Over the past 35 years my family and I have headed up into the Upper Murray district come Easter for our holidays and this year was going to be no exception. The only difference is my brood and the extended family had grown including my good mate Leigh “Kawasako” and his bunch. With the campsite well and truly set up it was time to come up with an excuse to go hunting. Some rabbits for the dogs sounded like a good excuse, so off we went. There hadn’t been a lot of rabbits on the property we stay on over the last few years but there were always enough to get a feed if you knew where to look.

       We knew there were a few little rodents up past the gate next to the poly pipe which was only a couple of k’s or so from camp. Typical farmer’s directions, we never have found that “poly” pipe. Leigh thought he would take the .308 Sako Finnlight just in case we put up something a little larger than a bunny. We have seen a variety of deer species in the area and it would just make a great start to have a bit of Venison rotating on the “Auspit” so soon. Leigh’s boy Charlie was sporting the 17hmr T-Bolt and I was carrying the shotty.

       With the car parked and the guns loaded it was time to get moving. The first couple of gullies proved to be void of all game except for black cows. Maybe it would be beef on the Auspit, just kidding!!! We continued on, moving out of the open pasture and into fringe country. With still no rabbits seen let alone shot it was time to see if we could whistle up a fox or two. The Tenterfield screamed its tune of pain with no results. The next couple of gullies had the same results. Something wasn’t right. As we walked on we chatted about how quiet it was and how we couldn’t believe that we hadn’t seen a rabbit yet, let alone a fox or deer. The plan was to whistle one more valley and then give it away.

       The valley we were talking about had yielded a few foxes in previous years as well as its share of bunnies. As we rounded the bottom of the gully Charlie and I headed up a little higher than Leigh. There is a good patch of wattles in the base of the gully and Leigh fancied his chances of grassing Bambi or one of his mates. I was just about to sit down and let rip with the whistle when I spied my first bunny. I raised my old shotty and then had a moment of indecision, will I won’t I. I lowered the gun as the chance of whistling a fox or putting up a deer was very good in this valley and I didn’t need to break the silence at this stage. It was only early afternoon and that bunny would be there on the way back, well that was my thinking anyway. I moved up a little further and noticed a fresh rub on a small Stringybark, encouraging saying the least. Leigh was now just out of sight and still low in the valley but I was in a good position for a whistle. I didn’t have a lot of clear area to view but it was enough with the shotgun. Out with the “4”s and in with the 42g charge of “BB”s that screaming whistle began again. I had Charlie about 20 metres to my right and bracken fern behind me with about a 30 mtr clear view in front through the saplings. Panning around slowly I could see Charlie doing the same. The whistle was sounding so good that I was sure a fox was only moments away from his demise. With perfect conditions, little or no wind and overcast conditions I continued to serenade those red dogs. I don’t often get surprised but with two odd colours moving out of the corner of my eye I swang to my left to see two large dogs disappear over the ridge about 100mtrs away. Was I seeing things or what, the mind started wandering. No I am sure I had just seen two wild dogs, one brindle and one white.

       Well I had suddenly kick started the old heart muscle and the brain was now in overdrive. So many thoughts went through my mind, had they seen me, had they smelt me, or had they simply just thought something was just not right. I had that feeling all day and I think I now had my answer why. I quickly settled down and kept whistling, not to loud but just enough to see if they were interested and possibly just circling their prey. A minute or so went by with my eyes burning holes through the trees looking with so much intent. No sign of those two mongrels but keep whistling keep whistling a little voice was telling me. I only ever whistle in short burst’s as not to give my exact location away.

       As the whistle came to a sombre end I thought I heard a noise behind me amongst the bracken. Probably just a Roo but then hold on those leaves slowly crunching doesn’t sound right. Warning bells sounding it was time to slowly get up and move into a position that I could see behind me. The bracken was thick, about 1mtr high and I couldn’t see very far into it at all but I kept giving a squeal with the whistle as I backed away. I had only moved off about 3mtrs when a white nose and then two white feet appeared within half a metre of my previous location. The shotty was now ready and as our eyes locked on one another it was too late for this marauding mongrel. Shot fired Dog down!!!!  Mini Magnums at 3mtrs definitely do the job on dogs as his feet just went out from beneath him. I kept whistling for the next five minutes with no further results.
       With the gun reloaded I moved towards the white body on the ground and with a nudge from my foot it was confirmed that he was down for the count.I grabbed his rear leg and immediately realised the sheer weight, strength and killing power of this machine. Dragging him into the clearing I could see Charlie looking my way. The expression on his face was priceless, “What The”.

       Leigh was now called and his first words to me were “I just thought there might be some dogs around”. Well I have shot a few wild dogs in my time but this dog would have to be the most powerful and heaviest I have shot. I would say he would have weighed around 30-40kg’s and as I am just under 6 foot myself you can see the mass of the dog in the photos.

       We could hear the dogs howling in the distance some nights and Leigh put another dog up within 200 metres of our camp but we were unable to knock over anymore. These dogs are a major problem to everyone and one that needs to be addressed with real intent before they completely get out of hand.

Oh and we did get some rabbits but we had to work for them.




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