There are 20-25 mounts of North American, South African, and South Pacific animals, including a monster buffalo measuring over 120 inches shot by my guide Scott McClain
during a cull meat hunt 5 years earlier on aboriginal land.
I meet Camille McClain and her husband Scott
Scott is a tall thin wiry black haired fellow 35 years old.
is interested to ask me a few questions about my equipment and shooting preferences and how I like to hunt.
is pleased to hear that I enjoy walking much more than riding in a truck and that I am not a measuring tape hunter.
I am adamant about telling him that I want an archery trophy with no bullet holes in it unless it is a matter of safety.
understands and respects my telling him this.
encourages me to try one and I wait until he
has put one in his
mouth first before I try one as well.
Kevin, Carol and Scott
all participated, but Camille was the only one to make ten good landings which was the test qualification.
is also studying to be a helicopter pilot.
So far he
has taken several stages of ground school and theory.
Later 20 hours of flight time with an instructor are required.
At 350-400/hr this is a healthy investment.
hopes to become qualified in the Robinson 22, Hughes 300, and another craft.
He will then try to find work as a pilot after 100 hrs of time mustering cattle for stations around the NT.
Later there is a possibility of trying for the Robinson 44 and maybe a Jet Ranger, but these are much more expensive and not used much for cattle.
The Robinson 22 is most prevalent, using only 20 liters of fuel an hour with two seats.
These aircraft can cut the time to round up several thousand head of cattle in rough terrain from several weeks to just a couple days.
There is a cost for using the aircraft, but manpower is much reduced, and very few head of cattle are missed.
has a bit of experience in the stock business, so he
will have no trouble moving into the mustering trade.
.416 Rigby ready and I have an arrow nocked to try another shot.
arrow glanced off the beast's forehead, but Scott's
.416 dropped him dead at Rob's feet.
Lucky for Scott
, because I spot the bull with his
head up listening and smelling us come at him.
is only 15 yards in from of us.
I hiss a warning and Scott
spots him too.
is hurt too bad or he
may have had us.
We back off 50 yards to wait again.
In the mean time his
head lolls around but he
will not give up.
raises up and slowly moves away.
only gets 15 yards before keeling over, but still he
is not dead.
We move in again.
I am ready to draw to hit him with another arrow and Scott
is to my right covering me. While trying to get a clear shot he
suddenly gets to his
feet and lunges in our direction.
I have no shot so I very rapidly get behind the .416, but the bull drops down unable to complete the charge.
We wait again and I decide I have to shoot again to speed up his
departure and end the suffering.
I work my way around him and his
head is down, but he
is still breathing.
I find an opening at 35 yards and shoot, but the arrow deflects and just grazes his
After 10 more minutes his
heaving chest stops rising and falling.
has given in and lost his
I throw a dirt clod at him and there is no movement.
hits him from 10 yards with a log and then sticks the muzzle of his
rifle into the right eye.
There is no reaction, so he
really is dead.
I am elated.
It is only the second day and I have bagged a super nice Banteng bull by bow and arrow.
is huge, over 60 inches with a very soft velvety black coat.
At around 2000 lbs he
is impressive to say the least.
Upon inspection of his
wounds we see that the first arrow hit 12 inches back from where I intended.
It must have deflected as well.
leaves me to go get the quads.
I could do it, but Scott
is really fast.
has a fixture to hold the hide in position and scalpels for the detailed work.
and I hop out to walk along the creek and hopefully run across some buffalo.
We carefully work down the steep bank and at the bottom Scott
casually tells me not to step forward as he
has just stepped over a snake!.
instructs me to go around it.
It is olive green color, 1" diameter and 3 feet long.
Lucky it was cold or Scott
may have been in trouble.
stepped 6" from it.
Conversation with Scott
and Camille at dinner reveals a good bit of information.
and Camille were married in 2000.
Scott worked as a CAT diesel mechanic in the mines across the Outback.
worked on dump trucks, loaders, scrapers, dozers, generators, even marine diesel power plants.
One time he was with another fellow on a job and they had two days in rebuilding a truck engine.
Finally when they were ready to start it back up there was a tremendous crunching noise.
One side of the head was pretty well destroyed and after opening the head up and finding his
partners socket wrench in one of the cylinders it was clear what had caused the noise.
The wrench was flattened by the piston, but the fellows name was clearly engraved on the handle of the tool.
About a $150, 000 mistake.
Another time Scott
hand pretty badly cutting himself on a sharp tool.
was out of work for quite a while for it to heal.
decided that the schedule of 3 weeks on, one off was a bit tough, although the pay was good.
began to look around and found a job on Camille's dads farm north of Perth.
did not realize he
was hiring his
future son in law.
sets several fires in the grass to burn it off for better hunting later and it creates safety fire breaks for later in the season when massive bush fires become a real menace.
is tasked with unloading the truck before we can hunt again.
has a large orange Kubota tractor with a hay spike attachment.
gets to work while I tour the grounds on my Polaris.
It isn't very far and Scott
is not even done with the hay yet.
I get my hunting gear together and wait for him to finish.
I explain the predicament and he
heads off to see if he
can get it to go.
It seems that there is something in the carburetor that floats down in idle, but is sucked into the jet when the throttle is depressed.
Scott plans to remove the jets and clean the carb out later.
tows me back with his
machine and I get to use the old rattle trap 350 quad.
Actually I really like it.
Over by the TV I snack on sun-dried tomatoes, pickled onions, cheese and crackers until Scott
arrives for dinner.
It is nice to be alone with Scott
and Camille tonight.
I need to cover up with a light blanket, but Scott
and Camille are freezing and are really bundled up.
A short nap while Scott
tends to a few chores and I change to my lucky Schaffer Performance Archery black t-shirt with the fluorescent green lettering.
has gotten out of the mud and has a .44 revolver out to cover me just in case things get too tight.
Luckily the little quad tires find a grip and the bull feels he
has taught us a lesson by running us off.
I am not sure how I would have explained what happened if he
had knocked me off the Quad into the mud even with 6 .44 slugs in his
has the .416 nearly on the intrusive fellow's forehead.
The group seems to accelerate as they meet another group and Scott
takes a shot at the rear end of the bull.
All hell breaks loose with 12 buffalo running is 3 directions.
We lose track of the big bull, but see his
6 buddies circle around behind us.
is not with them.
We try to look at other buffalo going different directions, but he
All the buffalo soon disappear but I spot 2 large feral hogs feeding on an old buffalo carcass.
One is black with what appears to be yellow spots.
has pretty nice teeth protruding from his
jaw line and at 30 yards I decide to try to redeem myself.
I hit him right in the heart.
squeals loudly, runs 10 yards and rolls onto his
back with all four limbs stretched out, dead in less than 5 seconds.
was paying attention though because our friend from later that afternoon was back guarding his
Apparently we had not paid the toll last time and he
was out to get us.
flew at us out of the darkness and we saw the shadow grow as we sped through the mud.
Back for a nap while Scott
does some chores.
assures me that they will keep looking and can get a cape from an Australian hunter who will only want a European skull mount.
and I decided to walk through the