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Maral or Elk hunt? Which would you choose?
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If I had to choose just one animal to hunt for the rest of my life, if would be the red stag/elk/maral, in the rut, naturally.

I have hunted all three, and but which would be my favourite, or ultimate hunt, has been a tough question for a long time.

Personally, I have hunted a lot of red stags, and I much prefer the sound of thei roar over the other two subspecies with their whistling, whinneying bugle, which, to me, doesn't quite fit the beast. My experience with elk was one DIY hunt in the backcountry of Colorado, which although I didn't shoot an elk, I found the bull, photographed him, and it remains on of my fondest hunt memories. Maral I hunted on horseback in those majestic mountains amidst the strange leftovers of the soviet era.

In my opinion, an elk hunt gone bad in the US is still has the potential to be a positive experience, with the American sense of great customer service and great logistical ability. Elk have the potential to become bigger than red stags, but I find their typically simplified antlers less impressive than the reds. However they can make up for it in size.

If a maral hunt goes bad, you risk not even reaching your camp, or someother (human induced) disaster ruining the experience.
But the maral is definitely the most spectacular of the three when you find a big one. Quite similar to the elk, they can carry more interesting heads with wild conformations more points than an elk.

With red deer the quality of the hunt and the trophy can be very much about your budget, but I get to hunt them free range, for free as a resident, and there are some giants where I hunt. A giant red stag that is harmonious in it's conformatin is awesome in its own right, and that roar awakens something in me that keeps me going for dys without rest or food while I hunt, and months while I wit fir it to return.

That's my take, but I'm curious, so, which would you want to or prefer hunt and why?


...I feel sorry for people who don't drink.
When they wake up they know that's as good as they're going to feel all day.
 
Posts: 2264 | Location: Aussie in Italy | Registered: 20 March 2002Reply With Quote
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When you say elk in the US I assume you mean American elk. There are three kinds that can be hunted actually.

Roosevelt elk for instance are more like Maral in the sense they can have more points and crowning like a Maral and have bigger bodies then an American elk. A hunt for them on say Vancouver island would be a good place to go if your looking for a big one. But a big one anywhere they are found is an impressive trophy.

For me I suppose it would be a hunt for Maral because I've never done it and I've always wanted to give it a try.


Roger
___________________________
I'm a trophy hunter - until something better comes along.
- Glen St Charles

*we band of 45-70ers*
 
Posts: 2565 | Location: Washington (wetside) | Registered: 08 February 2005Reply With Quote
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Guys Ive had a little experience in the Altai, New Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Mongolia and for me as a Professional Guide/ escort and a number of trips to Mongolia everything else for me is a long way back. Maral hunting in Mongolia is such an experience cultural wise, hunting wise with local peoples hospitality you will never forget. Ive been many times and can not wait till probably 2021 to go back. Cougarz if you wanted some interesting info let me know and ill send you some.
 
Posts: 16 | Location: NT Australia | Registered: 29 January 2018Reply With Quote
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The most sleepless nights I've ever spent were during the maral roar in Mongolia and the RM elk bugle in Utah or Wyoming USA!

Obvious to me, the maral hunt was a once in a lifetime event and one to be cherished forever but the elk bugle is one I can, and do, look forward to almost every year.

It would be hard to compare for me since it isn't apple to apples because of price and proximity.

Zeke
 
Posts: 1912 | Registered: 27 October 2011Reply With Quote
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Maral for me. Have not done. Red Stag in Scotland would be next or first....
 
Posts: 9380 | Location: Texas... time to secede!! | Registered: 12 February 2004Reply With Quote
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Hunting Maral in Kazakhstan near the Chinese border in 2007 was an adventure. If I knew how to post photoes here I could show you some photoes of the Djungarishen Alatau mountains

Morten


The more I know, the less I wonder !
 
Posts: 1097 | Location: Oslo area, Norway | Registered: 26 June 2013Reply With Quote
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That would be a hard choice. I have personally hunted a lot of elk, one maral, and been along on NZ red stag hunts.
I think I would have to choose elk because of the huge variety of terrain they live in. They go from the coastal rainforest to the alpine above treeline, to the deserts of the southwest, and now even some in the hardwood forests of the East.

Red stags would come in a distant 3rd place. They are a much smaller and less impressive beast than elk, especially the free range animals that I would be interested in hunting.
 
Posts: 114 | Registered: 17 August 2013Reply With Quote
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Maral for me.
I have hunted both, but like the idea of wild asian backcountry more then NA backcountry.


