Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Things to talk about

Duck season is over up here, and given that this was going to be a duck blog I can make one of several choices:

1. Stop until next season

2. Talk about pheasants

3. Find other stuff to ramble about.

I like 2 & 3. So to kick off, here's some pillie head flies that I'm going to drift down the burley trail. The idea is to cube up with pillie chunks; and then flick one of these puppies into the trail.
Heh heh. Trust me when I say that this will work!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Duck season is over - it is 6.31 on Sunday June 28. Goodness me how the season flew. Dad, Rick, Flynn and Rick's mate got no ducks. Dad's got all the flappers, food, motors and expensive stuff out of the hut. Now we go into maintenance mode!

What was it like?

Let me start by saying that the final drive was fantastic, and really what driven is about. I fired 16 shots for four birds, they were streaking downhill, being bumped upwards by the beaters with flags at the halfway mark and getting serious air under their wings. Because they were on the glide the approach speed was hugely deceptive. Hitting them 40m up called for no less than 5m lead and well, it took a bit of learning to get the whole thing right.

The day dawned foggy and claggy and rain was forecast. It was uncomfortably warm if anytrhing, esp after 2 weeks of sustained frosts and southerly wind drift. Rick and his mate were the first people I bumped into, then Kawhia & Mick, Guy & Rachael. Safety briefing and meeting the other guns:

Peter Hutson - Abano Healthcare/Bay Audiology CEO
Andrew Speed - Criminal Defence Barrister, Vulcan Chambers
Peter Simunovich & 2 sons - Fisheries Cartel
Dickie Sansome - Lord Rolawn
Hamish ? - From Gisborne, friend of Rachael
Mark Mc - owns indoor sports centres in Ak
Lord Snuffit - pretends to hob nob with rich & famous

The first drive was pretty easy. I fired 7 shots for 6 birds, one bird taking 2 shots to kill. Drive 2 was not so great, its the one that Tim and I had beat for twice in the past with limited results. We stood this time for 30 minutes before seeing a bird, the beaters line got messed up and the end result was few birds. I took 2 with 2. We then went down to the dam and this time the birds were driven from the opposite way which I had seen in the past. They were getting some good height on for sure and some spectatcular birds were taken as they came from the lake edge and either climbed over or through the tall gum trees. I had my first outright miss, took a double, and ended up killing 5 birds with 10 shots. Interlude while Landrover got stuck, dog trailer broke etc etc. Next drive I ended up not on a peg but sort of blocking. The drive was poor but I got 3 birds with 5 shots, missing the chance of a double rise on roosters - much to Rick's mirth. A quick meal and then to the final drive. It was a bit chaotic with not much control of the placing of guns, however Andrew and I found ourselves in the thick of it. Dickie got some fantastic shooting, Andrew was solid all day and I scratched down a few.

So I ended with 20 birds for 42 shots. I could have done worse, or better. I'd do it again in a flash - finances allowing. (I.e. next year!!!)

Friday, June 26, 2009


Guy rang to ask if I'm excited.... I said "c'mon bro, you know me, I do well in front of crowds...". So I lied a bit. :D

Yes I'm excited! Unfettered, unadulterated, non-stop shooting of driven birds. The more the merrier! I love killing birds. Man, if I was around in Lord Ripon's day it would have been a stand-em-up knock-em-down toe to toe. All that crap he did in India aside, the guy was all about killing game, be it driven or otherwise. I read how many tens-of-thousands of driven birds he killed; he basically got invited to shoots to ensure that the bag was huge and that the reputation of the shoot was kept intact. He was once found to be practicing the night before a shoot, handing his gun to and from his loader - this was thought to be terribly poor form old boy. But it told you all you need to know about him - he was driven to be the best at what he loved.

Long live Lord Ripon! (Even though he's dead, long may his beard grow).

Proliferation of ... well.... verbage?

Perhaps cacophony? I now feel obliged to blog daily, although I don't know why. Its not like I have any new ideas to put out there. Its getting quite twitterish, suddenly it has dawned on me how the whole bloggy thing has progressed from the occasional random thought put down in digital ink, to full on reporting about and expression of the fact that the person next to you has being mown down in a Tehran street.

Tim's birthday today, someone loves him because he got some neat prezzies.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 55 & the Kingfish Plan

It's the 55th day of the duck season. Rats! Its almost all over already! Good grief! Too soon to talk about highlights package, too late to hatch any more cunning ducky schemes. I'm too busy thinking about busting pheasants on Saturday anyhow, to grieve for the end of the season. As an alternative schemy-scheme, I'm putting my mind to hatching a cunning plan to nail a world record fly rod kingfish. The place will be East Cape. The fish will be big, but not fully active after all the cold water they've endured over winter. It will be hungry. A slowly twitched deeply fished fly (a BIG one) will get murdered. The beauty of a 12 weight is that you max out at about 6.5kg of pressure, that's it, you physically can't put more hurt than that through a 12 weight or you'll bust the rod. 6.5kg of pressure slowly applied will aggravate a big kingfish a 10th as much as 25kg (as in Shimano Stella) brutally applied and a big old jig smacking it in the head. Sure, it can take exception and run into the reef and then no power on earth will help... but if its lethargic, tired, unfocussed..... who knows.

