Bungulla Goats (A true story by Grant Hutchings.)

The phone was ringing, ‘ checked the caller id and sure enough it was Kelvin. His best mate, Darryl, had been telling me about their recent feral goat mustering attempts and to expect a call.
“How are you mate? I’m sitting on a hill watching some wild goats flogging my rye grass” “Can’t be good” I replied. “Do you reckon you and your dogs could get them in for me?” “As soon as I fix this fence I’ll be there. I’ll pick up Darryl on the way and we’ll see you in about an hour.”

The hill and the valley.

The hill and the valley.

I rang my wife, Tracey, to let the dogs out for a run before I got home to save time, and I contacted Daryl to put him into the picture.
I found out it takes a 5 km trip on a slow road up a mountain to hear all of the dramas associated with this particular mob of goats. And it is a worry when the most successful capture was of three goats at the expense of one of Kelvins young sons falling from his horse through barbed wire and Kelvin rolling the quad onto himself and the three hapless goats. Continue reading

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Zorro, Pat Garrett and the Jack of Harts

View 2Last week, while mustering a paddock that borders the National Park, I noticed cattle tracks in the Park. I mentioned my plan to send some dogs to search for them to Rodney Garrett and he reckoned I would have a better chance if he and his Kelpie, Spy came along.

At 4:00 pm, when the heat had dissipated from the day we Dogs and vehiclejumped 2 teams of 3 Kelpies each into the Ranger and set off to where I reckoned they may be camped. Of course there were no cattle at that spot but enough scent for the dogs to follow. We drove around to get a better vantage point, always a temptation but can confuse the dogs as they tend to bring cattle back to where they initiated their cast.

A crescendo of speaking dogs showed us that the cattle were found and that they were some 500 ft below us in some very inhospitable country. A couple of whip cracks re-oriented our position to the pack. As it was too steep and thickly vegetated to drive the Ranger closer, Rodney suggested we walk down and make sure that the cattle had a relatively clear path back to the ridge top. I think he really wanted to make sure Spy was assisting the flow and direction rather than hindering it. As it turned out the idea was sound as the dogs had located a small mob of 4 cows 4 calves and Zorro, a mature wild bull. He had been seen rarely, but discussed plenty over a beer around a campfire. By the time we were able to see the mob the dogs had cleverly applied force when they tried to run down into the depths of the valley and, more importantly, given relief when they moved upwards. There was a small spring at the base of a rock wall so we moved across the slope  keeping the dogs off-balance to move the cattle around the rocks and upwards once again. Well done Rodney. As Zorro was understandably man-shy we kept our distance behind the cattle and allowed the dogs to drive them up to where we had parked the Ranger.

dogs to the lead Continue reading

Another Muster

The Gympie Country Music Muster has to be experienced to be understood. This year started about a week before live music began echoing around the Amamoor Valley with the annual call from our friend, Sue McMah. She instructed Sean and me to turn up to Swill Hill with dogs and ATV, she would bring the sheep. Swill Hill is one of the more lavish camping facilities frequented by a group of long-term revelers.

Our mission was to attract attention and to hand out brochures for a pre-muster function in Gympie. Apart from destroying one fiery tempered young retiree’s coax cable linking his over sized caravan to his over sized satellite dish all went well.

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Was that a compliment?

Last week a young team of Kelpies and I had mustered 200 Brahman X yearlings and were moving them about 4 Kms along a  gravel road that runs through our property. As they were quite a heavy mob I was droving from behind on my ATV while Milburn Moss, Tracker Gibbs, Tracker Fiona (Fi) and Tracker Chief guided them along the sides and kept the odd slow follower from lagging behind.

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