with Dan gut punching one, then heading off after another. I stopped the one he gut punched with a Fed 150gr Power Shok 308 to the shoulder and Dan finished his with his 375/08.

The 150gr pills seemed to do the job well to me, although Dan was not convinced. It smashed both shoulders of this hog and others hit and basically killed anything it was pointed at outright. Dan just had to dig one pill out of a critter and it had separated but I still reckon it done a great job as the critter was dead.



This thing looks smaller than it was, hehe, piss poor photographer .


See how much bigger they look with the right camera angle . Seriously, mine was probably 65 kg and Dan’s 80kg+. Not bad hey, invite you up to shoot hogs, then pick the best for yourself .

From there we changed direction again and went for a look in Kakadu National Park, you can’t really come all this way and not pop in for a looksee. Took some great pics in the park, but am sure you are not interested in those. Of course the world famous Nissan which had been bogged in sand earlier, decided to play up again and stopped on the side of the road. The pump transferring fuel from the sub tank to the main had gone on holiday and so we ran out of fuel hehe. After watching Dan on his back under the truck for a while, I suggested smacking the pump with something heavy and away it went .




Next we headed off to meet Matt G at his boar camp, we got there at about 18:30 and so it was really too late to have a look around the property so we just sat around gas bagging until 02:00. I was amazed at just how badly these guys feel the cold, it dropped to about 9° and both Dan and Matt were sooking about it, I thought it was quite comfy, but of course they had to go and light the fire.



Accommodation is simple, yet surprisingly comfy. The view in the morning is spectacular too


Shelter, kitchen, dining room, reading, cleaning room.



Shower facilities.

Head out the next morning for a look, a decent size boar steps across the road not far from camp, but we were looking for donks. Not too far ahead I spot my first buffalo, only a couple of young ones, but real buff in the wild . I have spent a lot of time in the bush around Western NSW and South West QLD, in Vic and SA, but this place just has so much more to offer in all aspects. Different trees, vegetation and of course animals.


First NT buff spotted.

Drive on a bit further in some really magic country, it really looked like there should have been hogs behind every tree or just wallowing in the soaks, but there was none to see. I would love to spend a week on this place as we only seen a tiny fraction of it.



Matt’s donk mobile in some of the country mentioned above.

A little bit further up and we spot the first donks, out of the vehicle and sneak up the hill to get a better look. This is the first time I seen a donk in the wild too so spotting them was a bit different. Matt being a real gentleman lets me take the first shot. The silly bugger is standing there looking directly at me so I take aim at his chest and send a 308 Federal 150gr Power Shok his way, next thing I know Matt and Dan open up too and there is plenty of action happening up range.

We walk up to have a look and there are 3 dead donks on the ground. Matt was using a 30-06, Dan his 375/08 and I used my tacticool Rem .



Ask Matt why its black and white .

We got a few more donks, then had to call it a day as we had some car hassles and Dan and myself had to get back to Pine Creek. We got the vehicle issues sorted, then said our goodbye’s to Matt and left him to it.

We took off and headed to Katherine and after a few confusing moments relating to accommodation, booked into a motel for the night. Next morning we hit Woolies and picked up supplies for the next week and a bit. Then off into the blue yonder heading for Dan’s paradise. Some of the scenery on the way was mind blowing, including the spot below. We spotted a few buff, pigs and loads of cattle walking about down there.


On the way to Dan and Sandy’s place, I could have stayed here for days looking .

It was a fair hike on bumpy dirt roads and so the few little interruptions we had were fairly welcomed, like this little fella soaking himself in a creek bed.


Geoff  ended his fun with a 375/08, not sure on the pills and stuff, Dan can fill you in on that.

Quite a few spots like this were seen on the trip and quite a few fellas like in the second pic were also spotted.



We finally arrived at Dan’s and are greeted by Sandy and their 3 “kids”, Gracey, Remington and Jamu. By the end of the trip, Sandy was telling me to take one of the "kids", Jamu, home as she would not leave me alone. Only being three months old, she still has her puppy teeth and they are sharp.

We were soon joined by a few of Dan’s work mates on the verandah for a chat and a coffee. Then it’s time to unload the truck, wind down and have some dinna.

