High-vis will save lives

South Waikato News - - OPINION -

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

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