Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

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Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby Dutchy » Wed 30 Nov, 2022 5:48 pm

Hi guys,
I'm considering some overnight walks with my dog in the Vic High Country this season and wanted some feedback regarding dingoes/wild dogs.
Now I've been living in the Mount Beauty area the last few years, and in the immediate vicinity I've heard them howl but initially never saw one. During a walk over the Bogong High Plains in late 2020/early 2021 (just after a lockdown) we saw a pack of 5 dogs on the high plains. As soon as they saw us, the changed course and came right at us. Now I've camped in bear territory in Alaska and Canada and had a couple of encounters that went well as I'd informed myself. Little did I know I should have read up on dingoes in the high country. Anyway, my partner nearly shat herself and I told her to stay behind me. As the first dog approached to within about 10 meters, I charged with the walking poles in my hands. It bolted. Same with the next few. Thinking that was it we continued until 3 started following us again. We headed for the trees on Mt Jim and with my partner up a tree :lol: we had a good look at them. 1 adult, 2 juveniles. Very cute, no bad intentions shown, mainly curiosity. I charged again and they had enough. We ended up choosing for some safety and walked to tawonga huts.
I called a ranger later that week who was surprised. Apparently sightings were very rare and encounters he hadn't heard of. Around Mt Beauty he's been aware of pets being approached, but no attacks and no interactions with humans.
Since then I've seen several dogs often wandering along the roads between Mt Beauty and Falls Creek and Hotham and Omeo. All have been Alpine Dingo looking (didn't know they were a thing), and not wild dogs as often the blanket name calls them.
I've dug up bits of research in terms of the 2 mixing and it seems fairly rare. The majority of dogs tested (I presume shot) were dingo, a small percentage had dog mixed in a small percentage and a very limited number were actual wild dogs (thanks to the hunters who introduced them).
So to my actual question (I like to make a distinct difference between wild dogs and Alpine Dingoes), I know people have had encounters (found a post from 2015), but I'm after some fresh stories, if they were dingo or dogs, what time of day/night, what happened, what did you do, and if anyone had their own dog along for the ride?
I "camp" with my dog a lot, but in a small camper trailer so safely tucked away. If she's good in the tent (about to try it out), I'd like to take her on overnight trips (hard to find walking tracks in State Forest, but thats another question).
Any stories (first hand or very reliable) would be great!
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Re: Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby sandym » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 5:50 am

Wow. That's an interesting story. I wonder if dingoes are spreading again as I have seen quite a lot in the local forests near me - south coast NSW. I am certainly not an expert but the ones I have seen look like dingoes that I've seen up in the NT. All the ones I have seen have just slunk off into the woods but I did the slinking one day as I encountered an adult with a number of pups and thought that might be a circumstance in which the dingo would be more aggressive.

Just thinking it will be hard to find somewhere to take your dog legally as all National Parks are off limits to pets?
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Re: Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby scroggin » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 7:48 am

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Re: Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby Dutchy » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 8:05 am

sandym wrote:Just thinking it will be hard to find somewhere to take your dog legally as all National Parks are off limits to pets?


Yeah, thats why I mentioned state forests. Just very limited designated walking trails, generally just management/fire/4WD tracks....
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Re: Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby Dutchy » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 8:30 am

scroggin wrote:Saw this on the ABC not too long ago.


great to watch, and probably based on some of the research I read about.

It's like everything humans do, we mess it up. Culling of roos because they eat too much grass (that farmers claim, even though it's their land clearing and dams that have disturbed the natural balance), calling dingoes wild dogs (because humans introduced other species into the mix) and kill them (because they hunt farmers profits....let's not pretend they care too much for their animals, most end their lives in horrible ways anyway).

I think the biggest problem with the wild dog / dingo is the problem to separate between the 2, but as a hiker it's the unknown as to which one you may encounter and whether or not you'd be at risk in any way. I think the Dingo is a minor issue as they tend to shy away from people, it's wild dogs (apparently far less common) that roam in packs that could potentially be a threat.
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Re: Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby gbagua » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 9:01 am

Dutchy wrote:
scroggin wrote:Saw this on the ABC not too long ago.


I think the Dingo is a minor issue as they tend to shy away from people, it's wild dogs (apparently far less common) that roam in packs that could potentially be a threat.


My experience here in SE QLD area:

1. First encounter in the Scenic Rim area: wonderful looking dog that took off as soon as it saw me approaching on the opposite side of the hill where it was located. I first saw the den he spent the night in located right below an old dead tree.

