Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2005

New Zealand Man drowns, boy shot as duck hunting season opens

09 May 2005

One man drowned in the North Island and a young boy was shot by his father in the South Island on Saturday during the first day of the duck shooting season.

Kelvin John Demalmanche, 47, drowned after falling into Lake Koitiata in the Santoft Forest, about 19km southwest of Bulls, about 8.30am on Saturday, police said.

Mr Demalmanche had been trying to retrieve a duck from the lake when he fell from his dinghy, Constable Craig Gorringe, of Marton police, said in a statement yesterday.

The police dive squad from Wellington retrieved his body from the lake floor.

A companion of Mr Demalmanche's narrowly escaped drowning when trying to rescue him, a spokesman for the Palmerston North-based Square Trust Rescue Helicopter said in a statement. He was treated at the scene by a paramedic.

Meanwhile, an 11-year-old Dunedin boy was taken to hospital after he was shot in the face by his father while duck shooting on Saturday at a private pond in Milton.

Police have seized all the man's firearms and his licence while the incident is investigated.

Detective Sergeant Brett Roberts, of Dunedin police, said the boy walked off in one direction with his mother, while the father went another way.

It appeared the man was attempting to shoot in the air when one of the pellets from his shotgun hit his son, who was standing about 100 metres away, near the eye.

He was taken by ambulance to Dunedin Hospital, where he was recovering yesterday. He is expected to be discharged today.

In other news, a small number of hunters ran foul of the law during an otherwise positive start to the southern duck shooting season, Fish and Game Otago officer Cliff Halford said last night.

Three were caught shooting without licences in West Otago, two in South Otago, and one in North Otago.

Some were shooting with people who had licences, Mr Halford said.

A "handful" of hunters were also caught using outlawed lead shot, instead of the steel shot required from this season.

Among those out hunting on Saturday were three generations of the Matheson family at their North Taieri maimai.

Murray Matheson, 36, and his sons Keith, 15, and Tim, 11, joined Mr Matheson's father, Athol, 69, to shoot 30 ducks for the weekend.

Murray and Keith were both on crutches, Murray after a knee reconstruction, and Keith after breaking his leg in an accident - but they "wouldn't have missed opening day for anything".

"I've been shooting with my father since I was old enough to shoot, and the boys have been doing it for four years," Mr Matheson, who lives in Mosgiel, said.

The duck shooting season began at 6.30am on Saturday and runs for between six and 12 weeks depending on the Fish and Game region.

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