What did CAA want? The hunter to die?

Sometime bureaucrats can be complete arses. This time it is CAA and they are hounding a guy because he stepped in when a pilot couldn’t perform the needed manoeuvres to effect a rescue on someone trapped down a cliff.

As a result the clipboard wielding prigs at CAA are after him because he dared to fly when he shouldn’t have.

Scott Lee fell down a bluff and the hunter was left dangling on a cliff edge with a broken femur. But bad weather meant the Westpac Rescue Helicopter could not locate him.

Local pilot Dave Armstrong stepped in and completed the rescue.

Mr Armstrong is now facing charges, because his license was suspended at the time due to a medical condition.

Kaikoura Search and Rescue alternate controller Mike Morrissey says if Mr Armstrong had not stepped in, the hunter could have died.   Read more »

A Green I could vote for


There aren’t many Green candidates whom I could support, but this is one of them.

Ben Wightman, 27, posts picture of himself next to two dead antelopes, a warthog, an ostrich, wildebeest and a zebra.

A former Green Party councillor has defended his love of big game hunting.

Ben Wightman, 27, posted on Facebook photos of himself next to a series of animals he has shot in South Africa.

The dead animals next to him include two antelopes, a warthog, an ostrich, wildebeest and zebra. He also has the heads of dead animals and other trophies on the walls of his home.   Read more »

Hawkes Bay, Rotorua and a mighty Isuzu DMax

Isuzu DMax

On Wednesday last week I took off down to Hawkes Bay to deliver a speech about Dirty Politics to a select group of shadowy nameless businessmen.

This was to be my last test drive of the Isuzu DMax in the “maverick 13” configuration from Southern Autos. This is the second DMax I have test driven, and this one had 20inch wheels, a beautiful hard deck tray cover, bullbars and other useful accessories. It is a manual, and so I was comparing it to the auto I drove previously.

First up let’s talk about fuel economy. I know I’ve mentioned it before but it still astonishes me.

I drove from home to Havelock North, tooled around some hunting spots and backwards and forth to Napier a couple of times before leaving on Friday to go hunting in Rotorua. I filled up before I left home and it wasn’t until I had driven all the way down, and then back over the Taupo-Napier highway that fuel became low.

I was monitoring the fuel…trying to work out where I would need to stop. Coming down the big straight from Opepe I knew that soon I’d have to choose a place to fill up. My gut and the trip computer said I could make it to Rotorua. I hit the big round about where there is a Z station, with no warning lights…and decided to hang right, and head towards Rotorua. At Wairakei though the warning light came on…72km to Rotorua, trip computer says fuel for 105km/…no need in my mind to turn left and fill up at Wairakei, plus there is a fuel stop at Benny Bee near Waiotapu and a truck stop near Rotorua…I figured I could make it.    Read more »

The Isuzu D-Max Maverick 13 travels to Goatistan


Photo/ Whaleoil Media, Cam Slater

Queens Birthday weekend saw us take an Isuzu D-Max LS Maverick 13 from Southern Autos down to Goatistan in Taranaki for some chaos and mayhem.

This was a similar trip with a similar amount of kit to cart down as the last trip I did in a VW Amarok. I was keen to compare the two vehicles.

We had three burly men, 10 firearms (3 x Tikka .22-250, a Tikka .308, 2 x 6.5×55 Mauser, Remington Versamax 12ga, Savage B110 .338 Lapua Magnum, .22 Magnum, and an SKS). We also carried around 300 rounds of .22-250, plus reloading gear in case we run out of ammo. (There are a lot of goats, and Sunday night we did reload 200 rounds). We also had two 4×4 4 wheelers, 40 litres of diesel in jerry cans and 40 litres of petrol in cans as well. Plus personal gear, food and refreshments. It is a lot of gear.

Surprisingly we managed to get more in the back of the ute than in the Amarok and the hard top tray cover was brilliant. We could have tied down some gear on that if necessary, and with the deck tread aluminium and side rails would make carrying home animals a breeze without getting blood and guts inside the vehicle. The tray cover also can take 200kg of weight and so gives you true shoot-off-the-back capability.

We left late on Friday night, firstly to avoid the traffic and secondly because we had other commitments.

We drove down with all our gear in a surprisingly good time, the truck effortlessly pulling all our gear. We even gave it a nasty test by taking the turn off to Ohura off State Highway 3, along Okau Road and then up the nasty and narrow part of Kiwi Road in Taranaki. It was 1am by the time we started up Kiwi Road… and bloody freezing.

