What A Month

Stories, questions, lies about the one that got away....

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John Valery
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What A Month

#1 Post by John Valery » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:38 pm

Well the wife and I have just had one of the best month’s bow hunting imaginable.

The start of the month saw us arrive at Toomba Station to have a go at some of the pigs and chital that makes this place famous (and rightly so). If you have ever considered doing a paid hunt, this is the place. The amount of game there is truly unbelievable. Break the cost of the trip down to a day rate, then consider it is full catered, and no trophy fees etc., and it starts to look pretty attractive. Both the wife and I literally had shot opportunities every time we left the accommodation, and as a bow hunter, you can’t ask for more than that. That being said, as anyone who has ever chased these spotted, jump at their own shadow, highly strung buggers can attest, getting in close is only half the battle. Then you have to physically draw your bow without being caught. Good luck.
On day 2, I was lucky enough to get the jump on one of these fellas with an 18 yard shot. He might have made about 60 yards after that and piled up. To say I was over the moon at taking one of these guys with a trad bow would be an understatement.
Toomba Chital.jpg
Chital taken at 18 yards
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Both Karen and I also managed a pig each, and to be fair, you couldn’t carry enough arrows to deck all the pigs we saw. On a couple of occasions I found myself tucked up trying to work out how I was going to close the gap on the chital, only to have a mob of pigs feed across at under 10 yards. We were more concentrating on the deer, but it makes it tough to keep you composure at times.
Toomba Boar4.jpg
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I cannot recommend Toomba to you guys enough. Dan and Graham are great blokes to deal with, and go out of their way to make sure you thoroughly enjoy every minute of your time there. We booked another trip for next year on the 3rd day and we can’t wait to go back.

The end of the month saw Karen and I meeting up with some friends from Queensland up here in Darwin, and making the trek up towards the Cobourg Peninsula for a week’s hunting and fishing at Ainsley Point.
June/July in the Territory is very comfortable, weather wise, but there is still a fair bit of water around, and the game is still a little spread out. We still managed to have a great time. The fishing during the dry season is all about the pelagic run. Quite a few of the crew managed either firsts or biggest Long Tail Tuna and Spanish Mackerel. Here’s a couple the Mrs picked up. It was great to see her arms get a bit of a stretch
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Hunting wise, the 4 bow hunters in the group all managed to amuse themselves. The 2 boys using compounds managed pigs, and a buffalo. I was lucky enough to be backing up (rifle) for most of their game taken by the pair, and there are some stories to go with each of their trophies. For example, just getting to the buffalo across the swamps was probably more eerie than chasing the buffalo themselves. As there is still plenty of water around, there are still plenty of crocs as well. You really have to be on your toes around this place.
Not Trad, but impressive anyway
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I had my heart set on a Banteng Bull. For those who haven’t come across these Banteng before, they are built like a buffalo, but act like a deer. They are wired. Karen was keen on an NT Sambar Deer (Yep, we have those too).
The best morning for Karen and I was on n the 2nd to last day. We wandered along one of the swamps not far from camp with Steve, one of the Traditional Owners for the area. We had just left the car and pretty much walked straight in on a good size pig. Karen put a stalk on it and it turned out to be a big sow. Karen had a shot but went low, slipping the arrow just under the sow’s chest. A clean miss is better than poor hit, so no harm no foul. At least we didn’t have an extended follow up. Not 100m from this pig we saw another. As it was another sow, and not wanting to make too much noise and alert anything better further up, we snuck past and left her feeding. It was a good call as it turned out. 50m past the 2nd sow, a cross wind had a massive Banteng bull charge out of his bed 30m to our left on the edge of the swamp. I saw about 3 seconds of him on the run and he was a very impressive critter.
As we were gathering ourselves after the Banteng bulls exit, Steve spotted a little movement up in front. I snuck in a bit closer, and found myself 20 yards from a Banteng cow. I glanced back at Karen and she was all smiles and thumbs up. The stalk was on. 10 minutes and 5 yards later I was as close as I was going to get. These things are just so alert. Watching her, she was aware of every bird or butterfly that flew within cooee of her. About 20 minutes later, she finally went to turn to graze away and offered the angle I had been waiting for. At around 45% quartering away, the arrow went in behind the last rib, and was pressing on the skin forward of the offside shoulder. She made about 50 yards and piled up mid stride.
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After the obligatory photo session, we poked on another 150m when I heard some grass rustling on the edge of the swamp. I snuck in for a bit of a look, and there was another Banteng cow bedding down under a tree. I backed out, and called Karen up. She was a little nervous at first, but with a bit of convincing, she was on her way in. Hats off to the girl, she made it in to 20 yards through dry grass that sounded like walking on cornflakes, and bugger all cover to boot. The cow became a little uneasy and stood up again. This gave Karen the chance to put an arrow just behind the crease. We had a smoke and a drink, then after a bit of a follow up we had our 2nd Banteng on the deck in an hour.
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While I didn’t get the bull I was hoping for, we were absolutely wrapped to grass 2 Banteng in under 2 hours, and still less than a kilometre from the car. It was unbelievable to experience that all with the Mrs.
Besides, Ainsley Point is such a great place, we just have to go back now and get a bull next time.
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I just hope next month goes as well for us………………….
If you ain't smilling, your anchor point's to low

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Bent Stick
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Re: What A Month

#2 Post by Bent Stick » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:57 pm

Wow guys..................:) amazing stuff
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Re: What A Month

#3 Post by morganp » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:32 pm

Well done. That's the stuff we all dream of.

