Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lakelands Sunday 25th

Rocked up to Tim’s place just before 6. He didn’t even ask “Gosh, why are you here at 6 Nick, when you normally arrive at 7 and we make good time to Lakelands?” (Rough translation – you stupid barstool, you know your mind clock is f*cked up don’t you?!!!). He just got in the car and away we went. At roughly Te Kauwhata I put 2 & 2 together and realised the error of my ways. No excuse, just for some reason I figured on a 6am leaving time instead of 7. Bizarrrrrrreeeee.

Richard & Guy

So we headed to Huntly (!) for coffee. They do quite good coffee at the Chinese owned bakery in Huntly, so wasn’t overly distressed at the extra travel time or distance. Moccalattefrapachinoswithextrafroth in hand, we looped back and arrived in time to help Guy start the tractor, attach guns trailer and be general good barstools. With brilliantly fine and still weather we knew it would be a long day if we were to achieve the bag (200 birds), and with e retriever trial happening behind the guns it would be even more challenging (handler noise) but still you gotta go to know and so we did!

I "Nose" where dem pheasants is!

We were sharing the gun and Tim got the first drive, contentedly blasting away at passing birds, was all good. I got the roving/walking gun job on the next drive and had some good birds including one poor bugger that came down after I stretched the barrel somewhat, in a helicopter spiral. As we moved down with the beaters towards the line of guns the bird seemed to revive, then jumped up and flew off! Poor old Malcolm and his lab chased off after it, thought he would pop a cork… as it happened the bird had escaped (good luck to it). The birds were flying high and fast and we weren’t exactly wiping them out by any means.

Tim, not wiping them out by any means.

Tim got Tahi’s Wood drive and had a good time there, I got Insoles and put lots of lead in the air for a pukeko and a few pheasants and then Tim excelled with a couple of partridges at Lusitanicus. The guns were good value for sure. As for the retrievers, poor freaken dogs are so over-controlled they really would be hard put to work the swamp. They are not allowed to show any initiative and while they are well under control, I struggle with the outcome. For example if the dog is sent to retrieve a dead bird and a wounded one lands, if the dog switches to the live bird which under normal hunting circumstances is exactly the right thing to do, it gets disqualified. Seems to me to be more about the handler than the dog. Strange and bizarre, not for me. (I like Cally Ralph, the bird hoover who just scoops everything up in sight. To me that’s real retrieving).

Dog handlers

It was a long day... moon was up for the last 2 drives. Final tally: 154 pheasant, 3 partridges (I counted 6 shot, those robot retrievers have a lot to answer for), 2 magpies, a Pukeko and a Rosella parakeet. Had heaps of fun though, and so did Tim.

His Lordship, Guy of Ralphlands

Tim in action: Photo courtesy of  Dig.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tuna Nui

With a 7.30 dinner booked in, I did wonder how we could possibly leave from Waerenga and arrive in Havelock North given that dickie told me to arrive at his place at 2pm. I got there at 1.15, just to give us a chance. A few cuppas, and a chat on his deck, then me, Helen & Dickie loaded their new Landie and headed off. First stop was at Kawhia’s house to drop off Maya, Helen’s new pup. That part of the trip was super interesting, as we took roads that I always wondered about and we made decent time too. Having dropped off the pup we made decent time through to Taupo, with one distraction caused by a cop who got Dickie doing 123kph. He booked dickie for a 112kph offence instead, and miraculously handed Dickie his license back. Miraculous because his current points balance is 80. Get 100 and it’s all over. Stopping in Taupo at Scenic Cellars for a bottle of plonk and a coffee we ten made good time over the Taupo-Napier Road. No sign of deer, although I kept my eyes peeled in the twilight. We reached our destination at 7.00pm, arriving just as the first mini bus departed for Elephant Hill winery.

                               Helen & Wendell

Our party comprised several new faces including Grant from Hawkes Bay, a bird rearer, Stuart from Perth, a mining exec, Bill from Northland and Wendell from Hibiscus Coast. Jeff and Bridgette from NZ Gamebirds/Tuna Nui were host and hostess. The dinner venue was stunning, the food great and the company interesting. After dinner and a danger-fraught trip back to the motor lodge (“mind the speed-bump whoops BAWOOMPHA!) Guy, Wendell, Stuart and others decided to hit the town. Me, well I hit the hay after watching a bit of soccer with Johnno. My alarm went off at 6.30, so was up showered and ready for brekkie at CJ’s CafĂ© (was that BJ’s?), everyone trooping in for variations on the bacon, egg, hash brown theme. Except Guy, he was missing in action.


Stuart, Johnno & Kevin
Apparently he had texted Bill at 2.30 am about some soccer result. Dickie’s not a brekkie person, so we all gathered to set off to Tuna Nui with Bridgette, and Guy was finally up and about, a deathly pall upon his face, tiny little slitty eyes and Johnno chaperoning him to get a couple of slices of dry toast for breakfast. We hit Tuna Nui by 8.30 and fark it was cold, but with a beautiful still clear day the views were fantastic. Our safety briefing was in a woolshed which may have been the oldest building I ever stepped in (in NZ) and we drew pegs and had a cuppa.
                                                        Tuna Nui Woolshed

Andrew who runs the shoot likes to keep things brisk, we were marched in orderly fashion to the pegs on the first drive, with orders to load and begin shooting anything that came our way. I folded the first cock of the day, he came out high and fast and that got the blood pressure and tension down a bit. Down enough to watch Guy shoot a few birds, then turn to a gun minder to watch his gun while he keeled over and retched his guts out.
                                 Have another drink Guy

                               Hunting hounds

                               Wendell, Johnno, Dickie & Tim

Rosie, Helen & Stuart

Bill & Wendell

The Maize drive. Birds come off plateau upper right, guns in valley lower left

Passed out (Muwaaahaha)

After that he retired to the end of the paddock while the guns minders had fun shooting at his share of the birds. Hilarious. Anyway, the day was a mixture of exciting and difficult birds, drives that worked and drives that didn’t, culminating with a drive behind the main homestead where everyone had a deal of fun. Especially when poor Tim (gamekeeper Matingarahi Station) who had had a lean run had a beautiful bird get up and head his way.
Only to fold up in a heap of feathers as she struck the powerlines stretching above and across in front of us! Back to the homestead we went for drinkies and nibbles, where we were served KFP (Kentucky fried pheasant) and pheasant wontons, along with mussels wrapped in bacon and liberal drinks. It was getting cooler by the second as the sun dropped behind the Kaimanawas (Kawekas maybe?) so with final goodbyes Dickie, Helen and me jumped into the car and headed back to the motor lodge. BTW, Guy redeemed himself by shooting superbly for 40+ birds. Of the bag of 212, Guy, Dickie and I shot well over half. The overall shot to bird ratio was 3.7:1, no mean feat considering the quality of the birds.

If I never shoot another shoot again, one day I will return to Tuna Nui.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Long time no post

Plenty of teeth gnashing on the forum. Too bad I'm too busy to care. Will put up some info about Tuna Nui trip later this week and some photos too.