With the Roar upon us, I’m already coming across several reminders about rifle safety, the seven firearms safety rules and the need to identify your target beyond all doubt – and justifiably so. However, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate our community for its overall safety record, which is internationally excellent. In particular, the last few years of fatality-free Roar periods point to the fact our modern efforts to educate the hunting community are working. I believe these efforts, combined with the change in licensing requirements – which now include a hands-on practical element where applicants are required to take an assessment showing a solid understanding of safe handling of firearms – are taking effect. I think it’s a positive that in the last Game Animal Council release regarding Roar safety, they talked about the wider dangers that face anyone using the outdoors, including the biggest dangers – river crossings and falls.
In this issue, some of our top game-bird hunters in NZ impart their knowledge and experience gained in lifetimes of learning and share their passion for their hunting pastime. I’m very proud to have a team of writers of such quality representing our community and writing for our magazine. It’s a natural progression for hunters to get to a certain level of competency and skill and then move on to teaching others. Without these mentors, our hunting numbers would dwindle into insignificance. So, thank you to our game-bird experts and to all our contributors – you play a key role in ensuring the longevity of hunting in NZ.
In my own hunting, I’ve opened a world of new hunting experiences by learning the art of stalking pigs and goats. Not through just ‘bumping’ into them randomly but actively learning about this quarry, as I have any other animal I’ve hunted. Pigs stalked without dogs provide several challenges, and it’s been incredible to watch how these extremely intelligent creatures have reacted to my efforts to hunt them. They’ve provided much frustration, nail-biting moments, successes and failures. It’s a continual learning experience, and I’ve discovered some effective techniques. Look out for this article in the next issue.
In the Canterbury high country and in many other places in NZ, the amount of lush feed available is significant; this should relate to a good velvet-growing season … we’ll wait and see.
Team, stay safe out there, look after your mates and hunting buddies, and I hope to read and honour your Roar hunting adventures in upcoming issues of NZRod&Rifle.