It’s no surprise then that John Bebbington from Rheem was halfway to Taihape the first day of Level 2. His destination: a private farm in Ngamatea famous for its hunting and fishing.

A Sika Stag gets into view

With two plumbers and a customer in tow, Dave, Richard and Richard (one of the Richards was quickly renamed “Rich”), John arrived at Ngamatea in high spirits – even after an administration error had meant their guide, Glen, had beaten them to the hut by a full day. Only three hunters were able to join Glen at one time, so John let the rest of the crew take the first shift of the weekend. The two Richards had never shot guns before, let alone aimed them at deer, so the pressure was on Dave, the experienced hunter, to make the most of the fading sunlight.

Richard Skilton was first off the mark

It was the two newbies, however, who nailed their first chances, and two deer were in the bag before an hour had passed! Dave, on the other hand, with all of that extra pressure on his shoulders, took three shots to get on the board – something the others didn’t let him forget.

The next day John joined the crew, and despite the unfavourable conditions, they had similar success – Dave even managed to redeem himself by shooting a deer from long-range. For John of Rheem, it’s the whole experience which makes trips like these unforgettable; from the drive down through to the celebratory toast, there’s something distinctly Kiwi about heading onto a farm to shoot your next meal. Here’s hoping for more adventures soon!