Friends remember shot hunter
Sat, 08 Sep 2012 6:03p.m.
By Jeff Hampton
The man accidentally shot by a friend while hunting in the bush near Rotorua was a prominent mountain biker who built many of the trails in the town.
The body of 30-year-old James Dodds was winched out from steep hill country and dense bush at Waikite Valley. Search and Rescue staff spent the night there with the body waiting for a break in the weather.
It was a sad reminder of yet another hunting trip that's turned to tragedy – the body of James Dodds accidentally shot by a close mate while hunting for deer.
The death has left the mountain-biking community devastated. Mr Dodds and partner Gaby Molloy were known here and overseas for their skilled riding and trail-building.
“Extremely talented, both he and his partner Gaby have represented New Zealand in downhill mountain biking,” says friend Dave Donaldson. “[He was] hugely talented and a guy who imparted those skills to anyone and everyone.”
Ms Molloy posted a tribute on her Facebook page, saying, “He was the most inspiring, loving, caring, clever human being I have ever met and I am so privileged to have spent nearly nine wonderful years with him. I will miss him with my entire being. I love you Dodzy.”
Gary Sullivan says his long-time friend has left a big legacy.
“The trails in Rotorua, numerous ones, were the trails built by Dodzy,” says Mr Sullivan. “So the tens of thousands of people who come here to ride are riding on trails he built.”
As friends gathered to remember Mr Dodds, there was also concern for the man who shot him, an experienced outdoor safety expert and a mutual friend.
“Our thoughts are with him today because he must be going through a hell of a time,” says business partner and friend Jeff Carter. “We've got no ill-feelings.”
It's the third hunting death this year. The other fatalities were in Southland and the Wairapa.
“It's a very harsh reminder of being absolutely certain of your target before you squeeze that trigger,” says Inspector Bruce Horne, Rotorua Police commander.
Police expect it'll be weeks before it's known whether charges will be laid.
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10/09/2012 2:14:37 p.m.
Hopefully the anti will not use this as an excuse to take away our freedom to partake in this reletively safe sport (compare 12 hunting accidents in 10 years to 300+ road deaths every year) dont see calls to ban cars anytime soon.
9/09/2012 2:04:29 p.m.
James was a keen outdoorsman who showed his eagerness and so much promise as a youngster of about 12 when he completed a hunter training course, even keeping up with much older participants and his strength and ability showed over the following years on various hunting trips. A truly sad loss to us all.
9/09/2012 10:26:20 a.m.
This is happening far too often. You don't get a second chance with bullets and it only takes one mistake for something like this to happen.
8/09/2012 11:01:54 p.m.
i might be wrong but i have a feeling some of these "accidental" shootings are not accidental
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