Hunt Australia – Season Newsletter
'A season of mixed fortunes'
Well this is about the latest end-of-season newsletter ever!! It sure has been a very long, busy and overall very successful season ... it's difficult to believe that Christmas is almost upon us.
In the Northern Territory our main hunting season kicked off in late May and our early arrival hunters were greeted with extremely wet conditions. A cyclone in April had dumped inches and feet of water on all of our hunting grounds and especially caused major flooding at our Gan Gan concession in Arnhem Land. That camp was so badly affected that it took several weeks to replace the damaged materials and equipment and several more months to clear all the hunting trails. Cyclone Paul sure wrecked some havoc – as it parked itself right over the buffalo concession for a full seven days!!
That said we still had very good hunting from Day One. This year we took some massive trophies, including the biggest taken on this concession to date - more about that later. In this area, as the hunting season progresses, the conditions change considerably; in June it is generally wet and boggy and then by the end of the season the country is burnt, dry and dusty. Each week presents its own difficulties and we can only strive to make the best use of the hunting area at any given time - such are the vagaries of true free-range, wilderness hunting.
In all we conducted thirty-some hunts in this area; mostly trophy buffalo hunts and also a few buffalo culls hunts and some fishing and wing-shooting. Incidentally, the fishing at the buff camp this year was excellent, with barra and saratoga being taken just about every day we ventured out for a few casts. Some years we catch a lot of fish, other years we don’t – there’s often no rhyme or reason to it either – that’s just the way it is!!
Another upshot was the recent growth of the scrub bull (wild ox) herd in the area. Each year we have been seeing more and more ‘scrubbers’ and this season we took our first two trophy bulls off the concession. The first of these was taken by lucky hunter and the US Verney-Carron double rifle importer, Ken Busch. Ken took this beaut ‘red bull’ with his custom V-C 450/400NE, which performed a very admirable job. The second scrubber for the season was taken by another double-rifle shooter and repeat client Josh Gaffen from California.
Caption: Josh Gaffen and his own red bull. A formidable opponent matched well to a 500NE double rifle.
Hopefully the scrub bull population continues to grow in that area and we can harvest more and more trophies each year. At the moment they really are just a target of opportunity... some people just get lucky! Down at our regular boar hunting concession there are a lot more scrub bulls and hunters venturing there can go out looking for one with the real expectation of getting their hands on a trophy ‘scrubber’.
As mentioned before, among the many super trophies we took this year at the main Arnhem Land buffalo concession, was a true monster 117 SCI bull that was taken in early August. This XOS bull was taken by young Ohio hunter Joe Wehinger – a quality young man who thoroughly deserves and appreciates the beautiful animal that he took. Joe was accompanied by head-guide Peter Harding and his benevolent ‘Uncle Mark’. What a great Uncle to give his nephew first shot!! Congratulations Joe!!
Caption: Joe Wehinger and guide Peter Harding with Joe’s freakish, huge buffalo bull.
At our main boar hunting/culling concession the vagaries of the season were even more evident. Following the late ‘wet season’ and cyclone the subsequent, generally reliable, ‘dry season’ almost never happened at all and the weather was characterised as hot, wet and humid for almost the whole season. This pattern made the hunting much more difficult than normal, where we would typically have several months of cool dry weather, much better conditions for hunting! That said the hunters at that camp still had some great results with the boars but it did vary greatly from week-to-week.
Other highlights at this camp was the excellent scrub bull hunting that was had there this season (especially with the greatly increased concession area) and some really exceptional trophy buffalo bulls were taken off this concession as well. Generally we do not run specialised buffalo hunts at this location because of the smaller herd size – but if you are just looking for a short good value hunt and not necessarily huge trophies – a buffalo/scrub bull/wild boar hunt at this concession would be a good deal to get onto.
This year the boys at that camp also experienced some really good quality fishing for much of the season, in between busy hunting days... it really is a super ‘mixed’ hunt to experience!!
Travel to Australia
For US clients air travel to Australia has never been better (disregarding TSA hassles in the States) with five airlines servicing the USA/AUST Pacific route; Qantas, Virgin, Delta, Air New Zealand and United. This is especially good for most of our hunters as all of these airlines have great deals during the middle of the year – our main hunting season!! Once inside Australia the airports are very trouble-free, even when travelling with firearms.
Deer Hunting – 2011
This past season one of our good friends and clients took the option to revisit one of our past ‘stomping grounds’ – Watervalley – a massive multi-specie deer hunting ranch in South Australia. Wes was pleased with his choice and took a really nice sambar stag and reported excellent hunting conditions and game numbers for the sambar and other species present – namely red stag, fallow buck, axis deer and rusa deer.
Three years ago we quit hunting at Watervalley because that region was suffering a terrible drought and the hunting was badly affected. Now the seasons have turned around thankfully and the reports from this fabulous hunting concession are many times better – so we will be back there ‘with bells on’. If anyone is interested in a first-class deer hunt in Australia just email us and ask for ‘Watervalley’ hunt details.
2011 Buff Hunts
Right now we are absolutely flat-out in the office doing our convention program and bookings for next season. A great many of our hunts are full for 2011 but we still have quite a few premium buffalo hunts available and some buffalo culling as well. If you think an Aussie Buff hunt might be an option for 2011, just shoot us an email reply and we'll give you a great quote.
So that is all for now – stay tuned for our Christmas/ Conventions Update that will be sent in a couple weeks. For the record we will be attending Dallas SC, Houston SC and SCI-Reno as usual.
Caption: The Graham boys, Harry & Lewis enjoyed some barra fishing on their end-of-season visit to Gan Gan concession.
Take care and Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends
From all the team at Hunt Australia