Kangaroo hunting is closer than anybody would think, and quite the adventure.
Kangaroo hunting may seem a little unusual to Americans, but hunting these marsupials is very common in Australia where the animals are widely harvested for their meat and leather products. And, not unlike wild hogs here in America, kangaroos are also harvested to protect farm and grazing lands.
Estimates of the worldwide kangaroo population are a bit fuzzy, but the current number sits at around 35-million to 50-million animals. While there are several different species of kangaroo – some of which are vulnerable – the red and the eastern grey kangaroos are the most prevalent.
In Australia the kangaroo harvest is an actual industry, with kangaroos supplying hides and meat to the populace. Typically Australia harvests more than 4-million kangaroos annually. The meat is low in fat and high in protein. It apparently has higher than average concentrations of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), which are reported to have a wide range of health benefits associated with them, including anti-carcinogenic, anti-diabetic, anti-obesity and anti-atherosclerosis properties.
The meat is sold throughout Australia and Europe, and is served in restaurants as well.
The leather from kangaroos is also very desirable as it is strong and lightweight. It is used in a variety of shoes and boots, and, interestingly enough, is the leather of choice for whip makers, as the leather strips can be cut thinly while maintaining durability.
This is all to give you an idea of the viability and commonness of kangaroo hunting. While they may seem to be a true exotic game animal, the truth is that they are hunted extensively, more so even than many exotic big game animals.
The red kangaroo is a very large animal, with males typically weighing from 120 on up to 200 pounds. Their body lengths are four to six feet, with another three to four feet of additional tail length. Females are considerably smaller, perhaps half the size and length of the males.
They have excellent hearing, and the positioning of their eyes enables them to see in 300 degrees. It’s not easy sneaking up on a roo. And by the way, males are known as boomers, bucks or jacks, and females are called flyers, does or jills. Young kangaroos are joeys.
They tend to travel in small groups called a troop, mob or court. But where the forage is abundant they sometimes form very large mobs. They cannot move real quickly, although their legs are something of a marvel. Working something like rubber bands, they enable the kangaroo to make single leaping bounds of 25 to 30 feet in length and four to almost ten feet in height.
They are grazers and sometimes browsers, preferring grasslands and open areas with a few shade trees. Kangaroos are also excellent water conservationists and can do well in arid, harsh environments.
Hunting kangaroos is largely a matter of spot and stalk. You spot or glass animals in the distance and then slowly work your way toward them, moving slowly, mimicking their body posture and grazing behavior, zigzagging your approach and avoiding moving towards them directly. In essence you are acting like a kangaroo, until you get close enough for a shot…or until they realize that you’re not a brother or sister kangaroo and you get busted.
Fortunately, if you do get busted they tend not to run real far away, and you can try it again, exercising more caution and using cover vegetation more effectively the next time around.
Shot placement can be a little tricky in this unusual animal. Pay attention to your Ox Ranch hunting guide on where to place your shot. Some hunters also go strictly for head shots, so as to ensure an instant death and ruin as little of the meat and hide as possible. However, if you’re aiming for a trophy that you want to have mounted, a lung and heart shot is best.
The danger of a kick from a kangaroo’s powerful hind legs is very real, and puts the hunter at considerable risk of injury. Make sure your roo is dead before approaching.
Enjoy the meat, tan the hide, and treasure this unusual hunting experience.