This one here wouldn't break the record.... think BIGGER

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

I said I would not mention the broken Avery Full Body Confidence decoy again, but I think that Paul Stenning is replacing it out of his own stock. Legend! I'll send him a bottle of something if he does.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Next up

We have the Lakelands shoot this Saturday. Its the final weekend of the duck season, so next week I'll do the big wrap up, burn some CDs for the lads and we'll organise the great decoy pull out. Then.... well we've got lots to do in the swamp:

1. Big bach mission: Replace windows, replace rotten floor, put up cladding & insulation on walls. Find hole in roof & fix. Kill rats!!!
2. Spray ponds, esp canal up to Willow, which is choked, and knock back alligator weed
3. Cut down suitable firewood trees
4. Do a big job on McLennans maimai. Put on a roof?

Lots of work for the stuff we love.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Second-to-last is last

Sunday just gone was my last swamp day for the season (although only the second-to-last weekend of the season), same for Tim and Andrew. Another great weekend with friends and family. We had Dad, me, Tim, Andrew, Rebekah, Quinn, Craig (Shankspony) and Danny. Lots of good food, a decent shoot on Saturday where everyone got shots on birds. Sunday was a bit quieter. I think the overall bag was a dozen or so birds, which isn't bad. Craig got his first spoonie and was happy with that. Weather was clear and brilliant - frosty and very cold. And we finally got ducks on McLennans, they were going in at last which is a decent bit of news. Night spot produced a brace for me and Craig on Saturday night, and puru was its usual well performing self. lots of plans were set for chasing Himilayan mountain goats, chammies, phezzies and pigs. Lots to look forward to!

I got some neat photos of icy decoys - have I said that this winter has been cold?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Meanwhile at the Willow Pond

Big decisions are being made. Such as how much electronica to put out. If i got this right, me and pop will be sitting on a pond with no less than 8 pieces of gadgetry. Lovin it!

Frosty ducks

Its going to be a blue bird day tomorrow. Not the best weather for ducks. Brrrr, will be cold tonight so I hope we have heaps of coal. Kawhia shot a good bag of ducks last night over in Chapman's ponds. Hopefully we'll get a decent flight in the evening. Sun not up until 7.50 this morning so could be a few star jumps being done in the maimais tomorrow. I think we'll shoot birds, Kawhia's shoot gives a couple of clues:

1. The birds are on the food in the swamp (at last)
2. They will move in the half light - we'll have lots of that

Yep, I think we'll see birds. But which ponds to hunt?

I reckon the night shoot will be good. Fingers crossed!

My Precious Part VI (Final Chapter)

I'm over it. Cabelas sent me to Avery, Avery gave me a very unsatisfactory answer. All I want is a part. I don't want to pay freight on one decoy to the States. No, this is just not good enough.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Precious Part V

Am I too demanding? All I want is an acknowledgement that even though I'm way down in tiny Kiwiland, I have a product issue! Sure, it's only been 24 hours since I spoke with the nice Cabelas lady but she promised me an email!!!

So I've gone direct to the factory... well sort of, I have a bunch of questions about their boat blind that I need some answers for.

Went over to see Rick and get a deke bag. He;s going shooting with some other dudes this weekend, the duck whore. ;D but he said he might call on Saturday night and get someone to come and pick him up for the sunday morning shoot.

Win some....

When something sounds too good to be true, it generally is. Wont be going out to NW Auck chasing pheasants... although the 'host' said its fine, the locals like their birds just the way they are.

And fair enough too.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Close to home?

Pheasant hunting even closer than Tim's new block? Well that's what the guys says. He also said they impose a limit of 4 birds person per day. And that one brace is donated as koha, or a small payment can be made. So, yeah I told him about regional limits.

I once spent 6 hours fishing for snappers on a boat with a man I really detested. Marcia gave me endless crap about it; but you see, if there's a sporting opportunity to be had then I'm up for it. He owned the boat, I had the gear, a match made in heaven. Even though to this day i still hate him.

Lack of integrity? Nah, I call it pragmatism. My excuse, and I'm sticking to it!!!!


His roboduck motor arrived and he's looking forward to the Auckland boys charging up and poaching his birds... heh heh as a guest I'm allowed to be fast, faster and fastest on the trigger. Poor bugger.

