Where Were the Hunters?
The account of the meeting between the Moa hunters and the Christchurch Skeptics was interesting, but contained some very odd statements. How many skeptics had done any hunting, I wonder? The account reads as though there were no experienced hunters present who could challenge some of the statements made. That is rather like examining key-benders without a magician present. However, the account, like many UFO sightings, contains several inconsistencies which are not obvious to the inexperienced.
I have shot many hundred deer, plus pigs, goats, chamois, wild cattle and sheep so I count as an experienced hunter.
While hunting, one sees difficult-to-identify objects all the time. It is very hard to spot animals unless they move, even when cover is light. Any bush, rock or shadow that is approximately the right colour needs to be scanned. Many a deer or pig turns out to be something inanimate when examined through binoculars or telescope. It will perhaps astound the inexperienced to be told that this applies even to objects which are very close.
Sometimes one could swear the thing moved.
One of the odd things about the story is that there is no mention of binoculars or telescope; were they not used?
“His rifle didn’t even go near his shoulder”. This implies no telescope and suggests he is not a very serious hunter. My rifle, on a hunting trip, would be constantly at my shoulder — not to shoot but to carefully examine objects through the ‘scope. It is essential not to shoot until one is certain of the identification.
“The beast was unmistakably not a deer.” That is simply the voice of inexperience. If the party had no binoculars and no telescope then their story cannot be taken seriously however close the object was. Anyone with moderate experience in looking at wildlife should know that the human eye without the aid of magnification is incapable of such assessment.
To my horror, I once found I had shot a goat, not a deer. I had wrongly identified a very close goat with a distant deer in excellent light! The bullet had struck high of course. But I was certain of my target; I was just wrong. The diagnosis was simply that I needed to start wearing my glasses and have done so ever since.
In a long career of shooting there will inevitably be a number of targets which were allowed to escape because positive identification was impossible. I can think of several — I am still not sure what they were. But I never thought they were extinct birds. I suggest it takes a particular mindset to make such an identification.
If this is the first Unidentified Running Object the party had seen then they simply lack experience, however many years they claim.
Jim Ring, Nelson
In the December Skeptic you have a note by B. Premanand asking New Zealand skeptics to help their Indian counterparts by subscribing to Indian Skeptic. However, he does not give an address. Do you have one?
Apologies for omitting the address. It is:
Convenor, Indian CSICOP
10 Chettipalayam Road