We went this way because it cuts about 20 minutes off the time to the hut if we go that way, despite the challenges, and saves going over Mt Messenger. Though it has to be said that driving Kiwi Road in the dark is a real challenge. It is narrow with nasty switch backs and sheer drops down the side. If you stuff up it will hurt, and towing a large and heavy tandem trailer makes it even more challenging.

But the Maverick 13 just ate up the road, never once getting into trouble.

The entire drive down was pleasant, and we even supplemented the radio with direct play from my iPad. For three burly men the cabin appointments were good, even for the back seat passenger.

Comparing the tow with the Amarok I have to say I believe the Isuzu was superior in both handling, set up and towing ability. It just never blinked and the engine never went over 2500 rpm the whole trip down.


The view down one of the valleys. Photo/ Whaleoil Media, Cam Slater

On the farm it just went from strength to strength. It is steep goat territory, and typical Taranaki mountain land.

On all the farm tracks the truck just never stopped, through deep mud, steep papa tracks, muddy farm races and slippery grass… all eaten up by the sure-footed Isuzu D-Max.

I only slipped into low-range once, when through my own mistake I approached a slippery papa track with inadequate momentum. It was the only time I spun the wheels, progress was halted, so I back back down a bit, quickly flicked the dial into low-range and powered up no trouble at all.


At 204yds the effectiveness of the .22-250 is apparent. Photo/ Whaleoil Media, Cam Slater

There are plenty of goats on this farm, all its boundaries are forest and so they just keep coming back. The Billy above was a good size and succumbed to my 40gr V-max bullet on the .22-250 with a good lung shot. At a muzzle velocity of 4100 fps this is a devastating round on small game like goats. Now before anyone gets upset at the location of the splatter, that is the exit wound and that is frothy lung blood. The actual entry wound was precisely where it was intended to go, at the base of the neck. The goat was facing front quarter on and the bullet entered and travelled through the lungs and exited out the side in a spray of red mist. We were shooting up hill hence the angle of bullet travel. This goat dropped instantly.


Another head for the collection at the hut. Photo/ Whaleoil Media, Cam Slater


204yds with a Tikka .22-250 Photo/ Whaleoil Media, Cam Slater

We have perfected our load for the .22-250 now, and it is effective with devastating effect inside 300yds. We do take shots over that, and I dropped 5 goats at around 400-415yds. The best shot for the weekend was 455yds on a Billy that I tipped up.

The more you shoot with a rifle the better you get, and goat shooting is a great way to get familiar with your firearm simply because of the huge number of rounds you put away down range. We tipped up over 200 goats this weekend.


We packed up on Monday afternoon, following a bomb up in a gully not far from the hut. We caught a good herd sheltering from the wind on a face with little bush cover and cleaned them out.

We left the hut at 1640 to drive home. This time we head down the other part of Kiwi Road and then out onto State Highway 3 at Uruti. We were going to put the Isuzu through its paces over Mt Messenger going home.

Well, it coped superbly well up the wet and slippery Mt Messenger part of the drive, and again I believe it handled the tow much smoother and better than the Amarok. We were back and unpacking at 215 after being only troubled with a couple of slow pokes on the drive back.

The truck was perfect, even with road profile 20inch tyres. The set up by the boys at Southern Autos was flawless. I really like this truck. I’m not sure they will be able to get it back off me.

Sure it doesn’t have all the fancy fruit like an Amarok, but it is very, very capable and is a real truck not some fancy town tractor pretending to be one.

Go and see my mates at Southern Autos, they will look after you for a test drive and a good deal. If you want a real truck then this is the one for you.

Southern Autos



All photos and video taken with Spark Samsung S6 Edge, Isuzu D-Max LS Maverick 13 vehicle supplied by Southern Autos.


Make a difference, shoot some Pukes

Hunting & Fishing has a good reason to go shooting Pukekos.

With pukeko being on the game bird hunting schedule, now that ducks have become more wary and harder to locate, Queens Birthday Weekend is an ideal time to organise a puke hunt (check with your local Fish and Game for hunting regulations – zero bag limit in Otago and Southland).  Breasted and casseroled, you will be very pleasantly surprised at the eating quality of these birds, but after all, they are selective clean feeders.  (Avoid the legs though as they are full of sinues.)