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Posts: 1851 | Location: Around the wild pockets of Europe | Registered: 09 January 2009Reply With Quote
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maral again for me hopefully next year, hunted them in 2015 3 months after bowel cancer op so wasn't in the best shape etc did get a nice one though, done plenty of reds, and Elk/Wapiti is prob more difficult to get the same result


keep your barrell clean and your powder dry
 
Posts: 377 | Location: NW West Australia / Onepoto NZ | Registered: 09 February 2005Reply With Quote
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I think it would depend on the hunt itself.

If it was a guided hunt in BC or the Yukon and I could afford to hunt sheep, mountain goats, moose on the same hunt that would probably tip it to elk.

I'd rather do a maral hunt than a self guided elk hunt in a shit area.
 
Posts: 7567 | Registered: 10 October 2012Reply With Quote
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If wishes were fishes..... I'd skip the antlers and hunt sheep somewhere in the world every year. I've spent treasure and blood to hunt them the most and don't regret it.

Sadly, based on the finances which I've been willing to procure, maral stag was a one-time event for me but NA wapiti is a glorious yearly event....even the shit areas are okay. haha

Zeke
 
Posts: 1912 | Registered: 27 October 2011Reply With Quote
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I read with interest Zeke your reply about hunt Maral/Elk. Then I read it again and thought "nah" you cant be serious.
 
Posts: 16 | Location: NT Australia | Registered: 29 January 2018Reply With Quote
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Maral. By a big margin.

The animals are terrific, and the different culture, people, environment, food, hunting styles - the whole deal, adds enormously to the experience.

Loved it. Would go again if I could.

As for bugle vs. roar ? A good bugle is almost like a primeaeval scream whereas a roar is almost like a dressed up domestic cattle bellow.

A bugle in Central Asia is pretty hard to top.
 
Posts: 155 | Location: Victoria Australia | Registered: 30 October 2012Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by secondtry:
Maral. By a big margin.

The animals are terrific, and the different culture, people, environment, food, hunting styles - the whole deal, adds enormously to the experience.

Loved it. Would go again if I could.

As for bugle vs. roar ? A good bugle is almost like a primeaeval scream whereas a roar is almost like a dressed up domestic cattle bellow.

A bugle in Central Asia is pretty hard to top.



+1


Morten


The more I know, the less I wonder !
 
Posts: 1097 | Location: Oslo area, Norway | Registered: 26 June 2013Reply With Quote
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All three, each has its own challenge and beauty


" Until the day breaks and the nights shadows flee away " Big ivory for my pillow and 2.5% of Neanderthal DNA flowing thru my veins.
When I'm ready to go, pack a bag of gunpowder up my ass and strike a fire to my pecker, until I squeal like a boar.
Yours truly , Milan The Boarkiller - World according to Milan
PS I have big boar on my floor...but it ain't dead, just scared to move...

Man should be happy and in good humor until the day he dies...
Only fools hope to live forever
“ Hávamál”
 
Posts: 13376 | Location: In mountains behind my house hunting or drinking beer in Blacksmith Brewery in Stevensville MT or holed up in Lochsa | Registered: 27 December 2012Reply With Quote
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I am booked for Maral in September (hopefully) would appreciate any info on the species and advice from you guys, thanks


lets make a plan
 
Posts: 92 | Location: England | Registered: 29 April 2013Reply With Quote
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I’ve hunted elk, and enjoy it.

Maral would be a wilderness adventure, so that would be my strongest pick, but also would like to try red stag at some point, not really sure where.
 
Posts: 7816 | Location: Minnesota USA | Registered: 15 June 2007Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyClark:
I am booked for Maral in September (hopefully) would appreciate any info on the species and advice from you guys, thanks


Who is your outfitter, take a second cheaper pair of bino's as guides will want to use yours, practice horse riding, brush up on your Russian


keep your barrell clean and your powder dry
 
Posts: 377 | Location: NW West Australia / Onepoto NZ | Registered: 09 February 2005Reply With Quote
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Like Wazza said, bring cheap extra optic and knives for the guides. Get used to long rides, if you are not already. See what pants etc work for you when you are in saddle most of the day.
Take a good head torch as you might be moving at night.

Bring a nice and handy rifle that will be flexible to take shots between 30-400yards :-)

Be very vary about your guides pans and take action if things get out of hand. Guides in central asia are excellent hunters and horseman, but often have a hard time understanding int. hunters. Don't drink on the hunt and don't accept heavy drinking around you. It can ruin the trip.


