Beacon ‘best money I’ve ever spent’
Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 48, June 2015
Jacob, 32, was half-way through setting out his possum line on February 24 when pain forced him to return to Wahaatua Hutt, between Opotiki and Gisborne, six hours walk in.
After having a lay-down, and with pain and infection spreading, he decided to pull the beacon that evening, while there would hopefully still be day-light for a chopper crew to handle the “tricky landing”.
The Bay Trust Helicopter from Rotorua turned up in less than two hours, around 9pm, and flew him and his only companion – a mate’s young pig dog – to Tauranga Hospital. Jacob was discharged with medication the next day.
Jacob says nowadays he always leaves details with registered contacts about his whereabouts when going into the bush – which enabled the Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand to arrange promptly to airlift him out after his beacon signal was detected.
However, Jacob has only carried a beacon with him for a couple of years, having gone trapping and hunting without one throughout his 20s. His decision to buy a beacon was for “peace of mind for his family”, and because he was starting to trap in different, more remote, locations.
He says of his $700 purchase: “I was in a great deal of pain; it’s the best money I’ve ever spent in my life.” Jacob hopes his story encourages others to buy a beacon: “If it helps them that would be great”.