The Adavale Kangaroo Shooter
Oh what a NIGHT
I was staying at “the Hut” in Adavale with Tony on my annual trip to the outback to hunt pigs and trap yabbies. Drinking a little wine and knocking off a few beers are also on the agenda. We tend to discuss most of the world’s problems and solve them. Usually a bomb is the solution!
Tony and I had been there a few days when Lennie showed up and invited me to come out with him one night for a shoot, his living as a Roo Shooter (sounds like mad rooter but he’s not).
Matter of fact he went into detail about the lady Colleen, who was staying with him on the ‘Paradise’ property.
Back of the hut
‘No Fox, none of that going on’.
I said ‘bullshit, fuck off!
‘Just to give a hand after my knee op’.
Anyway, we made arrangements for a night and Lennie would pick me up and we would proceed to ‘shoot’ the Milo property following the dingo fence. He loves the company on what can become a long night. This one would end up being exactly that and more.
When he arrived to pick me up he had a story to tell Tony and myself. Colleen had gone into town with the ‘lady’ publican to have a girl’s couple of days. They had had a problem with the front tyre and took the car to the local garage to fix, and the entire wheel fell off.
‘Can you believe that sort of luck Fox’.
‘No I can’t’.
Of course Colleen being away would come into play later.
I packed a sandwich and the thermos and threw in the yabbie traps because Lennie said there was a great hole about 30 kilometres out on the dingo fence. I thought ‘not again’! Lennie had previously led us on a yabbie chase that took a round trip of 200km for a return of about a dozen crayfish. He also checked his Land Cruiser.
‘I’ve forgotten the fucking Wallaby Jack’.
‘What if we have a flat?’
‘She’ll be right’.
We said goodbye to Tony and explained I hoped to be back in the hut around midnight. The pork chop, to be cooked by the chef a la magnifique, would now be held over until I arrived home. No such fucking luck.
‘I’ll save some red for you’.
Immediately I thought ‘that’s one bloody Bleasdale I won’t get to taste’.
Off we go with Lennie immediately updating me on the goings on in Adavale. Who was rooting who and who was paying the rent. Funny how a little place with about fifteen houses could come up with such a complex social structure! Tony and I had not been to Grace and Woodsies for dinner as is usual as yet and it’s there you get ALL the goss.
On to Milo through the Windorah gate. The gate leads to the old road to Windorah and is no longer used. Have to go the Quilpie way.
‘Ever been up that road mate’?
‘Plenty of times’.
‘Why did they close it?’
‘Too fucking rough’.
‘Will we go up it tonight’?
‘Some of the way’.
Shit, this sounded just like a bad case, and was going to be, although thankfully we never got to the rough road.
Immediately we hit the Dingo fence, just on dusk, the roo’s were everywhere. Lennie shot one because it got in the way but it was a good size (legal) and loaded it. That roo was in for a hell of a night; lucky the boomer wasn’t feeling any embarrassment.
‘Think we’ll go straight through to the yabbie hole Fox, and come back along the fence so you can shoot out to the left’.
‘Here goes, he’s put it on me already’.
Funny, I don’t like shooting roos but it does seem different when you are helping someone who depends on killing them for a living.
‘70 percent of our roos go to Russia you know Fox’.
There you go !!!!
As we drifted along the fence road, smooth as it was recently graded, we spotted hundreds and hundreds of good sized roos, so I was going to get a good go at them tonight. Sure!!
Anyway, after being annoyed by Emus who just wanted to run along the fence with Lennie in full voice:
‘Get out of the road you stupid cunts’.
‘Bet you couldn’t head shot one of those fuckers’.
Lucky he didn’t take me up on it, he’s a good shot for an old prick. He’s older than me!
We came across the water hole just as light was filtering through the gums. The outback is fascinating at this time. We had some roo meat from the day before which was placed in the traps and deposited in the hole. I had visions of pulling out hundreds the next day when Tony and I would be through again.
Dingo fence waterhole
‘I think you have a leak in the radiator Lennie, there’s water pissing everywhere’.
‘Dont think that’s coming from the radiator’ was the reply.
’Think it’s coming from the block’.
After further inspection he discovered the old Cruiser had a crack in the block.
‘It’s this fucking water out here, corrodes everything’.