My Precious Part IV

Rang Cabelas, spoke with Michelle. She seems a very nice person, lots of 'stormy weather' up there (actually not certain exactly where up there is). So she's going to find out whether a whole new decoy can be sent, or parts, or.... I think she was talking about a whole new Confidence Pack, but that would be ridiculous (however it would cement my loyalty forever). So, things are looking up.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Honey Trap

Now I'm not a suspicious person ('pullease!' I hear you say) and I don't hold with conspiracy theories. Useful traits as it is very clear to me that if you are a fat balding old and ugly Cabinet Minister, and a younger ok looking (if you're into that sort of thing - I like Italians) Asian bird who happens to be an activist for the opposition starts propositioning you and you then end up entangled in a messy nasty career ending fracas - well you've been set up in the classic honey trap. Many far more auspicious characters through the annals of history have been taken down in this way and with far more at stake too. Apart from sending a 'team' of 'researchers' to Aus to dig dirt on Mr. Key, this is about as low and dirty as the opposition can get. Sums them up perfectly actually. Sleaze driven social engineers.

Fuck off Goff, everyone is laughing at you.

My Precious Part III....

Not Avery's fault.... their dekes look great... but... well Cabela's haven't answered my customer services query. Maybe they have a 5 day policy or something. I don't want this to be a 10 part saga and am willing to give benefit of doubt, given that I've had fantastic service for so many years from them... so i've emailed again. Maybe we'll get there this time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Boat blind

The answer to my duck hunting frustration is a boat blind. Of course the implication is that the Rocket lives at my house, I think I can arrange that! A boat blind would let up to 3 people (only 2 could shoot at a time) hunt ducks on the harbours - think Manukau, Firth of Thames and even on a still day you could get some shots. There's a boat ramp at Weymouth that could be a useful launch point for Manukau, plus of course the old Piako ramp at Pipiroa...
A bag of dekes with long line clips, a backbone line with achors on each end, a long handled net with a hook on the other end (picking up involves driving the boat around after downed birds, the net is for that and hook is to pick up anchor buoy)... mint!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Today has dragged. Really dragged. Home day today, while outside the weather just got better and better for duck hunting. Earned some brownie points I suppose. Cleaned the guns (Filthy Filthy Beretta). TT must have stuck the Winchester right in the mud nose first. Heathen. Roll on Saturday!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Just admit it....

No I will not! I am not getting old. I'm 40 today, which means I'm sort of middle aged. Har har like I'm gonna sit down and stop doing shit. Life's too short to sleep in if you ask me. Wonder how the shoot is going at Lakelands today, at least weather is near perfect, blue sky, a light breeze. Gonna see the gang at Paul's birthday celebration, he's only 30 the whipper-snapper. :D

My Precious Part II

Yeah umm ok so the GHG's. I opened them last night. One of the resters (full body) has a completely farked leg/foot aperatus. Its actually quite an ingenious system, but I have to say that its pretty obvious that the deke was packed defective. Outer is undamaged, this did not happen in transit. Disappointing. If I don't get good customer service I'll probably talk about it on the forum. Then we'll see what the pros have to say!


Paint job

On the left we have the decoy, on the right a painting of the 'real thing'. Not as much to do as I first thought:
1. Add black highlights to the chest area
2. Paint the head a lighter blue
3. paint the white wing strip blue
4. paint tail darker
5. paint white crescent on drakes' cheeks
Why do yanks make their ducks' tails white????

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bye-bye (Buy!!!)

Now these oversized puppies are definitely not an exact replica of Anas rhynchotis or Kuruwhengi or the spoobill duck, spoonie, wigeon, Australasian Shoveler or whatever you want to call it. Well the hen is, hen's the world over are drab well camo'd little things, because after all a peacock coloured bird sitting on a ground nest is just going to be raptor fodder isn't it? But at $9 landed I'm not going to pass on getting a dozen of these. Yep, the drakes will need a paint (chest & head) but that will be a fun activity. Duck season is still alive & kickin!!!

My Precious...

Sitting at home today, thinking ducky thoughts, looking at ducky weather. Another NE wind! And rain too. Lo and behold up drives an international courier and onboard are my .... new dekes! I'll set them up and take a photo over the weekend.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dinner with the Big V

This one pans out interestingly - but let me preface this post by saying that I haven't had such a great game meat dinner since the game pie I ate in Vienna in '01. (Was accompanied by a large stein of pale ale, Mein Gott that was good). The big V wished to express his gratitude for having a great time on opening - and have some 'man time' - so dad, Rick & I rocked up to his tidy pad in Remmers. We met his wife and youngest daughter and then set to an amazing meal - goes a little something like this:

First course - Beef Tongue cold soup (a Russian traditional meal)
Second Course - Duck breast slow cooked served in goose and rabbit liver sauce
3rd course - Venison, rabbit and pheasant game pie, with a lovely crusty pastry
4th course - Gods curse me, I can't remember what its called but it was delicious - pheasant breast minced with rice, rolled in cabbage leaf, cooked slowly in a butter sauce. Rick ate 3 of these, pig! (Ok i did too!). I'm going to learn how to make this one!

