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Thread: A bunny shoot in Tekapo - tough but good..

  1. #1
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    A bunny shoot in Tekapo - tough but good..

    Fine bunny shoot evening in Tekapo.

    Our chch team has been shooting together 10-15 years and was invited to shoot block on a station near Lake Tekapo village. A problem site - much of it reduced in recent decades by rabbits to a barren lunar landscape - worthless for farming. Lots of rabbits but very difficult to shoot as various people go there including meat shooters and they miss heaps, leaving rabbits very spooky, flighty. We recce'd the site after lunch saturday and on seeing truck the bunnies would all run 200-400 meters before stopping. Initial impression was we'd be lucky to shoot 70-100 in a night.

    We had a strategy session - how to get the edge on them - then headed back onto site around 5pm. We set two boys to walking seperately across north part of block maybe 500m apart, quietlly approaching every rise in the ground to get the drop on them. Then we travelled across remainder of site in truck, again creeping up to crest of any rise or hill to peer over. By meeting time at 8pm we had about shot 60 - just 20 per hour - very slow going. 22LR and shottie were useless - average range was 140-150 meters. 223 and 204 Ruger and 17WSM best. We were confident however the advantage would pass to us once we started spotlighting. It did. We set up the Maxtoch lights, started into the night shoot around 8pm, and shot until about 1am. Now it was different. Now we could see bunny eyeshine against the hill faces, and the lights were holding them. Many would stop running to check the bright lights and we were getting the magic 3-4 seconds to take them. Range still averaged 120m, but quite a few now at 50-70m. We now had the edge, and covered and re-covered the dense spots. We did not miss many at all so no chance for them to be spooked by lights.

    Drove across much of a square mile block again before declaring around 1pm. The last 5 hours with torches from truck had lifted totals from average 20 per pour before dark, to 52 per hour with lights, and we headed home to bed in Tekapo village quite happy with 323 for the evening from this difficult site. We were on the block again for 2 hours today on way home and with daytime strategy now refined, we nailed another 80 in about two hours. Finally called it quits at total 403. A tough little shoot. Nothing easy about it - long range and really had to outwit the little bastards. But satisfying to put up numbers. We will call to say hello to them again....

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    Packing up for home - AJ, Neil, and @gadgetman on right. Coffee in Geraldine coming up..

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    Any reason to visit Tekapo is a good reason... Thank you Stephen (Headcase).

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    Last edited by mudgripz; 03-10-2021 at 10:31 PM.
    jakewire, Tahr, scottrods and 29 others like this.

  2. #2
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    Have never seen a site as badly affected by rabbits as this one. Seen bad areas down in Cromwell, Twizel etc, and shot heavily affected areas round Omakau and in north Canterbury. But this block was stripped bare. Photos don't show it but the bunnies had eaten everything and hundreds of acres were just rock fields covered in rabbit holes - holes every 1-2 meters. Whole ground was porous, and hill faces pocked with holes. I gave up trying to shoot with 22 semi immediately - too flighty - and spent whole shoot driving the truck. Very difficult driving at night with one hand on wheel, other one out window searching with torch for shooters in back - trying to weave through all the rocks, and in particular trying to miss all the huge rabbit holes. Like up to one meter wide warren entrances - some very deep. At one point the VX Cruiser suddenly had front left corner pointing up into the night sky - a whole warren complex had subsided under the back wheels!! Bunny damage so pervasive across land areas it looked geological!!!

    Was good to nail at least a few hundred for the farmer - will be pleased to do so again.

  3. #3
    Member gadgetman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudgripz View Post
    Have never seen a site as badly affected by rabbits as this one. Seen bad areas down in Cromwell, Twizel etc, and shot heavily affected areas round Omakau and in north Canterbury. But this block was stripped bare. Photos don't show it but the bunnies had eaten everything and hundreds of acres were just rock fields covered in rabbit holes - holes every 1-2 meters. Whole ground was porous, and hill faces pocked with holes. I gave up trying to shoot with 22 semi immediately - too flighty - and spent whole shoot driving the truck. Very difficult driving at night with one hand on wheel, other one out window searching with torch for shooters in back - trying to weave through all the rocks, and in particular trying to miss all the huge rabbit holes. Like up to one meter wide warren entrances - some very deep. At one point the VX Cruiser suddenly had front left corner pointing up into the night sky - a whole warren complex had subsided under the back wheels!! Bunny damage so pervasive across land areas it looked geological!!!

