Bunny cull dips in annual hunt

LEE JAMIESON
Last updated 05:00 21/04/2014
Tara Burrows
LEE JAMIESON/Fairfax NZ

The Winton Wolfpack, from left, are Tara Burrows, background, team captain Jason Gerken, of Winton, Nathan Dawson, of Makarewa, Bruce Paterson, of Scott’s Gap, and Kurt Brand, of Invercargill, at the Great Easter Bunny Hunt in Central Otago.

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A grand total of 7478 rabbits will be turned into compost by the Alexandra Scouts after the annual Great Easter Bunny Hunt in Central Otago.

The region is plagued by rabbits and hunters turn out each year for charity to help cull the pests from farmland. Last year hunters shot 18,000.

Alexandra Lions Club convener Dave Ramsay said the club struggled to get 25 teams for this year's event, down from 35 teams last year.

Rabbit numbers were "patchy" as many farmers, particularly in the Lindis Pass area, had already started taking control of the problem before winter, he said.

"During the early part of winter, that's when they target the population. It's good from the farmers' point of view that they are on top of the problem but not so good for our event."

Teams of shooters set to work for 24 hours from noon on Good Friday from Raes Junction to north of the Lindis Pass and the Ida Valley in Central Otago, bringing in their haul to Pioneer Park in Alexandra on Saturday.

The winning team was Christchurch group Rabbit Warriors, who shot 769 bunnies near Lowburn.

They were followed closely by former Southland winners Winton Wolfpack, who shot 722 rabbits near Poolburn.

Winton team captain Jason Gerken said the team had won on two other occasions and had taken part in the bunny hunt for the past seven years.

They had hoped they would be in the top five, he said.

"We had an explosion of rabbits so there's quite a few but last year on the same block there was 150 shot so we've done pretty good. We got what we got."

Invercargill team Down South, captained by Brett Middleton, was fourth with 475 shot near Tarras.

 

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