Annual NT Magpie Goose Hunting Trek with a Twist

Right from the very beginning of the planning stage, it was evident that our annual hunting trip to the Northern Territory was going to be bigger than Ben-Hur this year.

Magpie Goose Hunting Trek
Geneticist Phil Lavretsky from UTEP and Andy Englis from UC Davis joined Australian and American magpie goose hunters in Northern Territory trek to collect genetic samples and waterfowl specimens of benefit to worldwide waterfowl populations and future humanity.

Not only had interest grown proportionately with the amount of southerners keen to tag along, but there was international interest as well, and anything that involves the modern-day Christopher Columbus of waterfowling – hunter, forester, and wildlife biologist Ramsey Russell – seems to grow quickly.

By the time accommodation, flights and land transport were arranged, the trip included three South Australians, nine Victorians, two Northern Territorians and four North American VIPs, for a total of 18 people, four vehicles, two houses and a cabin – and a logistical nightmare of epic proportions.

Ramsey was bringing a couple of world-leading scientists and a videographer with him, and before we knew it the necessary permits were being sought that would enable scientific sampling and the collection of waterfowl specimens that were destined to be museum exhibits in the United States.

Was it worth the effort? Was it a successful trip? Did we enjoy every minute of it? Absolutely!

The four days prior to heading to the NT were spent in Victoria, filming Battleground Australia documentary, Duck Season Somewhere podcasting, and taking samples from frozen Victorian birds that had been generously donated by Field & Game Australia volunteers, board members and staff. The new FGA national office at Connewarre Wetland Centre was a hive of activity and was the perfect place at which to undertake the task at hand.

Eventually, the Victorians made it to the NT and joined the others late on a Monday evening, and everyone was aghast that• our first me together was KFC and not something from the great outdoor pantry! But it was late, and there had been no chance to shop for food or prepare it if we had – and anyway, turns out this was our last non-game meat meal for a week. Spanish mackerel, magpie goose and duck were on the menu for the remainder of our trip, presented in almost every way you could imagine. Curry, laksa, dim sims, dumplings, stir-fried, roasted, barbecued slow cooked, deep-fried southern style, tomahawk steaks, schnitzels, poppers and it was all presented as if we were sitting in a posh restaurant.

The hunting was outstanding. Full limits were achieved on almost every outing, and on the few occasions an individual didn’t achieve a limit in. the morning, they went back in the evening to finish off. [Read More: Annual NT Magpie Goose Hunting Trek with a Twist]