Two main wallaby species, originally from Australia, call New Zealand home. With more than 500,000 wallabies on farms, farmers struggle to control constantly rising numbers. The animals tend to damage plantings, fences, shrubs, native bush seedlings, resulting in thousands of dollars of damage to farms. Farmers have the option to ignore the problem, poison the animals, or enlist the help of recreational hunters to help manage the population.
The dama wallaby is the most commonly found. A dama wallaby buck is approximately 21 inches high and weighs around 11 lbs, while the doe is slightly smaller. The underside is a slightly paler gray than the grey-brown upper body, and the shoulders are rufous. It's tail is uniform grey and tapers. A joey would remain in its mother's pouch for 250 days after birth. Dama wallabies tend to form small groups.
Bennett's wallabies, also known as red-necked wallabies, are larger than the dama wallaby in that it stands at 32 inches tall with the tail length almost as long as the body. Bennett's wallabies weigh approximately 44 lbs and are greyish brown with a pale grey underside and rufous shoulders. The tail and hind feet are black tipped. Unlike the dama wallaby, the Bennett's wallaby is a solitary creature. A joey will remain in the doe's pouch for 274 days.
In New Zealand there are two wallaby species available for hunting, Dama Wallaby and Bennett's Wallaby.
|Scientific Name:||Macropus rufogriseus rufogriseus|
|Gestation period:||3 days|
Wallabies are nocturnal animals that start feeding early in the evening. During night hunting trips, be sure to bring a good spotlight with spare batteries. Always be careful to identify your target carefully. Cattle will have a greenish-yellow eye-shine, while possum and wallabies will have a reddish eye-shine.
During the day, especially on cold winter days following wet weather, the dama wallaby will find sunny spots on the forest floor, or on small clearings, basking in the sun.
The hunter should ideally stake out likely feeding areas starting in the early evening. They are typically found in native scrub or bush, pasture hill country where there are gullies, or in pine plantations. Signs of wallaby feeding areas include well defined tracks with dug up plant roots, browsed shrubs and grass, and wallaby droppings.
Binoculars offer a great advantage for wallaby hunting trips, since the animals are elusive and will retreat fast when they are disturbed.
Wallabies are small and light-weighted animals, that are typically shot at medium to long distance. Opt for a light caliber rifle with a flat trajectory. Examples include a .222 or .243.
Wallabies' small stature is the biggest challenge during hunting trips. When they squat down on their hind legs, the gut area and the legs will be the biggest part of the animal. However, that is not the best area for shot placement.
Head-shots are an option, bearing in mind the fact that the head is quite small, and a missed shot will startle the animal, while a poor shot may wound it. The adrenaline surge from a poor shot will cause the animal to run, and you may lose it in the foliage.
The chest shot is most effective for wallaby hunting, followed by the sideways shot through both shoulders.