For the tenth time, a Central Otago rabbit-shooter has walked away with a second place in the annual Great Easter Bunny Hunt.
Alexandra man Ray Mossit, who has participated in the event in each of the 26 years since it started, said he was “rapt” with the result.
“The guys threatened me that if I got one more second they were going to put me in a bridesmaid’s dress and it bloody happened again,” Mossit said.
It was his third second place in a row. He has won the competition five times in the past.
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Mossit’s team of twelve shot 835 rabbits, 16 hares, two possums and one mouse.
“My daughter shot a mouse and it went in the count. She bloody got it with a shotgun, it was unbelievable,” he laughed.
For team captain Mossit, 61, the event is a family get-together, with his three children and good mates in the team.
“We are a hunting family and I shoot full-time for living,” he said.
Teams shot rabbits on the farms through the night and returned to Alexandra by midday Saturday for counting.
Staying up after an all-night Good Friday shooting was the hardest part of the event, Mossit said.
“You are absolutely shattered on the next day.”
In keeping with tradition, the team had a 16 hour-long sleepover at Mossit’s house on Saturday night.
“I’m getting older now and it’s knocking me more and more each year. It takes me another couple of days to recover over the young fellows,” Mossit said.
Event convenor Dave Ramsay said over 8000 pests were killed in the Easter Bunny Hunt between Good Friday and Saturday morning.
Despite being nine teams short from last year, 21 teams of 12 made the event a success.
“Weather would have played a part in what they did during the night.
“It was a bit slippery out there, but a lot of them [hunters] walked instead of using vehicles,” Ramsay said.
The event was incident-free.
A lot of Central Otago farmers benefited from the annual easter event, Ramsay said.
Mossit said a farmer on whose property they were shooting won’t have to worry about poisoning pests for another year.
“What we are doing as far as the shoot goes probably is the drop in the bucket in the overall scale of things, but you use every tool that’s available to you,” he said.
The event, organised by the Alexandra Lions Club, has run for 26 years as a community fundraising initiative.