Next morning we head out exploring and had not gone too far when Geoff wanted to try out his anti aircraft gun, a 505/530 Woodleigh, an absolute beast. Con, S&F and Paz, eat ya hearts out . This silly looking donk was the ideal thing to try it on, and yes, it works . As many Aboriginals think of donkeys as Jesus Taxi's, they are not fond of them getting shot and so unless told otherwise, we only shot the silly things on the private access we had.


The little 22 looking cartridge next to the 530 is my 45/70 hehe. I decided then and there that no matter how crappy my neck is, I just had to have a shot of this beast, that’s later in the story.

Later in the arvo, Geoff spots a nice looking buff and wants to give the 530 another whirl, after quite a while stalking the bugger and getting into the right position, he lets fly with the 750gr woodleigh doing 2300pfs and it hits the buff with a very pleasing “thud”. Now as most of you know, I am certainly no expert on shooting big critters, but I reckon this thing was dead on its feet and was just walking around looking for a grave .

I have heard and read Matt G and others say that these buff are tough buggers and can be very dangerous, now I have a much healthier understanding of why. If I was hit by a flying bus, and lets face it, that’s what this thing is, I would just accept that I was dead and give up, not so with these buggers.

We grabbed the truck and weaved our way through the trees to where Geoff and his new mate were and as Dan snuck up closer, I could see the rage in its eyes and for a second thought it would launch at the Nissan and end up on my lap. Happily it just decided to agree with my first thought and accept that it was dead and so just fell over.


Geoff and his buff bowled over with his “AAA” gun .

Darkness was soon upon us and we headed back to camp, hehe, well ok, to a nice 3 bedroom house with all the luxuries of home, who says hunting has to be rough. A nice roast dinner was handed out after we showered and then plonk in the lounge and watch some shit on TV that sent me to sleep. I had to get up and go to bed when Dan started tossing heavy objects on me and saying “you fucking snore like a big boar pig” .

Next day we head off into “pig country” or so the locals said, we taxied a few of the locals to their fav fishing spot and they in turn pointed un in the direction of the pigs. They were no too far wrong either as not too long after leaving them, we spot a big sow lying in a creek. Not exactly “hunting” as many of you guys would like it, but no way were we going to pass up on this and had we opened the door of the truck to get out, we would have fallen into the creek.

I lined her up with the Remmy 308 and squeezed of a shot in the shoulder, unknown to me at the time, Geoff had the same idea from the back seat and so she was double tapped. I reckon the muzzle of the 30-06 was perhaps 2.5mm from my left ear when it went off and the muzzle blast pushed the ear wax out of my left ear into my right ear and then kept going and hit Dan on the shoulder, hehe, well that’s what it felt like anyhoo .

I was still stunned when a pretty big boar stepped out, looked down at his missus with that “WTF” look on his face and so I let rip again, and of course, so did Geoff, double tap again and now I have Big Ben in my ear permanently.


Not a bad sow, I am still wondering just why Dan put a stick in her gob? hehe.


Good size boar, looks much smaller cause I’m a 119kg pig myself lol. All three of us guestimated at 90kg+, they look better in the next pic with Geoff.


I got the hooks, not the biggest set I have seen or taken, but certainly the biggest for a very long time.

As we are taking the pics, I heard something behind us and had a boo peep, turns out that even with all the noise, this buff was not leaving his spot near the water and shade and was pretty interested in us “white fellas”. I looked at Dan and grinned, as I only had my 308, I thought, stuff it, lets drill this bloke with a “pea shooter” and upset the ethics Nazis on AHN .

I sneaked up the bank, and both Geoff and Dan were close behind with a 30-06 and 500 Alaskan double rifle. Mr Buff soon realised things were not as they should and got a bit on edge, first stomping his foot, then turning and running. He then stopped, looked back, and walked toward us again. I was trying to get myself onto a tree to lean on, and of course to climb, just in case hehe. After playing cat and mouse for a while, he settled and thought he would win by staring me out, wrong, I placed the cross hairs right between his eyes and said “adios”. The 150gr pill struck him fair between the eyes and he died before he hit the ground. Distance was 83 metres.

Dan was still harping on about them getting back up and ripping your guts out, so Geoff  put a couple of 500 Alaskan pill in his neck, waste of lead IMHO .


