A deer hunter who needed three blood transfusions and multiple stitches after accidentally stabbing himself is vowing to return to the bush.
Pohangina farmer Garry Moar, 55, will have his leg in a cast for the next six weeks, giving him plenty more time to reflect on his near-death experience, the important work of the Palmerston North rescue helicopter and a safe return to hunting.
Mr Moar had been heli-hunting deer with his son, Simon, in the Waiwepa Ranges, east of Pahiatua, on July 18 when he jabbed his right thigh with a knife.
"I will never be making that mistake again," he said.
He is particularly grateful for the quick response from the rescue helicopter crew and the incident has helped him reflect on his priorities.
"What it makes you do is create a bucket list. It's about getting your priorities right. I'm just lucky I made it."
Mr Moar told the Manawatu Standard there were two deer, which he had shot, stuck behind a bush and they weren't able to be picked up with the helicopter's grapple, so he was dropped to the ground to gut the animals and help lift them out.
"I grabbed its back legs and I had my knife in my right hand," he said.
"I usually throw it on the ground but I had a new knife and I always lose them so I decided to hold it. I grabbed the deer and pulled it back and as I did that the knife went straight into my thigh."
The cut was 100 millimetres in length and about 150mm deep into his leg, he said.
"I pulled my knife out instinctively and I whipped off my belt and wrapped it around my leg tightly to try and stop the blood. I tried to walk to get into the clearing so Simon would see me.
"As I tried walking the muscle popped out. I knew I was in serious trouble. I had a real encounter with God as I thought, ‘Hey, I could be seeing you later today'."
Mr Moar then dragged himself into the clearing where he took off some of his gear and used a bit of rope he had to stop the bleeding.
"I got pretty cold and shaky. We still didn't know if I'd caught an artery and there was a s... load of blood everywhere. I lost about three litres, which is about half my body's blood."
Mr Moar's son called the Palmerston North rescue helicopter to get him to the hospital.
"They [son and a friend] thought I was going to die, so when I heard the chopper . . . oh it was a bit emotional. I thought ‘I may actually have a chance [of staying alive]'."
Mr Moar spent two days at Palmerston North Hospital where he had three blood transfusions and required a number of stitches.
"They said I only just missed the artery and femur. It was close. It could've been all over."
The accident wouldn't stop him from hunting deer, he said. He had gutted thousands of deer before and had not previously had a mishap.
Palmerston North rescue helicopter pilot Chris Moody said it took him a few hours to clean the blood from the chopper.
"There was no time to get squeamish," he said.
"When we got there Garry was definitely going into shock and had lost a lot of blood. It was just a slip of a knife and I bet Garry looks back on it now and thanks his lucky stars."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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