Hunt­ing a fam­ily af­fair

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA McLEAY

There is a shoot­ing.

‘‘ It is all about at­ten­tion to de­tail,’’ ex­plained Mata­mata’s Wynn Brown, an avid duck shooter for the past 40 years.

‘‘You must pay at­ten­tion to your de­coy lay­out and care­fully cam­ou­flage your mai mai. You need a duck caller and a good dog.’’

With duck shoot­ing sea­son fast ap­proach­ing on Satur­day, May 7 prepa­ra­tions are un­der­way for many hun­ters.

The first thing on Mr Brown’s to-do list is to clean out his new cus­tomised mai mai, ‘Duck Cen­tral’. The small cam­ou­flaged

bit of an art to duck shack made from re­cy­cled tim­ber has bunk beds, gas and run­ning wa­ter – quite lux­u­ri­ous com­pared to his old cor­ru­gated iron mai mai.

Each year his friends ar­rive at his 350 hectare farm on the out­skirts of Mata­mata and camp overnight in or­der to be up at the crack of dawn.

‘‘The first morn­ing re­ally is the best time. Ducks are not used to be­ing shot at at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son so they are usu­ally eas­ier to get,’’ he said.

Duck shoot­ing be­gan for Mr Brown when he was 12 years old.

‘‘It was a fam­ily thing, sort of a tra­di­tion. I went out with my fa­ther and grand­fa­ther, now I take my own sons out,’’ he said.

As a young boy, duck shoot­ing was all about the hunt­ing, how many ducks you could shoot and per­fect­ing your aim, but now Mr Brown said it was more about the ca­ma­raderie.

‘‘I have been shoot­ing with some of the same guys for the past 20 years. They all live in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try so it is a good ex­cuse for a catch up and I have four chil­dren who love to come out with me – that is the driv­ing force be­hind it.’’

So does Mr Brown rate him­self as a good shot?

‘‘I have had plenty of prac­tise, let’s put it that way. But it is not about how good of a shot you are, it is that I en­joy it. It is not even about the num­ber of ducks you shoot, but about the peo­ple around you,’’ said Mr Brown.

The ducks are usu­ally roasted in the Brown house­hold, or taken off to the butch­ers to be made into sausages and salami.

‘‘If you call your­self a hunter, you eat what you catch. Duck is good lean meat. There is very lit­tle fat on it, so it is healthy.’’

Not only is he a keen duck shooter, Mr Brown is an ex­cep­tional farmer.

In 2010 his 700-cow farm won the Waikato re­gion supreme award in the Farm En­vi­ron­ment Awards.

Bang: Duck shoot­ing fa­natic Wynn Brown in his mai mai, aims his gun ready to shoot.

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