Short break in which I inspected the Big V's son's Beretta 687 EELL - holy nice gun, looked unused... what a piece of wood on that thing. Rick & Big v come from behind to route the Foster's in a game of pool on a 100 year old pool table manufactured in Wellington, that in its lifetime had travelled with its owner to Russia...

Much hunting talk. Big V had spent a day on Harekiekie on Sunday in a syndicated shoot, 150 bird day. Interestingly he said that the birds were better than previous when the place had been under the management of a full time keeper. Now Nigel Simpson (Wing Sport Unlimited) runs the shoot. Rick had been down on the Te Aroha block again, there's a lot to be said about shooting near a reserve! Big V has a place in Pauanui and I mentioned the geese down there that I saw in January - well he knew all about them, he's hunted them and shot spoonies etc on the Tairua estuary. Seems that lakelands has had a gun drop out this weekend. Rick's got a pigeon shoot today. Shooting sport is alive and well in NZ!

5th Course -fancy tea and a piece of lemon tart

Then I had to leave. Past my bedtime, you see.

A lovely evening with the very best game food that I've eaten in years (if ever).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Begging - nicely, mind

The internet is a wonderful thing, with a bit of tech power, some insight and a pinch of effort we now know who owns the property with the wonderful loafing pond on it. Why is it a wonderful loafing pond? Well..... I've seen over 200 ducks sitting on it! One time while stalking it we got busted and an endless flight of ducks came over our heads. One of those occassions where the shooting was as pathetic as the ducks were spectacular - in fact the king of those occassions. I think we got 3 ducks for about 30 shots. I had the (un-pinned) remmie and filled it at least 4 times.

The birds on the pond are different - drakes with blueish green bills, hens with green feet.

Yes, we need to go there again, so I'm writing a begging letter. I will follow up with a begging call. Begging is fine when you want something badly enough!

Shot size

Had an interesting discussion with Rick just now, about shot sizes for driven birds. I've used #5's (lead) with good results and have some #4's (did for Mr Mellie). Rick's convinced that 6's are the go. So I'm taking 200 rounds of 6's off his hands. It's a 150 bird shoot, 9 guns I think, so I'll shoot as many as fly my way and if I'm in a good spot I'll kill a big pile of them. Guy says that the standard of shooting this year has been abysmal on other estates, maybe this will be the same? he mentioned 800 rounds for 50 birds at rathmoy!!!!!! Could be a really long day!!!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New toys

Ok I couldn't resist, I am weak and given to moments of madness....

These guys will soon grace the swamp. They're on sale fer Chrissake! I had to!!!

Plan is to install some 'sunken logs' in the pond and stick those standing up resters on it.

Decoy bits

That didn't take long, the Robo-bits are here already. Will send motor up to Chris and install new wing set, hopefully this will eliminate all the shudder......

While I'm blogging..... I wish to fuck that that weak arsed gormless Goff would fuck off and find something else to bitch about, rather than carrying on about the Richard Worth thing. Doesn't the homo realise that we're fighting an economic meltdown, high unemployment, and a bunch of other woes and all he does is muck rake over some dead issue. Long may he and his cronies languish at the other side of the house.

More on the moon

On the weekend the moon was big and bold. There's this optical illusion that when the moon is nearer the horizon it looks bigger than when in the sky. Its called the Moon Illusion and its your brain getting all screwy with you. I can't explain it, just remember it from Psych lectures at uni. On the weekend the moon was rising very early in the evening, and setting in the morning. So it was full blast all night and looked huge in the sky as it rose and set. Did the ducks behave as I expected? Well, Friday night was a bit of a sleepless one in between Sam's snortles, Dick's churgles, Geordie's ralphles and the rat's antics. Sure enough I heard more than one quack in the night sky, and of course the swans were up and at 'em as well. Ducks were up and flying on Saturday (Andrew P and I disturbed a few off the pond on our way out), probably getting pushed around by hunters out and about. Saturday evening flight was a little on the light side numbers wise, but no better or worse than previous weekend. Doesn't mean that more flew later on of course... but I'd like to think that they did.

