Young man dies in fall while hunting tahr alone

Ryan JopsonA young man, formerly of Otematata, who died while hunting on Mt Peel, had been a keen hunter most of his life.

Ryan Kelvin Jopson (18) died after apparently slipping on snow and tumbling down a 200m slope.

He was found at 5.30pm on Monday near an area known as the Blue Slips, near Mt Peel, Senior Constable Mike Stephens, of Geraldine, said.

Mr Jopson spent most of his life at Otematata, where his parents live, before studying at Telford.

After graduating, he worked in the Telford area before joining Mt Peel Station as a single shepherd in January.

Mt Peel Station owner John Acland said yesterday Mr Jopson was a very keen hunter, and had hunted at the station since he arrived.

He also played in the forwards for the Geraldine Rugby Club.

Last weekend, Mr Jopson stayed at the station to hunt tahr when most other staff had left for the holiday weekend.

Mr Jopson was a quiet student at Telford Rural Polytechnic, was a hard worker and loved the outdoors, Telford finance and administration manager Stewart Macdonnell said yesterday.

Mr Jopson had attended Telford from July 2007 to May last year and gained his Telford certificate in agriculture and other papers which were available in the one-year course.

"He was a good student who loved what he did," Mr Macdonnell said.

It is the second death of former or current Telford students in recent months.

Equine student Miemie Cloete (18) was killed in a car crash near the polytechnic in March.

Sen Const Stephens said a co-worker noticed Mr Jopson had not returned from his hunting trip.

Mr Jopson's motorbike was found at the base of a hill and the search for him involved two helicopters.

Sen Const Stephens said it was "not horrendous" country and Mr Jopson had hunted in the area before and knew the terrain well.

The death has been referred to the coroner.