    Was good to nail at least a few hundred for the farmer - will be pleased to do so again.
    It wasn't the collapsed warrens that caused the left front to point skywards, it was obviously my massive weight in the right rear.

    Very challenging and a change of scenery for us. There was a large green swathe through the middle of the area we were shooting, where there were fewer rocks and it was possible to direct drill. I only discovered this area on foot during my solo wander on our homeward interlude. The rabbits however tended to head for the bony areas, particularly the slopes, where they were perfectly camouflaged with the rocks during the day.

    I'll need to do some reloading before the next visit.
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  4. #4
    Member viper's Avatar
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    @mudgripz , your right about Twizel , great place to visit and plenty of fishing and shooting. Cheers for the write up.

  5. #5
    John Galt Sr.
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    Far canal!

    Good dose of pindone might work out cheaper than ammo!

    What kind of condition are the hoppers in? You'd think pretty mangy with that much competition...
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    Well done Mgz,you just need another billions rds to put a dent in them.Good fun tho.
    BSA270 likes this.

  7. #7
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    Didn't look very tropical down there judging by the clothing. Which reminds me- one of the coldest night's I spent spotlighting was down in Te Anau. Biting painful cold.

  8. #8
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    My old man talked to a Aussie chap that was over here n shot a few rabbits around the grass growing capital Benneydale…he reckoned our rabbits over here were lean. In Oz ( on there flash pastures aka desert the rabbits were fat….go figure


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    Thinking about it - the bunnies were in good nick. Good condition and no sign of disease. Alot of younger ones and they are very challenging to hit out at 140-200m when hunkered down. Shot a few bunnies with white patches on them but zero blacks in that population block. Nothing of that variation in that gene pool I guess.

    Yes the main populations were congregating on steep rocky hillsides where there were lines of scrubby cover and matagouri about 100-200 meters up. As we approached they'd run up through the rocky hill face towards the light cover. VERY hard to see until they moved, but once it was dark and we got some lights on them we could pick out bodies better, and maxtochs lit up the eyeshine. BOOM.
    Micky Duck likes this.

  10. #10
    Member gadgetman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudgripz View Post
    Thinking about it - the bunnies were in good nick. Good condition and no sign of disease. Alot of younger ones and they are very challenging to hit out at 140-200m when hunkered down. Shot a few bunnies with white patches on them but zero blacks in that population block. Nothing of that variation in that gene pool I guess.

    Yes the main populations were congregating on steep rocky hillsides where there were lines of scrubby cover and matagouri about 100-200 meters up. As we approached they'd run up through the rocky hill face towards the light cover. VERY hard to see until they moved, but once it was dark and we got some lights on them we could pick out bodies better, and maxtochs lit up the eyeshine. BOOM.
    And if the little ones didn't hunker down they were continuously bouncing around. There were a lot of very solid adults.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6x47 View Post
    Didn't look very tropical down there judging by the clothing. Which reminds me- one of the coldest night's I spent spotlighting was down in Te Anau. Biting painful cold.
    Was nice and warm Norwest on the Saturday but turned to a cooler Southerly on Sunday. The winds were light both days which made shooting easier.
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  12. #12
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    Top effort

  13. #13
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    Lots of fun with those numbers.

  14. #14
    gun guy
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    sounds like a 22 hornet would come in handy

  15. #15
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    Yep 22 Hornet, or new 17 Hornet would be good.

    Tonight I picked up a Howa 223 with gunworks suppressor from this site. Will pop scope on it, shoot it in shortly, and it will do its work down there. But... looking forward also to another station where they're less spooky, shorter range, and we can use the 22s. Nailing bunnies out to 100 with a precise little 22LR my favourite varmint shooting..
    Micky Duck likes this.

 

 

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