Pete the Bushman : Hunting Tales and Back-Country Lessons from a Wild West Coaster
The adventures of Pete the Bushman, a wild West-coaster from Pukekura, New Zealand’s answer to Crocodile Dundee and a man who owns his own town.
This book about a true New Zealand bushman, of a life lived against the grain, of adventure in New Zealand’s thickest wilderness and a lifestyle any Kiwi bloke would envy. Pete the Bushman has lived a life inseparable from the bush – these are his stories of running down deer on foot, heli-hunting in his own chopper, finding the perfect woman and eking out a living from the bush. He and his wife Justine run the Bushman’s Centre, 35 minutes south of Hokitika, established in 1991 as a place to show visitors how local people use the South Island forest. Pete’s Caf and the Puke Pub (opposite the centre) is famous for wild food, particularly possum, offering snacks like possum jerky, and possum pie. They won one of the Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge, with ‘Chicken of the Forest’, ‘a baked, spiced possum on a bed of fresh vegetables with a touch of wild bush mint sauce’. Also known as ‘Possum Pete’, the Bushman is one of the eccentric and colourful characters featured on TVNZ’s ‘This Town’.
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Hunters and the Hunted
Graeme Sturgeon left the New Zealand Army after returning from Vietnam and landed “the best bloody job I ever had.”
Seeking to avoid civilian life Graeme became a deer culler in the Ruahine Ranges. Deer culling was a perfect fit for a man with his background and training. New mates regularly passed through the various camps he was assigned to and life was just fine. A roving inclination kept Graeme exploring and looking into new country mainly in the surrounding blocks, always wondering what was over the next hill until he came to the Mangohane country, which became his spiritual home.
Meat hunting and possums were a natural progression when the price of venison went up and possum skins were fetching good money, the addition of Julie his future wife, made life even sweeter. When the helicopter borne venison recovery industry turned to live capture he became Joe Keeley’s shooter/catcher and life became an adrenaline filled roller coaster of a ride until he and Joe parted ways.