‘What’s the go now, light the camp fire’?
‘I’ll fix it’.
Well I was fucking well amazed when he came up with two tea bags, opened them and stuck them in the radiator. I was even more amazed when the leak stopped.
‘Clever old cunt, aren’t I’?
He would need to demonstrate how clever he was later tonight.
‘Might as well check a trap or two before we go Fox’.
‘You know mate, that thing is still leaking’.
‘I’ll have a look’.
He still amazes me that after a total knee replacement only back in March he can move around with ease and even sit cross legged. No problems getting under the Cruiser to check another problem.
‘We’re out of clutch fluid’.
So we filled up and after many attempts to fill and refill finally decided the thing was discharging all the fluid at the master cyclinder.
‘You know the best thing to use if you are out of fluid is water’.
‘I’ll be fucked, it’s not working this time because it’s pissing out the arse end’.
‘We can still drive without the clutch’.
‘Well I’ll be’!
‘Hello what’s happened now?’
‘What’s the problem?’
‘No drive at all’.
‘What’s that mean now?’
‘Last fucking time I’m going for Yabbies’.
Time I bowed out.
‘Cuppa Lennie, there’s still some left in the Thermos’.
‘Well we’re here for the night, might as well start a fire’.
At this point with everything going so well my thoughts wandered back to the Hut where the master chef would be enjoying his pork chop and drinking the red wine. No he wasn’t I decided, the prick would be in bed and couldn’t give two fucks about me.
The fire was going well and being now after midnight, discussion turned to contacting people.
Oh well I thought, no problems there’s always other shooters out.
‘Woodsie, have you got a copy?’
‘Grace, have you got a copy?’
‘Gareth, have you got a copy?’
‘Jim, have you got a copy?’
Fucking copy, there’s no prick out there!
‘Must be in a hollow’!
Famous words from the Roo shooter.
‘Do you ever see any pigs after you gut up?’ Lennie had gutted the roo we had onboard.
‘The pricks come in all the time. I’ll tell you a story. I was down Wyandra way one night and laying in wait for a pig when fuck me drunk this boar appears in between me and my mate. I wasn’t afraid and after a boo he disappeared.’
‘I don’t get scared but sometimes wary, I think I’ve seen the Min Min lights!’
‘Was this back in your drinking days?’
‘No fair dinkum, I shone the spot at them and they disappeared only to appear again, fucking things kept coming back but didn’t get closer’.
‘One day this stuff just like spider web, and stretching for ages, came floating down from the sky’.
‘Did anyone else see it’?
‘Yep, they saw it in town’.
‘Nope, I’ve never seen anything like that, I’ll see if I can find out on the net what it may have been’.
We were stretched out alongside the fire by now.
‘Another cuppa Fox’.
‘Yep, and a biscuit’.
‘Jesus, this tastes a bit thick out of your thermos. Tastes like dish water’.
‘Shouldn’t, it’s from the yabbie hole’.
Then Lennie all of a sudden sits up in the smoke and says ‘I think I can fix the problem’. I didn’t ask anything. Under the truck he goes and all of a sudden he calls out ‘I can see the problem, the wheel has come off the axle and is just hanging by the nuts’. So was I! So we proceeded to lift the truck on the right hand back wheel side with a black fella’s rig of levers and spare wheels.
Straight out of the ‘Bush Mechanic’.
‘Would have been handy that wallaby jack’.
No answer, just something about fucking yabbies.
Finally we managed to get the wheel back on the hub again and she was ready to go. It was now getting cold and as black as the proverbial.
‘Shall I pack up the fire Lennie, shouldn’t need it now’?
It wouldn’t be too long before we were using the matches again. Well Lennie’s cigarette lighter, wouldn’t expect to have matches!!
Well I thought, might get some roos after all.
By this time we are deep into the night.
‘Do you think Tony will realise something’s amiss?’
‘Yep, about eight a stuffing clock in the morning’.
The unit sounded good and away we went down the dingo fence. At least it was smooth. Lennie is the type that doesn’t see bumps or gidgee trees. Runs over the bloody lot.
‘Fox is this the sand we came over on the way out’?
‘Dont think so, doesn’t look good’.
It was a typical outback creek bed and would be impassable in the wet.