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Posts: 1851 | Location: Around the wild pockets of Europe | Registered: 09 January 2009Reply With Quote
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also be careful of the shoot shoot Bolshoi maral , as all they want sometimes is for you to shoot something and then their obligation is completed no matter the size, and they do like their vodka Big Grin


keep your barrell clean and your powder dry
 
Posts: 377 | Location: NW West Australia / Onepoto NZ | Registered: 09 February 2005Reply With Quote
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I'm always on the look out for interesting adventures and already have a lengthy list of animals I'd like to pursue in far off places. After reading this thread, the list has once again grown.

Bugling maral stags combined with ibex in some remote corner of central Asia in the shadow of the former USSR...sounds too good to be true!
 
Posts: 144 | Registered: 24 December 2008Reply With Quote
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If I could only hunt one animal each year I would want to hunt elk. I shot my Red Stag during the rut and it was a great time but I've chased elk for two weeks and it was the most fun I have ever had.

The sound of a herd coming through a rocky canyon or a bull stepping on fallen timber while letting out a bugle...things that have been ingrained in my memory for over 20 years now. I think about elk hunting daily
 
Posts: 3233 | Location: Permian Basin | Registered: 16 December 2006Reply With Quote
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The best Maral come from Kazakhstan, bigger than ones found in Mongolia, Russia and elsewhere!

We have been organising Maral hunts In Kazakhstan for many years.

It's truly a great wilderness, horseback hunt. You fly in to Almaty and then depending on the area take a local flight and then a 4 to 5 hr drive to camp or drive straight from Almaty, which makes for a longer drive. The outfitter has a great gal who speaks good english and she will meet you when you land and handle all the logistics. There is a translator on each hunt who will accompany the group to base camp. Once you have arrived in base camp, one typically spends the night before heading off with your local guides for a few days of spike camp. After a few days you will then return to base camp to recharge, sleep in a proper bed and have a sauna before heading off in a different direction. There is virtually no hunting pressure and you will probably not see another person on your hunt. The Maral hunting is similar to Elk, glassing and bugling. You can also do a combo hunt for Mid Asian Ibex and Siberian roe deer. Other species that can be taken include wild boar and wolves.





ebay albums
































Oh my that was an old heli.....not featured on any of our hunts now Wink.





A Maral I shot a few years ago. My longest shot ever......749 yards!

Some wonderful memories from Kaz! I rate my hunts there as some of the best I have ever been on and I have been on a few!


The best time to hunt Maral is during the rut which starts around the 15th of September. Ibex and Siberian roe deer can also be hunted on their own.

Kazakhstan is a beautiful country and the people are also very nice.

Its unlikely that there will be any hunts this year but if one is looking for 2021 and beyond please let me know....Its also possible that two species of Sheep may be opening up as well. Stay tuned.

Thanks


Arjun Reddy
Hunters Networks LLC
30 Ivy Hill Road
Brewster, NY 10509
Tel: +1 845 259 3628
2020, DSC booth # 2350
2020, SCI booth # 3167
 
Posts: 2286 | Location: New York, USA | Registered: 13 March 2005Reply With Quote
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Hi Arjun,
I read with interest your comments but I can assure you thats not necessarily so about the best .
 
Posts: 16 | Location: NT Australia | Registered: 29 January 2018Reply With Quote
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Of course they are bad areas in Kazakhstan too...
 
Posts: 2286 | Location: New York, USA | Registered: 13 March 2005Reply With Quote
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Arjun,

I remember reading about your Maral hunt. It looked like a great adventure, one I would like to try some time.

One question, I assume if you went again you wouldn't wear rubber boots like the locals this time around? jumping


Roger
___________________________
I'm a trophy hunter - until something better comes along.
- Glen St Charles

*we band of 45-70ers*
 
Posts: 2565 | Location: Washington (wetside) | Registered: 08 February 2005Reply With Quote
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It really all depends on the experience your looking to have and the outfitter that can deliver that experience.
 
Posts: 535 | Location: Manitoba, Canada | Registered: 10 September 2013Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by EXPRESS:
If I had to choose just one animal to hunt for the rest of my life, if would be the red stag/elk/maral, in the rut, naturally.

I have hunted all three, and but which would be my favourite, or ultimate hunt, has been a tough question for a long time.

Personally, I have hunted a lot of red stags, and I much prefer the sound of thei roar over the other two subspecies with their whistling, whinneying bugle, which, to me, doesn't quite fit the beast. My experience with elk was one DIY hunt in the backcountry of Colorado, which although I didn't shoot an elk, I found the bull, photographed him, and it remains on of my fondest hunt memories. Maral I hunted on horseback in those majestic mountains amidst the strange leftovers of the soviet era.

