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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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Buck fever and the roar

Posted at 7:56am Saturday 08 Apr, 2017

With the return of New Zealand’s red stag roar, the end of March to early April is a prime time for hunting and the bush will be crawling with hunters or varying levels of experience.

And every year and every roar, a hunter shoots another hunter because they fail to properly Identify their target – often as a result of ‘buck fever’ the name given to the over adrenalized state of an inexperienced hunter believing he has a deer in his sights.

Mountain Safety Council CEO Mike Daisley says while the roar is an exciting time of year for hunters, it does have specific risks that need to be managed.

“Almost 40 per cent of big game hunting fatalities are from are from misidentification. These are completely avoidable incidents that change families in an instant.

“What’s also troubling is that 88 per cent of all North Island big game fatalities involve a firearm.”

If you roll March and April together, you have 56 per cent of fatalities between June 2006 and June 2016, and 40 per cent of search and rescue events from 2010 to 2015, says Mike.

Once again, hunters are being urged by the council to focus on safe practices overall, with a particular focus on target identification.

“The ultimate responsibility for target identification is with the shooter. Until you can be categorically certain, assume any shape, colour, movement or sound is a human until you can prove otherwise.”

‘A Hunters Tale: A deep dive into hunting incidents in New Zealand’,released to the public last month, has some sobering statistics for those heading out this year, with target misidentification remaining the biggest cause of fatalities for big game hunters.

There are about 166,675 active hunters across New Zealand and with more than half of them hunting at least once per month, it’s extremely important that those who are hunting do all they can to keep themselves and others safe, both police and the Mountain Safety Council plead.

 “Anyone who is planning to use a firearm, whether it’s hunting for game animals, birds or target shooting for sport,  is required to be in possession of a valid firearms licence and comply with the New Zealand Arms Code at all times,” says senior constable Darren Cox.

Darren is based at Omakau in Central Otago and he covers a large rural policing area which is popular for its hunting opportunities.

The area has also had hunting tragedies, something Darren’s keen to prevent in the future.

Anyone using a firearm needs to ensure not only their safety but the safety of others who may be around them.

“If you do not have a licence you must be with someone who does – and they in turn must supervise the unlicensed person closely.

“Even if you are an unlicensed person accompanying a licensed hunter, it is still a good idea to familiarise yourself with the New Zealand Arms Code, which sets out the seven key basics of firearms safety.”

These include treating every firearm as loaded, always pointing firearms in a safe direction, loading firearms only when ready to fire, identifying targets beyond all doubt, checking firing zone, storing firearms and ammunition safely, and laying off alcohol and/or drugs when handling firearms.

“If hunting, you need to be aware there may be other hunters nearby who you are not aware of,” adds Darren.

“They may make noises imitating the calls of game, which can mistakenly be taken for the real thing.  Even the definite sight of skin and antlers is not positive enough to identify your target, as hunters have been shot while carrying deer.

“This means you must double and triple check that your target is in fact live game, and you must be 110 per cent sure before taking a shot, as the slightest mistake can have lifelong and tragic consequences.” 

If there is any doubt about the target, do not shoot.

The Arms Code outlines the circumstances under which it is not safe to fire.

These circumstanes are not firing at movement only, not firing at colour only, not firing at sound only, and not firing at shape only

“In addition, hunters must ensure they have the necessary permits, or permission from the landowner for the land you are hunting on and respect the boundaries of land you are not entitled to hunt on.

“Also be aware that there may be other hunters, trampers or people working in these areas.

“But if everyone takes the time to familiarise themselves with the Arms Code and follows the seven rules, then this will go a long way to ensure that everyone gets home safely to the family and loved ones.”

For information about firearm safety visit either NZ Police’s website or the Mountain Safety Council’s website



Posted on 01-05-2017 09:08 | By maybelle

I can understand how maildrop does not like the killing of any animal, but for some it is a necessity to feed their families, not everyone has money to buy meat from a butcher every week, but a deer in the freezer can last a long time to feed a family. I also believe deer need to be culled in many areas to protect our bush so it can regenerate naturally, if the meat is not eaten this is just a waste. I do not believe in killing just for trophies.

Posted on 11-04-2017 13:02 | By Papamoaner

On that other post you are hammering, I expressed a suspicion you are a pom. Your response was that you come from a more sophisticated place. Old guys like me can have a poor memory, but whippersnappers cannot and should not.

Posted on 11-04-2017 11:47 | By maildrop

What denials? I don’t see any? Have you been sniffing the exhaust fumes again?

Posted on 11-04-2017 07:51 | By Papamoaner

Thanks kiddie for your good advice, especially for kindly saying I have a "low intolerance"I still have a strong suspicion you’re from mother England. Your denials don’t hold water since you have already tripped yourself up with the odd big fib, not just on this post either.

Posted on 11-04-2017 04:10 | By maildrop

Whoa, who’s in a tailspin? I believe there is a massive distinction between accepting to eat animals for food and killing for animals for pleasure. To some there isn’t a distinction and I accept their point of view. You do appear to have a low intolerance for people with a different view and given your age it might be best not to get wound up.

Posted on 10-04-2017 08:28 | By Papamoaner

At age 70, a sheltered existence might have been a daunting challenge having done most things and travelled to many countries, lived in some. Unfortunately it has left me with a low tolerance for hip shooting hypocrites. Agreed, there might be some shooters who do it for pleasure, but at least their game exits instantly without awareness. Conversley, Your victims line up at the abbatoir and smell the blood, feel the terror before they eventually end up on your table to be ripped and torn by your canine teeth as you devour their dead animal flesh whilst sipping wine and having nice conversations about how decent you all are.

Posted on 10-04-2017 06:06 | By maildrop

Yes, I apply the attitude to all killing of animals in the name of "fun" or "sport". Interesting that you have not come across it before as there are millions of human beings who share the belief. I guess your sheltered and insular existence speaks volumes.

Posted on 09-04-2017 09:55 | By Papamoaner

Interesting attitude. Speaks volumes. Hmm I wonder if you apply that judgement to people who go fishing. Or how about folk who just collect and eat shellfish? The analogies are endless and if you care to follow them you might eventually paint yourself into a corner.
Hunters? Really??

Posted on 08-04-2017 20:36 | By maildrop

Yeh, cos "meat" is so hard to come by these days. Cheap as chips down the road so the need to "hunt" ended long ago. You all do it for the same reason so stop trying to act old school. You enjoy killing living things. Makes you feel the man. Pathetic.
here we go again

Posted on 08-04-2017 17:07 | By old trucker

Gosh just let them live, be different if the gun was in its possession and fought back,gosh ive hunted for yrs in my younger days, and one hind would feed us for weeks,but no they have to shoot big STAGS to make them feel good,gosh in Murapara in the sixties you were tripping over deer, and pigs,our freezer was always full and it was great to barter for things you wanted,my thoughts only,Sunlive is No1,Thankyou 110-4 out.
Hunters?? Really?

Posted on 08-04-2017 09:36 | By Papamoaner

The bush is not crawling with hunters. There are some hunters, but mostly just shooters who want to get their macho rocks off with a "trophy" These are the people who will leave the meat to rot and take the antlers so they can hang them on the wall and stare at them whilst doing the unmentionable.They are easy to spot in the hills. Mostly young and dressed up in silly camo gear with shiny flash rifles. All we wore in the old days was a black wooly singlet and shorts. We mostly only had old .303 rifles and never wasted meat. A definition;- Hunters shoot in order to hunt. Shooters hunt in order to shoot. Hunters carry the meat out and might return later for the head. Shooters will always leave the meat to rot

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