Deer Wars – Only in New Zealand
New Zealanders are a resourceful bunch. Historically there has never been a huge manufacturing base in that country so most products were imported. Funnily enough most of the western world is now in the same boat due to our dependence on the monolithic Chinese industrial juggernaut, but that’s another story.
So out in backyard sheds and farm buildings all over the country, with only Mable the Sheep for company, Kiwi inventors for generations have found answers to the most vexing of life’s problems. Using only a few bits of wire, a solder iron and some gaffer tape they have created and built every tool and device they ever needed. If you don’t believe me, watch “The World’s Fastest Indian and you’ll see what I mean.
These ingenious people are the same ones that gave us the bungy cord, Jet boats and my personal favourites, eggbeaters and hairpins. The contributing factors to this resourcefulness are simple. They are situated a long, long way from anywhere (other than Australia) and have a very, very small population (most of which actually lives in Australia).
Deer hunting in the Fjordland of the South Island is likewise a good example. These crazy men perfected the hunting of feral red deer from helicopters. At the time the government had decided there was a need to cull the deer due to their great numbers and the damage they were doing to the environment. The terrain as you would imagine was beyond rough and it became a time consuming activity. That is until the idea of hunting with helicopters became a reality.
During the 1970’s crews of three; a pilot, a spotter and the shooter, ranged through out the mountain country searching for the prize. At first the deer were plentiful and the money was good so it drew men from all over the country. They were hungry for work and adventure, just like the gold rush times of old. This was not an easy occupation by any means and death was a common occurrence. Approximately 80 hunters and pilots died during the time that has come to be known as The Deer Wars.
As the years rolled by the deer became scarce and smart. Just when the industry was on the verge of collapse the demand for live deer to stock new farms saved them. However, this became an even crazier time. Instead of shooting the deer’s, once they were spotted the helicopter would hover as close as it could above the startled animal. Once the chopper was in place a hunter would actually jump out on top of the animal. As you can imagine accidents and misses were not uncommon, contributing greatly to the death toll.
Apparently there is a global job crisis, anyone thinking about retraining? I have a couple of suggestions, travel, adventure, what are you waiting for!