In my opinion, an elk hunt gone bad in the US is still has the potential to be a positive experience, with the American sense of great customer service and great logistical ability. Elk have the potential to become bigger than red stags, but I find their typically simplified antlers less impressive than the reds. However they can make up for it in size.

If a maral hunt goes bad, you risk not even reaching your camp, or someother (human induced) disaster ruining the experience.
But the maral is definitely the most spectacular of the three when you find a big one. Quite similar to the elk, they can carry more interesting heads with wild conformations more points than an elk.

With red deer the quality of the hunt and the trophy can be very much about your budget, but I get to hunt them free range, for free as a resident, and there are some giants where I hunt. A giant red stag that is harmonious in it's conformatin is awesome in its own right, and that roar awakens something in me that keeps me going for dys without rest or food while I hunt, and months while I wit fir it to return.

That's my take, but I'm curious, so, which would you want to or prefer hunt and why?


nothing beat the roar of read deer surrounded by mountains.
 
Posts: 1532 | Location: Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. | Registered: 21 May 2006Reply With Quote
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I agree with Arjun, Maral's are exciting to hunt in Kazakhstan.

I was on horseback and spike camps for 6 days in beautiful uninhabited country.

[IMG:top] [/IMG]


[IMG:top] [/IMG]


 photo 5a71b091-8ccb-440e-8358-1ba8fe6939cb_zpsga1mmy00.jpg
 
Posts: 582 | Location: Illinois | Registered: 04 July 2005Reply With Quote
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Posted on behalf of Aussie Guide-

Elk-Maral?


As an Australian guide, I’ve had the pleasure like so many others to experience hunting both. Here in Australia we have areas for free range hunting of Red deer as well and as an Aussie I have New Zealand friends who hunt the Southern Hemisphere’s home of Red Deer. I’ve also had the experience of working in New Mexico for 2 seasons with a great outfitter on Elk hunts. So, for me to see the posting and the great interest in which might be the best hunt, well I come from a very biased hunting history for Maral hunting, and that’s in Mongolia.

So, here’s my take on which for me is which one id choose.

The demise of the great herd of Maral in Mongolia some 20 plus years ago is well documented. For those of us like myself that experienced Mongolian Maral hunting before that time had an adventure back in time firmly etched into out hunting psyche forever. Then, for these great Maral herds to be decimated the way they were due to poaching/winter die offs etc. was sad and depressing for me. I first went to Mongolia some 24 years ago and lucky for me my work, my passion has allowed me to return to Mongolia many times to escort hunters for my US outfitter and friend, for Ibex and sheep hunts.



For me coming to Mongolia to hunt Maral is a step back in time. For me it’s always been an experience in the true essence of hunting. When only the taking of the trophy is just a component of the trip. From my experience of escorting and guiding hunters in the great destinations of Asia like Kyrgyzstan, Central Siberia, Russian Far East, Pakistan etc. Mongolia is the most rewarding hunting experience of all. Hunting these areas all have history, landscapes, etc. but not all have truly wild and untouched hunting areas that are not affected by the hand of man. When a trophy is taken the guides have a spiritual ritual they play out, thanking the Mountain Gods on this day for giving up this animal. There is also a process with preserving some blood and upon arrival back at camp it’s a celebration by all concerned being the cook, the guides, camp manager, usually his wife and other local people for the success of the day.



Some time ago I was asked to speak at a couple of sheep shows in the US relating to hunting in Australia and in Central Asia. I remember suggesting to first time overseas hunters to strongly consider Mongolia. Especially when/if Maral hunting was ever to re-open. For so many reasons. To go and stay with local herders and their families in their Gers and see their way of life and feel the genuine hospitality is a truly a heart-warming experience. I have hunted alongside many local men in the Altai and Gobi and at the end of each hunt left with admiration for their ability and keenness to give the hunter a great experience and outcome was always a pleasure to be a part of. It’s also a great distraction from their daily routine/life to have hunters in their world.



