Bullock Creek Scout
The flood waters of these parts had finally receded and the ground was fast drying out. I felt it was high time for a little scouting of some of my favourite hunting areas to check for erosion damage and see how the floods had affected the local small game population.
A particularly favoured spot in the past has been the confluence of the Bullock Creek and the Box Creek. From this junction it becomes the Pyramid Creek. This area has always been a good spot to put up a few rabbits, bag a few ducks (in season) and to despatch any unwary foxes.
After a short drive of a little over an hour, I pulled up at the property access gate next to the Bullock Creek, donned my hunting pouch, powder horn, game bag and a water bottle, threw my bed roll over my shoulder, made ready “Precious” (my flintlock fowler) and strode off along the eastern bank of the creek, following it down stream.
There was plenty of fresh growth feed about and I had hopes that a rabbit or three might dart out of the lignum bushes; but after ten minutes of walking nothing was to be seen. I continued my fruitless hunt along the eastern banks of the creek until I arrived at a small man-made bridge that spans the creek. Crossing this bridge, I settled down in a comfortable position behind some bushes cradling Precious across my knees, took out my simple tin whistle and blew a few shrill notes.
After a couple of goes of sounding like a distressed/wounded rabbit I waited to see if an orange furry head might pop up. After about 15 minutes and blowing a couple more distressed rabbit cries – still nothing. Then, just as I was about to head off to try somewhere else, a pair of grey teal flying some distance to my left caught my eye. I watched them briefly and then they cupped their wings and dropped down low to land.
I did wonder why they landed at that spot, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, then I remembered from some old aerial maps drawn prior to the floods (Every primitive hunter should know about aerial maps; Ed.) that an old stock dam was in that area, which of course was now full, from all the recent flood waters.
Scanning the ground, a clump of trees near where the duck put down seemed the best direction from which to stalk up on them. Going in a wide arc I was able to position the trees between myself and the ducks. After 15 minutes of walking hunched over, I was finally at that little clump of trees. I paused for a few moments to straighten out my back, before crawling on my stomach the last 20 metres over flat ground, so that I could get within range for “Precious” to do her job.
Finally, I was in position to take the shot! As I raised myself upright, the pair of teal saw me and started to lift of the water. I quickly brought “Precious” up to the shoulder swinging with a small amount of lead on the front bird. I touched off with a small puff of smoke, followed almost instantaneously by a huge white cloud in front of me. The load of 1¼ oz of No.2’s went on its way.
Immediately I heard some splashing in the water and after the smoke had drifted quietly away from in front of me there in the water were two teal. It seems that as they took off they were so close to each other that they were both inside the shot pattern. With the aid of a gentle breeze and long stick I was able to retrieve the two birds and put them in the game bag.
Pleased that I was able to bag some game, I returned to the group of trees. Here I gathered up some kindling, dried leaves and grass and started a small fire with the flint and steel kit I keep in my knapsack. Soon I had a cheery little blaze going, so I poured some water into my small tin kettle and placed it next to the flames to boil.
Five minutes later a good rolling boil was happening and I poured some of the water into a small tin cup, with some cocoa powder and some sugar, and soon had myself a nice cup of chocolate.
I then mixed some rolled oats and sultanas with the remaining water in the tin kettle and my breakfast was complete. I sat down and enjoyed my surroundings for the next half an hour or so. When my meal was finished I went over to the dam and washed my utensils, carried some water back to the remains of the fire and poured it over the coals, just to make sure that everything was safe, packed away my equipment in the bed roll and proceeded onwards to check the remaining area for any signs of rabbits.
I walked on, to an area that had previously had a lot of warrens with plenty of fresh scratching, but this time there was simply no “sign” anywhere. It would seem that where the flood waters had lay the deepest and the longest, time had reduced the rabbit population dramatically.
Eventually I came up to the main irrigation channel which meant I could go no further, so with sore feet and a little disappointed, I headed back the Bullock Creek/Box Creek junction and followed the left hand bank of the Bullock Creek back up stream towards my vehicle.
As I rounded a bend, a small flock of teal took off in front of me. But I was caught out day dreaming a little bit and my reaction was a trifle slow. My hurried shot was well behind them. Oh well, more for next time, I guess.
After that I did not bother to reload “Precious” as I was not that far from my vehicle. Ten minutes later I was back at the Ute and took off my boots much to the great relief of my feet. The leather had shrunk a little bit and things were getting mighty uncomfortable after a few hours of walking.
While finishing off the last of my drinking water, I felt a little disappointed that the rabbit population had not “bounced” back sooner after the floods. Given time they should quickly return to their old numbers as always. On the brighter side though, it is always satisfying to put a brace of ducks into the freezer so they can be enjoyed later in the year. See you round the traps, Le Reynard.
From the Club President:
Gidday! The Trappings are a trifle thin since our last posting. Thanks must go to Paul for his Bullock Creek hunt story. We could certainly use more input from members. Thanks to those members who paid subs in time to meet the ALHF payment. ALHF membership cards accompany this newsletter and should be carried at all our events.
Members voted for a change of venue for our September Rondy this year. Bernard’s Cache was the “almost” unanimous choice! It’s obvious that the work done on our open faced shelter, pine-log shower block and the permanent ablutions facility greatly influenced the choice. A special thanks to Bob Ellis for design drawings of our amenities and the continuous planning and works at Caveat. There was also a voting bias to the more central Victorian location of Caveat.
The next event is our Spring Rondy and a Buffalo Shoot at which we’ll have our AGM. We will have our usual Mountain Man hunt, entry via a quality vegetable in the basket; winner gets all, plus the basket and a turkey plate; winner then cooks vegetable stew for the entire camp. No kiddin’ – well perhaps!
Peter Convey will be introducing our very first Buffalo shoot and there’ll be more shootin’ challenges and some very nice prizes. George Mohr has kindly donated an original double curved powder horn prize for one lucky shooter. No doubt Smokey Jim will see to an ample supply of firewood. Come and camp all three nights. Ian Convey
September 15th – 16th Spring Buffalo Shoot Rendezvous – Our annual Rendezvous for members and invited guests on the weekend of the 3rd Sunday of September. Keeping up the tradition! Camping is available from Friday 14th thru to Monday 17th.
Non members wishing to experience the Free Trappers shining times should contact any committee member for official invite, site directions and camping guidelines.
Annual General Meeting – 10.30am Sunday 16th September at Bernard’s Cache.
So, how did the nutcase in the theatre in Denver kill and injure so many people in the USA where so many people have the right to carry weapons? Colorado has the concealed carry permits of many other American states. Someone should have been able to nail the bastard, BUT Denver and suburbs (where the shootings took place) have gun controls which do not allow concealed carry. No doubt the nutter knew this.
Perhaps less gun control was the answer—not more gun control. If it had been Wyoming or Montana, I suspect the “Joker” would have resembled a well ventilated Swiss cheese before he could have done such huge damage. George Mohr
“Arms are the only true badges of liberty. The possession of arms is the distinction of a free man from a slave.” Andrew Fletcher 1697
“The man who has lost his liberty has lost almost everything already.” C.S. Forester 1899-1966