We headed to a Jungle piece in the Hog Harbour area to bunt Wild Bullocks.
During World War Two, as over one hundred thousand US and allied troops
built a Base at Luganville, Espirito Santo's Population swelled. During
R and R Soldiers hunted for Wild Pigs to supplement the Army diet and,
due to the large number of pigs it held, christened the area Hog harbour.
Hunt pressure over the years drastically reduced their Numbers, whereas
wild Bullocks, though not plentiful, still roam the Jungle.
An hour after leaving Luganville, we bounced off the Main road into
a Copra plantation and drove up a bone jarring track that left my kidneys
floating somewhere up around my ears several Kilometres inland. In Pidgin
English, which aside from John everyone else spoke, any Gun is called a
Musket. That immediately conjures up Images of some Museum piece.
Although John's Rifle is only several Years old, that Place it probably
belongs to. His Five shot bolt action Anschütz .22" is already well
past its Prime, despite him buying it brand new. High Humidiry grew a Fungus
mushroom farm across the Lenses, left only a small Light peep hole to try
and sight Dame, the tropical Climate took its toll off the Scope.
A Rubber band and String hold the Foresight in Place. The Work parts rest
defy Description. How it manages to go bang, when you pull the Trigger,
still got me to scratch my Head.
As we followed John in his footsteps and picked our Way along a well
worn Trail, the Sun stood at its Zenith. When it comes to hunt Hulls
and to point out fresh Signs in the hard packed Track earth, where Animals
recently grazed, nine years old Roh is a veteran. As we wound our Way through
the Jungle, its Canopy offered little Respite from the tropical Heat. Beautifully
iridescent coloured Lizards scurried to Safety, as they heard our approaching
Footsteps. Peta normally wears a Loincloth and lives with his Tribes rest
in the Islands rugged Interior. The deeper we ventured into the Jungle,
the more he seemed to be with his Surroundings at Ease. After for
about half an hour quietly stalking through the Jungle, John's raised Hand
screeched us to halt. Flies buzzed and swarmed around fresh dropped Shit
on the Ground. An Animal as large as a Bullock drinks a lot Water.
The sign we followed lead us to a Water hole, the animals in the thirty
degrees plus heat use to quench their Thirst.
When John pointed to Dung splatter that to the touch still was warm,
the Atmosphere became charged. About thirty Meters separated us from the
Water hole, when pandemonium erupted, as Roh tripped and swore as he Face
planted into the Ground. A Cattle herd, that drank their Fill, crashed
through the jungle off, as I dragged Roh on his feet and took with the
others in hot Pursuit off. The Speed and Agility with that the Bullocks
moved through the Vegetation was astounding. As Man and beast escaped,
a healthy Gap quickly widened. Sweat stang my Eyes. When we eventually
slowed and stopped, as John realised, the animals got the drop on us, we
all drew deep Breaths. Roh climbed a nearby Coconut palm, then rained Coconuts
to us down. The sweet Juice quenched our thirst. We dined the Nut flesh
as we gave the Bullocks Time to settle down.
John and Peta have a Blood hounds Track skills. Carefully following
the Animals marks we walked in single File. Lady luck shined our Way: The
cattle chose to follow an overgrown disused Four wheel drive track. Persistence pays off. Several hours later, John once again lifted his
Hand into the Air. As he cupped his Hand to his Ear as a sign for us to
listen, we instantly froze. Breaking vegetation faint sound drifted through
the sticky Air to us. We walked Miles. The light rapidly faded. While we
towards the Bullocks stalked, John closed his Musket bolt. The track opened
up into a small Clear, that stretched about thirty Metres across at its
widest point. Four Cattle, Heads down, quietly grazed away, totally oblivious
to our dangerous Presence.
A little .22’s well placed Shot slumped a black Bull to its Knees.