Rain 'n wind 'n weather

News in from a bloke who shoots in Lake Wairarapa... (did I say 'in', as in immersed?). The rain has repeatedly flooded the farms around the lake, add in wind and you've got the flooded paddock scenario that ducks love so much. Remember when you were a kid, when it rained heavily all the worms got flooded out and made a dash to the surface - where they got caught by sparrows, mynahs etc. That scenario plays out on a grand scale in paddocks and ducks are right there on the scene to make the most of it. Chuck in some real cold and plants like Willow Weed drop their seeds - double the fun! Mark says that mallards are plentiful but that the big Southerlies haven't played out for him in terms of geese, they find different spots to go and land out of reach of his guns. Sounds like a combination of all sorts of things, including not being on the 'X'. Now, this guy is shooting in layout blinds and I suspect that flooded paddocks are not aligned all that well with those things... could explain why geese are over there and he's over here!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Big V

Got a call from Valerij (sp) today, an invite to his place on Weds for some "male time". I think in his very perculiar Russian way he means 'time with da boyz'. Perhaps he wants to thank us for duck opening by sparing our lives when the Russians invade? Keenly awaiting this one, that's for sure.

Swamp fun

The weekend just reminded me how good it is to get out with your mates and have a good time. We had a big party at the hut, 8 peeps, one dog. 2 total newbies, well new to maimai style shooting anyhow. Everyone got on just fine, lots of laughs, good times! Everyone put shots on ducks, even though there weren't huge numbers around, enough came close enough to gives us chances. Everyone had a blast actually. I was quite tired by the time I got home, and slept like a baby. Roll on next trip. Party was:

Dick, me, Andrew & Tim H, Frank, Milo, Andrew P & his mate Sam. And Geordie.

Speaking with Gus at the landing its been a quiet season all over. We've managed ducks every day so maybe we're ahead of the game.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mystic Network Stuff

Could the full moon be the reason for my new found ability to access fishnhunt again? Wooooo woooooo spooky.

Some weird shit going on in fish world

Yes, it is the full moon. And with it comes calm weather (yes yes I hear you saying) - which makes it an ideal time to drift the oceans catching big bad ooglies. Big bad ooglies normally include broadbill (true sword fish) Xiphias gladius and shit like gem fish and big sharks. But sometimes something truly bizarre turns up. Like a mate of a mate managed to catch something really "out there" last night - and I knew what it was straight away (because dear reader, I am a giant smart arse). What I mean is that I could see it was an Oil Fish, but what I didn't know was that it is a peruvian oil Fish, lives in 200m - 400m of water, shouldn't be hanging around in 100m just off NZ's East Coast and that it hangs out in big schools. Hence the reason that they caught 4 of the things.
Can't eat them though, they'll give you dodgy guts for weeks. Shame, those flanks hold big yummy looking white fillets.
Why are they here? Is global warming displacing them - oh fer fecks sake, I'm joking!
Bet they are just on holiday, getting away from daily hum drum, seeing the sights or sampling new food types. More likely the squid are moving in close off north Island - so don't go swimming at night if you value your skin!

Full Moon

Its the full moon. Everywhere, trout are shunning the shallows. The weather tends to get calmer. Ducks fly late and early - outside of hours. Cows stay up all night mooing and chewing their cud. Now our predecessors (clearly none of them are on F&G councils) knew about this and they called the full moon period in Autumn and early winter "The Hunters Moon". Game could be tracked and killed and food stocked for the winter ahead.

In my younger years I used to spend a bit of time outdoors at night on the full moon. Ducks would fly at 8pm or later. General animal activity was brisk. I've had frost fall on me while out and about, you knew it was cold as in biting. Brian and I made some interesting discoveries on these nights, such as that .22 tracer rounds behave quite interestingly when skipped across water. They may not go where you expect them to, so trust me when I say that firing a rifle at a target with a water backdrop should always give you pause to think again....

I'd be prepared advocate a couple of nights per season, on the full moon, where 24 hour duck hunting could take place. This wouldn't suit everyone, but it would give people the chance to go and try something new - who knows they may hate it, but then again they might love a new adventure.....

F*rkin Qantas

Every time I fly Qantas and I mean EVERY TIME there are delays. With every delay, I watch the Qantas ground staff looking at each other, rolling their eyes and probably thinking "Here we go again". Yesterday's was a doozy. I drag my arse out of bed @ 4.45 so I can get up, eat, shower, dress and be there in time for my 7 am flight, scheduled to land Wellington 8am. 7.20 and we're still on the ground. The lovely ummm "air hostess" who has coached me on how to throw the emergency door overboard in case of a survivable disaster is nowhere to be seen. 7.25 "Ladies and gentlemen, we would like to apologise for the delay, there's errr oh yeah, ice on the plane meaning we can't take off." Right, so I gawk out the window to see if I can spot the groundcrew rushing forth with their hair dryers to de-ice the plane. Nothing. But hello, the cargo door is open. They wouldn't be fibbing now, would they? 7.45 "Umm yes folks, there is still ice out there. But we can leave at 7.55". Hello? The ice will melt in 10 minutes with no intervention? Clunk - cargo door closes. Sole ground crew saunters around outside. Prick. 7.55 engines come on. And we're away. I still can't see any ice. Why don't they just jolly well have hot water bottles for planes? How come the US airforce can land Galaxy's down in Antarctic? I means that's a whole fuck load of ice down there. Atmosphere aboard plane is tetchy. Suspicion is that there are lots aboard who got the $69 cheapie flight (I did, why else would I get up so early?) so we can all get fucked, its hardly a profit making exercise for Qantas now is it? Land at wellington and its like bullrush, cabin crew is swept away in a humanic tidal wave. Cab drivers perish under the onslaught. At the bank I'm going to see, they are pissed and rightly so, because I got delayed last time as well, by.... farkin Qantas. They didn't even give us an excuse that time, maybe we got an honest driver.

