My experience of 1080 poison
“I MAY HAVE BEEN THE BRINGER OF DEATH. BUT NOT SUFFERING. ALSO I DIDN’T KILL WHAT I WAS TRYING TO SAVE, AS IN THE BIRDS”
Back in the mid 1990s I was awarded an eradication contract with a forestry administration company in the Wairarapa. My job was to eradicate anything that had four legs, a tail, and a head from 6000 hectares of farm land. This farm land was bought by an overseas investor and was being planted in pines. The original contract ran for two years until the pines had established themselves.
In the contract I could remove from the property any, if not all the dead animals I wanted. This arrangement would give me a fairly good income from possum fur on top of the contract fee. So I thought.
To do the job efficiently I split things up into categories and times. For instance sheep and cattle in daylight. Possums at night. Rabbits and hares at night. Deer at night. Goats in daylight. Pigs in daylight and night. Traps and cyanide laid in daylight, and so on. Then the days and nights were split to target specific animals. If I was targeting rabbits and hares on a particular night, all the deer, sheep, etc were left alone. OK, I did take out the odd deer, pig and possum. No two consecutive nights had the same target.
For those wondering how I can see things at night, not very many nights are pitch black and you do get used to it over time. Also I used to have a small hand torch strapped to my shoulder to help when I was rolling a smoke. The kill light was a million candlepower handheld spotlight hooked into the motorbike. Also a 500 candlepower battery-run backpack spotlight for when I had to leave the bike.
As with most people working days or night shift I had my break times. These break times coincided with me reaching particular parts of the farm. These places were sheltered spots and mostly near native bush. A couple were right on the boundary with a conservation property. Another spot was beside an area of manuka that had been crush-rolled so they could plant in amongst it. It was in these areas when you switched off the lights and engine of the four wheeler that you could lay back on the ground and appreciate the noises made by the night life. Kiwis calling, nightingales flitting around, moreporks calling. The odd hedgehog coming in to see what you have for smoko.
Then the night up by the crushed manuka, two little moreporks landing on the front carrier of the bike with their big eyes sort of asking what’s for dinner. Parent sitting on the fence watching both myself and them.
The next night I returned at about the same time, this time with cut up rabbit. I waited around for a while and they didn’t turn up so I left pieces of rabbit on the ground and on the fence posts. Two nights later I was back in the area and with a bit of possum was going to leave them a feed. The lights picked them up sitting on the fence as I was going down the track. To keep a long story short, over time I could get fairly close to them but not quite hand feed them.
Meanwhile back in the other spots the night life could get rowdy on occasions. I used to take out the odd person with me for a hunt and they loved sitting in these places listening. A lot of them never realised just how much night life was in the bush.
Well all this changed the day the council twats turned up.