Passion for great outdoors

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Dean Rattray with a salmon hooked out the Rangitata River.

Dean Rattray has missed his beloved outdoors during lockdown and can’t wait to get back fishing and hunting.

The Ryal Bush Transport dispatcher learnt his fishing and bird hunting skills from his dad and has passed that knowledge and enthusiasm on to his own children.

“There’s no better feeling than being out and active in the fresh air and in beautiful scenery.

“I’ve got a passion for the outdoors, it’s as simple as that.”

Being able to put “tucker on the table” was a good feeling, as was getting young people away from watching the television or being on devices, he said.

The passion for the outdoors has led Dean to the decision to stand for a spot on the Central South Island Fish and Game Council.

He wants to do his bit to the protect resources for future generations, including his own grandchildren.

There are 10 nominations for eight positions on the council and the region extends from the south bank of the Rakaia River in the north, to Moeraki in the south.

Dean was optimistic about being elected.

“I’ve been an honorary ranger with Fish and Game for the last six years and I’ve been keeping an eye on Lake Heron. I understand the issues and the lay of the land.”

Fish and Game Council voting opens on September 16 and closes on October 12. The election will be conducted by postal and internet voting.

Dean said the biggest challenge in protecting the environment was to get people to put aside their personal views and to work as one.

“We’ve got to do the right things. Hunters and fisherman, Fish and Game and the rural community all have to come together because we know we need to improve water quality and we all want that to happen.”

A seasonal bag limit of two sea-run salmon per angler had been introduced this year in this region and in North Canterbury year to address the declining salmon population, Dean said.

“Forty years ago the limit was six and there was great salmon fishing in the Ashburton River.”

He said there was as still a high number of ducks to shoot, but the rural landscape of the district had changed in recent years with the development of dairying.

Lake Heron, Lake Coleridge and other high country spots are favourites with Dean and his family, and he tried to get out hunting or fishing most weekends.

On October 1 the river fishing season opens and a few weeks later those lakes will be a drawcard for keen fishermen.

-By Mick Jensen