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It’s wallaby time of year again in South Canterbury! The 22nd annual South Canterbury Recreational Sportsmans Club wallaby hunt was held 16 – 18 March.

The club has run an annual wallaby hunt since 1991. Waimate is known as the wallaby capital, but entrants in the SCRSC wallaby hunting competition hunt throughout the Hunters Hills and Mount Dobson area. 2008 was a particularly bumper year for the competition, with 2000 wallabies shot over one weekend. How many were shot in 2012? We don’t know yet, but we’d love to hear from you if you were there! What was your tally?

A tale (tail) of three wallaby

Before people arrived in New Zealand, the only native mammals were three species of bat and eight species of seal and sea lion. Our first peoples brought kiore (Pacific rats) and kurī (Polynesian dogs). European settlers introduced a huge range of creatures, including seven species of wallaby.

The Waimate kind – red necked (or Bennett’s) wallaby – were brought here by Michael Studholme, the first European settler in the district in the early 1870s. He released two females and one male, which in 1874 bounced off into the Hunters Hills, where their descendants have been breeding ever since.

On occasion, they have extended their range into areas south of the Waitaki River and into the Mackenzie Basin. International tourists have been known to report being surprised to see a ‘giant rat’ on the Two Thumb Range! Wallaby have even become a bit of a road hazard around the place as they look for their next meal. You may see their distinctive calling card on the hillsides (and we don’t just mean the chewed up vegetation!)

Unfortunately, they cause a lot of damage on public and private land, so they are in the sights of landowners, the regional council and DOC! So it is great to see recreational hunters actively targeting wallabies through this event.

If you missed the competition, there’s always next year. But in the meantime, you can still set your sights our way.

Some ‘hot spots’ for red-neck ‘roos are:

Don’t forget to:

P.S. Tried the famous Waimate wallaby pie?

Want to venture further into culinary wilderness? Here’s links to three recipes for mouth-watering wallaby: