Permits, kiwi aversion and firearms licenses please, said the lady at the forestry gate. Out came the necessary paperwork as the two volunteers moved down a lengthy check list marking off vehicle rego, warrant of fitness and other requirements.
As the checks went ahead, I looked across to see a young fella walking along proudly with a little pup tottering along behind him. Neat looking pup I said as he walked past and with a shy flick of his head in acknowledgement he disappeared behind the truck.
We were lucky enough to be hunting a Iwi owned forestry block and I had the back seat jammed with three excited kids. The rules allowed for us to take one pig for the day and with dog numbers restricted to 3 per hunting party it allowed me to run a young pup with my two main dogs.
The kids were excited to see how our pup would perform and I had plenty of help as we stopped on a skid site to collar up the dogs and prepare ourselves to start hunting. Piki and I sat back as the kids matched up dogs and collars and he gave me more info on the management of the block and the cooperation between Iwi and Hancocks Forrest management.
I was impressed at the professional approach to health and safety and the respect and cooperation in place so shareholders in the land could both manage and hunt the area alongside a large commercial forestry operation. We hunted the day out with the dogs bailing up a few pigs and the kids and pup on their best behaviour. 5 pm seemed to arrive way to fast and after bailing and releasing multiple pigs we found ourselves back at the gate sporting nothing more than big grins and three worn out kids.
As we signed out the same little fella peeked out and as my kids told stories of pigs and dogs he slowly edged closer listening. This is his favourite part of the day said his mum as she signed us out for the day, he loves his pig hunting! As we moved off I overheard him say “I would love to go hunting with those fellas.”
A few months later we had another invite to come back. It was the end of the season and Piki wondered if the kids wanted another adventure. Two of them are all go and thinking back I asked him if the young fella we met at the gate might want to fill the back seat up. Yep he would be real keen said Piki, little buggar has been eying up all the old jaws and pig hunting photos in my shed and told me one day he wished he could catch a pig with a trophy jaw said Piki.
Radios were strapped on belts and the morning consisted of 3 or four fruitless walks for the two boys whilst Piki and I dropped them off and picked them up in likely looking spots. Lunchtime loomed and as the day progressed the weather just kept getting hotter and hotter.
One more track and then its home said Piki and as I looked back in the rear view mirror I could see both young fellas gazing left and right in the hope of spotting a pig. Last chance fellas, I said as they made their way of along the track.
The dogs cruised along behind them looking hot and more interested in a swim than pig hunting. Things erupted quickly and as the dogs turned the first corner they lit up and were gone. A few barks were all it took for both young fellas to dive off the track and before we knew it both dogs and kids were racing through the scrub.
The dogs struggled to get a good hit on the pig and as it broke and blew we knew it was a good boar and the chase was on. The radio chatter started as we directed the little fellas up ridges and down gullies as we tried to head everything off in the truck.
This could be Rihari’s big trophy boar I thought but it wasn’t to be and two scratched up and sweating young fellas appeared on the track in front of us, the dogs weren’t far behind them and with tongues hanging out and heads down we knew the heat had us beat.
The afternoon of rest had the dogs rearing to go again and the backseat of the truck was filled right up with my daughter and the two boys. We will get a good boar now she cheekily told the boys, cause I’m Dad’s good luck charm.
Three kids, three dogs and a mass of jerseys, torches, radios and lollies exited the truck at high speed as we arrived at our hunting spot. Could be a bloody circus when it gets dark I mentioned as Piki looked on chuckling.
We managed to catch up and suggested that keeping quiet and not using the torches till it was real dark would be a good idea. My daughter walked up alongside me asking to hold the GPS receiver and then proceeded to give me a running commentary on how our main dog Bear was now 150 meters away and doing circles.
A bark quickly followed and as the other dogs arrived an even bail erupted. The pig had bailed close to the track and as I looked under the scrub and fallen manuka I couldn’t get a clear shot. It swung around in the gloom under the scrub and I realised it wasn’t all that big so throwing the gun aside I dived in and grabbed its tail and that’s when all hell broke loose.
The pig turned and I glimpsed a massive flash of ivory hanging out of its jaw. I bush surfed along attached to the tail yelling at the dogs to keep out of it and finally managed to tip him over. Everything slowed as I reached for my knife and the bobbing of torches told me the kids were right there. Quick Rihari get in here and give me a hand I yelled.
Grab my knife and I will help you stick your boar and quick as a flash it was over. I walked back as the two boys rolled it over and only then did I see how good the jaw really was. You just got your first trophy I said to the little fella and after a day of shy silence he finally spoke –its massive, is it really mine?
Right there in that moment I knew that pig had started an addiction.
Being old and cunning our plan for the day was to send Rusty and Rihari on a few walks hoping the dogs might bail one up for them. We would arrive to dispatch any pig worth killing as they couldn’t carry a gun but it would essentially be the young fellas that arrived first and had to make a few decisions and potentially call the dogs off anything we didn’t want to dispatch.
We ended up back at Piki’s and whilst us old fellas rested our eyelids for an hour or two the two boys fossicked around looking at photos. I caught patches of conversation from them around how cool it would be to get a good jaw and boil it up to go on the wall.
Dog First Aid Kits
This First Aid kit is an emergency kit for your dog to help stabilise injuries until they get professional help
Revolution Hunting Dog Collar
Save yourselves hundreds in vet bills and protect your dogs with our new Pig Dog Hunting Rip collar
Our inflatable mats offer a comfortable cushioning design perfect for sleeping outdoors.