Aotearoa Safaris Moves into Australia's Northern Territory


Published: December - 2011

Correspondent Greg Morton recently hunted water buffalo in Australia's vast Northern Territory, where one of the owners of Aotearoa Safaris will be operating next year. If that name sounds familiar, it's because we've reported about their free-range hunts in New Zealand in four past articles and four positive hunting reports. (See Reports 7799, 7690, 7058 and 6663, and Articles 2519, 2454, 2339 and 2128.) Here's what Morton had to say about this operator's foray into Australia: "Known as the Top End,' Australia's Northern Territory is famous for tropical weather, aboriginal culture, Kakadu National Park, barramundi fishing, water buffalo, big saltie crocodiles and a laid-back lifestyle. Hunting here is as close to African hunting as you can find in the South Pacific. This region is as big as France, Italy and Spain combined, with a population of just 200,000 people. The capital, Darwin, is the pick-up point for hunters. Hunting here often requires extensive travel, with an open-road speed limit of 130km an hour.

"The three main big game species here are large bovines: water buffalo, banteng and feral ox. Water buffalo are the main attraction. Introduced between 1825 and 1843, water buffalo once numbered 350,000 animals, but extensive culling has reduced that to about 150,000. Quality hunting properties are much sought after, with aboriginal Arnhem Land holding the largest numbers. "Banteng are only hunted in Australia. Banteng range freely in the monsoon forests of the Cobourg Peninsula in Northern Territory, and only a few operations hunt them. Banteng is often an add-on to a water buffalo safari, and vice versa.

"Feral ox, locally known as red bulls' or scrub bulls' are wild shorthorn beef cattle, known for their aggression and distinctive red color. Trophy wild boar is also available, and some hunters choose to help out with feral donkey and pig control efforts too. Saltwater and freshwater crocodiles are both protected, though numbers are high.

"The dominant vegetation in the Northern Territory is savannah woodlands and open forest. About 50 percent of vegetation is deliberately burned each dry season,........(continued)

 
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