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. These chapters are the first written from the shooter’s rather than the pilot’s perspective. He later gained his own helicopter licence and flew both in New Zealand and Australia.
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