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Re: What A Month

#4 Post by bigbob » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:03 pm

Fantastic effort getting a Supercharged Chital with a trad bow! an then back up with Bantengs as well as hogs! Great stuff to you both!. Spent a bit of time chasing pigs on Toomba, but can you believe, never bothered about deer in them days!
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Keith Lee
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Re: What A Month

#5 Post by Keith Lee » Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:04 pm

Well done John and Karen.

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Stickbow Hunter
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Re: What A Month

#6 Post by Stickbow Hunter » Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:01 pm

Wow what a month alright!!! Congrats to you both on the game taken. I'm sure the hunts were a real buzz.

That Chital is a fine looking animal John!

Thanks for sharing it all with us.


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Re: What A Month

#7 Post by rmcpb » Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:27 pm

Envy is my reaction. Loved the write up.
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little arrows
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Re: What A Month

#8 Post by little arrows » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:13 pm

great story John and congrats to both yourself and Karen on a successful trip.


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Re: What A Month

#9 Post by ozzyshane » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:18 pm

Great going on two of the hardest animals in OZ to get .....what is your trad set ups Thanks Shane

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Re: What A Month

#10 Post by Ronster » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:23 pm

Hi John and Karen, good to see you again if only in photo's.

Moving to Darwin was obviously a good move.

Great pics, hope to catch up at a Gladstone Muster if you can drag yourselves away from the top end..

Best wishes, Ron & Sue
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Re: What A Month

#11 Post by Peregrine » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:29 pm

Amazeballs! I'm jealous Congrats

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clinton miller
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Re: What A Month

#12 Post by clinton miller » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:50 pm

well done! sorry but you've used up all your good luck for next month, (maybe quite a bit longer than that!) on getting cheap access to the banteng. it is a wild place up there. i've spent time at araru point with trad owners so i know what you mean by beautiful.

good going on the chital and boars too.
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Re: What A Month

#13 Post by Muz1970 » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:07 pm

Awesome effort on the Chital and Banteng's with the recurves. Never got up to Coburg but hunted Coopers creek a few times 100km to the south when I was shooting compounds. It sure is beautiful country with massive floodplains and swamps. Heading up your way in September and can't wait to get into some Boars.

Curious to know both of your set ups you used on the Banteng's.

Well done...Muz

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Gringa Bows
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Re: What A Month

#14 Post by Gringa Bows » Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:23 am

Top effort with the trad gear ,Rabbits looks very happy too :biggrin:

John Valery
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Re: What A Month

#15 Post by John Valery » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:11 am

Thanks for the kind words all.
sorry but you've used up all your good luck for next month, (maybe quite a bit longer than that!) on getting cheap access to the banteng
Clinton, maybe I can buy some luck back by "sharing the love"(I need some more yet as we are planning Central Arnhem Land for Buffalo in September).
This place is not inaccessible. And you are correct, the game is "cheap" and not free.
That being said, if anyone is keen to head up, and not sure how, just send me a PM and I'll hook you up with the contact details and how to go about getting on there.
As these guys are just feeling their way on these sort of hunts, the more bowhunters we get in there, the less room for the rifle guys (no offence to the rifle shooters, but your just too noisy :roll: ).
I've convinced (I hope) the guys to lock up big areas for bow only, and they seem keen to keep it that way.

As to our set ups, for those interested, I'm running a Schafer Silvertip takedown. 66# @ 28” (+ - 70# @ my draw length).
Arrows on all game taken by me were full length CX Heritage Carbons, with 3GPI weight tubes, and 2 blade 175g Zwickey broad heads. Total arrow weight of + - 760g.

Karen is using the Schafer Silvertip 1 piece. 55# @ 28 (Probably around 51# +- @ her draw length).
Karen’s arrows are CX Heritage Carbons cut to 28”, with 3GPI weight tubes, and 2 blade 160g Zwickey broad heads. Total arrow weight of + - 610g.

Again, thanks all for reading our little tale.
If you ain't smilling, your anchor point's to low

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Re: What A Month

#16 Post by Muz1970 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:21 pm

PM sent

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Re: What A Month

#17 Post by CraigH » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:25 pm

Well done, what a great trip.

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Re: What A Month

#18 Post by UPTHETOP » Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:35 pm

John good to see you and Karen living the dream mate all the best, I miss the top end.

Cheers Wayno
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Re: What A Month

#19 Post by rodlonq » Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:57 pm

Great story and photos John, thanks for sharing it with us.

Cheers.... Rod

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