Follow a Man Named John Smith (Part Three) – Curraghmore Station

“On a Mish” #180 Follow a Man Named John Smith (Part Three). Curraghmore Station. Mackenzie Country. 10.8.2009. My time as a possum trapper on the West Coast had ended with a result of ‘inconclusive’. Considering what a man named John Smith and I had done; this was not what I wanted to hear. Breakthroughs are what most think of when they think about scientists working in labs, but there is a trial and error first. With our work on the West Coast over it was time to turn our attention to a new pest and a completely different part of the South Island to work in…

The man who released rabbit in Aotearoa got a lot of praise due to how good the hunting was. The praise quickly wore of when the little furballs began to multiply, spread all throughout the country and then caused all sorts of issues with farmers’ crops. Within a very short time, New Zealand had a major rabbit problem.

After the West Coast adventure, I would return to the lab for a while, and then I would be sent on another pest quest. But this time it was into the vast expanses of the Mackenzie Country. Once again, I was following a man named John Smith, but this time Ray would be coming on the journey as well.

We drove from Christchurch to Curraghmore Station, which is right in the heart of the Mackenzie Country (near Lake Benmore) and would be our base for the next week or so. On this mish we had a musterers’ hut which had a fireplace to stay in . This was a step up from the camper and was a must when the temperature barely got above one degree.

Our job seemed simple on paper. It began with us splitting up and going to certain areas of the farm to do a scat (poop) count and then clear the area we had counted in so we could return later to check for fresh scat. The fresh high-country air was accompanied with excellent views of the surrounding area as well as the distant Southern Alps, with Aoraki Mt Cook easily standing tallest of them all. After a day of counting poop, we returned to the farm hut for dinner and a rest before the next task.

During the meal Ray explained how we were going to go out and put GPS trackers on 20 rabbits to monitor their movements. I just listened while enjoying dinner but had to pause for a second when I thought about what we were about to do. How exactly do you get a rabbit to put a tracker on?

Aoraki/Mt Cook(3724m)

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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