The mother of a young man who was shot and killed on a Wairarapa hunting trip says there will be tears when she faces the man who pulled the trigger at his sentencing next month.
Christopher Dummer, 54, pleaded guilty in Wellington District Court this morning to careless use of a firearm causing death.
The former Wellington Deerstalkers' Association president was charged after Auckland builder Alexander Cameron McDonald, known as Cam, 29, was shot dead in Aorangi Forest Park on April 7.
Dummer, who was in another hunting party, was only 16.3m away when he got Mr McDonald in his scope and fired once, shooting him in the head.
Mr McDonald's mother Cyndy was today relieved the agonising wait for a guilty plea was over.
"It's good to have this sort of conclusion. The next stage will be the sentencing. It's taken so long, you know - every day you wake up thinking, `Is it today he's going to be charged?'''
But while she was satisfied that Dummer had pleaded guilty, she did not believe the charge was enough.
"I believe my son should never have been killed, and so therefore it should have been manslaughter.''
The family has not attended any of Dummer's court dates, but Mrs McDonald said she and her husband Ranald (EDS: correct) would come to Wellington next month to read victim impact statements at his sentencing.
"You might hear a few tears,'' she said.
"We as a family will be there for unity. We've already written our impact statements, to which we will all stand and deliver.''
Mrs McDonald would not speculate on what sentence Dummer might get, but acknowledged home detention was a possibility.
"He'll still be home with his children. I'm never going to see my son again.''
She said sentencing would bring closure in a lot of ways.
"But then it's also a start as well, because I want to look at having a law change.''
Mrs McDonald wants to see a new criminal charge, which would fit between careless use of a firearm causing death and manslaughter.
"There has to be something in between, so there's a harsher penalty.''
She has already started lobbying regional deerstalkers' associations and the Mountain Safety Council.
"We wanted to do something to leave a legacy in Cameron's name. Next year there's going to be someone else or maybe two shot in the bush.
"Something has to be done to stop it, and if hunters go in thinking `Wow, I might be in jail for a couple of years or three years if I shoot someone, I will make sure I identify my target.'''
Mrs McDonald said the man who shot her son had been an avid hunter for 26 years and had been involved with the deerstalkers' association "for a long time''.
"He should have known to identify the target. That's the first rule you learn and that's what you teach when you're in the bush. If you're not 100 per cent sure, you don't shoot. You don't shoot if there's a bit of bush rustling or if you don't clearly see the head.''
Dummer was granted bail and will be sentenced in the Wellington District Court on August 24.