Heavy arrows, strong bows, massive buffalos
We were on our way to Cape York, Queensland at 4.00 a.m. The ride was long, 1120 miles and roads were slow. We spent two nights on the way to our destination in the motels, we did our laundry in a coin operated washing machine and sat with local cowboys sipping VB and XXXX Bitter.
The Koolatah cattle farm, our boar hunting spot, is a huge farm of 750 000 acres. The mere size of the farm with its buildings, its big machines, with its airfield and different enclosures was surely bigger than an average Finnish farm with all the forests and fields. The cowboys collected the meat cattle with small helicopters, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and horses. They also dressed like real cowboys – big cowboy hats, jeans and boots.
Boars at Everglades
In the mornings, we drove and walked to swampy ponds and riverbeds, checked the back roads to look for the wild boars. One of us hunted with Mick and two others disappeared in the bush to still hunt the riverbeds.
At the “Everglades” pond, a wide shallow, swampy pond, a few pigs were wading and rooting roots and other delicacies from the bottom mud. Artsi paced with a straight back with no side movements towards the pigs, the way the local hunters advise to stalk. He only proceeded when the eyes and snouts of the critters were under water. Artsi was within twenty 20 yards or less when he slowly raised the bow, drew it smoothly and let the arrow fly. The pigs rushed with splashing water away but one of them stayed and kicked a few last kicks in the swamp.
Also, Arttu had succeeded in harvesting a pig with Mick while still hunting the riverbeds.
On a sunny morning, as always in Cape York, I walked at the edge of the sandy river and Artsi on the opposite shore of the same river. There was water in the river only here and there and that little water did not flow either but some of the sparse water was saved from a moist season to the deeps thus offering valuable spots to the wild critters to drink and bath.
After quite a long and hot walk, we were considering whether we should turn back and take a shortcut back to the car. However, we decided to keep on still hunting for about twenty minutes more because the terrain began to look like pig country. That was a good decision, because soon Artsi tapped his thigh to sign that he saw pigs. We tiptoed I on the right and Artsi on a left side of the bed towards pigs. A few pigs knew something was not right and moved further away. At the same time, I saw a green branch swaying on the river at a distance of some 30 yards. It must be a pig, I thought to myself. We communicated with signs and I sneaked slowly to see what moved the branch. I peeped down in the river from behind a bush. Three black pigs were still wallowing in a small clay puddle. All the pigs were boars. I crouched and drew the bow in the cover of the bank and rose slowly, set the green 20-yard sight pin the Axcel Armortech sight right above the foreleg elbow. The big black boar squealed and lay still after short kicking while the others shot away without knowing what actually happened.
Artsi motioned that he would go after the boars while we pulled the pig from the water. Not long after I heard the sound of the bow. It was easy to conclude from the sound of the hit that the arrow met its target and did it well. We took the GPS reading of the spot and off we were.
Days elapsed with the same routine, driving to some new spot after morning coffee and toasts a, few hours of hunting and back to camp for the lunch and afternoon nap. In the afternoon glassing dark pig figures by some swamp or river. The evening program included a hot shower and “tea” which meant a big supper. Mick managed to get us a boxful of beer cans from the owner of the farm, and after the hard and sweaty hiking it indeed tasted great.
Everyone, including the guide had already taken several pigs and the hunting was comfortable and relaxed. We enjoyed the spirit in the group and the friendship increased. We were planning new adventures for the “buffalo gang” as Arttu called the group.
One afternoon we drove again the back roads classing the shores of ponds. From far away, we saw a gigantic pig with light colored rear end in the water of a large swampy pond. Who wants to go, Mick asked? I reported being a volunteer. I ran the first 70 yards so that the pig would not have time to leave the pond and circled behind a small island and began to wade in my brand new Danner boots. The stems of the Danner’s reached the surface of water and soon the shoes began to feel warm when the mud flowed in the boots. The fat pig still rooted eagerly in water. Oops, there was a black back of a good boar in the grass of the water on my left. When his head sank along the eyes into water, I sneaked closer. Eventually, the boar was only 26 yards away. The boar turned its side conveniently and I came to full draw. The arrow flashed through the black critter. The pig shot to the run, curved in low water to the right and set soon on a dry islet. I glanced if the bigger pig had noticed anything. There it rummaged roots from the bottom somewhere at a distance of 80 yards. I went to wade immediately glancing back to the previous boar and saw it swinging its hind leg the last time. Every step sunk me lower in the swamp bottom and I had to struggle to stay erect. I was afraid that I would get stuck in the mud. When the pig again sank its long snout deep in the water, I pulled the string of my Defiant Turbo and tried to find balance in mud. The aiming indeed succeeded steadily and the arrow flashed over the water hitting to the back part of ribs and came out by the right foreleg. The pig bounced from the water and rushed only some 40 yards falling on its side and remaining lying immobile. Phew, what a show, I thought to myself. I wish somebody would have videoed this operation! Mick, Arttu and Artsi strode to me to help to pull the pigs on dry land. Mick smiled and blurted out: “Well done – mate!
The three-week adventure of the “buffalo gang” was coming to its end. We loaded our gear in a big trailer behind the Land Cruiser. The goals of the group had been fulfilled and perhaps even been exceeded. In addition to four handsome buffalos and one scrub bull we got 11 wild boars.
Ooh, and yes, we did meet those lethal snakes every day – sometimes unnecessarily near. At least Arttu and Mick presented their eventful snake dance a couple of times when stepping too close. It was exceptionally hot for the midwinter, more than 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and the snakes got excited.