ARDF Hunting in Thailand
Saturday – August 1st, 2015
The Thai organisers had arranged to allow us 3 Malaysians, to participate in their Open Category whilst the Princess Cup was limited to only the Thailand amateurs. Anyway, that’s won’t be a problem at all since we would be too tired after the 1st hunt to do another in the 2nd part of the day. Only Lee – 9W2YCL and myself – 9M2LC registered as individual hunters for the Open Category, with Chow – 9M2CF tagging along Lee as an observer and photographer.
We were picked up at 6:30 am (Thailand local time) from our accommodations at Green Park Mansion and taken to the marshalling area, a building complex called “OTOP Center” where registrations were done and a hearty breakfast of chicken porridge with coffee to wash it down, provided to all participants. I was assigned tags “D008” and Lee was given “D009”. Whilst waiting for the rest of the participants to register, we took opportunity to mingle with the other hunters from different provinces like Surat Thani, Renong and of course the RAST team from Bangkok. They were in Penang during the last ARDF Penang Open.
After a group photo, all were packed into a military bus and transported to the ARDF Hunt location at Dong Fa Huan Botanical Gardens, about a half hour ride. The organisers and Marshals were already at the site and the foxes deployed to their locations.
Everybody were busy getting ready, checking their equipments and antennas, taking snapshots and putting on their war paints ala mosquito repellents. Oh boy, the mosquitoes here are really tough fellas or had been starving for blood for a long time. Even my Aussie produced insect repellent containing Deet, did little to deter them on feasting on me.
Some of the hunters tools.
ARDF Ubon 2015 Open
I was sent out in the 1st batch of hunters at 9:30 am after collecting our maps.
As usual, in a breeze, all the other hunters were out of sight, leaving me straggling behind.
Took some signal bearings to decide the approximate directions and signal strengths of each individual foxes.
Fox No.3 – ( and its marking tool )
Some how, Fox No:3 seemed to be the strongest, but they told us at the Starting Line, that old farts age of 45 and above, need not look for that beacon. Other fox beacon signals were more muddled and low in signal strength readings.
Being rebellious, I decided to make a quick beeline following the main road towards Fox No:3. On reaching the end junction of the road, the sniffer indicator shot up to level 4 and occasionally going to level 5. I must be on top of the beacon. True enough, I spotted the flag of Fox No:3 and the fox marshall there was enjoying a nap hidden in his camouflaged hammock. Looked like I was the 1st one to bag that fox.
The punching tool was from a children art and craft paper puncher ( bought from Daiso ) making a nice star pattern.
Quickly, I punched my scorecard and went hunting for Fox No:4 but the signals were coming through some thick bushes which I like an idiot, went bushwhacking. The more I went in, the surroundings looks menacing and the signal strength did not improve. Immediately, turned back towards the main road again and walked towards the starting point.
From the roadside, Fox No:1 started to sound louder and noticed a number of fellow hunters hanging around some bushes on my right hand side. A quick side track off the road and there was Fox No:1.
Met Lee – 9W2YCL and Chow – 9M2CF there and it seemed that they came in from another direction.
How did I missed Fox No:1 when I passed by while heading towards Fox No:3. Probably, the sweet lure of pheromones of Fox No:3 had distracted my senses of the presence of the closer fox beacon.
Using Fox No:3 signal strength as reference, now I could now judge the approximate distances as indicated byÂ the different levels on the sniffer and use it to find the other foxes.
Another serious mistake I made, was blindly following other hunters and went bushwacking into another part of the forest, thusÂ losing precious time. Almost lost my bearings. Turned around to get out of the mess but could not remember the path. So I came out a different location just a short distance from the point of entry.
This fox beacon was located near a stream, just below the road level. Signal strength from this fox beacon was not strong, probably because of its position. The Fox Marshall in charge, pretended to be fishing nearby.
Located on the southern side. Walked past it and found the signals dropping and direction reversed. Turned back and saw the flag.Â Already bagged 4 foxes and the mosquitoes were getting more aggressive.
Had a short rest at a pavilion and was deciding whether to head back to the Finish Line or continue to hunt for the lastÂ Fox No:4. Since I already declared that I would not be accepting any prizes that I might qualify for, my best reward would be the experience of sniffing out all the foxes, even to the extent of being disqualified for exceeding the time limit. Never had I managed to located all the 5 foxes in my past hunts.
No doubt I was perspiring a lot, but still fit to move around, I made the decision to continue to hunt down Fox No:4.
Signals of Fox No:4 took me down on a different straight muddy route.
Continued that direction until the signal strength peaked to level 3 and dropped down.
Oops, overshot again. turned back a bit to a point where the signal strength indicator was approaching level 4, and looked around towards the direction of the signal.
A freshly tilled ground blocked my approach towards the direction of fox No:4, but I jumped in and slugged my way and was rewarded with dirty boots and the signal level peaked to 5!
Looked around, could not spot the flag. I know that I am most likely to be on top of the beacon. Moved a bit further into some shaded bushes on the other side of the field but signals dropped. So the fox must be somewhere in the outcrop right in the middle of the field.
Went back to the lonely outcrop and looked carefully. There hidden under some thorny bushes was the flag.
Finally, I bagged the last elusive fox No:4!
The Finish Line
Now I had to get back to the Finish Line via the same muddy pathway. The calf of my left leg started to cramp up.
No longer could I walk normally, except to hobble back slowly. The guys were cheering and encouraging me to run to the Finish Line but my legs refused to comply.
Glad to complete the whole hunt and bagged all the Thai foxes although I exceeded the allocated time.
– Sorry-la, you are disqualified! –
Map and Locations of the Foxes.
( Sorry, for not translating from the Thai language to English )
Princess Cup ARDF
Whilst, the Princess Cup commenced during the second part of the day, we were provided with packed lunch boxes and then followed by a good cold bath before quickly having my afternoon siesta in the rooms provided. We were only going back late in the evening, after everything had completed .
Gala Dinner and Prize Giving.
This took placed at the OTOP Center where we met in the morning. Prizes were given out and RAST team won the Princess Cup. So next year’s Princess Cup is expected to be hosted in Bangkok. Ranong team came in a very close second place. Snap shots of the morning event were shown on the big screen. By the time we left for our accommodations, it was late and were very tired. Most of us would be leaving quite early for our trip home. Another day of travelling.
Overall it was a memorable ARDF event for me, getting a chance to hunt again after such a long time. Worth money spent on getting all the way there and enjoying the gracious Thai hospitality. Many thanks to the organisers of the Ubon ARDF Event 2015 for the good job done and all those who gave their support.
Hope I will be invited again for the next year’s Princess Cup event.
Pictures were contributed by fellow participants in this event.