Horarata comp 24/4/2016

Animals hanging up at the Horarata comp

Animals hanging up at the Horarata comp

This was to be the first hunting comp for the year for our South Island Ridgeline team. We also had a team on the same day at the Cromwell comp. This is the third year that we have judged the Horarata comp so we all knew where to set things up so that the traffic could flow on through once the lucky hunters started arriving. The competition is run by the locals as a fund raiser for their community.

These tusks measured 22 1/8

These tusks measured 22 1/8

The organisers do a good job of getting many of the locals along and run a very good comp. A lot of the younger ones get involved in the hare carrying races and the bigger ones carry a boar around the course. Also there was the possum throwing comp. These are always good entertainment for the spectators.  The weigh in was between 11am-2pm and as at a lot of these comps the main amount of animals only started coming in after 1pm. This makes the judge’s job very busy for a short time. Up until 1pm it was looking like there was not going to be too many animals coming in. To counter this it is a good idea to have prizes for the first so many animals to come in so that the judge’s job is a bit more spread out.

pig carrying race

pig carrying race

Because we are independent judges we have to go by the rules of each particular comp and one rule that has caught us out, which all comps should be thinking about is having testicles attached to the animal. The reason for this rule is to make sure that the animal has not been tampered with as animals have to be from the wild.  I can still remember when this rule came in many years ago and it caught a lot of hunters out as their animal had to be disqualified if they did not have the nuts attached. With this competition they had a section for deer and when some of the deer came in with out their nuts we had no option but to not accept them because of the rules. For a deer if the nuts are removed while the deer is alive they will not grow their antlers. At this comp there were two beautiful Fallow stags with nice heads and we had no option but to not accept these deer because their nuts had been cut out. Even with the boars and barrows for an experienced person you can tell the difference by one of two ways. A boar has a scrotum with very little hair whereas a barrow grows hair over the same area. Also a barrows tusks will grow differently, once they have their nuts removed their tusks grow at both ends so as they grow out of the jaw like normal but they also grow back inside of the jaw which gradually gets a big lump on the side of their jaws.
At this comp last year the weather turned nasty on us and poured down with rain so it was good this year to see a beautiful sunny day. Also last year they had a boar with a really good jaw and it was good to see this year another dam good boar come in with another impressive set of tusks on him.

Results
Heaviest Boar
1st Taylor Cleland     179 pounds
2nd Leon Reitveld     177 pounds
3rd Andrew Cole       145 pounds
4th Brooke Dickey     139 pounds
5th Jenny McMurdo  139 pounds
Heaviest Stag
1st Ben Fitzgibbon    285 pounds
2nd Richard Hill          219 pounds
3rd Rodney Inch         213 pounds
Average weight boar    Brent Shearer  123 pounds
below average weight  Tairi Mullen
above average weight  Jenny McMurdo
Junior heaviest boar
1st Harry Smith          125 pounds
2nd Fergus Reitveld   119 pounds
3rd Sonny McAndrew 68 pounds
Junior heaviest stag
1st Harry Smith    233 pounds
2nd Jade McKay   142 pounds
3rd Kyle Horn        116 pounds
Junior heaviest wallaby
1st Ryan T       36 pounds
2nd Quinn Brown  35 pounds
3rd Mellisa Mattson  33 pounds
Best tusks Leon Reitveld 22 1/8
Best antlers Richard Hill

Finally out hunting again

1st carry since my accident, it felt so good to be actually carrying again. The next one will be bigger.

1st carry since my accident, it felt so good to be actually carrying again. The next one will be bigger.

It had been eight weeks since I had been out for a hunt so as you can imagine I was really looking forward to being back out on the hill. I had arranged a trip down South with my son Sloan and two mates Tony Hogg and Phil Simonson. There was also a pig hunting competition on in Clydevale this weekend so we entered. This trip did lack the big pigs for some reason they just were not around. On a number of occasions we saw smaller pigs breaking out but nothing decent. We did end up with seven pigs between us with the biggest boar being 93 pounds. My body held out well as I walked around the hill and one of my highlights was carrying a small pig 400 meters back to the bike. Sloan was real good as he helped watched over me to make sure that I did not push my body too far and hurt myself.

Sloan and Bill with a 93 pound boar

Sloan and Bill with a 93 pound boar

At one point Tony, Sloan and I were heading to a bail when we came to a tricky piece of ground. We had to climb down a steep rock face about the height of a two story building. I was about to take my first step down when I could see the dangers if I was to fall I could do some real damage to my already broken body. I backed out and left the other two to go and get the 73 pound boar while I went back to retrieve one of the motor bikes. Another pig that the dogs caught Sloan was heading up the gully towards the bail while I went around the top then straight down to the action. Sloan just bet me to the pig, as I was about twenty meters from Sloan two big red hinds stepped out in front of me. They stood there long enough for me to have shot them both but the station that we were hunting on had a policy of leaving the deer alone. But still as all hunters know it is good just to watch these animals out in the wild.

Animals hanging up at the Clydevale comp

Animals hanging up at the Clydevale comp

At the Clydevale comp on the Sunday I was surprised to see the deer weighed outnumbered the pigs two to one. This comp was well run with good racks to hang the animals, the traffic flow was good and with every person that had entered entitled them to two hot meat sandwiches and a large glass of beer.
Now that I know my body is going to hold out I can start doing some hunting again, just got to be careful. Thanks Sloan for looking after your old man when I needed it most.

Recovery update 3-4-2016

I was dragged out between these rocks onto the gravel area where Fog is. Hard to imagine that I just about died here six weeks ago

I was dragged out between these rocks onto the gravel area where Fog is. Hard to imagine that I just about died here six weeks ago

I had an appointment at Burwood hospital for x-rays on April fool day so it was a day trip up and back for Janice and myself. I was hoping for good news as I have been healing very fast as I have been out walking almost every day either to the top of the hill or down to the waterfall where I had my accident. My first walk to the waterfall I was on my own with the dogs. It was quite an airy feeling looking at the stony area that only five weeks earlier I had been laying there thinking that I was going to die.

Standing at the waterfall where I was dragged out to, looking back up at my house

Standing at the waterfall where I was dragged out to, looking back up at my house

A couple of days ago I even managed to walk right around the fence line around the pig block to check on the fence. I did find one extra place where some of the younger pigs had been escaping so I fixed this hole up. Also while walking around the fence I got to see a hole that the pigs had been escaping out of that I had previously fixed up. On this weak point in the fence I had put a pig skin in the hole and it was good to see that none of the pigs had used this same place again.

X-ray of the screws in my spine

X-ray of the screws in my spine

So here I was at Burwood talking to the specialists about my x-rays that we were looking at. The three doctors were very pleased with my recovery and said that I could do away with the neck brace which I see as another hurdle overcome. It felt so good taking that neck brace off knowing that I did not need it any more.

Another angle of my spine

Another angle of my spine

When I asked about physio the doctor said that physio is for people who are not as motivated as me to get them moving and from what they could see all I needed to do was keep doing what I have been doing so far.
I believe there are two reasons why I have recovered so fast and that is being physically fit and mentally tuff. I have learnt a lot about recovering from injuries from watching the animals around me.

Pig skin deterring the pigs from crossing under the fence

Pig skin deterring the pigs from crossing under the fence

When an animal becomes injured they will rest up and do nothing for a couple of days until they start to get hungry then they start moving around to get food .

Fixing a pigs escape route by lowering the hot wire.

Fixing a pigs escape route by lowering the hot wire.

We as people are so much softer than animals so for myself I stopped taking pain killers as soon as my body allowed. And I put up with a fair amount of pain as I see the pain as a good thing because it indicates to me how far I can push my body. Some pain is good for us as long as I was not doing any extra injury to my broken bones which is all about knowing your own body. I have been giving another six weeks to recover before I have to go back to Burwood again in May on Black Friday the 13th.

123 pound boar

123 pound boar

To celebrate such good news from the doctors Bryce came up for a hunt so I tagged along for a very easy hunt. While I could not carry or go through any rough country we did catch a 123 pound boar and it was so good to be able to listen to the dogs bailing away. Bryce done a very good job of carrying the boar back up out of the gully to me as I sat on the four wheeler.

Back in the pig block

Another mile stone just to get my hunting boots back on

Another mile stone just to get my hunting boots back on

My health has been improving so fast lately that even I am have trouble coming to grips with how much more I can do each day. It’s hard to think that only four and half weeks ago I thought I was going to die. I stopped taking pain killers on Sunday and have been OK I did get one freight last night when I was watching TV and I had to sneeze, up until now every time I thought I would sneeze I have managed to breath in and out of my noise fast and avoid the sneeze but last night it got me. It felt like my ribs and back just blew apart and was very painful until things settled down again.

The only time of the year that I don't mind seeing a blackberry bush

The only time of the year that I don’t mind seeing a blackberry bush

I have been walking down to the gate most days which is about one km away so it is a round trip of two km. The reason that I head to the gate is this is the time of the year when the blackberries are ripe and they are always best eating straight off the bush. Anyone with nothing to do over Easter get out and find yourself a feed of blackberries.

It fells so good to be back with the dogs and boars

It fells so good to be back with the dogs and boars

Yesterday was the first day that I could reach down to do up my boot laces so I wanted to make the most of having my hunting boots on. I had not checked the electric fence around the pig block since before my accident so I thought I would walk around Mr Pigs block checking the fence. The fence was still running at 3.2 KW which is enough to give anything that touches it a fright.

trying to keep out of Boris's way as he comes down the hill with the dogs

trying to keep out of Boris’s way as he comes down the hill with the dogs

So while I was away from the house I headed up the gully in the pig block and it just felt so good to be back in the bush and knowing that I am up to walking around here again. I did find a few shorts in Mr Pigs block where they had thrown dirt over top of the wire. One thing that I have not had for a long time is sore muscles after a hunt. I put this down to being active all of the time but now that my body has been wasting away over the past four weeks it does not take long to lose the fitness. I had to smile to myself when I woke up with sore legs from walking.

Great strength training as I have to use a lot of muscles to keep out of their way.

Great strength training as I have to use a lot of muscles to keep out of their way.

Today Sloan turned up and he had his dog Mack so I said that I was keen to get the dogs into the training block for a run. Sloan was a wee bit sceptical about me walking around there just yet until I told him that I walked around in there yesterday. Fog done his job right and bailed Boris down in the creek but Snow and Mack chased one of the younger boars and when they got him down into the creek Fog went over to them so we called them off and took them further up the gully where they found Boris again. They had a good thirty minute bail before we called them out and walked back around past the hut and up through the orchard block to the house. Won’t be too far away from being able to get out for a hunt just can’t quite carry yet.

Almost hunting

Bryce and Sloan arriving back with a nice boar

Bryce and Sloan arriving back with a nice boar

Janice and I have been looking after our son Bryce’s dogs while he was having a trip to Brisbane. He only got back into New Zealand at 3am went home for a short sleep then picked up his Brother Sloan and came up to grab his dogs. We had a good rain last night with sixty mils falling out of the sky. With it still an overcast morning and cool the boys wanted to go for a hunt. I was so tempted to tag along as I can walk OK now I just don’t know how I would go on the bike so I had to decline the hunt myself.

Fog is looking a bit sad with his poke in the chest

Fog is looking a bit sad with his poke in the chest

The boys were only gone for two hours and they returned with big smiles on their faces with a good boar on the carrier. Bryce had two of his dogs, Dusky and Buck while Sloan had his dog Mack and they had taken my dog Fog. Dusky found the boar and when it broke her and Buck stopped it and bailed well until the other two arrived. Fog got a poke in the chest. First poke for a while hopefully the last and Mack got a small poke in the arse.

Bryce had just brought this nice shirt in Australia, didn't take him long to get it covered in pigs blood

Bryce had just brought this nice shirt in Australia, didn’t take him long to get it covered in pigs blood

They said that if I did go and waited at the bike I probably would have beaten them to the bail. Sloan filmed the dogs bailing while Bryce crept in and placed a nice shot in the boar’s ear. The boar weighed 164.8 pounds. While I am annoyed at myself for not being fit enough to get out on the hill I’m rapt for the boys and hopefully I won’t be too far off getting out myself.

Recovering

The waterfall i fell off. I slipped off the rock in the right of the photo and went down through the scrub on the right. this photo was taking last winter.

The waterfall I fell off. I slipped off the rock in the right of the photo and went down through the scrub on the right. this photo was taking last winter.

It has been just over three weeks since my accident and while I have still got a lot of healing ahead of me I have started pushing myself along. The way I see it I have the option of weather I want to be fit and healthy or fat and lazy. In the past I had cracked my ribs twice playing rugby. The first time it took me about two weeks to get back to normal life. The second time I cracked a rib I went out hunting after the game and I still remember the guy I was hunting with saying you are the sickest man I have ever seen on the hill.

Me part way up the track at the water tank

Me part way up the track at the water tank

I would have walked five km that and taken plenty of pain killers but I did heal up faster the second time. Four days ago I tried going the day without pain killers that night and the next day I paid the price and my body told me to keep taking the pain killers. Yesterday I wanted to go for a walk up the hill behind home, Janice would not let me go on my own as she is watching over me like a hawk. So we had a walk up to the water tank where I got Janice to take a photo of me then we walked up to the next corner which is about five hundred meters up the track from the house. I wanted to carry on up to the top but Janice pulled rank and we walked back to the house. Now today with Janice out at work I decided to go for a walk to the top of the hill to save my muscles wasting away. I was a bit surprised at the ease of the walk because it is more the one km up the track. I made it up and back down feeling bloody good. Can’t wait to be able to test the body on another hunt.

A selfie at the top of the hill. Pleased to see that I still have some of my fitness

A selfie at the top of the hill. Pleased to see that I still have some of my fitness

Three weeks so far would have to be the longest I have gone without going pig hunting ever since I started. Luckily I can still see my pigs every day and the dogs have had a couple of runs on them recently when my sons came up.
Also with this time off work it has motivated me to start writing my second book, I’m thinking of calling it lost to the hills, it will include animal behaviour and plant life along with some of the other stuff that I am learning by living in a remote spot amongst the wild animals.