First buff for MM in the NT (anywhere for that matter).


Big suckers, even makes my fat gut disappear. A nice shot of the buff, Dan and yours truly.

Not the biggest buff by a long shot, but unusual in that he was all but albino and his horns looked fairly battle scarred. To me it couldn’t be a better trophy if his horns measured 120 inches . The fact that he was taken with the “useless” 308 in a Tacticool Remmy, makes it even better.

I was more than impressed by how well the factory Federal 150gr Power Shok ammo worked. It hit exactly where aimed, and anything hit, stayed hit. I am struggling to find a reason to reload when factory ammo works this well.

Dan has been up me for 12 months about my Remmy Tacticool job, calling it all the names under the sun, so when he grabbed it to have a shot, there was zero chance of me not getting a pic of it, hehe, and like a shot I got off Matt G, nothing either of them could do would get me to delete it.


Proof that Dan has fired a Tacticool Rem hehehe.

A few more days of exploring, taking pics and meeting people, then a day at home servicing the truck and generally tidying up, charging batteries etc, remember that its been at least 12 months since my last hunt .

We then set off to meet August, a T/O in the area, like all the Aboriginals I met up there, he was very friendly, open, eager to share but hard to understand. Mainly I think because my hearing is really bad and the only other thing I have heard from Aborigines is abuse in places like Bourke, Brewarrina, Dubbo etc.

August took us out on some of his country and seriously, without him telling we would never have known we were driving past billabongs, swamps, springs and creeks. Its easy to see why city folk perish when they come out unprepared into remote areas like this. Its also amazing to watch a man just sitting in a vehicle for an hour, apparently not paying attention and then out of the blue says “stop here, good pig spot”. Walk 100m from the truck and you are in a swamp or by a spring.


One of the many springs we seen, the water in many places flows so fast you would expect to see a huge water fall, but we never did.




These buggers were just everywhere.

We decided to have a look on foot and headed off following the spring, it soon opened up into a large swamp and August said, and I thought, there should be pigs here. We had only walked maybe 10 mins when my left leg sunk to the knee in mud and when I pulled it up, the sole of my trusty Hi Tec Magnum let go. After 30 years, they had finally given up the ghost. So the rest of the tip, I was hunting “blackfella” style, either in thongs or bare foot, really great when walking in burn grass and the stubble punches through your thong into your foot.


Dan at the billabong at the end of the spring. These we also everywhere once you knew where to look.

After close to 2 hours of stomping through swamps, spotting a snake, Mulga snake I think, and not spotting any hogs, we get back to the vehicle. We drive back onto the track, then swing off onto a creek and decide to walk it for a little while. Now, I think, stuff that, my feet are sore, my head is sore, I am hot, tired and pissed at my boot carking it, so I said, I will stay in the truck and bring it up to you to save you circling around again. I handed Dan my handheld UHF and watched them walk off.

Less than 5 minutes later I hear bang, thud, and wait for the UHF to crackle, which sure enough it does. “Mick, bring the truck and the camera”.

A big boar stood up right in front of Dan, who in his words had his mind in neutral and his thumb up his arse, it then took off in Geoff’s direction, only stopping just over a metre away and basically copping a 30-06 to the scone point blank.


Geoff with the boar, a guestimated 110kg+


August with the boar, much better shot for showing the size.

After that they kept walking for another hour or so without spotting a thing, and so I bring the truck to meet them and off we head again. Not far from dropping August back home we spot a mob of scrubbers and August wanted one for meat. Dan, August and myself are discussing which one out of the mob he wants shot when “bang” Geoff settles the discussion with one on the ground .


30 mins later and its butchered, in the esky and we are heading back.

The following day we head in yet another direction and go for a bit of a stroll though a burnt patch, this time I am carrying the Baikal 45/70 double and wanted to try in on a horse. You certainly don’t have to wait long for an opportunity there and I was soon sneaking up on one.


Never even knew Geoff took this pic.

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Two shots, I thought I had missed as it just stood there and looked like it was going to take off, so a quick reload and another one sent into its neck. Turns out the first two hit 2-3 inches apart right in the boiler room. Ammo was Federal 300gr Power Shok. Dan said perhaps a 400gr pill would suit a bit better.

