Hunter missing in Blue Mountains of South Otago has been found

Search and rescue teams have located the hunter, who has been missing since Saturday. Photo / File
Search and rescue teams have located the hunter, who has been missing since Saturday. Photo / File

After two nights in exposed, freezing conditions a missing hunter was still able to muster the energy to yell for help.

The 27-year-old Aucklander was missing in the Blue Mountains of South Otago since 2pm on Saturday.

As snow began to fall this afternoon, rescuers were beginning to feel "desperate".

But at 2.45pm, a trio of searchers heard the experienced hunter who has recently been living in Dunedin reply to their yells.

Balclutha Police sergeant Martin Bull was part of the search effort and said it was a relief to have such a great result.

"I would have to say that we were starting to feel pretty desperate, especially with the snow starting to kick in."

At 4pm the man and his rescuers were still about 20 minutes away from a road, and were walking out together.

"The team of three were tasked to search that area and they found him after a voice appeal [yelling out] and tracked towards him and found him."

By 5.30pm he was assessed as medically fine and had been reunited with his family.

Bull said that the man was experienced, but could have benefitted from packing a tent or fly in his gear.

"He has a fair bit of experience hunting so he has been in the bush before, having a fly or tent with him would have really helped him to protect himself against the elements for those nights. He did have a foil blanket, but a couple of steps further would have meant a lot more of a comfier stay in the hills for him."

That advice applied to everyone going into the bush, he said.

"Even if you are going for a day tramp, you should prepare as if you are going to be out there overnight."

Mountain Safety Council spokesman Nick Kingston said the organisation was extremely happy with the result.

"There has been a lot of near misses lately so we're very happy about that."

Chief executive Mike Daisley said the rescue was a reminder for hunters to be prepared.

"Whenever you head into the hills consideration should be given to 'what if' situations like a rolled ankle, no phone service or getting turned around," he said.

"It's remarkably simple to end up in an unexpected night out in the bush, and being prepared gives you a much better chance of making it home"

Daisley said conditions would have been tough overnight in the region.

"It was cold out there, and we're hoping he managed to find some shelter and stay put"

"A survival bag is a great thing in times like these, especially as they are pack liners as well"

Daisley said they are working with rescue teams and the police and are thankful the man has been found.

Deerstalkers New Zealand president Bill O'Leary said he was "delighted"that the man had been found.

"We are absolutely delighted that the guy is out," he said.

"While he was out in the bush he had hunting clothing but it was very cold conditions. Hunters are used to operating off track and they are usually fit and confident to hopefully not get panicked if they do get lost."

He said that the man would have been more sheltered being in the bush compared to an alpine area, which would have helped him survive as he would have been able to use bushes and trees for shelter and warmth.

It was a reminder for hunters to make sure they had robust plans in place and could navigate effectively.

- NZ Herald

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