The $69 return flight wasn't much better. It was.... (you know it, don't you?) DELAYED. Fark me dead with a pick-axe handle!!!!! The poor ground crew lady was trying to explain why the 'Final Call' sign was flashing when in fact the plane had only just arrived. People were getting anxious and approaching the poor harrassed cow. Finally we get aboard, I turn to the bloke next to me and ask him his opinion of Qantas's service... "Well" he says, "I fly to and from Wellington up to 3 times per week. I find their service to be exemplary compared to my companys'"

"Who do you work for then?" I ask....

"I'm a Finance Director for the Air Force" says he...


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thought for the day

I think that I want to write articles for fishing & shooting magazines so that I get invited to test fire lots of cool shit. Sure there's jack all money in it, but you get to use all sorts of cool shit. Want to use a Weatherby Mark V in 300 Weatherby Mag for a goat shoot? Write an article! Want to take a souped up Nissan STX out for a beach ramble and a quick surf cast? Write an article! (Was going to take the ute on a spotlighting mission on public roads .... no more articles if you do that).

Gimme one of these for a test fire. Hitch up the boat, nought to 100 in 3.2 seconds....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Access Dramas

Bryce attackes Fed Farmers with gay abandon, risking the ire of land owners and pastoral lessees' (of crown land) nationwide. There's a much bigger picture in the case of the lessees and it goes like this; if the chunk of high country that they are leasing has "amenity values" i.e. pretty streams and picturesque lakes on it, they have to pay more for their lease. And can't charge any more for the extra they have to pay. They can't charge people (yeah ehem) to go fish it. Bryce gets stuck in and anglers and shooters just get more and mores despised by the farming community. Now don't get me wrong, he's not a total goose - here's an excerpt from Rick Cullinane to (yet another) a one sided article in NZ Farmers Weekly:

27 May 2009 The Editor The New Zealand Farmers Weekly PO Box 529 Feilding Dear Sir, Alan Emerson’s vitriolic and erroneous rant (FW 25 May) warrants some clarity. Firstly, some facts. Fish & Game magazine has an audited readership of around 250,000 (around 6% of the population). In 2007/08 Fish & Game sold 36,000 gamebird licences (32,000 adult whole season licences) and 103,000 (76,000 adult whole season licences), with a total of 139,000 licences of all types sold. All adult whole season licenceholders have the opportunity to register and vote for their regional councilors. Fish & Game has never, ever, advocated for, or sought, any public ‘right to roam’ or ‘wander at will’. Fish & Game is just as keen on respectful and responsible public access provisions as any landholder. The majority of hunting and fishing licenceholders is not happy with the access status quo, and certainly not happy with the accelerating erosion of public access as land ownership and land use changes. In relation to the high country declaratory judgment, Fish & Game’s goal was to clarify the law regarding pastoral lessees’ rights to the publicly owned land they lease. Fish & Game recognise that the Crown, as the owner of the land, is responsible for managing public access. Fish & Game’s action in taking this case are entirely in accordance with the functions of the Fish & Game councils that require it to maintain and improve access to the fish and game resource under Section 26Q(1)(b)(i) of the Conservation Act 1987. The cost to the New Zealand Fish & Game Council for this process was $68,000; equivalent to less than 50 cents per licenceholder. Now some questions: If Fish & Game’s application for a declaratory judgment was so ridiculous, how come lessees have recently argued, in another High Court hearing, that their leases only confer rights to the pasture in order to reduce rentals to the Crown? Do you think they should have it both ways? If Fish & Game stopped advocating for public access to public resources, for the protection of lowland waterways from the degradation caused by poor farming practices, and for the protection of New Zealand ’s dwindling iconic natural free flowing rivers, who would do it? Or do you believe these rights and treasures that are so crucial to both our heritage and culture, and our national brand, should be sacrificed entirely for short term economic gain? The disservice to farmers not done by Fish & Game which makes a point of acknowledging the generosity and environmental responsibility of many farmers, but by agricultural lobby groups and immoderate columnists whose groundless ranting from polarized positions seeks to shut down any rational discussion or to simply discredit the bearer of inconvenient facts. Kiwi anglers, hunters and farmers have shares in all New Zealand ’s resources, and all have a stake in our combined future. It’s time for Alan Emersen’s polarizing style to be replaced by a bit of pragmatic dialogue. Yours sincerely, Ric Cullinane Communications and Marketing Manager New Zealand Fish & Game Council

Oh yes, and there's that ~35,000 duck license figure again. except its now 32,000. Where did 3,000 of our brothers go?