For some reason or other Lennie fires up and sails into the mire.
We didn’t make the other side.
Bogged to the axle in dry sand! Jesus fucking Christ!
Something again said about yabbies!
‘One hell of a night Lennie - water, brake fluid, gears and now we’re fucking bogged in sand in a hollow and no cunt knows we’re here’.
‘We’ll get this bitch out, no worries’.
‘Are you in four wheel drive mate?’
‘It’s buggered, been disconnected for ages’.
‘God all fucking mighty, what the fucks going to happen next?
You need a bit of maintenance on this heap Lennie’.
I think the Toyota did not have 4 x 4 when we were up last year.
We stripped half the bank of brush and used every bag on the truck to put under the wheels but to no avail. Took down all the racks that carry the dead roos and put them under the wheels, still no good.
‘Think I’ll let the tyres down and she should go better’.
Why didn’t I think of that! Too stuffed and tired probably.
So we let the back tyres down and proceeded to go through the whole routine again. As before the truck had to be stopped, put in gear and started on the run. But of course the sand was preventing us from doing this. So we had to use a leverage system to move the wheel around so the gears could be put in neutral. Then Lennie would get in the truck and engage and start going forward or reverse.
Mean time I kept getting involved with my friend the dead roo on the back. Every time I passed around the rear the tail gave me a smack in the chops.
If that roo could tell a story he’d be writing this.
My friend the roo
‘Keep the fucking thing going ahead mate’.
‘Hang on, I’ll try reverse again’.
‘Fuck me, cant you hear?
Stupid statement because all the years of shooting have made Lennie almost deaf’.
Next thing the truck comes back and nearly quashes the roo and me and then all of a sudden lurches forward, runs through the sand, clears the bank the other side and ends up on the flat ground near the dingo fence.
‘You beauty, now we’ve only got fucked gears and flat tyres. Got a pump Lennie?
What a fucking stupid shit of a question.
‘We’ll need to lift the truck and put on the spares’.
What a manoeuvre. Lennie’s ingenious bush mechanics came into play. How I was not found squashed under the back of the truck I don’t know. He used one of the roo racks either side placed solidly in the ground and under the back tray. He then simply (when the prick of a thing was in gear) backed up until the wheel was pretty much off the ground. We then braced a few other areas until it was safe – well !!!
‘Need to dig a hole under the wheel to help’.
‘It’s like rock’!
What more did I expect.
Anyway we got through all that and it was late but we were moving.
‘Grace, have you got a copy’?
‘Woodsie have you got a copy’?
‘I could reach Paradise but no good calling home because Colleen’s in Charleville’.
I thought - I hope you are having a fucking good time my lady friend!
‘Tony’s probably realised something is amiss now, it’s nearly two thirty’.
‘He’ll be snoring his head off’.
So off we went again without any clutch, boots full of sand, and cold. Anyway we were off to get a few roos having already used up 6 hours of the night. He comes to a screeching halt and switches off.
Off goes the shot and the roo just looked at me. That’d be right, bastard of a start to the night, then I miss the first one. Nothing said.
Next one straight between the eyes.
Back to your best Fox, I congratulated myself.
Next one was a heavy Wally (Wallaroo) and just got him. Lennie had to clonk him on the head. Next, I managed a shot into the air by closing the bolt too quickly.
‘Hair trigger mate, put the cross hairs on and just touch it’.
Get fucked, I thought.
We moved around the plains a bit and managed a couple more roos each and ended up with five more on the back to join my old friend who had had a rough ride.
‘Time to head home Fox, we’ll just take it easy’.
‘Thank fuck for that’.
We headed down the dingo fence again and got to a nice spot between the trees and the fence when the old Toyota decided to shit itself for the last time.
‘What the hell now’?
‘Same problem - no drive’.
‘Yep, we’re staying here’.
‘When do you think Tony will notice you missing’?
‘Again, that prick won’t wake up until eight. But I reckon he just might sense something and he’ll be here sometime after that, about eight thirty’.
