Hounds gathered at the carpark for the Ferntree Gully Library at 8pm. Five teams participated in the evening. Due to some late arrivals, the hunts got under way about 8.30pm.
The first hunt was three-legged. The first location was a works depot in Park Ridge Estate, on Dandelion Drive. The transmitter was located between the depot fence and the neighbouring house’s fences. First in to this location was VR, with ZPF, TXO, BLN and finally PW. Location two was in a drain under Stud Rd Rowville. This location was using a low powered fox and this proved hard to find (ably assisted by some other signal, in Upwey, on 144.250). Only two hunters found this fox (VR first and BLN second). Location three was North from location one, on a bike track entered from Bryden Drive Knoxfield. VR was first in here, followed by BLN and TXO. Eventually time ran out and the hunt was over. The only interesting event at this location was the rather bemused bicyclist who was surprised to see three cars parked beside the track. I think that the hunters were also surprised to see someone riding about on such a windy and bitterly cold night.
The second hunt began after a short wait for YLE to locate the second fox and take fox and keeper to their next point. Location one was behind the VicRoads works depot between the Monash Freeway and Ferntree Gully Road. This proved easier to find than I had expected and we soon encountered ZPF, PW, BLN, VR and TXO in order. Most teams took the direct route out and headed in the direction the fox entered by. I’m sure that this would prove to be the largest number of vehicles seen to exit from a freeway entrance (legal in this case, which is a change). Location two was in the Monash Gallery area (don’t know exactly as I just told Jack to go in there and hide), at Wheeler’s Hill. Order of arrival here was VR, ZPF, BLN, TXO and PW. With numerous hints about where the third fox was located, it wasn’t long before Tarron saw teams. The fox was hiding near a walkway over the Monash Freeway, running parallel with Wellington Road, at the point where Wellington Road crosses over the freeway. It was quite convenient that this part of Wellington Road does not have barriers between the two traffic directions as many vehicles took the most direct route towards the signal. PW found him first, followed by VR, BLN, TXO and ZPF.
Hunt three was to return the hunters to the Dandenongs. The first location was next to the National Park on Hansen Rd, Boronia. First here was TXO, followed by VR, ZPF and BLN. A while later, PW team members ran up a fire track (AKA Nyora Avenue). They had left their vehicle further down the track instead of risking losing all low-hanging body parts on the very broken-up road surface. Location two was up the walking track from this point (about three hundred metres – approximately as Tarron had been walking for quite a while before asking “Can I stop yet?”). Although not first in the area, VR followed the best path of attack and continued up what looked like someone’s driveway, but was actually a narrow road (AKA Firetrack). They never came back down that way, so it must go somewhere. Next in to location two was TXO followed by BLN, ZPF and PW. At this point, the first fox foolishly offered to take the PW team down the road to their car (and promptly forgot about the fox – sorry Bryan).
Location three was in Gilmour Park, off Glenfern Road, Upwey. Jack was given precise instructions of “go to the park and hide”, so he drove down there, turned around in the entrance road and got bogged. The hunters seemed to be fooled by this stunt as Jack reported many vehicles stopping up on the hill and not coming down. Eventually he was found by VR, ZPF, TXO and PW. David, of the BLN team had obviously decided to prove that Bryan YNG had still had some hand in the hunt organisation and found blackberries (although they had not been planned to be involved in this month’s hunt). It must be said that to do this, he had to take a run down a rather daunting hillside slope at high speed. Eventually he found the fox and appeared not too worse for wear despite his trials.
The supper hunt was delayed when I noticed that I had one less fox transmitter than expected and so we dropped a good location (don’t worry, you’ll see it next time) in favour of rushing back for the fox, turning it on and just driving towards the hunters. A quick turn off Forest Road Ferntree Gully left us sitting beside the now regenerating quarry. First in was BLN, followed ZPF, VR, PW (all almost at the same time) and finally TXO. It will probably be a while before those people who parked their cars in what they thought was a secluded and quiet spot for a bout of “intense discussion” will come back to Ferntree Gully.
Thanks to Tarran and Jack WWW for their help as fox keepers for the evening.
Steve YLE for the YDF team.