The rostered period in the field was 34 days which equated to 1822 hours of hunting. The team of 12 covered 4248km, the highest coverage for a roster since the Pest Eradication Project began the hunting phase in August 2011.
Three months into this hunting season the new team (having arrived mid-April) have found no live rabbits. Despite this, everyone assigned to the Pest Eradication Project are still highly motivated. With spring just around the corner, wildlife will start to return to the island making trekking even more interesting. While this is all very exciting for the hunters and their dogs, it will be increasingly difficult to access and hunt along the coastal areas after August due to the large seal and penguin populations expected to arrive shortly (the teams focus is on minimising disturbance to wildlife). During August the team will focus their attention along the coast, especially the longer tussock areas that surround most of the soon to be occupied penguin colonies on the island.
While it can be quite lonely in the field at times the team come together each night at 1900 hrs as part of the nightly sked back to station where they can hear each other’s intentions for the following day. After formalities, the team pulls out their bingo cards and wait for either Mango or Colin (comms team) to read out the nightly bingo numbers. Only four numbers per night are read out and we are now into week two of the bingo competition. Tension is mounting… who screams out BINGO is anyone’s guess.