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Hot Topic (More than 30 Replies) Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley (Read 39570 times)
Alan
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Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Mar 15th, 2008 at 9:53pm
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We had a deercullers reunion at the Wairake hotel, Taupo about 1979 give or take a year or two..

Myself and another were in a final roar off for the roar competition, we would stand on the back of the truck and roar and the judges were sitting in the cab of the truck. Rex Forrester and Alan Reiher and I cant remember the third were the judges.  Rex jumped up onto the back of the truck to announce the winner ( not me bugger),  I lost to one of the old-timers naturally!
Anyway Rex Forrester was on the back of truck with the microphone announcing the winner when we were all interrupted by a fast approaching helicopter bearing down on the back lawn of the hotel.  It landed right in front of us at the same time a vehicle drove up and out got a very old time deerculler. Rex reckoned they had just found him in the Ureweras as he had been lost on the job for 30 years. The old chap was about 90, long beard and woolly hair, crippled and using a stick to walk. He was carrying an old open sighted 303 boar war rifle and was helped into the chopper by the pilot Joe Keeley.  It took off and at the same time a car with a trailer started to drive across the grass. All the time Rex is winding the crowd up with his banter about how the old hunters could out shoot the young ones (just like they beat me in the roar).  The trailer was like a covered dog trailer and had some beer bottles sitting on the top. The chopper took off and climbed away into the distance and then suddenly it turned and dived down through the huge high poplar trees that framed the site and leaning out the door and half on the skid was the old culler, 30 year old beard and long hair flowing in the wind, who fired the 303 one handed. Pow one of the bottles shattered in a puff of smoke!  The crowd roared, Rex crowed some more about how good the old hunters were as the machine climbed high into the sky, did a barrel roll and dived down amongst us again and bang, another bottle shattered.
The crowd was in awe but trouble was looming as the manager of the hotel had ran from the front desk and was now screaming at Rex to shut it down or he would call the police. A brief short discussion was had and before he could do anything the chopper was back, firing again without missing. This time the chopper went up almost vertical like a jet aircraft and then rolled over slowly almost stalling in mid air  and virtually upside down.  Standing next to me was a chopper pilot instructor,  he muttered "I did not believe helicopters could do that! "  But Joe Keeley did.  The machine again dived and the old fella never missed a bottle but you could see he was struggling to hang on with the gravity and death defying feats the chopper was undertaking.
The crowd  were naturally ducking every which way when one person  broke from the crowd and ran across the lawn towards the trees, the machine chased him down and the old hunter in the chopper now had a net gun and he fired it rolling the runner up as neat as. Buggered if I would have liked those lead weights coming at me and if he had of been hit on the head they would have killed him.
Rex now told the audience that the civil aviation department were flying around looking for this chopper and on cue Joe started to lower the chopper into the tall poplar trees. I remember clearly the leaves and branches flying as the chopper disappeared out of our sight. Not even the blades were visible from the ground.
It was quite a show Joe Keeley put on, helped of course by the fact a lot of chopper pilots and shooters were in the crowd.

Often when we would sit around and chew the fat we would laugh about the incident with the hotel manager and Rex would say "Remember that bugger tried to get the police" and we would laugh some more, knowing how we stopped him....but then there have to be secrets between mates!


« Last Edit: Mar 24th, 2008 at 9:31am by Alan »  

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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #1 - Mar 17th, 2008 at 12:55pm
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He's a legend - what a great yarn! Thanks Alan
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #2 - Mar 17th, 2008 at 8:28pm
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Alan, we need more...
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #3 - Mar 17th, 2008 at 8:39pm
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good stuff alan keep them comming Wink
  
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Andrew-GBB
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #4 - Mar 17th, 2008 at 9:01pm
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I "aquired" a book off my Dad that is titled "Hunter for Hire" written by Rex forrester and Neil Illingworth now theres a F'in good read.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #5 - Mar 17th, 2008 at 9:17pm
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Bloody hard case eh,,things the old hunters are capable of and get away with Grin Grin

Alan,,did yi ever get R.Forrester's  gear into a suitable place?
  