2. Second time around, near Brisbane, I was running and saw two dogs lying on the ground right after a corner. They ran off instantly and so fast you wouldn't believe it. I could barely catch a glimpse of what was their appearance.

Wild dogs are the ones you came across in your description,
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Re: Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby Xplora » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 11:03 am

Never had a problem with dogs on the High Plains or Bogong or the river country below. Have seen plenty of dingos but none have followed. The wild dog problem seems to be under control but it is more of a problem for sheep than cattle. Even the sheep farmers are reporting less attacks. People up the road had a lamb tethered all day and I saw a dingo within 400m of it and the sheep was fine.

You can take you dog into Heritage areas on a lead but there are few over Mt. Beauty way. Mt. Wills would be the closest.
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Re: Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby Biggles » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 12:32 pm

Dingoes on the high plains!?
Not something I have heard about, much less seen, and I have experience as a volunteer worker with purebed dingo breeding on the (late) Bruce Jacobs' property outside Chewton* in the early to mid-1990s (a harrowing, violent epoch in history best left locked away in the annals of history). People think they also see black panthers roaming the Otways and western district — nothing more than well-fed feral cats!

I think what people see could well be wild dogs over dinkum dingoes, which have very definite traits and will encroach on humans if they are after something. This can be seen around Alice Springs, Devil's Marbles (particularly aggressive there, similarly on Fraser Island)... as far as Daly Waters in the NT. In Victoria, people see wild dogs in the Great Otway National Park (along the Aire River), the Grampians (around *&^%$#@! Ears comes to mind), far NE Victorian border country (Corryong, Tintaldra) and particularly around Victoria Falls Cobungra. The alps in Victoria are ringed by many towns and farms, no doubt wild dogs make their way out and join groups to become packs. I definitely would not want to be near them if they appeared.


___________________________________________
* the property was purchased by the Gordons c.2017
who went there expecting to find 75-100 dingoes,
but were confronted by 297 of them, all starving!
A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
― Lao Tzu.
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Re: Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby gbagua » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 3:23 pm

Biggles wrote:Dingoes on the high plains!?
I definitely would not want to be near them if they appeared


My dad had an encounter with a pack of 10-12 dogs luckily his car was just 10 m away as he was returning from a trail run. They started running towards him right after he was spotted by them. Very lucky he got into his car quickly enough!

He purchased a handgun which he carried with him in his daypack for future runs. But no more encounters ever since then after so many years. I reckon it was a very rare event.
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Re: Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby Xplora » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 6:10 pm

Biggles wrote:Dingoes on the high plains!?
Not something I have heard about, much less seen, and I have experience as a volunteer worker with purebed dingo breeding on the (late) Bruce Jacobs' property outside Chewton* in the early to mid-1990s (a harrowing, violent epoch in history best left locked away in the annals of history). People think they also see black panthers roaming the Otways and western district — nothing more than well-fed feral cats!

I think what people see could well be wild dogs over dinkum dingoes, which have very definite traits and will encroach on humans if they are after something. This can be seen around Alice Springs, Devil's Marbles (particularly aggressive there, similarly on Fraser Island)... as far as Daly Waters in the NT. In Victoria, people see wild dogs in the Great Otway National Park (along the Aire River), the Grampians (around *&^%$#@! Ears comes to mind), far NE Victorian border country (Corryong, Tintaldra) and particularly around Victoria Falls Cobungra. The alps in Victoria are ringed by many towns and farms, no doubt wild dogs make their way out and join groups to become packs. I definitely would not want to be near them if they appeared.___________________________________________
* the property was purchased by the Gordons c.2017
who went there expecting to find 75-100 dingoes,
but were confronted by 297 of them, all starving!


Plenty of Alpine dingoes on the High Plains. I can recall sitting on the steps of Cleve Cole hut watching one work his way up the hill without a care for us and see many moving through the paddocks at home. I have also shot wild dogs which are clearly not Dingo. The Alpine dingo is quite distinctive. We used to hear several packs howling but now it is quite uncommon. There is the odd dog print on tracks around home but it could be the neighbour's dogs.
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Re: Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby stry » Fri 02 Dec, 2022 12:54 pm

My experience roughly aligns with Explora's.

There are far, far more sightings and encounters than most people are aware of, both of what appear to be dingoes and what appear to be crosses, or "wild dogs".

I have seen them on the High Plains. Most recent encounter was a group four (maybe five) consuming something, that presumably they had killed, behind Dibbins and within 20 metres of the hut. Three gold, one black/tan, and all appeared to be dingoes.

