Night hunters shoot cattle

By Roger Moroney

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A Puketitiri farmer is $3000 out of pocket after night hunters shot three cattlebeast on his property.

The shootings happened during two nights in March and were the latest in a string of stock-shooting incidents on his property during the past 10 years.

"I would say it's happened about a dozen times over the past 10 years," said the farmer, who asked to remain anonymous. "And it's been a while, and then to get three so close together like that, it's pretty bad."

He said it was frustrating and a "kick" financially. "You can't afford these losses at this time."

The farmer reported the latest shootings to Taradale Community Constable Peter Gimblett who was left shaking his head for the second time in a month over the "antics" of hunters in Hawke's Bay's high country.

A group of campers staying at the Ox Bow Kuripapango campsite in the Kawekas last month found themselves in the sight-line of a hunter who shot at a deer near their camp.

Had the shot not struck the deer it would have gone into the campsite, Mr Gimblett said. Like the cattlebeast shootings, it took place at night and both Mr Gimblett and the farmer agreed the hunter, or hunters, were spotlighting.

"They didn't identify what they were shooting at," the farmer said.

"It looks like they were just shooting at the eyes and when they've realised what they've done they've just taken off."

In past incidents the farmer had come across dead cattle, but also instances where the hunters had shot them to take the meat.

Mr Gimblett said the main road through the region to the DoC-controlled springs and reserves at the foot of the Kawekas ran through several properties and was used by hunters to get to the high country.

He speculated that the latest group may have not come across any deer and decided to "pop off" a cattlebeast or two on the way out. Or that they simply shot at eyes reflected by their spotlights without identifying what they belonged to.

"Either way, it is way out of line," Mr Gimblett said.

Mr Gimblett said it was difficult to catch the spotlighters outside of the reserve areas as they moved late at night. But he said police were always interested in hearing from anyone with any information about illegal shooting.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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