Two more aspiring hunters have had a special opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge from some veteran North Otago outdoorsmen.
Harry Brenssell (15), an Otago Boys’ High School pupil from Port Chalmers, and Marshall Palmer (14), a St Kevin’s College pupil from Georgetown, formed the second intake of the Trevor Meikle Memorial hunting programme.
Named for the late North Otago Deerstalkers Association stalwart, the programme offers aspiring hunters a chance to both claim their first deer and learn some tips – on a range of topics – from seasoned hunters.
The young men were able to stay in a hut and browse several properties in the Kakanui Mountains thanks to the generosity of landowners, Aaron Meikle, Trevor’s eldest son, said.
Harry shot his first deer, a red deer spiker, under the guidance of experienced hunter Steve Hanson.
The youngster then got a lesson in how to safely gut and prepare a deer, so that the meat is excellent quality, and hygienic, for feeding the family.
He also learned first-hand the hunters’ motto: “You shot it, you carry it.” He took most of the meat himself, uphill back to the truck.
Marshall, hunting with experienced hunter and local farmer David Ruddenklau, had a challenging morning’s hunt, and at the end of it had only seen a couple of pigs.
Undaunted, he set off again in the afternoon and just after 7pm shot his first deer, a young fallow.
Marshall added a second deer, a red spiker, under the guidance of a third long-time hunter, Barry Wilson, the following day
Mr Hanson gave both boys a lesson in breaking down a carcass into cuts ready for the table, wasting as little meat as possible, which had both boys engrossed, and both went home heavily laden with prime venison.
Throughout the weekend, the experienced hunters – with nearly 200 years’ experience between them – shared key tips with the boys, including knowing where you are and how to get home, how to cope with the conditions that mountains can throw at you, where and when to find animals, how to kill them humanely, and what to do when things go wrong.
Aaron Meikle said the Trevor Meikle Memorial programme was established by his father’s mates as a way of honouring their friend, who died in 2014.
It was also a worthy use of surplus funds from money chipped in to give Trevor Meikle a last tour of his beloved Kakanuis by helicopter.
“Dad introduced a lot of people to hunting and to the North Otago backcountry – this continues that legacy,” Aaron Meikle said
“He also was a farmer, and the relationship North Otago hunters have with the local landowners is a special one.
“So as well as hunting ‘lore’, this is a chance to show the new hunters how to respect someone else’s property and cultivate a good relationship.”
The programme was going from strength to strength, Mr Wilson said.
It was hoped a hunt could be offered to a pupil from each of the local secondary schools, as well as a member of the public.
Mr Wilson said those involved in the programme acknowledged the support of the North Otago branch of the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association, and the runholders who “threw open their doors and gates” for the young hunters.
* Head to the Trevor Meikle Memorial Hunting Programme page on Facebook for more information.