The photos I present are of recent hunts in areas our Mongolian outfitter has had his eyes on for a number of years. Now with the ground work done, paperwork all set with local people in these areas has led to these beautiful bulls. The Mongolian (Altai) Maral (Cervus canadensis sibirica) is found in sparse elevated forests or alpine regions of Southern Siberia, North-western Mongolia and Northern Xinjiang province of China. They are slightly lighter in colour with some minor skull differences to Maral in Kazakhstan. Their winter coat is a light greyish-brown or yellowish-brown, the head neck, belly and legs a dark brown. Altai Maral may be hunted in Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. The photos in this story don’t really show off the grey colours I’ve seen in Maral compared to their relatives I hunted in the US.



Over the past 10 years or so I’ve continual monitored the situation with the rejuvenating numbers of Maral. There are a number of good outfitters now in Mongolia, however I just happen to work for and with an exceptional one. Speaks near perfect English, in the early days he was one of the original guides for the Government run “Julchin” hunting company and a man who has great respect among the local men he works with for Ibex , sheep and now Maral.

I spent two seasons as an Elk guide in New Mexico some years ago and this only made my interest in the situation for Maral in Mongolia increase. With good government protection and management, some winters not too harsh the numbers in some areas are back to yesteryear. The government now issues some permits for areas that can prove these sustainable numbers. Outfitters can only hunt in allotted areas that local people have and in time new areas will open.

Over the past two season my outfitter has had hunters in Mongolia for Maral (& Ibex, Sheep, Roebuck). Even though the Mongolian Government had previously issued some permits before 2018 they were of little interest to me due to the fact I knew other areas where there were many Maral and much bigger mature trophy bulls. I took a client with me from New Zealand who was to hunt Maral and Altai Ibex, it was 19th September 2018. We hunted Ibex first. Oh, it was a great day on day one. He took a life time dream beautiful Ibex.



When his turn came to hunt Maral we travelled many miles to our Maral area. Stopping overnight is a town along the way and all-day travel to an area that had not seen a hunter for 20 years. Upon arrival, we set up for the night in an empty tourist camp. It was situated under a very steep rocky pine forest ridge. I mentioned to my hunter as we lay in our sleeping bags “I have a very good feeling about this place. “Darkness was only just upon us and half-awake I was not quite believing what startled me. Oh yes then I heard it again, I could hear that rasping breath as the bull inhaled and let out a very loud challenging bugle that woke up the whole hillside, from that moment on we were in Maral heaven. What a great time our hunter had with valleys alive with bugling bulls, satellite bulls roaming, running form area to area and every sound Maral voice was there in the theatre that was laid out before us. He took a very nice 6x6 to achieve lifelong dream.

I was for once able to hunt and had a one-off permit take a bull in a new area my outfitter had his eyes on for some. It is to this day my greatest moment in my hunting life.



I too would like to say thanks the mountain Gods for giving up this magnificent trophy on that great day. To
put it simply there are few places in the world where the unparalleled experience of hunting in a primitive
setting can become the main focus and the reason for being there is to hunt, and not merely to kill.

As an Australian professional hunting guide/escort having worked is such unique places and the comradery of my times in Mongolia, especially now we have Maral hunting back, I’ve learnt trophy hunting raises hunter’s appreciation for the combination of wild country and great habitat, beautiful people and never to be forgotten experiences. Trophy hunting itself demands patients, skill, restraint, judgement and a dash of self confidence in oneself and his or her guide. Mongolian Maral hunting presents a hunter with all this and more.

For me yes Maral over Elk but as you can see the Central Asian experience enhances the decision.

So, as we say in Australia, “If you never ever go, you’ll never ever know’



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A mate of mine has just told me he's shagging his girlfriend and her twin. I said "How can you tell them apart?" He said "Her brother's got a moustache!"
 
Posts: 7610 | Location: Bloody Queensland where every thing is 20 years behind the rest of Australia! | Registered: 25 January 2001Reply With Quote
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Nice post Bakes. Those are some awesome Marals.

My brothers and my picture are among the photos posted by Arjun. Kazakhstan was a remote, horseback hunt in absolutely wild country. A truly awesome experience. It looks like Mongolia would be very similar.

The Marals in Kazakhstan were much more grey with darker sides than New Mexico elk tend to be. Your pictures, especially the last one, look like they are colored more like elk.
 
Posts: 114 | Registered: 17 August 2013Reply With Quote
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Not my pictures nor my story mate. They belong to Aussie Guide. I posted them on his behalf due to some issues he was having posting photo's. tu2


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A mate of mine has just told me he's shagging his girlfriend and her twin. I said "How can you tell them apart?" He said "Her brother's got a moustache!"
 
Posts: 7610 | Location: Bloody Queensland where every thing is 20 years behind the rest of Australia! | Registered: 25 January 2001Reply With Quote
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