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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #6 - Mar 17th, 2008 at 10:05pm
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yes, I was wondering about that also?
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #7 - Mar 18th, 2008 at 5:12pm
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NO and I'm thinking of buying a container and going and getting it and locking it up here until I can find somewhere to display it all. If you guys remember deer world its all that whole display that was at deer world..
  

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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #8 - Mar 18th, 2008 at 6:00pm
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'Deer World' is the place that used to be on the Taupo/Rotorua highway.
  

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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #9 - Mar 25th, 2008 at 12:27pm
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was at that reunion Alan, it was the most hilarious thing I have seen, Mel Bradley 'shooting' the beer bottles!!
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #10 - Mar 25th, 2008 at 5:29pm
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I think I remembered it pretty well...   hahahha I never did ask Rex but I just assume it was Mau dressed up as the old culler!   Anyway don't want to spill too much of the old culler tricks eh!
  

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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #11 - Mar 25th, 2008 at 8:35pm
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I was walking my dog alongside Taradale Park  in the early 70s when the Martian's appeared out of the sky hollering ' whooping barrel rolling doing flips. It was quite a scene so much so an elderly lady in the pensioner flats just about had a heart attack. That was my first intro to the great PG TIP'S. Man could he fly that machine.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #12 - Mar 25th, 2008 at 8:51pm
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PG TIP'S is loaded up to the gunwales and roars off from Taupo . It get's over the pine forest. The pilot turns to the nervous passenger in the middle  who foolishly told the pilot about the taradale escapade. The pilot ask's the passenger" have you ever flown a chopper before". Passenger is petrified at this stage and is white with panic. Pilot thrusts cyclic into passenger's hand and says just caress it like a woman's breast. It was a long flight to the Mangamaire in sheer terror. The rollercoaster ends with a straight  90% climb stall and peel back. At that stage the heart was hurtling out of the bubble. This is mild to what happened to a mate of my who shot for  Joe looking for the lost boot on the Taupo Rd !!!!!!!!
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #13 - May 14th, 2008 at 8:12pm
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Joe Keeley and his shooter are having a good session in the Rangitaiki boozer when the shooter complains he has lost his boot on the Napier Taupo Rd  and it was an expensive boot which would prevent him shooting in the morning.It was then late at night. Faced with this slight problem they needed to look for it right away. The D model gets fired up and they then proceed to fly 2 ft above the road back to Turungakumu hill where the boot is found all the while darting off the road when a car comes up the road. Some cars were so unnerved to see this light appear and then take off into the bush that they turned around and took off. The shooter despite being fairly full found it extremely scary hanging out of the machine and peering down onto the road.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #14 - Jul 6th, 2008 at 8:24am
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Bloody awesome read Alan - have heard many a story over the years about the chopper boys and how the yanks still can't get their heads around what them buggers used to do in them...  Cool
  

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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #15 - Jul 18th, 2008 at 1:23pm
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Really good pilot from what I've heard and read of him over the years.

Shame he couldn't quite master flying at night whilst pissed, tho, eh?
  

The only problem with being perfect is that everyone else's imperfections really piss me off....
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #16 - Jul 23rd, 2008 at 9:06pm
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He wasn't hunting at the time of his death however he may be the only pilot in N.Z. who could fly a D model at night holding a spotlight AND shoot the deer with the Colt. My mate was in the machine when he did this and was petrified. Anyone who knew him would say he was a brilliant pilot.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #17 - Jul 23rd, 2008 at 9:28pm
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I met joes brother recently while working in the same block as him, bloody top bloke told me a yarn about going heli hunting with his bro. Droped him off in swamp for most of the hunt [good ol brothers eh]
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #18 - Jul 23rd, 2008 at 11:58pm
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Theres some farkin funny yarns about Dave Saxton..... if you forget about the greenstone thing he is a legend!!
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #19 - Dec 20th, 2009 at 8:56pm
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Rex once told me  , the yanks thought they could fly coz they were in Veitnam , one of his lttle verses whent like this
           
             they came to NZ to teach us to fly ,
          but left when they realised we were mad,
             we flew like we all wished to die
         we did things in choppers that couldn't be done,
                   and we did it coz it was fun
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #20 - Mar 25th, 2010 at 10:09pm
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I got one of Rex's books out from the school library. A year later i haven't returned it.. certainly taught me a lot!
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #21 - Mar 25th, 2010 at 11:03pm
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just read the Dick Deaker Story - Aerial Hunter. Was quite a good read. These guys including the great Joe Keeley are my idols.

