Hunting teams in spotlight

By Sandra Conchie

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The 16th annual Te Ranga School's possum and pig hunt fundraiser attracted crowds with plenty of possums and porkers bagged.

Organisers of the event rated it a success, with 634 possums and six boar hunted down by the 30 possum teams and 16 pig-hunting teams and weighed in yesterday at Te Ranga Hall after three nights of hunting.

Catch numbers were well up on last year's 370 haul due to perfect hunting conditions.

A popular aspect of the family-friendly day yesterday was the gut-busting Killer Hill Pig Run, which gave some of the younger set the chance to have some fun, and possum-tossing.

Isaac Toi, 60, Te Ranga School's bus driver who competed in the senior men's pig run carrying a 30kg porker across his shoulders, finished in an impressive 1 minute 17 seconds.

"Once I got started, I just went for it. It was tough but it's awesome to have done it," he said.

The men's winner was Nick Johnston in 50.9 seconds and the ladies Ethney Barnaby in 53 seconds.

Friends of Te Ranga School spokesperson Fee Edwards said the weekend was a huge success, with about $5900 raised from the auction of donated goods.

"The cow-pat bingo and pig-hill run were both real hits."

Ms Edwards said the amount raised overall would not be known for a couple of days.

The trophy and $250 cash prize for the heaviest tusker went to Paul Miller with his 65.2kg (143.3lbs) porker, second place was Ivan Harding with his 60.4kg specimen.

Paengaroa Pig-Hunting Club president Raymond (Razor) Neville came third with his 59.3kg boar and also scooped the trophy and cash prize for the best tusks measuring an impressive 19.48cm.

But Mr Neville had a sad end to his two to three hour battle to bag his pig.

"I hunt the old-fashioned way with two dogs and a knife. This pig's a killer. It not only killed my older dog Dobbie, which I have had for nine years, but my other one at home, Springer, was also bloodied, and sadly she may not survive," he said.

Team Contractor Assassins won two trophies and two $500 cash prizes for the heaviest possum weighing in at 4.9kg and for bagging 107 possums.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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