WHEN Brazilian national Alberto Costa left his home country for Invercargill 11 years ago, he never imagined he would become a duck-shooter.
But he fell in love with the sport nine years ago and has not missed a season since.
“I always wanted to hunt in Brazil, but there I never had the opportunity,” Mr Costa said.
When he started to date his now wife Kelly Costa, he knew her family liked to go duck-shooting, but he was aware that “shooting weekends” were something to be shared with close friends and family.
He was very happy when his father-in-law, Garry McNatty, invited him to be part of his group.
“I felt really special because I felt I was part of the family. I have never missed a season ever since.
“For me, it is a good social event, a good get-together… It is a bonding time.”
This year it was even more special for him, as he had his son Leo Costa at his side, shooting for the first time from their mai mai at Mataura Island.
The boy used to visit his father and family in the mai mai after the day’s shooting was done.
However, this season was the first time he was able to be part of the family tradition.
“It is quite fun,” Leo said, proudly holding his ducks.
Mr McNatty and his son Dion McNatty were happy and proud to have both Mr Costa and Leo at the mai mai, sharing such a New Zealand tradition.
“When he [Alberto] first started to shoot with us, his English wasn’t overly good, so we sat in the mai mai trying to speak with each other,” Dion McNatty said.
“Every year, it gets better and better till we get full conversations 11 years later.”
His father agreed and highlighted the importance of the sport not only for socialising but also for pest control.
“It is absolutely lovely [to have all his family together]…
“We just get together and have a really good weekend.
“The thing about duck hunting is… we have to do it to get the population of ducks down spoil the land for the farmers.
“It is not only a pleasurable thing, but also helps on the population control.”