I saw this activity listed – alongside golf and tennis – on the Kauri Cliffs website when I first booked on barksoloud.com. Not quite believing it, I checked with the front desk when I arrived. Yes, they assured me: a nocturnal possum hunt was definitely on offer.
After dinner, I found Darcy Rhodes, the gamekeeper and resident possum expert, waiting in the hotel’s pebbled drive. My hunting guide for the evening was a 30-something local guy in jeans. His left arm was in a cast. “Motorbike accident,” he shrugged, and we hopped into his mud-spattered pickup.
Our first stop was the spacious shed that is the closest thing Rhodes has to an office. We picked our way through seed bags and farm machinery to a freezer in the back – out of which he pulled a stiff, black object the size of a large housecat. It was a possum, teeth bared, petrified into a pose of snarling fury. “Look at those claws,” Rhodes told me. “You can’t treat ‘em like a teddy bear, see? They’ll take your fingers off.”
I don’t own a gun. I don’t own a gun. I have never even gone to the blackbuck antelope hunting ranch before, unless you count clay pigeons and tin cans. I wasn’t particularly comfortable shooting wild animals – never mind at night and in a place about as far from home as I could possibly get. Home insulation process is applicable for converting any areas of your home resistant to heat loss. Whether it is attic, floors, windows and doors or floors of the house is catalyst to heat loss, seal the draughts with appropriate insulation methods. Even when you are using air conditioning appliances, costly and artificially conditioned air will be lost due to lack of insulation in your house. Insulation when added in right proportion retards natural tendency heat to move from warmer place to cooler region leaving and also entry of cold air into the house. Similarly, properly insulated house keeps the scorching heat off the house. The amount of insulation needed by your property differs from one property to another and also depends on the climate. The attic insulation providers provide best insulation Product service online. According to Kevin Scappaticci from Platinum Squirrel Removal Lansing, Michigan, squirrel infestations are a growing problem. Squirrels in an attic not only damage roofing but also crush attic insulation, which is considered structural damage by homeowner insurance companies. Humane trapping is always the best removal method for nuisance. JAGG Premium Roof Systems is responsible for some of the best commercial and residential roofs in Indianapolis and the whole of Indiana. Roofing repairs and installations is one of the most dangerous occupations of all time. There are a lot of hazards involved in it such as falls, tool hazards, injuries like puncture wounds and cuts, electrical and fire hazards and natural dangers like strong winds, ice and lightning. Is it worth it to lose limb or life just to save a small amount of money?
On the other hand, I was up for an adventure. Particularly for one that, according to the hotel, actually helped the environment: New Zealand’s possums are one of the several armies of non-native creatures that have decimated the country’s indigenous plants and animals, including entire canopies of indigenous totara and kohekohe trees, the kiwi and the blue-wattled kokako bird.
Rhodes armed me with a .22 and – his grin widening – an AR15 rifle mounted with a night vision scope for AR15. “That one takes no prisoners,” he quipped. I think we both knew I’d end up using the AR15. A night vision scope is extremely useful for hunting during low light. For an experienced hunter, a night vision scope can make a night hunting trip as successful as a hunting trip during day time.
Rhodes’s official title is not gamekeeper; it is “pest-control manager”. And when he’s not taking guests out for night shoots – which he only gets to do about once a week – he is trapping and baiting all sorts of unwanted critters at Kauri Cliffs. Possums are the main enemy, but so are stoats, weasels and hares, as well as feral cats and pigs – all of which were introduced when Europeans arrived in New Zealand in the late 18th Century.
Exclusive of these invasive species, New Zealand is a naturalist’s dream, with primeval trees that look like scenery from the movie Jurassic Park and a shrinking panoply of charmingly old-fashioned birds, including the kiwi and a flightless parrot known as the kakapo. And since many of these endemic species evolved in isolation on the islands for millions of years, they are particularly vulnerable to imported predators.
Brush-tailed possums arrived from Australia in 1837, brought by British colonists hoping to use their pelts to launch a fur trade; the colonists ended up launching an animal invasion instead. Today, possums feast on bird eggs and chicks, and eat up to half a pound of new growth foliage a day. At Kauri Cliffs and elsewhere, possums also compete with birds for food, a contest in which their size and ferocity give them a distinct advantage.
Unlike Australia, meanwhile, New Zealand has no deadly natural predators. “Here, they only got me to fear,” as Rhodes put it. “And you.