Isuzu D-MAX, quail and Bruce needs a girlfriend

I used some time on my sabbatical to visit a friend in Tauranga and to go shooting near Taupo.

Of course, I managed to pick an awful weekend weatherwise but, hey, I’m driving an Isuzu D-MAX from my mates at Southern Autos…what’s a little water to those trucks?

It was hosing down and so that meant the undercarriage and running gear got a thorough wash before I headed to Taupo and the farm I last went shooting on in the same D-MAX.

This trip was just going to be a one-day shoot near Taupo with a detour via Tauranga and Rotorua, with some steep inclines and windy roads in the middle of winter…a proper test. I still loaded up my gear, which included several hundred rounds of 12-gauge ammo, two shotguns, plus all my wet weather and cold weather gear. For the first time in a long time I didn’t take my laptop.

I narrowly avoided the speed camera van parked 300m after the start of a passing lane, right by the rest area on State Highway 2 after Maramarua. Yes, you read right; the pricks had a speed camera parked up 300m after the start of a passing lane. This can only be revenue gathering as it is an area with dual carriageway…and it’s a designated passing area.

The rain really pelted down while heading State Highway 27, travelling nicely on road tyres at 100km/h. The headlights on this truck cut through the rain and they are especially awesome at night.

After a quick stop for a drink and a pie at Matamata I headed towards Tauranga, and up and over the Kaimais on State Highway 29. The road is steep and has some challenging cambers, even for cars. It is pretty much three lanes all the way up: two for up traffic and one for down traffic. It was raining hard and most people were squeamish, but the D-MAX just hurtled up the hill not even missing a beat.

I was carrying a tray full of gear and guns and the engine has more pull than a 14-year-old school boy. I pretty much went up the hill at 100km/h. Some fool in a Hilux tried to follow me tight after I passed him on a steep part. Before I passed him I had noticed how his rear end was squirrelly as hell and kept hanging out on the corners. He eventually dropped behind. I never saw him again.

I arrived into Tauranga in the dark after a very good trip.

On Sunday morning I rose at 0430 to head to Taupo. Again it was raining and as cold as your love for a whore when you’ve come. As the farm was north of Taupo and South of Atiamuri I decided to head there via State Highway 36 to Ngongotaha, then through Rotorua on State Highway 5 and then via State Highway 30 until it joins State Highway One. I had never gone via SH30 before so that was going to be interesting, but first I had to stock up on essential vitamins at Rotorua McDonalds. It was going to be a long day with mud, cow shit, grass, blackberry and quail.

I arrived at our meeting place right on 0730, but Simon and James were late because Spud, the Jack Russell, decided to leap off the back of James’ truck in the middle of Taupo. There must have been a bitch on heat or something. It was a sign of things to come for Spud who proved to be an annoying little shit all day. Simon, of course, had Mabo, Bruce and Dave with him.

We arrived at the farm and set about blasting quail all day.

Mabo was a trooper and Bruce was brilliant. Dave, however, is a bit of a princess and refuses to go into the thick stuff.


The truck performed as expected – brilliantly. The terrain was a lot wetter than last time and mud was everywhere, plus copious quantities of cow shit. But these D-MAX trucks are brilliant and nothing seems to stick to them…the mud and shit just wash straight off them. I can’t fault it at all and we took this truck, road tyres and all, on terrain it probably shouldn’t have been able to climb out of, but it did. As I said, the engine and more pull than a 14-year-old school boy.

After a solid day shooting we were rooted. The dogs especially so, except Dave who really should be a bitch considering he is such a princess.


After the hunt I packed up the truck and the pile of birds and headed home. I was rooted so a couple of Red Bulls and I was on my way. Again, it decided to hose down and I was driving through rivers on SH1 through Tokoroa. Eventually I arrived back home at 2030, tired and sore but not at all from the driving which, as usual, was a real pleasure.

If you want  a serious truck that can get you out of the shit as quickly as you managed to get yourself into it, then you should seriously consider an Isuzu D-MAX from Southern Autos. Give my mates there a call, tell them Cam sent you and they will look after you.

With the money you save you can get a new shottie, or a dog, or new hunting rifle. They certainly cane the arse off a Hilux and are way cheaper than those fancy-smancy Euro trucks. Plus Southern Autos stood by in Dirty Politics when others cut and run like poofs.

These trucks are certainly not gay utes, and proper blokes and blokesses deserve one.

Simon writes:

Bruce needs a girlfriend. He is my champion hunter so I want one of his pups. Dave is a big girl’s blouse and won’t go in the thick stuff (which I go in myself in case there is anyone wanting to defend Dave) and Mabo has arthritis and isn’t as good as Bruce as a hunter because he only wants to hunt upland, not everything.

I am looking for a lab bitch to put Bruce over. Bruce is fearless, goes through any blackberry, gorse or scrub without thinking about it, has a very high prey drive yet is still smart enough to look around to see if I am close enough to shoot. He hunts everything: ducks, pheasants, quail, deer, pukekos, rabbits, hares and cats.

I have four people wanting a pup from Bruce’s line, and want one for me too, so there is a fair bit of demand. He is vet checked but doesn’t have any papers, and he is definitely not a show dog. The photo is Bruce with a couple of splits on his head where he has bashed into things chasing game. I run three Labrador dogs, and Bruce is the best, including being the only dog I have hunted deer with who will watch deer at 400 yards when the other ones are having a kip.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.