Next we tried the 45/70 on a wonkey and a very similar result, even though it was propa flash dead, it was not as convincing as I had hoped.


Dead Wonkey, 45/70, 300gr Federal Power Shok, Japanese safety boots .

Even after the noise of the horse, and donk, these silly buggers just amble across the road a short time later.

On the way home that arvo, we were looking for a decent looking buff we had spotted the day before, I wanted (of course) to drop one with the 45/70. Anyway, we didn’t see him again, but we did spot this large scrubba and Geoff sorted him with his 500 Alaskan double.

Even with two fatal shots in him, he managed to run a good 4-500 metres, and we had zero chance of getting close in the truck. A quick sprint through the scrub and Geoff unleashed on him again which ended the fight. That brought the end of yet another day.

Off to a different area again and yet again different landscape and truck loads of horses, I had to get a heap of pics of them for my Mother, hehe, don’t tell her I shot some lol.

Notice the different trees, hard to imagine its only an hour from the last pic. After cruising around for a while and seeing some more of this wonderful place, we decided to head back to camp. On the way out we had seen a pretty good looking scrub bull but decided not to worry about him. As we come past the same spot, he is still there, and so I said to Dan, “that’s just asking for shit” and so I grabbed his 416 Taylor and set out after him. He knew damn well I was there and was doing his best to only show his arse or small parts of him between the trees. Eventually I got a look at his head, but as I squeezed off the shot, he lifted his head and I hit him in the nose, rather than between the eyes. No matter I thought, he was looking at me so the pill should have travelled into the brain box.

Well, he took off at a rate of knots. Dan and Geoff both rocked up for moral support and we headed off after him. He was losing bucket loads of blood and so I knew we would find him, I just didn’t think it would take as long as it did. I think we walked 1.5 kms, in and out of creeks, in metre high grass and eventually we found him dead as a door nail. He had changed direction and was heading back behind us.


There were pools of blood like in this image every few metres.


I couldn’t get any further back to fit the whole thing in the pic.

It soon started getting dark again and the end of another day was upon us.  About the only time I seen some cloud was early in the morning or late afternoon, certainly different to the Sydney weather I am used to.


One of the many NT sunsets.

Another day, another scrubba, this time it was Dan who took this one with his Rossi 44 mag. As you can see in the pic below, Dan is pretty keen to do an autopsy and had cuts in this poor schmuck before I could take his pic.

We then found a nice spot on the side of the river for a bit of a rest and cool down, pity we didn’t bring the fishing gear, but it will still be there next time, and there “will” be a next time .


After telling me how many crocs there are around, these two clowns dangle their legs in the river, no way Jose.

As we only had a couple of days left, I thought I better stop leaving the big buff till later as later is here now and so we soon spot one that I was more than happy with. Again, he was more than aware that I was there and as I took a step toward him, he took two further away. Using the odd tree and scrub I was able to get to about 60-65m away and then sent two 300 gr pills in his general direction. They hit him in the chest and clearly upset him as he turned and gave me the nasty look, Geoff was calling out to hit him again, and so I did.

I now found out just how thin the barrels on the Baikal doubles are as 4 shots in rapid succession make it near too hot to hold . Anyhoo, he just stood there looking drunk and I was thinking about sending another couple his way when he fell. Geoff then put a 750 gr 530 pill in his neck for good measure, whether it was needed or not, we will never know, but everyone says better safe than sorry.


Not even close to the biggest buff we seen, but I was stoked and will always remember it. Of course, having his head hanging on my wall will help to remind me .

For anyone that has not been up close to one of these critters, they are "big", everything about them is big. Big horns, big hoofs, big shoulders, big body. I now totally understand why the likes of Matt Graham, NitroX etc are always going on about them as I would really hate to be on the receiving end of a cranky bull, or cow for that matter.

They seem to be really protective of their young, and imitating (trying to in my case) the young in distress gets them not only very curious, but often very cranky. I got one to come within 10m of the truck and Dan got a large bull nice and cranky while I was trying to sneak up for a picture.

After the pics and congrats, we headed off again and soon met some locals who asked us to shoot a young one for meat, how could we refuse? .

5 mins later, we spot this mob and then we had our meat buff.

