::: TASTES OF TASMANIA
Flushed by success
BY GRAEME PHILLIPS | Eight
shooters are lined about 30m apart along a marshy
hollow stretching up and around a dam. A small
stream cascades down the hill in front. A light
mist wisps through the trees. Only the soft
patter of rain falling in the dam breaks the silence.
On the facing hillside figures dressed in fluorescent
vests move slowly upwards through the undergrowth
and trees, stopping, starting again, from the
distance a silent pantomime of hands clapping
in front of them.
Behind them stand the bag men, dogs by their
sides trembling, straining their leashes in anticipation.
Unseen on the other side of the hill is a similar
ring of beaters, pushing pheasants in front of
them, the two rings, coordinated by walkie talkies,
slowly closing towards the top, encircling the
The shooters stand silent, expectant, loaded
guns broken across their arms. Behind them stand
the bag men, dogs by their sides trembling, straining
their leashes in anticipation.
Then the first flush of birds rise, an incredibly
rapid flurry of wings and a straight-line glide,
like sling shots, breaking the tree line, coming
as silhouettes towards the shooters at up to 100
kilometres an hour.
Guns explode along the line. Reload, sight, follow,
lead and bang. Some birds fall. Others continue
safely to the fields and forest beyond. Dogs race
to retrieve birds as they fall, plunging into
the dam, through blackberry and hawthorns, working
to their handlers’ commands, dropping the
birds at their feet.
And then another flush rises.
We’re at the first ‘drive’ of
the morning at Redbanks Fish and Field, Lindsay
White’s and Ian Cook’s 3500 acre fishing
and hunting establishment at Nugent, 20 km inland
natural enemy is the fox, and no foxes means here
we can raise and release the birds into the wild"
The shooters are a group of assorted businessmen
and wives from New Zealand’s North Island.
For some, this is their first shoot. Others have
variously hunted perdice in Argentina and pheasant
in the UK, Sweden and Germany. This is their first
visit to Redbanks, the only driven wild pheasant-shooting
establishment in Australasia.
“Tasmania has a natural advantage when
it comes to this sort of hunting”, says
White. “The pheasant’s natural enemy
is the fox, and no foxes means here we can raise
and release the birds into the wild. And a ‘driven’ shoot,
when beaters ‘drive’ wild birds across
the shooters in a series of flights, at varying
heights and speeds, is as good as game bird hunting
PART I | PART II