By ROBYN BRISTOW
Hunters will be out in force in North Canterbury at Matariki weekend, June 24 to June 26, in search of a prize winning catch to enter in the North Canterbury Hunting competition.
Already there has been 260 entries, with entries not closing until Wednesday, June 22.
The hunt is Rotherham-based with funds raised going to the Rotherham Community Pool, and the Rotherham School to support an extra teacher.
A group of keen hunters are organising the family-orientated event which was originally known as the Rotherham Pig hunt.
An organiser Mat Bailey says the name change to the North Canterbury Hunting competition reflects its focus on a fun family event.
“And we are aiming to be the biggest hunt in the South Island,” he says.
There is a $15,000 prize pool, with entrants not having to be there to collect spot prizes.
“This opens it up to anyone who wants to enter, and it supports our fundraising efforts,” says Mat.
It has attracted huge sponsorship from businesses from throughout North Canterbury, with James Morris’s Rangiora-based Rivers to Ranges, taking the naming rights.
Spot prizes include helicopter vouchers, hunting gear, including a thermal hand-held monocular, clothing and footwear.
There is also a special trophy, The Paget Trophy, in recognition of Miranda and Wayne Paget’s efforts, over many years, in running the Rotherham Pig Hunt. It will be awarded to the entrant with the heaviest stag.
Hunters in the open section can enter in the heaviest boar, heaviest sow, best jaw, average pig, heaviest stag, heaviest hind, average deer, ugliest head and the best head categories. All attract good cash prizes.
Mat says the average deer and average pig offer hunters the opportunity to win $1000, as all animals are weighed in, the weights are totalled, and the entrant with the closest deer and pig to the total, taking out the prize.
“It means anyone is in with a chance of winning the $1000 prize,” he says.
The junior section gives up and coming young hunters the chance to get out and about to hunt various animals.
Entrants aged 14 years or under are eligible to enter this section, with entry fee of $10 per child. Juniors can enter a possum, hare, rabbit, mallard, Paradise duck, a goose and even a rat. There are some great prizes to win, and all paid entries go in a draw for a chance to win a Junior Hunter spot prize, such as a $500 Hanmer Springs Helicopter voucher.
Entries close on Wednesday, June 22, with hunting starting from 1am, Friday, June 24, running through to weigh-in outside the Rotherham Hotel from 1pm, Sunday, June 26, with no entries accepted after 3pm. Entry forms are available from Rivers to Rangesin Rangiora, and the NC Hunting Competition Facebook page.