Stands for two things in duck parlance (as far as I'm concerned):

1. The ability of ducks to generate more ducks via breeding
2. Bringing new people into the sport.

Both are fraught with dangers and difficulties. It can't be easy being a duck, but then again it's not all a bad scene either, depending on what kind of duck you are. If you are a NZ Shoveler, you move around a lot, you stay away from where people commonly hang out, and you make the most of whatever back water that you find along the way. Because you are blessed with second sight, you are able to predict just where you should be to make the most of conditions, just at the right time. You change moulting sites. You travel many kms in a single night. You are an enigma and as a result you get more protection, good luck to you. 3 out of 5 people can't identify you in flight. Even more luck to you.

If you're a Mallard, you really want to be a drake. You're a fat, devious greedy rapist. A pack rapist at that. Your genes will be passed on whether Henny wants then or not. You're succesful and smart, well sort of. You can live near people by day and in swamps by night. You learn to avoid danger signs. You are a prolific spawner, even so you need the right conditions for all your hard work to be fruitful. If you're a hen, well, you get to be chased down by groups of males, molested until you're half drowned and then do the whole nesting/parenting thing mainly on your own while the boys all get together. But you do most of the talking and often lead the flights so its fair to say that you got the smarts while he got the looks.

If you're a Grey well, according to DOC you're an endangered species. You're interbred and pure strains are becoming less frequent. Boys and girls look alike. You're a timid, quiet wee birdy and don't like lots of company on the whole. You get by by being where people are not and your future is in the hands of people.

If you're a parry, you're not a duck so go away.

The question of bringing newbies into the sport is a question without a clear answer. The whole thing is normally passed down father to kid(s) but even strong hunting lines get broken. My uncle, brother, cousin (Mark) are examples of progeny from strong hunting lines that just haven't taken to the whole thing with rabid abandon. Life was on a different path (professionally and domestically) for them. And this has to be happening all over. Duck hunting seems to be like rugby, once a huge, well respected passtime, now with recruitment dwindling. 35,000 hunters every year buy a license. That number has been the same (or bigger) for ever. Because more and more shooters hunt near us than ever before, it is fair to say that the 35,000 have less places to go, especially near the big urban areas. Ergo, habitat loss is knocking back the hunters, as well as the hunted.

Time to take another kid hunting methinks.

+ 1

Tim's coming this weekend too! Woohaa. Rang dad, we'll probably ditch the Jr. Shooter. Weather is looking good with a 20kt Westerly according to Metvuw.

Tim say's my blog is all about my covetous nature. Yes, it is. Which is why there's about zero percent chance that I'll show Marcia my egocentric, low down, want-driven, lustful and somewhat fallen blog.

Better than this depiction of Lechery though (My mind is pure as the down on a fat young mallards breast). Beat that, Tim.

Big Party

Well 2 big ones really; firstly Cuz Paul is celebrating his 30th on June 13, with a gig over at his house. I was going to go out to lakelands and drive birds that day but I'll probably go over to Paul's instead. Or maybe I could do both? (Probably not).

This weekend's duck party sounds huge:

Andy H
Andrew P (Trout Traveller)
Jr. Shooter

I'll probably guide for Sam, TT & Milo in Puru or something like that. We'll see.

She's Back! And the General Motors quotient

Robo has passed the endurance test, left her plugged in and running while we went out yesterday afternoon. She ran perfectly, stayed balanced, nice. I have a new motor and some bits coming from the States for her. Really, the $ would be better put towards another Mojo or something less GM like (heavy, cumbersome, unreliable). But then again, she's got looks on her side, quite unlike anything that GM puts out. Bankruptcy is probably not a bad place for that company. Hope Roboduk doesn't go the same way in the face of cheaper Chinee models.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Looking like a tree

I like camo patterns, some more than others.

My favourites are Advantage Max4 and Mossyoak Shadowgrass. I think Shadowgrass is sort of discontinued now.

Here's Max4:

And Avantage Wetlands (they must grow maize in swamps in the US?)

