Thursday , 27 July 2017
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Hunter-gatherer

Wild Turkey

It was the best of hunts. It was the worst of hunts.

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Nothing like a Moose

There aren’t many moose at just over 10,000m, but that’s where I’m penning this story.

On my way to Canada to hunt an area where the largest moose on the planet reside, the border lands between Alaska and the Yukon. It’s not my first moose hunt in this area and it won’t be my last. Not while I can still walk. No hang on, let’s make that not while I can still sit on a horse.

For some hunters, some animals become a real favourite to pursue. Moose most certainly have that effect on me. I look out of the Air Canada plane at snow-encrusted mountains breaking through the clouds below and try to put my finger on why. It could simply be the animal itself, just the sheer unexpected size of it, when all of a sudden he looms like some gigantic prehistoric creature right above you as you sit hunched down in the low willows.

Perhaps it is the spectacular country in which he resides. Certainly there are not many places around the world I’ve hunted as beautiful as the Yukon in the autumn.

Then, while you’re hunting moose at that time of year there’s such a rich and diverse abundance of other animals roaming the hills and encounters with caribou, wolverine, wolf and bear will be common-place.

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Hut etiquette

Easter. Down on the flatlands it was still an Indian summer. Here in the Ruahine Range, though, the first frost of the winter had already arrived earlier that week. 

The shortened days in the forest brought an impending sense of an alien world. If you weren’t meant to be in the mountains, now was definitely the time to head back out. For Rob Adams and me though it was not the end of a season, it was the beginning. With a month in between jobs I had time up my sleeve, so offered to go in with Rob to Ngamoko Hut and help him set up his drying shed as he got ready for four months of possum trapping. Life couldn’t be better. 

The two trampers arrived in the second week. The older bloke seemed nice enough, but his young off-sider was a little cocky for my liking. The year before at Ngamoko Hut only three parties had been through the valley over an entire six-month period, so it was a surprise to see these two. To be honest we were caught a little off guard. We’d been cutting and stacking wood for a week, so the drying shed was still a few days off being ready and we had a couple dozen skins on boards, hanging up to dry just inside the hut. Not good protocol – not what DOC would have been happy with.

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Dallying with sheep

"Sheep?" they'd say.

"Yes sheep," I'd reply.

“And...not even pretty sheep either, not like the ones we have here in New Zealand."

Obviously they weren't familiar with the type of sheep I was after, nor their habitat.

A sheep hunt in 2004 had shown me it was not always a walk in the park. On that particular occasion we'd glassed over a hundred sheep but no full curl rams. I returned home empty-handed, though the trip was probably one of the most satisfying I'd ever done. The hunter does not always have to shoot something.

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Hunting with black powder

I’ve always considered the modern smokeless powder used in today’s ammunition a passing fad - one that will, as inevitably with all fashion, disappear into the wilderness.

You see, black powder, that’s the real McCoy gunpowder Guy Fawkes was so fond of, has been with us since the seventh century.

Holy Macanoli I hear you exhale, and well you should.

Any man-made formula which has lasted for longer than 1300 years and is still as efficient and deadly in the right hands today as it was all those years ago certainly has to garner some respect.

The question is, why would anyone still use black powder?

The answer is … why the hell not.

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Lay down your guns

Young Country writer Davey Hughes is best known for his books and hunting columns. Yet he typically heads away on just as many international trips where pure adventure is the trophy. He recently returned from a whirlwind jaunt to Montana in the United States where he visited his daughter Taygen.

To admit fair and square, I didn’t take much convincing.

Though I had said I’d think about it, my mind was already made up before I’d even put the phone down.

A trip to the States with a week in Montana rafting the Yellowstone River before heading to Flathead Lake for a spot of kayaking and fishing?

Was I interested?

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Sambar dances on hunter

Gee it was cold. A good old frost had settled that night, leaving icy needles on the young pines.

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From concrete jungle to great outdoors

Howdy folks,

My name is Josh James Marcotte and as it turns out, I will be writing a few stories about some of the stuff I get up to now and then. 

First off let me tell you a bit about myself and how I ended up being a hunter/gatherer.

I live on the West Coast of the South Island. In the summer I own/operate a whitewater rafting company specialising in multi day fishing and hunting trips, I spend the Autumns hunting hard out and the winters trapping possums and living in a tent way back in the hills, as well as doing the odd bit of gold fossicking and whitebaiting.

Being married with 2 boys (4 and 7) keeps me fairly busy when im not gallavanting around in the hills.

In May this year I made a tahr hunting video and posted it on youtube.  A few people thought it wasn’t too shabby so I decided to make a few more videos about the Kiwi lifestyle - hunting and fishing and general mucking around. This led to a fair bit of interest from a heap of different people and someone suggested I should get my own TV show, problem is I first need to get on TV to get sponsors but to get the funds to get on TV I need sponsors to cough up the $$$ required. Go figure...

So I thought what the heck, I will keep making videos and see what happens.

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My first deer

Right then, so where was I, oh yeah, deer hunting and how I got into it.

This is a story about how I nailed my first deer - old cut down .303, keen as mustard and no experience.

No bull, there I was, 15 years old, stumbling around in the bush lawyer and supple jack in the Tongariro National Park, about 20 minutes walk from the small town of Owhango near Mount Ruapehu, still not seeing any deer but coming across plenty of deer tracks and hearing the odd one barking at me from across the shady gullies.

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