Keeping hunters out of harm's way

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 05:00 24/09/2012
Anthony Gilmore
Fairfax NZ
SAFETY BACKUP: Anthony Gilmore has invented an alarm for hunters which sounds if there is another hunter with the device in the area.

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Three hunting deaths this year have served to remind Anthony Gilmore why getting his invention to market is important.

Kapiti-based Gilmore has been working for about 18 months on a hunter's alarm which sounds if another wearer is in the area.

The device emits and listens for a specific frequency within 100 metres.

Gilmore has had 50 devices manufactured locally and plans to launch them at a hunting show in Taupo this month.

An electrician by day and hunter in his spare time, Gilmore said he was spurred on by a close shave of his own.

He'd been out with a friend during the deer "roaring" or mating season. "We were both roaring at each other and then we hunted on each other. Luckily nothing happened, obviously, but . . . "

Gilmore's is not the only hunter-recognition type device being researched in New Zealand.

In Lower Hutt, Hunter Safety Lab is working to create a US market for its gun-mounted sensor, which recognises material patches worn by fellow hunters.

But Gilmore feels there's plenty of room for his invention.

"My one's just for more of a Joe Bloggs-type person. It's probably going to retail for about $140."

Trevor Dyke, an official with the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association, said he knew of two or three different parties working on devices to improve hunting safety.

However, in his view, proper gun education was the best form of protection. "Because the moment you start relying on that sort of stuff, you're going to let your other things slip away. It's really got to be looked at as just an aid.

"What we're saying to people is, if you [hear a] sound [or see] a sign or movement, think of it as being another person within your hunting area until you can identify it as an animal beyond all reasonable doubt."

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