And (Mossy Oak) Shadowgrass

And new Mossy Oak Duckblind:

How cool would it be to take photos of various foliage, treebark, shade patterns and textures, and then go and design the right colours and shades to match? And then even better, make a living out it!
Notes from Team meeting 1 June 2009:
"Dead standing willows aren't compatible with our new Treezap pattern, and sales are being lost to our competitor's Shrubmunta camo. Photos from our field trips show us that we haven't got the right grey hues - lets go to work boys!" (Team grabs cameras and guns, loads up dogs & dekes and ships out to dead willow swamp to make notes).
Or something like that.

Waterproof & Warm

I reckon that everyone who goes outside to shoot and catch stuff has the same problem - waterproof & warm garments are pretty rare, so you end up getting wet. Even if its not the rain that gets you there, no matter what the outer (breathable or not) you will get wet if you're active in a downpour. I've got a few jackets and raincoats. My main rain jacket as such is a Scierra jacket that I brought in from the UK. It is made from some beathable stuff, has neoprene cuffs, and worked great for a season... well maybe not great but it was better than my old goretex jacket. It gets wet inside with a bit of activity, and brush it against trees etc and water comes on in. Hmm.

Yesterday I got wet again, this time in my Columbia Quad parker. The one on the right is the latest iteration (looks cool). Features include a zip out inner that is stuffed with insulation. Wear that puppy zipped in and you can't move or you risk death by baking. Conversely, sit in a drizzle and that jacket cools down some, and begins to leak. Not cool, and not what you'd expect for the bucks. Hidden ammo pouches, detachable hood... all good and nice but shit, you get wet. The inner makes a cool camo bomber jacket for when you're crusing for chicks.... oh that's right, that stuff is all conjecture. So, who can do better?

This is Cabelas home brand. Similar features to Columbia, goretex outer, zip out liner, detachable hood.. oh yeah and a 'beard guard'. Just in case your beard gets in trouble, it can hide behind its very own guard. Spare me.

27 ratings on Cabelas own site (inc one from some Waikato dude) indicate that its worth 4 point something out of 5. Really?

This here jacket is from Drake. I'm liking it for a number of reasons. It has the same sort of stuff as its competitors, but is slim around the waist. My quad parker is very bulky around the wiast and becomes a problem when wading, or if pockets are jammed with ammo. Taken a while for me to pinpoint how important a slim fitting waist is (to me), there you go.

Under Armour is a big brand not well known here. Jacket looks ok, but the question is why? I mean why branch out into a non speacialist area? Must be some mean bucks in it. ;)

There will be more around for sure... will keep looking I suppose, and in the meantime just get wet. Ducks like water, after all.

Half Way

The duck season is half gone already. 30 days old today, and I've been in the field 5.5 days - not quite 20%. Paul's season is over, bubba is on the way. Hmmmm.


Last night was good, not because of lots of birds taken - it was just, well, good. Paul and I got away about on time, or as close to it as a Fletcher can be (they are notorious for arriving late). We were unloading stuff into the boat as Andrew arrived. Only a half dozen cars at the ramp. No wind when we arrived, but Andrew said that the front had chased him up country. Southerly, bitter cold, brrrrrrrr. We arrived at the hut just as the wind arrived, pushing a spattering of rain ahead of it. We kitted up and headed out past Bollocks to circle round and see if we could entrap Mr Rooster. Arrived at Prandangs spot at thesame time as a passing hail shower, it was cold.
Circled round back to hut but no sign of our intended prey, so away we head to the night spot. We got out there, set up my Robo and Andrew/Paul's mojo, then the lads headed off back to the old Prangdang pond. Shots from that way after 5 minutes, and then calling. They were away for 20 minutes during which time a group of ducks came downwind with Southerly right up their bum. Sporadic shooting up river, birds were moving. 3 swan came hurtling over and I lead the first bird by a barn gate - with wind on their tail they were charging. I thought I clean missed, but Andy told me that a puff of feathers blew out of the swan. At about 3.50 birds were really moving. It was getting colder by the minute, spitting drops of rain and feeling pretty ducky. We got a single circling, then a pair committed and the lads opened up as the ducks came over with wings set. I took the hen and smacked her but she didn't fold and that was it, in the wind they jinked out of range in a few seconds. Paul gave a post mortem on why his shots didn't kill the birds as they stood still in the sky. They were sidling sideways so lead to the front and side was needed. Soon after a single came around and Paul fired, I took her but at the same time as Paul fired his second, and she cartwheeled down. 4.10. I'd never had chances so early at the night spot before. That was it for 45 minutes - the occasional bird came by but no serious chances. About 5 the birds got on the wing. Paul took a nice shot on a swan (more meat for the grand sausage mix). With darkness falling I got a shot on a pair and dropped the hen stone dead. Then immediately missed a scorching single. Then birds zooming in and around, well we fired a few shots but for not much. Moon rose at 5.50, and wind dropped, action over. Back at landing by 7.15, home by 9.

Robo was a pain, her motor was loose and moved around causing wing rub and general nuisance value. Fixed her today.