So we built another fire, smack in the middle of the track. My ‘swag’ consisted of a cushion from the hut and a hessian bag that had been shredded under the truck tyres. Got as close to the fire as we could and settled in to what was left of the night. The mound the fence blokes push up against the wire served as a pillow. You wouldn’t believe it but the old bushman was snoring within ten minutes; and he was sleeping on a piece of plastic! It was also like trying to sleep in a zoo. Kangaroos obviously have a fascination for fire as they were coming close many times. Woke up with a start and there’s skippy staring into the light. I could also hear and feel the roos as they came down the track. After many times getting up and entering the bush to fetch wood to stoke the fire it finally started to show signs of dawn.
‘What do you reckon, he’d have noticed you’re gone by now’?
‘Yep, we’ll see him about 8 or 8.30, he’ll head for the yabbie hole, same as I said before’.
‘What’s that up the track’?
‘A roo and a good size one, so I’ll check it out’.
Lennie pulls out the .223 and confirms through the 12 x 50 scope and bang down goes the roo about 120 metres away.
‘Good shot for an old Murray Aye!’
We headed down to where the roo was and I said I was buggered if I was going to drag that back to the ute.
‘I’ll show you how to carry them without getting blood all over you’.
With ease he just threw the sizeable roo up on the shoulders and headed back to the ute.
‘Good on you, I’ll go ahead and get the camera’.
We saw some more roos and I decided to take the rifle and see if I could get one to help the tally. Only chance I had was after I got behind two reds but of course one fucks off and the other decides to head back to the fire.
‘I saw a roo coming back this way, how come you didn’t get him’?
‘Coz the truck was in the line of fire, but I tell you, I fucking thought about it’!
Lennie had gone to one of the carcasses and cut out the kidneys.
‘Yeah, they’re Ok roasted on the fire’.
I can tell you they tasted like shit.
The fork was a piece of rusty wire pulled from the Dingo fence.
‘Someone’s coming, I can see dust way up the track’.
I got my rifle out and used the scope but couldn’t see anything.
‘You’re fucking seeing things again, min min dust!!!’
Sure enough another five minutes go by and the dust appears much closer. Bloody old murray! ‘It’s not Tony, he’d be using my Mazda - not the shopping trolley’.
The shopping trolley
‘Then it must be the fence blokes’.
As the 4 x 4 got closer it became obvious it was the dingo fence blokes.
At least they will probably have satellite comm’s and we can talk to someone.
When they were right on top of the old Toyota they went to pull around us and seemed to be just continuing on. I waved them down.
‘G’day boys’ says the character in the passenger seat ‘anything wrong’?
That was about it for me!
‘No, we’ve just got a camp fire going for fuck all, we’ve been up all night that’s why we look so fresh’!
‘There’s another vehicle behind us about 2 minutes so we’ll push on’.
Fuck off I thought, bright as pissed on candles.
In the distance along the fence the Mazda appears, you beauty. I must know him pretty well! Tony rolls up.
A real 4 x 4 (my Mazda), with shooter (Tony)
‘I’ll be here another day if I was to tell you’.
Lennie Dolman is the salt of the earth in this man’s country. Honest as the day is long and I am so glad that about six years ago I met him and now call him a mate. Not all the times out shooting with him ended up like tonight but I won’t forget this one.
The last final insult was Lennie had heard the Russians had cancelled their standing order of roo meat from Australia.
Tony and Lennie preparing roo meat for yabbie traps
I’d love to tell you more about my stay in the Hut with my good mate Tony (Ey), the ‘Chief’, but I’ll just briefly tell you what he decided would make the whole world in a better place !!!!
‘(On Muslims, Afghanis, Pakis, Iranians and Iraqies) Nuke all the cunts; (on federal politics) Rudd is just a fucking disgrace; (on state politics) Blyth is a lesbian and Qld is fucked; (on ragheads in general) If they’d just give me a go I’d shoot all the fuckers; (on Australia) the country’s turned into a Nazi state; (on coppers) fucking NSW coppers are Nazi’s; (on state of origin) we won the series that’s all that counts; (on the US of A) how the fuck did they ever vote a coon in? (on more muslims) These muslims need controlling, well culling anyway; (on women) if they’re all like Elke Sommer then that’s OK; (cars) told you about those Toyota’s; (on coffee) only brewed coz the rest is shit; (on life) LIVE FOR TODAY! So you see, it would be a long story!!!
Tony Ey writing to the United Nations