The upper Taieri River. Photo Stephen Jaquiery
Five dogs which chased a wild pig into the upper Taieri
River died after ice on its banks prevented them from escaping,
a hunter says.
The Mosgiel man, who did not want to be named, was hunting
wild pigs in the upper Taieri at the weekend, when the
Four of the dogs which perished belonged to him and one dog
belonged to a "mate".
Together, they were worth about $10,000, he said.
The dogs entered the river behind the pig but, while they
would normally be able to scramble out, about 3m of ice on
either side of the river prevented their escape.
"I couldn't do anything.
"There was ice in the middle of the river too.
"I could only watch them float past," the hunter said.
He believed the cold got to the dogs and they died quickly.
The cold, icy conditions were unlike anything he had seen
before, even though pig hunting normally took place in rugged
"You don't catch pigs in a paddock," he said.
It could be a dangerous activity for dogs, which sometimes
died after fighting with pigs, the hunter said.
Mornington Tavern owner David "Murdoch" Miskimmin helped
organise Otago's largest annual boar and deer hunt held over
He said it was rare for dogs to be killed while hunting.
Even if they were "ripped" by boar tusks, they usually
Mr Miskimmin said hunting dogs were highly trained and kept
in premium condition, hence they were very valuable to
"Some people might think they aren't treated very well, but
that's certainly not the case.
"A good pig dog is worth its weight in salt.
"You don't get a lot for two and a half thousand [dollars],
put it that way," he said.
"If you could ask the dogs they wouldn't swap their life for
"They absolutely love it.
"Most guys are very good with their dogs."
The hunt, from early Friday to 3pm yesterday, was otherwise