Kia ora koutou. Duck shooting season begins on Saturday, and deer and pig hunters have already been out in the bush after some meat since the level 4 restrictions were lifted.
However one of our locals was shot at last Saturday night when he had returned to his ute from a hunt in the Kaimanawas. He was parked down a track, and just as he was putting his dog in the ute another vehicle approached and fired at his vehicle, hitting the left-hand corner of it. Because it was dark, the hunter could not tell what the make, model or registration of the other vehicle was, but he believes the occupants were spotlighting, which is illegal on conservation land, and had failed to properly identify their target. Perhaps they were aiming at his dog's eyes, perhaps they mistook something on the vehicle for an animal, it's impossible to know. Anyway, the hunter and his family were very shaken up.
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As we all know from a tragic spotlighting death at Urchin campsite in the Kaimanawas in 2010, this could have easily caused a death or serious injury and it serves as a reminder to all hunters of the importance of identifying your target beyond all doubt. With duck hunters joining the deer and pig hunters in the outdoors this weekend, this is more important than ever. Remember, you're not the only one out there.
Also last week some people living in town noticed that their neighbour, an elderly lady who suffers from dementia, had been befriended by a younger woman who had entered her house and was telling a sob story to try to get the older woman to give her some money. The neighbours realised this young woman should not be there and a group of them got together and challenged her and removed her from the property, took photos of her leaving the property and contacted police.
We have been following up and the young woman has been spoken to by police and trespassed from the older lady's property.
What these neighbours did in keeping an eye out for and protecting their older neighbour was great work. They banded together, knew each other, and knew how unwell the old lady was and did something about it, and I say well done to them. Can I ask that all of us do the same, keep an eye out for this type of behaviour, especially around our older residents, some of whom are widows living on their own and who are vulnerable to this sort of attention. We ask that neighbours or friends be aware of any strange behaviour in their area, or strange people visiting these older residents. If you have to look twice and it just doesn't sit right, please call 111.
Kia pai tō wiki, Te Reipa.
Treat every firearm as loaded
Always point firearms in a safe direction
Load a firearm only when ready to fire
Identify your target beyond all doubt
Check your firing zone
Store firearms and ammunition safely
Avoid alcohol and drugs when handling firearms