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A 22-year-old Hamilton man with a gunshot wound in his chest lay on the ground of a Bay of Plenty forest for four hours while his father gave him first aid and his brother ran for help.
The Hamilton father and his two sons were hunting in isolated bush near Motu about 10am when the 22-year-old was shot from about 40m away with a high-powered rifle by one of the others.
Police said the father gave his son first aid while his other son made his way out of the bush to get help.
He reached a family friend with a personal locator beacon which was activated about 1.30pm.
A Greenlea Rescue Helicopter spokesman said a chopper was sent from Taupo as soon as the beacon was picked up by the Rescue Co-ordination Centre.
The injured man and his father were located and flown by the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter to Rotorua Hospital, where the 22-year-old had surgery.
He was now in a serious but stable condition.
Police would be speaking to everyone involved and would return to the scene this morning.
"It is early in the investigation and I will not speculate prematurely on the outcome. What I will say is that this young man is extremely lucky, especially given the amount of time that passed between the incident and reaching the hospital," Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Standen said.
"Regardless of how this particular incident occurred it is a timely reminder for all hunters. We are entering a very high risk period and it is crucial that basic safety steps are taken. That includes appropriate clothing and safety equipment as well as communication equipment, such as locator beacons that can save vital minutes and hours. Most importantly it means abiding by the number one rule of hunting - always identify your target.
Always identify your target.
Wear high-visibility clothing.
Always point firearms in a safe direction.
Load a firearm only when ready to fire.
Check your firing zone.
Store firearms and ammunition safely.
Avoid alcohol or drugs when handling firearms.
- NZ Mountain Safety Council