If I could do anything in my life it would be to be immersed in the era of the deer wars, shooting out of choppers and flying them all over the place. Now thats what I call living life to the fullest
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #22 - Mar 26th, 2010 at 7:43am
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Once the romance wore off, say after an hour or so, you would find that it wasn't so glamorous as you might think. Smiley
And there were some bloody good American pilots as well,just as there were good and not so good Kiwi ones.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #23 - Mar 27th, 2010 at 4:59pm
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Sikahill ..you would not see old age out!  Was dam hard work. Try gutting large numbers of animals in a few hours. The fun part was flying and shooting but the hard work still had to be done afterwards..
  

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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #24 - Mar 27th, 2010 at 5:41pm
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Sikahill wrote on Mar 25th, 2010 at 11:03pm:
just read the Dick Deaker Story - Aerial Hunter. Was quite a good read. These guys including the great Joe Keeley are my idols.

If I could do anything in my life it would be to be immersed in the era of the deer wars, shooting out of choppers and flying them all over the place. Now thats what I call living life to the fullest



I was born a few years to late. I would have been in to that like a pig in to shit.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #25 - Mar 29th, 2010 at 2:44pm
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Sikahill wrote on Mar 25th, 2010 at 11:03pm:
just read the Dick Deaker Story - Aerial Hunter. Was quite a good read. These guys including the great Joe Keeley are my idols.

If I could do anything in my life it would be to be immersed in the era of the deer wars, shooting out of choppers and flying them all over the place. Now thats what I call living life to the fullest

A romantic. Guess there is still a place for them in today's hurried world. Grin
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #26 - Apr 3rd, 2010 at 10:09pm
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Sikahill wrote on Mar 25th, 2010 at 11:03pm:
just read the Dick Deaker Story - Aerial Hunter. Was quite a good read. These guys including the great Joe Keeley are my idols.

If I could do anything in my life it would be to be immersed in the era of the deer wars, shooting out of choppers and flying them all over the place. Now thats what I call living life to the fullest


As BON and ALAN said it was bloody hard work,you looked forward to days off,(rough weather,machine on check,etc) it was extra hard when live capture started and before netguns cime in, bull doging,especially if you were a smaller person, and knowing that each time you when out you mite not be coming back.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #27 - Apr 4th, 2010 at 2:17pm
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flying back from the waihaha to taupo with joe one day n halfway over the lake the empty warning light started to scream
his shooter went all white but it didnt faze joe one bit
  

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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #28 - Apr 6th, 2010 at 8:17am
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Sikahill wrote on Mar 25th, 2010 at 11:03pm:
just read the Dick Deaker Story - Aerial Hunter. Was quite a good read. These guys including the great Joe Keeley are my idols.

If I could do anything in my life it would be to be immersed in the era of the deer wars, shooting out of choppers and flying them all over the place. Now thats what I call living life to the fullest

Ring Bill Roydhouse 06 8742895 and he will give you some insight into Joe as his shooter [the unromantic version] Wink
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #29 - Apr 6th, 2010 at 5:11pm
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I bought a pig off Bill a couple of years back. He lives 15 mins up the road from me. We had a great old yarn. Didnt realise he knew Joe. Will mention it next time I see him.  Cheers.
Quote:
A romantic. Guess there is still a place for them in today's hurried world. 