We started to cut it up for the lads and had almost finished when they rolled up, hehe, they looked very happy and just picked the legs up and tossed them in the back of the 80 series cruiser, just on a few branches and leaves, back straps and a few other choice cuts including the tongue and the boys were happy. This brought the end to yet another day.

The last day in Arnhem Land we thought we would spend just sticky beaking around the place, we found a few spots Dan had been looking for with the help of my GPS and Google earth and what top spots they were too. Seen loads of buff, horses, donks and even a few freshies in some of the water holes, another brown snake which made three for the trip, three too may for my liking.

As we headed back for the last afternoon, I was thinking about all we had done and seen and suddenly realised I had not yet fired Geoff’s canon, and so I asked Dan to pull over so I could have a go. As soon as we stopped, as few silly donks stepped over a small rise and stood there looking at us as they do. Geoff let out a sly grin and said, try in on one of those silly buggers.

As it was the last days there and the hunting was finished, I said to myself, “self, it doesn’t matter if you break your collar bone now, but you just can’t not try this thing”. So I grab the beast of Geoff, he hands me a missile and I chamber it, then sneak over to rest on a tree. The excitement takes over and I do what I usually do and just let the forend rest on my hand and only grip with my right hand. Squeeze the trigger and kaboom, donk is pile driven, both shoulders smashed and lights out. I then realise I am still standing and was ready for another shot, I never even felt the recoil.

Now I know it recoils and recoils good, as I watched Geoff fire the thing numerous times, every time his shoulder would fly back, his head would fly forward then flick back as it does in a car accident and on one occasion he bit his tongue and was spitting blood for the next 15 mins hehe. I still don’t know why it didn’t hurt me, break my collar bone or even my neck, but am pretty happy about it .


Donk shot with 505/530.

Of course Dan then had to have a go, but his experience was not quite the same, he can fill you in there .

Next morning we packed and headed off back to Darwin, a short calm 12 hour drive. As a non smoker, it was such a pleasure to sit in a car for that long with 3 chain smokers lol. It was actually very surprising, I thought for sure the smoke would bring on a migraine attack, but I didn't have one the whole time I was away, yet as soon as I got home, it hit and hit hard.

The trip back also highlighted just how hard the country is on vehicles, with Dan doing two tyres, one at 120kph on the highway just out of Katherine. Once we got to Darwin we checked the rest out and found a cracked exhaust, cracked waste pipe on the turbo, broken engine mounts, gearbox mounts and various other misc bits and pieces.

The road they have to travel in and out on is really nothing more than a 4x4 track and considering they are health professionals helping the local communities, you would think something could be done about the roads they have to use as they provide them with many, too many, of their patients.

After arriving in Darwin, we booked a room in the city, a joke was made about the room being available for hire by the hour, after trying to sleep in there two nights, I have no doubt about that at all. It really didn't matter too much as we were only sleeping there.

Friday morning, we headed off to Corroboree Billabong for a spot of fishing with Geoff in his ute and boat, what a shit hot spot it is too. Just a small billabong that runs for 20 odd kms, and the banks are full of lizards.


This fella was only 100 yards from the boat ramp.


Some Jabiru, there were lots of them around too and they were of course new to me.


Another lizard sunning himself.

Not long after we set off, I got a strike on the lure, but in pure MM form, let the bugger go, Dan was not impressed. After that we just poked about and were trolling the whole way, while I was busy taking pics.

A few hours later, Dan hooks a nice barra, then Geoff gets one, then I got a small one, kiss it and toss it back, and then finally I get a keeper, I think it went 62cm, which again is not huge, but a first for me.


That’s it, MM scores boar, brumby, buff and barra in the NT .

Seems the sun in the NT heads west real fast as the days kept ending much sooner than I wanted, but hey, time flies when you are having fun.

Heading back to the boat ramp before it got totally dark was something that made me happy, after seeing these fellas on the bank that are bigger than the sardine can we were in.


Geoff wouldn’t get closer for a better pic, sooky hehe.

I could really go on, and most likely will for weeks about this trip, but most of you are most likely yawning already so I will end it here with a very fitting image I think. More images and no doubt short stories will follow in the weeks/months to come, cheers for reading my little tale about my NT trip

 

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