British expat Phil B. emails from Middle Earth about an Easter event most of us could get behind, a 24-hour bunny shoot!
Guess what the Kiwis do for Easter …
Otago is the bottom right hand bit of the south Island.
Otago bunnies grow BIG (about the size of a hare but proportionately stockier) and are considered a pest. Rules are simple – a team of three, 24 hours, shoot as many as you can in the time. No limit on calibre of rifle, shotgun, method or what state the rabbit is in when it is handed in for counting (i.e. flattened by the Ute still counts).
Doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to the numbers but it pisses off the tree huggers and bunny lovers enormously.
It is usually reported on the 6 O’clock news as the highlight of the Easter weekend news with the scores and discussions about how it was better/worse than last year, record etc. Among firearms afficianados, the subject of rifles, calibres and loads for the ammunition are discussed as avidly as the chances of who’ll win the FA cup in Newcastle.
This year was a little disappointing:
Conditions favoured the rabbits this year at the Great Easter Bunny Hunt in Central Otago, with 10,424 bunnies bagged – the lowest tally for six years.
Teams of hunters from all over New Zealand converged on Alexandra for the 24-hour event, organised by the Alexandra Lions Club.
Their haul was displayed in the town’s Pioneer Park yesterday and the top team out of 36 – the Southern Hopper Stoppers – won the contest with 1035 rabbits.
This year’s tally was less than half last year’s total of 22,904 and event convenor Dave Ramsay said the odds were in the rabbits’ favour this year.
And look at the picture!
OMG! THE CHILDREN!
Well, here’s a couple who brought their kids with them:
The Great Easter Bunny Hunt can have a happy ending – just ask Mike and Kate Evans.
Mike proposed to Kate during the event 17 years ago, and now happily married and living in Arrowtown, the couple are back in the hunt this year in a team that includes son Nicholas and daughter Mikayla.
Mikayla (7) and Nicholas (11) would be acting as support crew, as “picker-uppers” and maybe doing some cooking or providing hot drinks for the hunters. The family was looking forward to spending some time together “away from any electronic equipment”, Mrs Evans said.
“You get to see countryside that you would never normally have access to and that’s a real privilege,” Mr Evans added.
“It’s a real good weekend, getting out in the fresh air and getting some exercise; spending time with your family. It’s not really about how many rabbits you get.”
Isn’t that nice?