Dont think of it as killing an animal….think of it as going to the grocery store man style!
Those that have followed my first couple of…umm…writings would have noted that my foray into this world of firearms was not going all that well.
I’d been stirred up on the actual fire arms course by the instructor, I’d concreted in the wrong size safe, I’d been ridiculed by my wife, I was injured whilst attempting trap shooting, tried skeet shooting (embarrassingly so) and I bought the wrong size bullets for a rifle that I haven’t even procured as yet!!..yep Class 1 idiot!!!…as I said – not going too well…but my enthusiasm was as strong as ever.
So, when a friend asked me if I wanted to go bush and see if we could hunt a few rabbits or wallaby – I didn’t even think about it. Absobloodylutely What could go wrong? I should have bloody known.
Deano had been a friend of mine for a long time, but when he went bush shooting – I always went fishing…it was just the natural order of things. That was until the last couple of months, when I told Deano of my excitement with all things fire arms…Deano asked me if I had ever shot an animal – well, yes – of course I had bloody shot an animal…I am a man – I’ve killed…birds.
So after watching a week of Meat Eater and revelling in the fact that Steve Rinella was of a similar age, I was keen as mustard to get going and I started packing for an afternoons hunt in the forest…bino’s, ammo, range finder, .22lr, knives, bags, jacket, spare socks, spare thermal under, spare jacket, knife stone, magazines, rope, first aid kit, walking sticks, litre of water (1/2 gallon for you guys), gun cleaner, oil, boot waders, first aid, ear muffs, game bags, etc and waited.
Deano turned up and started laughing…”your like a bloody boy scout…come on, let’s go numb nuts”.
We drove to the edge of the forest some 60 clicks out of town, to a boom gate across a state forest and I saw a dirt rd heading up and off into the distance – the air was crisp and fresher than fresh.
We unpacked and started walking…and walking…about 15 minutes later, I asked Deano…
“Where are we going mate, I’m getting a lil hot?”
Deano just laughed and kept walking…
Soon after, the sweat started to bead on my forehead, air temp was about, bloody cold F and this stupid backpack was starting to become bloody heavy.
“Mate, aren’t we supposed to sit and wait for a bit ?”
Deano just laughed and kept walking…
20 minutes later, after still walking up hill for at least a mile now, sweat was cascading down my face, I was out of breath, panting like an old hummer and my eyes were stinging from sweat.
“Deano, WTF mate – I’m dying here”…as I stripped off more under garments and tried to pack them into my already very stretched back pack.
Deano just laughed and kept walking…
We were a good 1.5 miles in now, walking continuously up a slight hill – I cried at the top of my lungs – “MATE – E BLOODDY NOUGH”.
I’ve never seen Bear Grills on all fours, panting and stripping off his clothes like I was – maybe his wife had but not me! I was bloody exhausted! I stripped off everything I could, except my hunting jacket.
I was buggered…but Deano was still walking…I desperately wanted to throw a rock and hurt him, as he continued laughing but my arms were too weak to throw anything.
I then heard a distant rifle crack. Adrenalin kicked in…I jumped to my feet and hurried…well, maybe hurried is not the correct word – I staggered, yes that’s better – I staggered towards the sound of the shot where I found Deano proudly standing over a medium sized wallaby – the perfect size for oven baking. The bastard!!
“Where you been?” he asked ?
“Get rooted!” I replied. “You left me to die!”
“You are as fit as a fat bird and I did try and warn you about the amount of gear you were bringing…”
“Warn me ? You said I come better prepared than a boy scout…” I pleaded.
“Ever heard of a little thing called sarcasm…?” Deano niggled…
I so wanted to throw a rock at him…but just then Deano put his finger to his lips…and pointed. About 100 yards away, A kangaroo was watching us…he was on a game trail and seemingly un phased by us being there or the noise we were making.
Deano pointed to my rifle, made a little V finger walking motion and pointed to the kangaroo…I took this to mean that the kangaroo was a vegan and that I should sit down and catch my breath. Apparently, I was wrong because 2 seconds later, I was hit with a small rock….bastard!
Deano tugged me to my feet and I slowly and carefully walked towards said critter…I was approx 70 yards away and I then chambered a.22 round, pushed the safety to fire and I lined up the roo with my cross hairs.
Problem…because I was heaving so hard from being so unfit – the cross hairs on my “in breath” would rise 6 inches above the bloody roo, then on my “out breath”, the cross hairs would fall 6 inches below said roo…geeez I need a trainer. I tried to steady my breath but it was next to impossible…so should I take the shot?…as I battled within, re my own capabilities, I heard a shot ring out – Deano had apparently got tired of me flipping a coin inside my head and he had let his .243 make the decision. The roo fell where it was hit. THE absolute Bastard!!!