I've been followed by them at different times, found their prints over my prints. Had two (wild dogs NOT dingoes) act threateningly once, but non-submissive behaviour on my part, convinced them it wasn't going to be an easy beat.

From maybe 200/300 metres I watched a pack of 6/8 taking their time about killing a sambar calf. They were gold, but the head conformity was not pure dingo.

Like Explora, I have shot several near to home, most having the "wild dog" (NOT dingo or domestic dog) look. One was eyeing off stock near houses, and I fully expected it to have a collar, but visually it was as close to a pure dingo as I have seen.

I, and others, could go on at length, but the upshot is that there are plenty of them.

In answer to the OPs concerns about taking his dog with him, I would be cautious and well prepared. When dingoes/wild dogs howl it can be (IME) very seductive to domestic dogs and they can be drawn, almost hypnotically, toward the howl. I have, on occasion slept with my dog leashed and the leash around my wrist, just in case she decided to socialise.

Wild dogs can make very short and messy work of a domestic dog.
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Re: Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby sambar358 » Sun 18 Dec, 2022 7:02 pm

There are several different schools of thought on what constitutes a "dingo" and what is a "wild dog".....some would argue that any dog with traces of dingo DNA is a dingo.....others would go on appearance with typical alpine dingo gold/white or black/tan or a mix of these coat colorations, bushy tail, broad forehead etc being good indicators of a dingo type animal.....other wild dogs may have some semblance of domestic strains in them including cattle dogs and various larger pet breeds resulting from wild dogs of dingo type breeding with dogs from nearby farmland or lost pets. As a deer hunter for over 50 years I've seen and had plenty of interactions with all sorts of wild dogs and dingo types in various locations in the Vic high country. They are often heard howling off in the distance in remote areas and on occasions I've had dogs come into camp at night snuffling around the tent etc. especially if I have had some fresh venison hanging up in a nearby tree. Never had any issues safety-wise with wild dogs and a normal sighting is usually a "south end heading north" type encounter although I have managed a few good photographs of the occasional dog that was a bit curious and came in closer for a look at me....but not often.

I would dispute the assertion in the OP that wild dogs are the result of hunters introducing them to the bush......I have yet to see a wild dog with any gun dog or hound traits and any lost hunting dog would quickly perish from starvation or likely be killed by the resident wild dogs in the area and of course why would a hunter "introduce" a valued hunting dog into the bush in the first place ? Wild dogs and the dingo are pretty common throughout the alpine area but generally they are not often seen but their sign can be found in the form of tracks, scat with bone & hair fragments and occasionally they'll be heard howling to call other members of their pack on a hunt or to a kill.....all this to me adds to the bush experience and I think the mountains would be a far lesser place without the presence of the wild dogs and dingo.

As an aside to the OP......you should be aware that you are not permitted to have a dog in the Alpine National Park (or any Australian NP) so while it might be nice to have your dog along for company you are actually breaking one of the corner-stone rules of our National Parks......No dogs in Parks. There's plenty of public land outside the NP's to take the dog bush walking and camping but it shouldn't be going along with you on jaunts in the bush in the ANP or other NP's. Cheers

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Re: Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby tmvncnt » Thu 12 Jan, 2023 9:31 am

Anyone on here ever seen wild dogs in the Otways? Not something I've heard of except for early settlement.
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Re: Dingoes in Victoria (people seem to prefer wild dogs)

Postby Eremophila » Fri 13 Jan, 2023 7:34 pm

sambar358 wrote:As an aside to the OP......you should be aware that you are not permitted to have a dog in the Alpine National Park (or any Australian NP) so while it might be nice to have your dog along for company you are actually breaking one of the corner-stone rules of our National Parks......No dogs in Parks. There's plenty of public land outside the NP's to take the dog bush walking and camping but it shouldn't be going along with you on jaunts in the bush in the ANP or other NP's. Cheers
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The OP addressed this both in his opening post and his second post.

Can’t comment on “alpine “ dingoes but in the desert they are generally the masters of stealth. You’ll hear them howl from a distance at night, but when they’re checking out your camp and lifting anything that’s not put away, you won’t know they are there.

Although… when camped at Mulga Camp on the Larapinta years ago, we awoke early and shortly after found a mob of dingoes making a beeline for our camp, around 6 or 7 of them. They completely blanked us and trotted right through as if we weren’t there, literally feet away from us. It was as though the campsite had been established on one of their thoroughfares and they weren’t going to give it up.
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