One year ago to the day my life changed when I was about to jump off the Te Moana waterfall. As i was about to jump I slipped falling 18 meters down the rocks into the water below. The fall almost killed me as i was airlifted to Christchurch hospital to discover that I had broken 15 ribs shattered my scapular bone, broke my neck and broke my back in two places. I spent six days in the trauma unit where I could not move. on the sixth day I got up and walked on a walking frame. two days later I started walking with crutches and on the tenth day I walked unaided, on the eleventh day I walked out of hospital. I made it back to my job at Fonterra driving milk tankers in three months and completed 100% of the hours that I was contracted to do. At four months I carried a 139 pound boar off the hill on my own. Now today I was about to conquer another hurdle when I would go back down to the waterfall and jump successfully this time.
Michael with his 153 pound pig
Michael and Simone are a young couple doing their big OE. They had just spent a lot of time on a 48 thousand acre station in a very hot part of Australia. In that time Simone got to shot a large wild boar that they did not weigh but looked to be getting up to the 200 pound mark. Now that they are in New Zealand Michael wanted to tick the pig hunt off his bucket list. First up I took them both into the pig block with Jeff and Snow and we bailed up the white boar. This gave both Michael and Simone the chance to see how dogs bail pigs and get some photos.
We went out for an evening walk with no success and the whole way Simone had a smile on her face even through the bush lawyer and up and down the step stuff. Next morning the dogs bailed a couple of pigs together which Michael got to sneak in on and shot the biggest pig in the mob. He made a nice shot in behind the pig’s ear and it fell like a stone and did not squeal once. Michael jumped in and bleed the pig straight away. The carry out was a drag to a fence line and roll her down to a track where what turned out to be a large barren sow was gutted.
Simone and Michael carrying the pig out the easy way
Down at the house she was weighed coming in at 153 pounds. She was skinned and while we were boning her out I found what was left of the bullet in the back of her head. We even had some steaks on the BBQ before my two Denmark friends departed with a chilly bin full of meat.
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Dave had just recently brought a new dog, King that he had was on trial and he wanted to see how he would go on a good pig. While King was not with Fog on the first find he was quick to head to the first bark and he stayed the whole time. When we closed in we got to watch as the two dogs bailed Digger. Dave had been told that King could find and liked to hold pigs but I knew that with him wearing a muzzle that he would bail. King did try and go in for the hold a couple of times but kept getting thrown back out. At one stage Digger must have got King with one of his tusks in the front shoulder, the first dog that Digger has ripped. I decided to call the dogs out and put a couple of staples into king before he got any dirt in the wound. Once he was stapled up we went straight back into the block and bailed the black and white boar this time with king doing very well. It was good for Dave to get to see that king could do what he was told he could do. The pit fulls of buying a dog.
Roman is 15 years old and just got the bug to get into pig hunting so he had brought his three year old dog Charlie up to see if we could get him to want to chase a pig. So far Charlie has been the family pet and done no hunting. Roman is home schooled and already has a couple of his own business ventures going. I could quickly see that he had learnt that if he wanted to do something it pays to have some knowledge and he is well supported by his parents.
When we first went into the training block I took both Fog and Lightning and they tracked away and bailed up the black boar, at one stage the boar came down towards the creek then shot back up into the tight scrub. When Charlie saw the boar he did not show too much interest in chasing just yet. because this boar keeps on running until he gets tired i decided to call the dogs off him and target one of the other boars. It did not take long before they had the white boar bailed up. As we closed in Charlie stayed with us and over the next five minutes he slowly walked in to see what was happening. Another five minuets and I moved in closer causing the white boar to break. This got Charlie keen and he got to see the dogs stop him again and bail. Over the next hour Charlies confidence started to grow. At one point I called my two dogs into heal so that Charlie got to bail on his own. Roman and Charlie were only in for a couple of hours and they both learnt a lot in that short time. I did get an email back from Roman a week later telling me how Charlie went out and found and bailed a pig for him but it got away before Roman got to them. As long as Roman keeps on getting Charlie out it should not take long before he becomes a pig dog.