9 Sep 2012

Removing hunter's body 'very difficult'

8:43 pm on 9 September 2012

The police say it was very difficult to remove from the bush the body of the hunter who was killed in a Bay of Plenty valley.

It's believed Rotorua man James Dodds, 30, was shot dead by his hunting companion on Friday morning in Waikite Valley, 30km south of Rotorua.

Mr Dodds' body was removed on a second attempt on Saturday morning from the dense bush and steep terrain where it lay.

The Rotorua Area Commander, Inspector Bruce Horne, says the extraction wasn't easy.

"Really difficult terrain. It's very steep, quite a high canopy, dense bush and with the weather conditions we have had, low cloud coming and going and actually quite strong gusty winds. But we got a sufficient break in the weather that we were able to get a helicopter in just before 8 o'clock."

Bruce Horne says a post mortem was being carried out Saturday afternoon and the guns will be forensically examined.


Meanwhile Mr Dodds' partner of nine years, Gabrielle Molloy, posted a message on her Facebook page saying he was the most loving, caring, and clever human being she has ever met.

A statement from friends of Mr Dodds says his death is a terrible shock and is still sinking in.

It says the two families involved in the tragedy know each other well and are supporting one another.

Mr Dodds' family is travelling to New Zealand from overseas.

Mr Horne says both men were very experienced outdoorsmen.

"In fact Doddsy was known internationally for his work in mountain biking in the outdoors. They were both very experienced bushmen."

Inspector Horne says the case is an absolute tragedy and all the families involved are suffering the most awful grief.

He says it is also a harsh reminder to hunters to positively identify their target before they shoot.