The inventor of our iconic wild cattle catching bionic arm, Kal Carrick (pictured left driving), has been awarded a 2018 Australia Day medal for services to the livestock industry.

Carrick’s buff catcher wins Australia Day award

The iconic wild cattle catching bionic arm inventor, Kal Carrick, has been awarded a 2018 Australia Day medal for services to the nation’s livestock industry.

The iconic wild cattle catching bionic arm inventor, Kal Carrick, has been awarded a 2018 Australia Day medal for services to the nation’s livestock industry. 

The humble 75-year-old descried his feral buffalo and wild cattle catching bionic arm invention as “born out of necessity” after the government enforced a policy only bulls four-years-old or over could be shot and all younger animals had to be caught live. 

“This resulted in many young men up in the Northern Territory getting real hurt because we had to try and now lasso rope them and we couldn’t shot them anymore,” Mr Carrick said. 

“The government was trying to stop some unscrupulous suppliers who substituted thick, good quality buffalo hides by wrapping two thinner cow and calf hides together.

“The ban meant the feral buffalo had to be delivered live for export markets.”

This forced a need for better ways of wrangling the wild animals and spurred Mr Carrick to invent an improved method of catching feral buffalo.

With parts collected from a local rubbish dump and some inventive fabrication work, Mr Carrick put together the first steel bionic cattle catching arm and fitted it to the front of his Land Cruiser Ute in the late 1970s.

Feral buffalo and wild cattle catching bionic arm in action on a cattle station in the Northern Territory.

The bionic arm became affectionately known as the “buff catcher”.

“I have a background as a motor bike mechanic and that knowledge helped me come up with the buff catcher idea,” Mr Carrick said.

“I’m only a small piece in the puzzle of many great people who worked up in the top-end of Australia catching feral buffalo and wild cattle.” 

Generally, the buffalo catching bionic arm is powered by an electric motor mounted on the chassis rail behind the bullbar. Several drive-belts run from an electric motor across the front of a flyscreen-shielded radiator grille to the ratchet mechanism that raises the catching arm. A steel tube that mechanically releases and drops the arm, or raises it through the operation of an electric switch, runs from the ratchet mechanism, along the top of the bonnet, to a control in front of the driver. 

The feral buffalo industry significantly declined in Australia during the late 1980s as herds of feral buffalo were culled-out across northern Australia. 

Much of the buffalo industry and the way of life it supported greatly declined.

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