As its title suggests, this book is a hunting book where the author describes his adventures chasing game, both with a bow and a rifle, focussing his stories on a variety of big and small game in a wide range of locations around New Zealand.
Having been highly skilled with bow and arrows from a young age, Peter Hill is a keen member of the Hamilton Target Archery Club where an introduction to the world of bowhunting was provided by the experienced bowhunter Dave Elmore.
Rabbit hunting with a bow became a serious sport for Peter, and before long, his targets included goats, rats, turkeys and geese; larger game succumbed to his arrows next when he bagged wild pigs and red deer.
Several of this country’s better-known bowhunters receive a mention as the author describes his personal experiences in trying to obtain the appropriate pins to match their status, with them having already achieved their ambition to become Master Bowhunters.
Rifle hunting is covered during a period when Hill was employed by the Government to undertake goat control. The scene of action is around Mount Pirongia where, using a Remington Mohawk .222 and ably assisted by his faithful dog, the work to obtain tails was no easy ride – a paragraph or two on firearms safety is worth noting. Eventually, the New Zealand Forest Service transferred Hill to the Pureora Forest where he was able to include pigs and red deer in his extermination portfolio.
Other wild outdoor adventures recalled include times the author spent trapping and poisoning possums for the fur trade, and although the returns were reasonable, to get a result was still hard yakka.
There’s mention of a four-year stint longlining for snapper from a base at Tutukaka before Hill embarked on a rural fencing career, which provided further hunting opportunities for deer and game birds.
Ultimately, putting aside his guns, the author returned to his earlier pursuit of hunting with a bow; his newly acquired Bear Wild compound bow with its accurate sights and smart-release trigger was quickly mastered, and he and his son were soon placing their arrows in deer and pigs around Lake Waikaremoana.
This book’s 35 chapters contain pages detailing the hunting of fallow, rusa, red and sika deer with the tales including a South Island hunt when father and son tackled the big Karangarua Valley in South Westland. Armed with a .243 rifle and a bow with a quiver of razor-sharp arrows, the successful trip was rewarded with tahr and chamois trophies.
Towards the conclusion, Hill’s love of the wild and hunting are voiced as well as his respect for the animals he’s hunted; the reader is also informed of Hill’s personal thoughts on the controversial and continued use of 1080 poison around New Zealand.
This book delivers the author’s experiences in a good honest style of writing that has no embellishment and should achieve the goal he indicated at the start, which was a leisurely and relaxed read.
One negative for readers will be the quality of the images in the book as some haven’t reproduced clearly, and the coloured pages appear slightly cluttered. Nevertheless, Peter Hill’s journey with his rifle and bow offers easy reading tales, which are ideally suited to be enjoyed either beside a winter’s fire in a faraway hut or at home.
Bateman Books, 192 pages