Hunting a family affair
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.