BTW I cetainly dont dispute it was nothing but hard work.  A romantic hunter sounds a bit dodgy to me. A dreamer ...maybe.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #30 - Apr 9th, 2010 at 5:02pm
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Shame those books weren't written about the guys who did thousands of hours...had no accidents..didn't hurt or kill anyone...but I guess those legends don't make a good yarn.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #31 - Apr 11th, 2010 at 10:11am
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Lin Wilson. Been there done that and also still flying. He also like Keeley can fly and shoot at the same time.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #32 - May 21st, 2010 at 11:15am
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REX once told me that the YANKS that came to NZ to do deer recovery whent home "coz ya cant fly choppas in this bloody cantry" trouble was they forgot to tell us KIWIS Wink
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #33 - Nov 2nd, 2010 at 12:34pm
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getting a round or 2 over your head cos you,d come upon some less scrupulous teams poaching was,nt tha glamourous i can tell you. Winkweiweka gorge.1979 opanae camp.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #34 - Dec 4th, 2010 at 11:39am
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Did the first pickup of a deer from the air that Joe did in the head of Waihaha in Mountain Helicopters Hillar. Joe hovered about 2 metres above the tree I had my deer hanging in then said to get out.
"Not bloody likely get this thing down a bit lower"
We used to hang deer by neck with a rope which we tied to the top of a tree then tied a white rag up the tree so you could spot it from a distance. Just had to fly into top of tree get out on skid and put the spliced  rope onto hook. The deer would be hung with baling twine and that would break as lifted the deer out.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #35 - Dec 5th, 2010 at 11:43am
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joe is my uncle but sadly he died when i was about 3years old so i dont remember him, would have been awesome to meet him
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #36 - Dec 5th, 2010 at 12:04pm
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Joe was a .223 man gave me shit about my .308. He was good to us ground shooters and did everything he could to pick up our deer as he knew how much trouble we went to to get our animals cos he'd spent an apprenticeship on the ground before he learnt to fly. All bush pilots should have to do that first to get a better perspective.
Ask any pilot how far it is to so and so and its always "not far" when it takes half a days walk or more. I always reckoned on flat going a minute in the air takes an hour on foot.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #37 - Dec 5th, 2010 at 12:43pm
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yep .223s are awesome Smiley runs in the family i think my father (joes brother) uses one, i use mine for everything
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #38 - Dec 5th, 2010 at 2:07pm
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is that Tascoe your dad?
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #39 - Dec 5th, 2010 at 5:57pm
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hes my uncle jim keeley is dad
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #40 - Dec 5th, 2010 at 9:09pm
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I know Jim he does monitoring work in pest control
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #41 - Dec 6th, 2010 at 6:57pm
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yeah he does where you from bin huntin
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #42 - Dec 6th, 2010 at 10:45pm
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just north of Taupo
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #43 - Dec 7th, 2010 at 7:14pm
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awesome, yeah he been doing a bit of work up that way,amazing who knows who on this web site haha, cheers
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #44 - Dec 9th, 2010 at 11:44am
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.223 wrote on Dec 5th, 2010 at 11:43am:
joe is my uncle but sadly he died when i was about 3years old so i dont remember him, would have been awesome to meet him

PG Tips was an extension of his arm. Enuff said. Wink
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #45 - Mar 23rd, 2016 at 12:37pm
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Joe Keeley was my brother anniversary of his death is on 17 April so been 33 years now since his passing.  A fabulous brother he was!
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #46 - Mar 23rd, 2016 at 8:38pm
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Sadly many young hunters do not even know about the venison era or the players. Some hunted with blades. Some performed aerial ballet. Then there was Joe Keeley. "hold the cyclic for me. How do I do that. Cradle it like a woman's breast" Grin PG Tips going hard out over Taupo airport into the Kaimanawas.
  
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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #47 - May 24th, 2016 at 4:23am
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The bottle shooting by the supposedly old lost culler from the chopper was of course a trick as he was firing blanks. There was a guy inside the trailer who was hitting the roof underneath the bottles with a hammer every time he heard the shot. Clever stuff.

  

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Re: Rex Forrester and Joe Keeley
Reply #48 - Jun 6th, 2016 at 11:46am
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Flying solo and shooting from the machine singled out the men from the grass hoppers.Lin Wilson was also a very good exponent of it and so was my mate. He got 4 pigs on his first  try. Went back there on Friday nite. My son was coming down the hill and saw 3 big pigs in the same paddock. This after 16 years.
  
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