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Thread: Widowmakers

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 888 View Post
    They were named widow makers by the early kauri loggers. A lot of them were killed by the falling astelia clumps, some of which weighed over a tonne. Which begs 2 questions: being widow makers, does that mean they singled out married men only? And as these guys were using hand saws, how come they didn't hear them falling? Well, one of my staff in the Waitakere Ranges was nearly hit by one..it landed less than a metre from him on a quiet day in the forest..all he heard was the "whoosh" just before it landed. He said another couple of steps forward and he would have been flattened.
    First Hilux ad…

    Barry: Watch out here on the Widow maker, bit of a short cut we got, your not married are ya

    Scotty: No

    Barry: Ah well you’ll be right.

  2. #17
    OPCz Rushy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Nor West of Auckland on the true right of the Kaipara River
    Quote Originally Posted by Flyblown View Post
    Interesting thread @Bagheera

    In WA and NT, the Widow Maker was the eucalyptus tree. I forget which species or varieties were the worst but holy heck you could just see death around the corner if you opened your eyes and looked up.

    Often times we’d arrive in some remote patch of nowhere and scout around for a nice flat spot and note the huge fat boughs just split straight off the trunk, lying flat on the ground. Only once did we have one drop a fat bough within earshot. No wind whatsoever, no warning, no nothing. Just CRASH!
    Yeh eucalyptus trees are interesting. The fact that they shed their bark instead of their leaves is a hoot and in Uber dry periods they cut off the moisture supply to their limbs in order to maximise the moisture supply to the trunk which subsequently causes the limb to die and ultimately fall off (hence the widow maker reputation). Great firewood opportunity in the dried out limbs.
    Last edited by Rushy; 23-06-2022 at 06:30 PM.
    Snowgrass, Flyblown and dannyb like this.
    It takes 43 muscle's to frown and 17 to smile, but only 3 for proper trigger pull.
    What more do we need? If we are above ground and breathing the rest is up to us!
    Rule 1: Treat every firearm as loaded
    Rule 2: Always point firearms in a safe direction
    Rule 3: Load a firearm only when ready to fire
    Rule 4: Identify your target beyond all doubt
    Rule 5: Check your firing zone
    Rule 6: Store firearms and ammunition safely
    Rule 7: Avoid alcohol and drugs when handling firearms

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    @Flyblown , I knew you must never camp under Eucalypts because of that but didnt know they were called widowmakers there.

    Jared Diamond wrote that the Papua New Guinea highlandrs would never sleep under a tree because of that. Only 1 in a thousand chance of it happening each night but you want a life expectancy of more than 3 years…

  4. #19
    Member time out's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Fabulous trees in your pictures @Bagheera.
    I found this amazing Puriri tree in the Puketoki Reserve a couple of years ago when I was trapping – the Reserve is a 100acre block of bush left virtually untouched for the community by the original logging company that cleared the east side of the Kaimai Ranges a hundred odd years ago. No one has any idea of the age of the Puriri tree – but my research of old Puriri trees in NZ indicates it is likely to be more than 1000 years. It has huge widow makers all around the trunk – a common feature of large Puriri trees that I have seen in the BOP. We cut a track to the tree from one of the main walking routes so the public can visit and view in amazement.
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  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Watch for browse on fresh ones on the deck. (wee hint)
    Summer grass
    Of stalwart warriors splendid dreams
    the aftermath.

    Matsuo Basho.

  6. #21
    Member HILLBILLYHUNTERS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by sore head stoat View Post
    The ol' Kwaka mach 3.. I remember driving my folks car on a wide but busy road in Chch and a guy from school on a mach 3 pulls up beside me with his mate on the back and they are on the back wheel only and they give me a peace sign as they pull away from me.
    I remember those days , young and dum and full of yip . except bare feet and no helmets , 2 up and only on the back wheel
    sore head stoat likes this.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Young dum and full of yip lol.

    My mate [who was used to riding his 125 BSA bantam] borrowed his mates Suzuki Titan [500 twin 2 stroke] and we did 100mph 2 up with a strong norwest wind up our arse blowing us all over the road the day before "bloodbuckets" became compulsory.. I shudder thinking about it.

    Sorry to hijack the thread.
    HILLBILLYHUNTERS and viper like this.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    About 20yrs ago I was in Clements Mill mid winter with other hunters doing a post 1080 deer repellent trial. The search exercise was to find paper clean sacks stuffed with sticks/fern etc dropped at pre GPSed spots to replicate a dead sika deer. Each clean sack was numbered so if we searches found say 80% of the clean sacks our searchers would have found 80% of any sika that may have been poisoned.

    Well it rained then snowed but the search went on. I'd got a bit hot so when our team stopped at a find I took 2 layers off put it in my pack then I'd just put my pack on when there was a loud crack above me and a crashing of limbs falling directly above me.
    I was facing uphill but knew I must head down and as I was going my feet were slipping and I knew I had to go flat. I remember I was telling myself "my pack will protect me".

    The snow laden limbs hit the ground 2 metres behind my feet as I hit the ground. The beech limb that broke off was about 7metres long and I would say 300mm dia at the base where it had just snapped clean off the tree with the weight of snow.

    I've heard limbs come down in dead calm as it was that day, but always away off.

    I was a lucky boy that day.
    Bagheera, Woody and 40mm like this.

  9. #24
    Member Ben Waimata's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Hawkes Bay
    When you look at a stand of mature Eucalyptus trees it's not uncommon to see dead straight trunks for a long way up, some of the tall Aussie forests can have trees with no branches at all for the bottom 50m of their trunks. Guess what? They did have branches once. Lots of branches. The amazing abillty of the genus to self prune is also why they are commonly called 'widow makers' in Australia. Unlike Astelia, Euc branches can fall end first, impaling anything underneath very cleanly. There are some horror stories from Australia about people impaled by branches. Big branches are very heavy too, many of them are about 1.3X the weight of water per volume. Big wind here last week and I found some Euc branches impaled into the paddock looking like dead trees 4m tall. I don't go under them during wind events, but unfortunately the branches shed whenever they are ready, not just during wind, so you're not likely to hear it coming.

    Eucalyptus have a bad reputation for this but the reality is all trees do the same thing and they can all kill us unexpectedly. You would need to be ludicrously risk averse to not walk into a forest for fear of falling branches.... people also get killed by bits falling off/from aircraft and from the tops of buildings too.
    Bagheera likes this.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    The local walkway here is being closed until October due to the risk from the gum trees. They are huge, for many years one was thought to be the tallest tree in NZ. Apparently longtail bats are semi-hibernating under the peeling bark so the council can’t do anything to the trees until spring.

  11. #26
    Member canross's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Walked along a lesser used but still popular doc track in beach forest and marveled at just how many sketchy hung up limbs, snapped hung up tops, heavy leaning and swaying rotted out trees were not just within striking distance, but directly over the track. Seemed like every time our group stopped we had to move them away from digging through their pack underneath something dangerous or leaning against something that was barely hanging on. Got some grief from them about being paranoid so I ushered them back out of striking distance then dislodged one with a gentle push...
    Bagheera and XR500 like this.



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