Why target a bird that may appear to be more comical than challenging, and harmless enough in its own environment?  The answer is that pukekos are in fact an intelligent bird that very quickly wises up to the ways of a hunter.  The most effective method of hunting them is with a group that can ‘drive’ the swampy or rough cover they inhabit, placing ‘guns’ at the end of the drive to cut off the likely escape routes.   Read more »

Peter Dunne is a blithering idiot

Peter Dunne is suddenly going to hold a review of unsafe and illegal gun use in the outdoors due to two idiots self-terminating through stupidity shooting themselves in accidents.

Two fatal incidents at the weekend have sparked a review of unsafe and illegal gun use in the outdoors.

Associate Conservation Minister Peter Dunne has begun the process of initiating the review, which will seek to establish what the problems are, where responsibility might lie, and what could be done to reduce the risks of death and injury due to improper gun use.

A 21-year-old hunter died on Sunday after his gun went off while he was climbing over a fence near Ohakune, shooting him in the chest.

James Ross Bucko Johnston, a 15-year-old from Whakatane, died while duck shooting in the eastern Bay of Plenty on Sunday morning.

Dunne urged the hunting community to keep gun safety at the forefront of their minds, as the country had again been reminded that without following best practice and taking the utmost care, firearms could kill.

“Unfortunately there seems to be an increasing frequency of firearm incidents causing injury or death,” Dunne said.

“The worst aspect is that these incidents are largely preventable.”

Read more »

Opening Weekend and the Benefits of Remington Nitro Pheasant


The Dirty Politics crew after an early mornng hunt on Sunday

This past weekend was opening weekend and so I went to the Hawkes Bay to shoot upland game birds with a couple of mates and Simon Lusk.

It was brilliantly fine, so not much fun for the duck shooters, but we had four dogs and four mates and two Isuzu trucks (including my one, an Isuzu D-Max custom Maverick 13 Hunter from Southern Autos), a pile of ammo and some fun to be had.

On Saturday we chased quail and when that quietened down we went and bombed up pigeons under a bridge at dusk. huge swarms of them came into roost and we lit up. It was great fun.

On Sunday we went to a spot Simon said had pheasants and we nailed three.

One was flushed by Bruce quite a way out and went away in a straight line from us. Simon put up his Benelli loaded with Remington Nitro Pheasant an one shot later it was down and then retrieved by Bruce.

Simon said to me that shot right there was why he used Remington Nitro Pheasant, and coincidentally he had prepared a post about why he uses it.      Read more »

Game Bird Processing, Ctd

Simon Lusk with Bruce, Mabo and Dave and his might Isuzu D-Max

Simon Lusk with Bruce, Mabo and Dave and his might Isuzu D-Max

by Simon Lusk

Game Bird butchery is something I used to dislike, mainly because I was never happy with my tools or the way the birds came out of the oven. I worked out how to stop them being tough by letting them settle for two weeks before processing, and have also learned enough about processing to make processing a pleasure.

The key to making processing birds pleasurable is to have the right tools to start with. For me this means a very sharp knife, some good game shears and a pair of pliers.

The knife itself does not matter as much as getting it really sharp. Some years back a friend who was a knife sharpening fanatic showed me a Spyderco Sharpmaker that he used, and as soon as I got one my knives became very easy to sharpen. Previously I had struggled with a whetstone or a steel and poor technique. With the Sharpmaker technique is not an issue, so my knives are always sharp.    Read more »


Processing Game Birds

Simon Lusk with Bruce, Mabo and Dave and his might Isuzu D-Max

Simon Lusk with Bruce, Mabo and Dave and his might Isuzu D-Max

by Simon Lusk

Game Birds can be tough. They spend most of their life on the move, unlike battery chickens, so have far denser and tougher meat than farm raised birds.

The single most important part of processing game birds is to allow them to rest and allow the proteins in the meat that make it tough break down. This will turn a tough bird into something far more palatable.

To overcome the toughness the simplest approach is to leave the birds in the fridge for at least two weeks before processing them. One week doesn’t seem to be enough, with birds still coming out of the oven tough. After two weeks you will notice a real change in the composition of the flesh. It will become softer to the touch.    Read more »


Guest Post – Calling Quail

Simon Lusk with Bruce, Mabo and Dave and his might Isuzu D-Max

Simon Lusk with Bruce, Mabo and Dave and his mighty Isuzu D-Max

by Simon Lusk

Californian Quail can be very cunning and hard to locate. I have spent many, many hours trying to locate birds right across the country, doing reasonably well with dogs, but did substantially better when I started using a locator call.

Mouth calls are tricky to get to work well. I have tried most on the market and while they can help locate birds they do not always sound right, so I have largely given up on them. Instead I use an AJ Productions Call with an upland card in it.     Read more »