Hunter's death by natural causes

A Dunedin man reported missing while hunting at Five Forks inland from Oamaru in January 2017 died of natural causes, the coroner says.

A report from Coroner Brigitte Windley released yesterday showed the death of Russell Kerr Brown (53) was due to a ``sudden cardiac event'' as a result of narrowed coronary artery atherosclerosis on January 28, 2017.

Mr Brown, an experienced hunter and outdoorsman, was on a weekend hunting trip at Balmoral Run near Five Forks when he died, the report said.

About 8pm, his hunting partners heard a gunshot from the area he was hunting in that evening.

About 10 minutes later, he phoned a fellow hunter to report he had shot a wild pig.

After they spotted each other across a ridgeline from a distance of between 200m and 300m, the men arranged to meet.

Mr Brown's hunting partner returned to the hut they were staying in to pick up a quad bike so he could collect Mr Brown.

However, when he arrived at the pre-arranged meeting place, there was no sign of him.

Mr Brown's hunting partners then searched for him for three hours without success before they called police about 11.45pm

A police-led search and rescue operation began at 6am the following day.

An helicopter search discovered Mr Brown lying face-down on a narrow stock track.

His rifle was located about 25m away from his body. The carcass of the wild pig he shot was about 40m away.

Mr Brown suffered injuries to his nose which suggested he had ``fallen face-down without attempting to break his fall'', the report said.

The report said he was a ``very heavy smoker'' and that his family had a history of ischaemic heart disease.

No recommendations were included in the report.


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