Missing hunter survived on deer and paua

The man was spotted from the air during an extended shoreline search at Chew Tobacco Bay. Photo:...
The man was spotted from the air during an extended shoreline search at Chew Tobacco Bay. Photo: NZ Police
Searchers have found a hunter reported missing on Stewart Island for three days after he became disorientated from a fall.

The 39-year-old failed to return to his group of 13 on Monday afternoon, but was found about 11.05am today.

Detective Alun Griffiths said the man was spotted from the air during an extended shoreline search at Chew Tobacco Bay.

"He had become disorientated after knocking his head during a fall and his compass was later found to be incorrectly reading due to a knife being close by.

"Fortunately he was able to sustain himself on the first night by eating a deer he had shot. He was then able to forage for limpets and paua."

Det  Griffiths said anyone entering the bush - even for a short time - should take a Personal Locator Beacon and a backup form of navigation.

Police assisted with the search and rescue operation, and Land Search and Rescue teams from Invercargill, Dunedin and Stewart Island were also involved. They focused on the North Lords hunting block.

On Wednesday, thermal technology was used, as well as a LandSAR search dog from Dunedin.

A police spokesperson said searchers camped in the area overnight and resumed the search at 8am today.

LandSAR chief executive Carl McOnie advised, during the lockdown, people should not be hunting and to stay home.

"Although the LandSAR volunteers are on stand-by and will go out to look for anybody who gets lost, we would rather not."

Police said they are grateful to Land Search and Rescue for providing teams in this challenging time.

- ODT Online and Laura Smith

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