Deano dragged the roo over to the wallaby and said, come here numbnuts, I’m going to show you how to gut a macropod. Cool I thought, I haven’t soiled my new hunting knife and Meat Eater makes it look pretty easy…
Adult Roos can grow to 90kg’s Photo
Dean laid the wallaby on its back and with absolute precision, opened up the creatures stomach cavity, made some small internal incisions, grabbed the wallaby by the neck and tail, swung it around and gave a heave and…OH MY!!!! I felt instant illness creep up from depths I never knew existed…guts and intestines and blood and what ever else, flew across the shrubs and into the dirt with a thud…as my little girl would say – “that was absolutely bloody gross man!” but I understood, it had to happen and the carcass looked relatively clean now.
Deano, then smiled at me – “your turn”…I talked to myself – you can do this, you are not going to throw up and you are going to gut and skin this animal for the table…YOU, Simon are a hunter I faked to myself.
I made my first incision into the cavity…OH MY BLOODY HELL OF ALL THAT IS EVIL IN THIS WORLD, WHAT THE…Deano moved away and started laughing…”Oh yeah, if you go too deep you will split the poo bag and it can smell a little funky”…a LITTLE FUNKY ?? This was exactly how I would expect the Devils toilet to smell like…I dry retched…several times.
I kept trying to cut away from the fur and along the length of the stomach cavity, holding my breath for as long as I could, my hands were feeling and touching things that only trained medical people should touch and I cringed as some yellow substance stared oozing over my left hand. OMG. This was insanely gross at a whole new level – I now know why no one has bothered with smellivision.
After 20 mins, Deano must have felt sorry for me, and came over to help me make some additional incisions, ready to displace said stomach contents from said animal and he explained how to shake out the contents in one swift and rapid movement.
Unfortunately, hunting skills are slowly being lost Photo.
I grabbed Mr Roo’s head and Tail, and started to spin around and then after two turns I hefted with all my might and pushed and pulled at the same time…Shit. Shit. SHIT!!!!!!!!
Something had just landed on my head. Something wet, sloppy, warm and very bloody smelly…I dare not move. I could hear something that very much sounded like hysterical laughter, but surely NO ONE, would laugh at a mate in this very precarious position? – I literally had a kangaroo SHIT bag semi draped over my shoulder and head…it was not bloody funny!
“Deano, HELP me”…I pleaded…
I quickly wished I hadn’t asked – he was now in the brush, on the ground, holding his stomach –he was literally laughing so hard he was crying – as I started retching. What an absolute arse!
After what seemed like 10 minutes but was probably 30 seconds, I started to un twine myself from said poo bag and yards of intestines and whatever else that had recently tried to strangle me and I then sat in silence, on the ground, horrified. The smell was indescribable, but I was in shock and couldn’t move away from it. This isn’t hunting…this is…?
Deano had a look at said roo cavity and explained I had not cut away all the internals, thus the stomach content could not shake free entirely – I still sat there, in silence, although now I was wondering if Deano had not purposefully set this up, He was the one that showed me where and what to cut…
I considered throwing a rock at him.
A few minutes later, Deano was hauling said animals on a rope up to eye height and began the skinning process…I watched on, still somewhat in shock, still smelling of horror and simply amazed at the process I had thus far witnessed…
CRACK, SNAP…FFS what the bloody hell NOW ??… Deano had snapped the Roo’s leg bone to poke it out via the skin and started tearing at said skin, pulling it gently as he sliced away tendons…he then lowered the roo, put his foot on the animals back, that was now slightly separated from its skin and pulled hard…the skin came free effortlessly from tail to neck, he “nicked” off the head and was standing there smiling with a roo carcass…I felt sick.
Deano came over and put an arm around me – “Si, you need to head over to the hardware, buy a bag of concrete, put a couple of tea spoons into your milo and HARDEN the F up…” Hmmm…
A few weeks ago I watched a documentary about the Korean war, The Battle of Chosin. The absolute insanity of war is horrific at any time but what the US Marines and Co’s endured during that conflict was absolutely unbelievable, simply awe inspiring. It would be a discredit to service men anywhere to rate a battle in order of hardship, but seeing what those marines endured? Indescribable really…Deano was right. I was being an absolute pussy…
I decided right then to swallow my “concrete”. I grabbed the wallaby that Deano had shot earlier and began…well…dicing the thing not unlike Jack the ripper might do, if he was on crack – and 10 minutes later, I too had a skinned wallaby – albeit with a couple of nicks here and there into the precious meat.
Roo meat is an acquired taste Photo
Deano came over and put a hand on my shoulder – “Bit different than you thought eh ?”
“Yes mate thus far it has been, but you know what – this is life…this is what life is truly about…back into nature, surviving, hunting like our forefathers, learning skills that are fast becoming lost…”
We packed up our meat and started walking out, ribbing the crap out of each other on the way…I pretended to trip over at one stage and picked up a little rock…now, it was only a matter of time…he was going to wear this little rock…and later on, he might even wear a couple of beers to say thank you for opening my eyes to reality.