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Posts tagged ‘mai mai’

Decorate with dead pigeons

Official duck shooting season commenced yesterday.

The big party to celebrate the opening of duck shooting season was planned for weeks.

The Swine House was decorated with wooden decoys, bales of hay, three dead pigeons (tastefully arranged), a life-size portrait of Daffy Duck and a bushy mai-mai in the corner. There were to be games: Duck Idol, a duck and spoon race, pin the tail on the duck, musical ducks and a duck chucking contest.

Agent of Death had a lamb, a salmon and leg of ham for the barbeque. There were three coolboxes full of wine, spirits and mixers to facilitate interest in the games.

So it was a real shame nobody turned up apart from The Warrior who wasn’t even invited.

In fairness, it had been raining rhinos and witches all afternoon. The Swine House paddock was a quagmire. In fact, ‘quagmire’ doesn’t fully describe the shifting, crawling mess of mud, which – if you stared at it after a couple of vodkas – appeared to advance menacingly in waves.

Being Irish, I wasn’t going to be put off by a touch of inclemency – which in any case was more than compensated for by lashings of alcohol. In case you’re ever invited to the Swine House, appropriate party wear is woolly socks, reliable jackets and extreme beanies rather than stilettos and body glitter.

I attempted to kick off the evening with a vodka & orange, but got off to a shaky start when I mistook Agent of Death’s ham glaze for orange juice. My stepfather in law was so preoccupied laughing – or choking on a lamb shank, it wasn’t certain which – I nearly succeeded in throwing out his glaze in disgust. Agent of Death saved it at the line with a last-dash tackle.

At 8pm, the gathering consisted of the family, Paul, the Kardashian Twins, Barry and his ADHD sons, The Warrior and a couple of his infested friends – enough to stage Duck Idol. Her Goatiness, Florrie and I judged the duck-calling. I don’t know about anyone else, but we had a blast:

“In all my years on the duck scene, I’ve never heard anything so shit. It sounded like the wicked duck of the west. I’m afraid it’s a ‘no’ from me.”

“There’s no doubting your enthusiasm, but you need to project from the diaphragm, not the sphincter. No.”

“You think you can come on here with your skimpy outfit and wiggle your tits around, but here at Duck Idol we’re looking for more. I’m going to vote ‘no’.”

“There’s no doubting your technique, but I just didn’t feel the emotion. To be honest, I just don’t think you’re hungry enough to win this competition.”

As it turns out, Husband demonstrated an extraordinary, previously unsuspected talent for duck calling. His performance was a startlingly original portrayal of a duck-hunter on the edge, a man driven to desperate measures. In a dramatic twist at the end, he mimed fending off a savage duck attack. It was a poignant and heartfelt blend of yearning, urgency and drunkenness.

There was no nepotism involved in my granting him my only ‘yes’ of the competition, and it was no surprise (to me) when he swept aside his competition to win Duck Idol 2011. He was so caught up in his victory that he sprayed his cheering fans with beer, thankfully direct from the bottle.

Agent of Death sulked because he only won a consolation prize.

The duck chucking competition was carnage: feathers, blood and lice everywhere. The kids came in handy for retrieving the ducks in the rain. Husband duct-taped his duck, but in the event it didn’t provide any superior aerodynamic advantage. Paul somehow flung a duck onto the Swine House roof. Gary pulled the head off his.

I left around about the time the dead pigeons looked like they were about to come to life and terrifyingly peck at my eyeballs.

Dead ducks

It was a big weekend: the opening of duck season. There were days of preparation: oiling and polishing guns, stocking ammo, building mai-mais, exhuming camo suits, and applying swear words.

Check out this TVNZ’s Close Up segment to learn more about what The Men got up to over the weekend, although without the extreme bonding, arse footage, loaded coolboxes, pin-up girls, 4WD waterskiing, and nakedness in jacuzzis (The Outlaws do not have a jacuzzi).

Although Husband denies attempting to surf across the creek on a blow-up doll, I noticed some jittery eye-contact between him and Brother-In-Law upon their return.

Thankfully, the males of the family do not subscribe to the theory that alcohol and loaded shotguns are a top idea. At least, they may have a nip before going out, but in fairness whisky is about the only way to kick-start the system at 05:30hrs.


After the main event followed by an artery-nuking barbeque, we brought the puppies Jed and Lottie down to the creek. They are too small to retrieve ducks, but we wanted to accustom them to the sound of gunfire.

At the first volley of shots, Jed and Lottie flattened their ears and charged back to the truck, occasionally stumbling over their tails tucked between their legs.


Brother- Stepfather- and Mother-In-Law stalk their prey. I was reminded of Mother-In-Law’s terrible ability to snuff out a life in an instant.


Husband faces setting sun.


L-R: Jed, duck carcass, my arm


No shotgun required: Ajay scares the ducks to death . . .


. . . as demonstrated.




Jed digests a feather

Duck cemetary


When I first met my Mother In Law and Stepfather In Law, they lived on top of a hill in Te Anau. Dusk was falling as Husband drove the rental car up the 70° driveway. We rounded a corner and there, silhouetted against the lowering sky, was a tractor with its digger raised. At the corners hung two bloody carcasses twirling idly in the breeze.

If the moment had a soundtrack, it would have been violin strings plucking up a scale.

“What the . . . what the <expletive deleted> is THAT?” I said, pointing a quivering finger.

“Drain the blood, meat tastes better,” responded Husband as if that explained the matter.

This was my gentle introduction to a world of killing sheds, gut holes, knocking on the ‘ead, projectile pus and anal probing. I am now accustomed to eating breakfast while Margaret drains a doe’s abcess, or sitting on the living room sofa shooting possums out the window when the milking’s done. It has got to the stage where I’m all: ‘Dead deer? Pass the knife. And the steel’.

Given the way I have embraced country life, I was gutted (when Margaret or Craig are involved, it is important to point out that this is not in a literal sense) that I wasn’t allowed partake in the duck shooting. As a female, I was present in a purely supportive capacity: food preparation and provision, construction and materials, transport and logistics, underwear technician and specific totty.

I got over it fairly quickly when I realized how much hanging around is involved in duck shooting, allied with the ambient temperature in South Island at this time of year.

Yesterday, the Duck Shooters, their support team and associated groupies, went to cut broom to conceal the blind – or mai mai as it is called in these parts. Afterwards, the Duck Shooters modeled their camouflage suits, which essentially make them look like mouldy Yetis.

The Duck Shooters set off at 05:00 this morning. I was supposed to cook breakfast and massage Husband’s trigger finger but, well, I was asleep.

Since Husband wouldn’t pose for an official portrait in his Yeti suit, I am going to have to go with this one featuring only the pants:-

Terrifying: Husband’s killer instinct

[You were warned about the graphic images.]

Duck cemetery

Morty and Bambi: Craig’s dog confuses deer for duck

In keeping with the horrifying theme: abalone mince. Actually tastes pretty good

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