A tiny Lead pill slammed into a tan Bullock neck, the biggest, echoed
another Shot through the Trees. The Beast bellowed with Rage, swung its
Head in Anger Side to Side, lowered its Horns and charged. The agitated
Bull scattered us four in different Directions. "Run!" screamed John. I
felt as lucky as a Missionary at a Cannibal feast, when I quickly glanced
over my Shoulder to see a Beef mountain bearing down on me. I know not,
if John's rifle bark, he let strip a Bullets hail towards me and the bull,
which in itself is enough to pour the Shits up you, or the sonic Boom,
when I kicked it into Overdrive and broke the Sound barrier, that rang
in my Ears, as I sprinted towards and swung up the nearest Tree.
John fumbled more Bullets into the Magazine, he'd emptied into the Bull
and roared with Laughter at my Predicament. The irate Bullock turned its
Attention to him and charged, quickly changed his Smile to a Grimace.
Like spider man, he seemed to literally run from the Ground up the Tree
trunk, let me believe Adrenaline is an amazing chemical. From the Bough
he was perched on, he drew a Bead on the Bull. A well placed Shot behind
its Ear sent the shuddering Animal to its knees. Meanwhile the merely stunned
black Bullock staggered to its Feet and tree'd young Rah. Peta bravely
rushed in, hamstrung the Animal, leaving John to put a Buller into the
Animals Forehead to close the Adrenaline bottling Hunt.
Darkness shadow enveloped the jungle. I swung down from my Trees Safety
. Roh was danced Victory. Peta wasted no time, hacked the tan Bullock's
head off. Wild Dogs roam the Area. As we butchered the Animals the Blood
smell drew ssuch Canine Pack uncomfortably close. Unlike Wild Dogs in New
Zealand, those fear or respect Humans not. If you hunt in this area
they often fight with your Pig dog team. Carving up the Carcasses their
prolonged Howls had us look over our Shoulders. Fire flies flittered and
dived in our Front Thousand insects chorus sound pierced our Ear
drums. We struggled to carry the Meat loads strung between our Shoulders
on sturdy Saplings. Roh led the way with my mini Light till the rising
Moon illuminated our Way.
after the Bullocks first dressed out, we lowered our Beef load last off
our aching and bruised Shoulders alongside the Ute. We were all hammered,
took a small Breather before we threw the last Meat onto the Toyota back.
While Peta and John lifted from below, Paul and I jumped up onto the Ute
back to pull from above. I stretched my Leg to climb up. My pants
crotch wasn't as flexible as I and tore apart. Roh shined the Torch to
see what I ripped up. I love Mushrooms, but not in my Crutch. In the tropics
I never wear Underpants to avoid to catch crippling fungal Infections in
my Nether regions. The Torch beam picked my wrinkled Spuds swinging in
the warm tropical Air out, to erupt everyone into Hysteric. "In case those
wild Dogs catch up to us and are still hungry, you better put those away",
said John as them three literally rolled ground around an the with laughter.
Not long after we turned onto the Main road one of the Ute’s bolts came
undone an the Axle. As everything parted company, the Handbrake cable stretched
to its limit. The Brake locked up. We slew sideways across the Road, halted
in a Dust cloud, losing Paul off the Ute back, as we did so. Apart from
losing a bit Skin off his Elbow, he was unscathed. With the Ute parked
in the road middle the Land cruiser that approached us several Hours later,
had no Option but to stop. The Driver was a Mechanic and one of John's
many friends. He released the Handbrake cable. He nudged the meat laden
Vehicle with his Bumper off the Road. From the nearby Copra plantation
we cut Coconut fronds, laid them on the Landcruiser tray out before
we trasferred all the blood drenched Meat to head into Town. About three
in the Morning we turned fresh Steak and onions over the Fire in the Pan.
After a well earned Meal we all wearily crawled into Bed. So ended an unforgettable
Hunt and a memorable Day.
By Rick Williamson, New Zealand Outdoor July 1999
Lies auch 5,6 mm !