I needed to give the ‘Tyvek Solo Fire Shelter’ (I posted about here: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/tyvek-solo-fire-shelter/ ) a little practical test. What could be a better opportunity than the coldest June night since I was born, I thought. Combining Google Earth http://www.theultralighthiker.com/google-earth-gets-a-facelift/ and the GMA maps showing where it is lawful to hunt deer, (http://www.gma.vic.gov.au/hunting/deer/where-to-hunt/deer-hunting-locations/deer-hunting-in-eastern-victoria) I thought I had spied a perfect place along (let us say) the Mystery River. Deer are drawn to a patch of cleared ground as to a magnet – and do their best to maintain it so – as do all large herbivores. There in the twilight is the best place that can be found to observe, or to bag one.
I also noticed an old fire trail on Google Earth but strangely absent from the current VicTopo map and from its predecessor! I thought it might make a reasonable line of approach anyway. I was delightfully surprised that it was still driveable (legally – who knows?), though barely discernible for most of its length so I was saved a return walk of approx ten kms. A Land Rover WILL go most places! Still, I had a return walk of about that much again, so a nice bit of exercise (taken together with a descent and climb of approx 500 metres to and from the river) which should make for a pleasant overnight sortie. And so it proved.
I had only enough time to explore about a third of the available hunting country as I have to take Della to the eye specialist on Thurs, but I will be back – possibly with company next time, but I have ever thought ‘No company is better than bad company’ (NOT meaning Della, of course – the terrain is probably a bit rough for her eyesight anyway). We (Spot and I) saw a number of deer (no promising stags this time, but plenty of sign they ARE about). He briefly bailed a deer which refused to run from him, but which thought better of it when it heard me coming. He put two hinds across the river (separately) either of which I could easily have harvested (if I hadn’t minded a swim on the coldest evening in 66 years!) I guess, counting those who honked at us, close to a dozen deer in the twilight of Tuesday afternoon. I could have spied more in the wee hours this morning, but I have ever thought that those who lie abed might thus avoid their own hanging.
After dark we heard ‘the lonely dingo call’, and much toing and froing of cervine denizens too numerous to count, some wallowing just metres from our camp! And, OH! The tent: we were as cosy as could be even with the mercury plummeting like a stone in darkling waters. I have some ideas for improvements (as one always has), but to my mind there is no better than a Tyvek tent because it DOES NOT BURN, therefore you can warm it with an open fire whilst sheltered from the wind and rain. I WILL have a two person model (or models) SOON. Stay tuned! (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/tyvek-twin-fire-shelter/)