Disability no obstacle

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Not missing the use of his legs, Mighty Mick loves to get out for a hunt.

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Mighty Mick was involved in a tragic workplace accident a few years ago that left him confined to a wheelchair. However, nothing stops our good mate from doing the things he loves, his positive attitude to life is inspirational. He enjoys nothing better than a good laugh, and is a passionate hunter, a devoted family man and an awesome bloke who’s fun to be around.

Matt gave the Pioneer 700’s accelerator a nudge the second we’d finished loading the canine cavalry. We’d packed the ice box and whatever else we needed for a full day’s hunt. 

Taking centre stage in the gun rack was Matt’s recently purchased .300. The hard-hitting, compact coach gun was handy if required. Mick and I chatted like a pair of fishmongers’ wives while Matt steered the side-by-side towards a likely spot — a small, isolated watercourse that had come up trumps in the past.

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We hadn’t gone that far when a well-upholstered lone buffalo supporting a reasonably thick bit of headgear was spotted standing in the limited shade of a small patch of regrowth. This was the perfect opportunity (unless you were a buffalo) to test the stopping power of the new .300.

Moments later, with the rifle shouldered, Matt worked the bolt, took aim and fired. Boom! The shot was perfect, the large bovine dropped on the spot and was dead before it hit the ground. Mick was impressed — no standing ovation, but impressed all the same.

Using the Pioneer we dragged the fallen beast out of the shade and rolled it into position for a few photographs. A quick fireman’s lift had a smiling Mick sitting behind a solid monarch of the Top End and ready to grace the pages of his favourite hunting magazine or Penthouse. After a laugh and a celebratory cold one we continued on in search of an elusive pig or two.

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Mick’s sense of humour is as sharp as a tack and my son and I don’t mind taking the proverbial P out of each other and anyone within earshot at every opportunity. Mick was in his element; out bush, hunting in the company of a pair of modest (we don’t know the meaning of the word) modern-day hunting legends.    

The abundance of fresh pig sign in the shaded recesses of the narrow high-sided creek line looked promising, so the lads cruised the open ground in the Honda, a stone’s throw from the wet stuff. The dogs and I walked the well-used game trail that hugged the water’s edge. Most sheltered areas were dotted with wallows and recent pig sign, which was good. 

However, the frequent large indentations of wandering buffalo crisscrossing the sand of the riverbed wasn’t so good. Being flattened by a charging, four-legged tank with a roof rack wasn’t a high priority on today’s bucket list. I prefer my buffalo horns mounted on the trophy room wall, not the back of my head.

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Suddenly, my young dog Ace put the foot down, darted left and vanished over the opposite bank for parts unknown. Knowing Matt could follow Ace’s movements on his High Tech Redneck tracking collar and I wouldn’t (shouldn’t) be far behind he’d be able to keep tabs on both of us.

The chase was on! I splashed across the wet stuff, ducked under some overhanging branches, made the short sprint up the steep, eroded creek bank that looked more difficult than it was, then hitting open ground and quickening my stride. The distant sound of dogs barking caught my attention and I zeroed in on the commotion.

By the time I could hear the approaching Honda over my thumping heartbeat (I nearly did a heart gasket) my senior-card carrying legs had thrown in the towel and dropped it back a couple of gears to a quick walk.

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A short time later, from the comfort of the side-by-side, Mick and I watched as Matt blooded his trusty pig-sticker and the dogs earned their biscuits. The boar hit the canvas quicker than Anthony Mundine and stayed there. While the dogs cooled down in the creek line, we enjoyed a well-deserved rest/drink break before pushing on.  

Soon after, the high grass was almost impenetrable as I pushed a shoulder-width path towards constant barking. Even semi-hidden behind a wall of grass, the black outline looked big and with only Ace in it’s face giving it an earful I needed to get it on the ground quickly. Before it could inflict any damage.

Seconds later, when a safe shot was presented, I raised the equaliser, thumbed back the righthand hammer and squeezed the corresponding trigger. Firing solids may be a bit expensive but a follow-up shot is rarely required. The boar was an absolute ripper with an impressive, lethal set of tusks. After Ace got the all clear, I yelled across the creek line for Matt to come over.

With no chance of getting the Honda across or carrying Mick over for a photo we decided the best option was to remove the pig’s solid noggin and take it back to Mick. Not sure who got the rough end of the stick — Matt who did the dissection or me who struggled back to the Honda carrying a large, squelchy boar’s head. I must have looked like an extra in a B-grade zombie apocalypse movie.

After heaps of pics of Mick holding the toothy brute’s head, we called it a day. Once I’d washed the blood off, but failed to remove the horrendous smell on my hands, arms and legs, I fished three frosty beers out the ice box and handed them around. Matt informed us he was going to take the rough-looking head home. 

“We have to Matt, it’s on Mick’s shoulders,” I replied with a smirk. 

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