Stories : Safety

Stewart Island slain hunter stalwart of local club

Wednesday Mar 25, 2015

If you lose sight of one or more of your party, you should stop hunting immediately, unload your rifle and not load it again until you have everybody
in sight. Photo / Thinkstock

The young Invercargill man shot dead on Stewart Island had helped build a hunters’ hut on the island with his father and been on the local deerstalkers association’s executive. Samuel Phillip Long, 24, died at the scene after he was shot by another member of his five-person hunting party, police said. He was alone when he was shot on Monday.

A New Zealand Deerstalkers Association Southland branch member, Douglas Gordon, said Mr Long and his father, Steven, had a very close association with the hunting club. “They are both good members of the club and good members of the executive. It will be a sad loss.” He said Mr Long had been introduced to the sport by his father. They had been on many hunts together, especially to Stewart Island.

Mr Long had been through a young hunters’ programme with Southland Deerstalkers and often helped out with pest control and other club initiatives. He had also helped build the Martins Creek Hunters Hut on Stewart Island. Another member, Neville Miller, told the Herald the group
were “absolutely bloody gutted”, and Nathan Dawson said the association was supporting the Long family. “We’re all putting our condolences out there for the family and Steve.”

In April 2014, 25-year-old Adam Hill was shot while hunting in Longwood Forest, 45km west of Invercargill. Mr Hill’s uncle, Rex Sycamore, said the family was still coming to terms with the tragedy and he felt for the Longs. The roar season, which lasts roughly four weeks from March 20 to April 20, is the most popular time for deer hunters. Firearms and hunter safety expert Nicole McKee of the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council said the organisation advocated parties stop shooting if a member broke away from the main group. “If you lose sight of one or more of your party,
you should stop hunting immediately, unload your rifle and not load it again until you have everybody in sight.” – NZ Herald

Stephen Phillip Long admits accidentally shooting son dead.

May 22 2015

A Southland man has admitted accidentally shooting dead his son during a hunting trip to Stewart Island in March. Stephen Phillip Long, 61, has pleaded guilty to a charge of careless use of a firearm causing the death of his 24-year-old son Samuel Phillip Long on March 23.

Long was wiping away tears in the dock as police prosecutor Phil Berryman read the summary of facts in court on Friday morning. Berryman said the father and son were part of a five-person group on Stewart Island hunting for white-tailed deer when the shooting occurred. Samuel Long left the hut they had slept in overnight at 9am on March 23 dressed in camouflage clothing and wearing a camouflage cap and backpack. His father left the hut 45 minutes later, also wearing camouflage hunting gear. He reached an area of bush and saw movement in the bush which he believed were
two white-tailed deer. He told police he spent two or three minutes confirming this with both the naked eye and also looking through his rifle scope at different magnifications to identify the deer, Berryman said. Long also moved to his left and right to clearly identify his target.

He told police he believed one of the deer moved away leaving the remaining animal facing towards him and slightly down hill. Long told police the head of what he thought was the remaining deer went up and down on four occasions as if it was feeding and he believed it was what he would expect of a white-tailed deer. He said what he believed was a deer lifted its head and he believed he saw two prongs on top of each antler on
its head and from the grey colouring believed the animal was a young white-tailed buck.

He aimed and fired at what he believed was the deer’s head and neck from his Tikka 7mm-08 rifle. “The defendant then walked forward to find he had fatally shot the victim through the head,” Berryman said. Long later told police his son was supposed to be at another hunting area, but believed he may have heard him coming up the ridge and waited to see what it was. He told police they both would have yelled out if they had any doubt over what they were seeing. Long shot his son from a 20m distance, police said. Long’s lawyer, John Fraser, applied for a discharge without conviction. Judge Christina Cook said Long had pleaded guilty but she did not enter a conviction today. She put the matter off until August 4 for
sentencing and ordered a presentence report to consider home detention or community detention. Long was remanded at large.