Lesson 5: Shooting
By now you will probably be sufficiently Australian to blend in. You and your mates will be able to go shooting. This is one of the few social situations in which alcohol is NOT involved
Notice how this lesson is titled shooting, not hunting. The hunting here is confined mainly to deer and whistling in foxes through the day; either way it’s mostly alone, not with mates. The shooting I’m talking about is spotlighting. Yes, it is legal over here, and is an awful lot of fun. You’ll need one person to drive the ute, one to hold the light, and at least one to shoot, no more than two. You’ll need an accurate bolt action centrefire in any of the .22-25 cals, and a handheld, battery operated spotlight of at least 1 million candlepower.
If you don’t have private land to shoot on (oftentimes your mates will have), it’s time to find some. Dress smartly, then simply drive along any rural road until you see sheep in a paddock. Pull into the homestead and simply ask the landowner whether he’s having trouble with foxes or pigs eating his lambs. Make casual conversation about the weather and such for about 5 mins and BAM! You’ll have your property.
Spotlighting is a relatively simple pursuit. Drive an appropriate distance from the homestead and switch on the light. Make slow, wide sweeps with the light from 10 o’clock around to 2 o’clock. Keep the light out of the eyes of any stock but keep a sharp eye out for prey. A fox’s eyes will grow red in the light, rabbits and hares a dull yellow. Goats will have a bright blue glow and pigs will be a dull blue. Keep the light just above your prey’s eyes until ready to shoot. If a rabbit or hare runs out of the light, put it in front of him to pull him up. If a fox turns away, switch off the light momentarily and give a soft whistle. Pigs and goats will usually continue to feed undisturbed. Do not shoot the farmer’s stock or dogs and shut all gates that you open!
Leave a carton of beer at the homestead for the farmer and ask if he'd like a pig's hindquarter for the dogs and you'll be sure to be welcomed back.