“When you spend enough time in the hills, strange things often happen”. –Peter Hill

by Tony Orman

At the Top End

Hunting books can vary greatly with some at the lower end being just awful, often littered with profane 4 letter words and gung-ho indiscriminate shooting.

Thankfully Straight Arrows and Fast Bullets is not one of them; in fact the book is a very good read. 

Author Peter Hill is primarily a recreational hunter but at intervals has been a culler for the old NZ Forest Service and a commercial fisherman. He’s had longer stints as a possum trapper and fencing contractor and today is a professional trout fishing guide.

Not surprisingly with that background, he just loves being outdoors. 

Today that’s enhanced by his son and daughter developing into keen hunters. “Having my kids share my passion for bow hunting is something very special.”

A relaxed style tells a fascinating story

Peter Hill writes in a relaxed way which transmits into very readable chapters. His story begins with rabbit hunting in the Waikato, however with his fast developing skills in archery and he soon graduates to hunting bigger game such as goats and then deer. 

Most of his experiences are in North Island bush country but there’s one chapter on a trip to South Westland’s Karangarua Valley in pursuit of tahr and chamois. In one chapter entitled “Believe it or Not” the author relates a couple of bizarre experiences which will leave the reader gasping. 

In the author’s words, “When you spend enough time in the hills, strange things often happen. While some stories (in my book) may seem a little unreal, I can honestly say they are true”, down to the last word.”

Enjoy the wild places but please, no 1080

While he begins as a teenager with the bow, he soon takes up the rifle and in more recent years has turned back to bow hunting. He writes “it doesn’t matter whether you carry a bow or rifle, we’re all hunters and share a love of wild places. The shooting is secondary, being out there is the number one experience.”

Near the end of the book he makes a plea that from his many years of experience in the backcountry, 1080 poison should definitely be banned.” He then sets out some thoughtful angles such as “possums have no impact on birdlife at all” and relates comparisons of a Whirinaki valley before and after aerial 1080 was dropped by the Department of Conservation.

Peter Hill is obviously an ethical hunter and in telling of his hunts, indirectly imparts good advice for the young hunter.

Warmly recommended.

(Straight Arrows and Fast Bullets by Peter Hill is published by Bateman Books, RRP $39.99)