hunting

The Isuzu D-Max Maverick 13 travels to Goatistan

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

Slamming Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais is a funny guy, that alone might get him off kiddy fiddling charges in New Zealand, but like most people in the arts who are famous they think they are entitled to an opinion on everything and it gives them a free licence to bully people who have views and beliefs that are different from theirs.

His latest attack has been on a woman hunter.

James Delingpole though gives him a thorough slamming.

Comedian Ricky Gervais has decided that because we liked The Office, quite enjoyed a couple of sketches in Extras (the David Bowie one and the Lenny Henry one) and weren’t all driven to suicide by Night At The Museum, we should therefore care what he thinks about giraffe rights.

Gervais takes them so seriously that when he found a photograph of “extreme huntress” Rebecca Francis posing next to the body of a giraffe she had shot, he just couldn’t resist exposing her to the righteous wrath of his 7.5 million Twitter follows, earning the poor woman a string of death threats.

What Gervais clearly doesn’t appreciate – why should he?: his job is making people laugh and hanging out with smug Hollywood liberals, not reading or thinking – is that any intelligent person who really cares about Africa’s wildlife ought to be backing people like Rebecca Francis to the hilt.

If it weren’t for Africa’s game industry there’d be virtually no game left in Africa to photograph, let alone hunt.   Read more »

Upland Game Gear

Simon and his Cabelas Upland Game trousers

Simon and his Cabelas Upland Game trousers

By Simon Lusk

I have introduced a good number of people to upland game hunting. Those who are serious ask about the clothing I am wearing and usually end up getting the same gear I wear.

The most important piece of clothing is a good pair of upland pants. Upland hunting means bashing through blackberry and gorse so without a good pair of pants you will get cut to ribbons. Pants need to be at least 600 denier, or gorse and blackberry will go through them.

In recent seasons I have been using Cabela’s Roughneck Upland Jeans, which are the best upland pants I have worn. The facings are 1000 denier, but they are very soft and comfortable to wear compared to older upland pants. Get the brown not the blue ones, as the brown can be used for waterfowl hunting as well as upland.   Read more »

Heavy v Light Shotguns

roosterhBy Simon Lusk

Getting the right gun for upland game hunting can be the difference between successful hunts and coming home without anything in your game bag.

There is a school of thought that lighter guns are better for upland hunting as they are easier to carry in the field and faster swinging so better for fast birds. I bought into this theory some years back, and bought a very light Fabarm Lion. I wanted a light semiautomatic for quail shooting, and especially covey flush shooting. The Fabarm was the lightest left hander I could get at the time. I basically could not hit anything with it, and the next season replaced it with a much heavier Remington 1100.

The Remington is a big heavy gun that suits my shooting style perfectly. It is so good that I can make shots without having good footing, and I can shoot off balance and still expect to bring birds down. I am six foot two and two hundred and ten pounds. I started shooting really, really well, which was more to do with the gun than my shooting ability.   Read more »