A Southland hunter who went missing in the Hokonui Hills was lucky to be found several hours later, the police say.
Gore Police and Eastern Southland Land Search and Rescue team were alerted to the lost hunter on 21 April, after he used his mobile phone to raise the alarm with his wife, who, in turn, notified Police at about 6.30pm on 21 April.
“Police were able to determine the man’s location by getting him to make a 111 call from his mobile phone,” said Invercargill Police SAR coordinator Sergeant Ian Martin.
Ten Eastern Southland LandSAR volunteers assisted and Amateur Radio Emergency Communications volunteers also responded to the call-out.
Three search teams walked through the area near Dolamore Park.
The hunter was located at about 10.30pm, four hours after staff were first notified.
“He was feeling the cold, but otherwise in good health,” Martin said.
“He was fortunate, as he had very little food and insufficient gear to spend the night in the bush.”
Police encouraged hunters to always be prepared and take sufficient clothing and equipment for an unplanned overnight stay.
Hunters and outdoors users are also advised to take a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) with them on all hunting and tramping trips.
“A distress beacon lets you instantly signal for help and they work almost anywhere in the world. The beacon shows rescuers your approximate location, taking the ‘search’ out of search and rescue. The sooner rescuers can help you, the more likely you are to survive,” Martin said.
“Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand works 24/7, 365 days of the year responding to all distress beacon activations. The team acts quickly to find out as many details as they can about who set off the distress beacon and promptly send search and rescue teams to assist.”
For more information on how to stay safe when hunting, click here.