Hunt 1 was at the Western edge of Box Hill Golf Course; this short hunt was protected by a nearby creek and two very high cyclone fences. First to appear on this hunt was VK3BLN (?). Shortly after this a torch appeared on the wrong side of the two cyclone fences. The torch holder moved up 50m and then back again and realising there was no way through proceeded to scale the first fence. As he crossed one of the greens on the golf course he realised there was another fence ahead of him and climbed that too. Ten out of ten for effort…but minus several million for crossing private property; this runner was disqualified for that event. Fortunately another member of his team found a legal way in only 1-2 minutes later, so very little was lost.
Hunt 2 was a two leg hunt on 144.425 and 145.3 MHz. The JMD/VR fox was tucked down a long dead-end court that backed onto some nearby parkland; unfortunately (for the hounds), there was no way through from the court to the parkland. The YDF team was well ahead of the pack here, followed by the OW team. The YQN and ZPF teams dropped runners in the park and had major problems retrieving them…only just making it to the fox before time was up on the first leg.
Meanwhile Ian (3MZ) was moving into position for the second leg. This leg was particularly interesting for the first 2 teams – who were hunting Ian while he was mobile on his way to the spot. Hurriedly parking his car in a nearby court, Ian jogged off into the darkness of the Koonung Valley. David (BLN) followed no more than 2-3 minutes later, but had a little trouble actually locating the hidden transmitter.
Hunt 4 moved the hounds to parklands off King Street in Doncaster. We took care to park the car in a concealed spot and wandered down the hill towards the lake. There was a stand of pines in the area and we chose to climb one of these to hide the fox in. Much to our surprise Adam from the YDF team appeared out of the darkness as Mark was passing the transmitter up the tree to me. I hugged the side of the treee and kept as quiet as I could but Adam found me easily. As Adam and Mark moved further away other hounds appeared on the scene. Few had any problems working out that the fox was above them and this hunt was soon over.
Hunt 5 was perhaps the best of the evening. During the day this seemed such an easy spot to get to. But at night it was exceptional – solid bushland on one side and a creek swollen by recent rains on the other…Ian had considerable difficulty finding the track in even though he knew roughly where it was. Things were made even harder by the use of an intermittent transmission; Ian had inadvertently bumped the switch that enabled BLN mode – random bursts of signal punctuated by long periods of silence. The chatter on 6675 was chaotic; runners were calling back to the car to report they were blocked by the creek or heavy bush while Ian was abusing them because he was beginning to get cold from waiting for so long. A couple of teams even found Ian’s car tucked down a court and the alleyway that he had walked in on…but this was to no avail. Eventually, Steve from the OW team stumbled down the hill to find Ian hiding in the bushes.
Hunt 6 was in the middle of a powerline reserve North of Warrandyte Road. We parked down a dead-end court and walked through an unmarked alleyway to get to this spot. As we walked into the area we soon realised that this spot had all the hallmarks of a great foxhunting spot. We could hear the hounds chattering away on the previous leg and had plenty of time to pick a good spot. We eventually hid the transmitter under a pile of concrete blocks in a dry creek bed in the middle of a wide flood plain. Plenty of trees and blackberries protected the approaches and unbeknown to us another creek – that wasn’t dry protected the opposite side from us. Roger (recently licensed as VK3HRL) was well ahead of other runners – having little difficulty finding the transmitter under the concrete pile. Steve from the OW team was next – although he misinterpreted the weaker signals and wandered about 50m past the device before turning back. As he did so, the OW team’s second runner – Adam – also appeared. “It’s over towards you” called Adam. “No, it’s not. It’s over in this direction” yelled Steve pointing 90 degrees to Adam’s line of travel. We sniggered over the confusion but soon heard Steve mutter “Hang on a minute it’s much stronger over here”. In no time at all, he located the transmitter under the concrete pile.
Hunt 6 was an easy one in the carpark of the Warrandyte State Park. Ian had simply parked his car off to one side of the carpark and was transmitting from the car. This was pretty obvious to the OW team who appeared in the entrance about 20 seconds ahead of the rest of the pack – so they pulled up alongside Ian to check in. The other hounds didn’t see Ian’s small sedan parked behind the large 4WD vehicle and roared past…only to return 2-3 minutes later when they realised what had happened.
The final hunt for the evening was an easy one – a dead-end court in a maze of twisty, turny streets in North Ringwood. On this hunt the YDF and OW teams came in within seconds of one another, followed about a minute later by the rest of the pack.
Supper was at the home of Ian Stirling (3MZ). While it was good to finish before midnight, most hounds used the additional time to stay and socialise with other hounds and listen to stories of the Victorian ARDF Group’s recent foray into the World ARDF Championships – congratulations to Adam, Bruce and Bryan for taking part and doing so well. The VK3OW team came first.