High-vis will save lives
A coroner states that hunting parties in the bush should at all times keep in sight and contact with each other. What a load of total ignorance. What happens when three or four different hunting parties occupy the same block?
The only way to bring safety into the bush hunting scenario is to make mandatory the wearing of high-vis clothing and until this law changes hunters will die hunting.
I am 75. When I was in my 30s I hunted all the time. I nearly shot a young girl in the 1970s.
I had been dropped off at a river mouth and as I tramped up it towards my bivvy I noticed two other people had also travelled the river earlier in the day.
There was deer sign everywhere, so later towards the evening I went for a quick hunt.
As I sneaked along I noticed first a fresh Minty wrapper and now and then a little tin marker stuck in the ground. They put me on edge as I realised I was not alone.
As I topped a slight ridge I spotted the back end of what looked like a young hind across on the other side of the next gully. As I was shooting for money and not for sport I lined her up and waited for her to lift her head as I knew she would to check out her surroundings.
Suddenly my whole scope was filled with the vision of a mass of long blonde hair hanging down to a young girl’s waist.
I nearly died.
Had I been a young inexperienced hunter out for my first deer she would have surely died that day. That, and the fact that head and neck shots were worth about $2 a kilo more at the wild meat buyers than body or hind quarters shots.
It turned out she was a student employed by the forestry service and was bending over counting deer droppings so she could work out what the deer population was up the Waipakahi River South of Taupo, hence the tin markers.
She had dark brown legs, fawn socks and, worst of all, fawn coloured shorts. At 150 yards through the scrub she looked exactly like the back end of a young deer.
I gave her one hell of a burst, told her to change her shorts and socks to orange and left her shaking in the bush.
I often wondered since if she ever realised just how close she came to dying that evening way up the Waipakahi River.
I have in the past written a hunting book Hunters and Drifters and short stories for magazines. C Clarke Tokoroa