Buffalo Hunting in Australia
Somehow in the company of the Australian reporter Mick Mateson talk about hunting. Soon we gradually moved to the Australian wilderness, bush and, of course, water buffalo grazing on the flooded plains of the Northern Territories. On the question of the cost of the expedition, Mick said: “You can cut expenses with real friends as soon as I return to Australia, I will contact you.”
Two weeks later, I receive a letter from Mick with the address of Greg Pennicott – a professional Australian hunter (PH – Professional Hunter) for buffaloes and other game. Do not put things off indefinitely, I call up with Greg and agree on a hunt for the beginning of September next year. I am offered a choice: either a trophy is a big bull, or a hunt from an approach that will allow to shoot about ten female buffalo and wild boars. True, the pro immediately adds that the hunt for buffaloes at the end of the season is quite problematic, since they form family groups and, in protecting the young, they become almost invulnerable for a long-range aimed shot. In April, Greg sent the documents necessary to bring my rifle into the country. It will take two weeks to receive official documents, including a photo card, which will be my Australian gun permit. Transportation of weapons on board some airlines sometimes becomes a nightmare, so I decide to fly from Marseille to Frankfurt on the Lufthansa flight, and then in the direction of Darwin via Singapore on the Australian airline Qantas. It remains to pay 180 euros for the right to carry a rifle through Singapore. The problem is quickly resolved through the mediation of Qantas and the agency where I booked the ticket.
I confess that I have a wealth of experience in hunting European game and the game of North America, but for the first time I’ll have to face Australian buffaloes. I eagerly read everything about buffaloes and hunting for them. Kevin Robertson’s Perfect Shot DVD helped to study the killer spots of this sturdy beast. I chose a weapon that many now consider out of fashion – the M71 Winchester rifle chambered for .50 Alaskan Wildcat, made by Philip Pironin in the Lechkine gun workshop. This is a powerful Wildcat brought to mind in Alaska in the late 1950s, which stops the grizzlies. Previously, this weapon was successfully used in Africa by Elmer Keith, a famous American hunter who preferred large calibers.
Departure from Marseille is scheduled for September 6 with arrival in the capital of the Northern Territory – Darwin on the 8th at 4.30 am. Ten days before departure, Greg sent me an e-ticket for an Australian airline domestic flight. I leave Darwin at 8.30 with a two-hour flight in the direction of Elcho Island. From there, a new short half-hour flight on a local plane to the continent – the Arnhemland peninsula. Thanks to the “world wide web” I get acquainted with the autonomous territory, where I am going and which is governed not so much in accordance with Australian law, as in accordance with the legislation of Aboriginal people. The region, which is three times the size of Belgium, is practically empty, with the exception of the south-western part near Katharina and its famous gorges. Instead of roads there are several paths and small landing sites made of red soil – everything that allows you to get to the Arnhemland peninsula. Small Aboriginal communities, rare white Australians (guides, teachers, geologists, miners) inhabit 97,000 km² of this wild zone. The coast is in the possession of sharks and giant stingrays, as well as saltwater crocodiles, which are moving more and more deep into the continent. Bush is inhabited by water buffaloes and boars. Of course, there are kangaroos, lizards, snakes and numerous birds. In the plane between Singapore and Darwin, I managed to get a good sleep, and I arrived in excellent shape. Having passed the migration control and verification of weapons, I checked in for a flight to Elcho Island. Refreshed by a strong “breakfast,” I climb aboard for the next flight and arrive at 10-30 am in Elcho. I quickly find and meet my local airline pilot.
Australia: Area: 7686860 km, 6th country in the world by area Population: 22475500 inhabitants (according to 2010 data), of which 517000 natives Time difference: from +8 to +11 hours Northern Territory (Northern Territory): Area: 1,300,000 km Population: 221,000 inhabitants, the least populated province of Australia Cities: Darwin (111300), Palmerston (29000), Ellis Springs (23300) Climate: tropical, semi-desert and desert Protected parks: 53500 km Arnhem Land Peninsula (Arnhem Land): Area: 97000 km Aboriginal autonomous territory. Movement and settlement is governed by the laws of tribal councils. What to see and do in Darwin: Aviation Museum, Crocodile Farm, Museum of the Second World War, sea fishing, excursions to Katarina and its famous gorges.