Ecosystem Poison 1080 Should be Banned – Hunting Author

by Tony Orman

The author of a new hunting book “Straight Arrows and Fast Bullets” says 1080 poison, used to kill rats and possums, should be banned. Author Peter Hill says in his many years experience of the North Island backcountry, he is convinced the poison does more harm than good.
“The scientific evidence is there in black and white. It should have been banned may years ago, as the United States and other countries have done.”
Hinting there is often no rhyme nor reason to where the poison is dropped by the Department of Conservation, the former possum trapper says possum numbers are often low. He says in his many years of experience in the bush, possums have no impact on bird life while possum numbers in high altitude beech forest, have been and always will be, very low due to unpalatable food and the high ridges being too wet and exposed. In other words the natural carrying capacity of the habitat is low.
Peter Hill says in 1992 when he was a professional commercial possum trapper in the North Island’s Whirinaki Forest Park, fur prices plummeted over a few years. Consequently the Okahu valley had not been trapped and possum numbers were relatively high. However the high tallies Peter obtained compensated for the low price per skin.
Prolific Birdlife
The high possum numbers were a trapper’s dream. Significantly also was the bird life was prolific. As he worked, Peter disturbed insect and the many tomtits and other insectivorous birds followed him, feeding on the abundant insects. There were other birds such as kaka, tui and bellbird plus the vegetarian kereru (pigeon) whooshing through the treetops.

An insectivorous bird – bush robin

“The bush was also in good condition with plenty of regeneration” writes Peter Hill.
Every morning he would wake up to the dawn chorus. He never needed an alarm clock with the bellbirds and other bird calls ringing in the air. During the night he would hear moreporks and very frequently the high pitched whistle of the kiwi. Peter pursued possums, covering a huge amount of country and knocking the possum population right down.
“The fact is possums are easily controlled  through ground hunting. Unlike rabbits, doe possums usually only have one young a year and the old possums die off – it’s the circle of life.”
A short time after Peter gave up possum trapping, the Department of Conservation carried out a huge 1080 drop over the valley and much of the Whirinaki Forest and in areas where possum trapping had been intense. Possum numbers were therefore very low.
“Who knows how much that 1080 drop cost and whether it was even necessary,” says Peter Hill. “Government departments such as DOC, have not done the groundwork that serious possum trappers have done. And yet for some bizarre reason they are in charge of making decisions they obviously know little about.”
DOC Misleading Public
Peter Hill says for years the Department of Conservation has been misleading the public, proclaiming that the plague of possums, deer and all “pest” animals are killing off our bush and wildlife. 
“The general public with no backcountry knowledge simply trust DOC know what they are doing,” he says. “In my opinion what DOC is advising is blatantly wrong information.”
Peter Hill returned to the Whirinaki Forest Park.
“The birdlife is nothing like it once was and certainly  there was very little sign of possum. The department does a major 1080 drop every three years in the Whirinaki Forest and poison drops have wiped out nearly all the bird life.”
Nature balances things out to create a working ecosystem. Rats and stoats have been in New Zealand for many years. The decrease in bird numbers he contends, is due to the many continued 1080 drops. A poisoned bird or animal retains toxic potency to poison any scavenger be it bird or animal. Any animal dying of 1080 poisoning does so painfully and slowly.
Peter Hill writes that in areas where there has been no 1080 drops, the birdlife is amazing and possums, stoats, deer, rats and native animals all live as one in natural balance.

Footnote: “Straight Arrows and Fast Bullets” is published by Bateman Books Price $39.99 and will be released in August 2022. Well written, most of the book features absorbing tales from the author’s hunting years. It’s an engaging read.













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9 Responses to Ecosystem Poison 1080 Should be Banned – Hunting Author

  1. Joshua White says:

    Like Peter Hill I recall camping in a river valley and being wakened by this resounding dawn chorus. Some years later the Animal Health Board with DOC’s permission, dropped 1080. The dawn chorus has gone.
    The corrupt aspect is that it was for the fallacious reason of possums and TB spread. But the TB was brought into the area by a farmer transporting cattle. The AHB knew but blamed possums. The farmer was not prosecuted. 1080 was dropped – blessed by DOC.

  2. Pepe Possum says:

    Well spoken Peter Hill. The book sounds like a winner. Good on you Peter for speaking out.

  3. Bud jones JonesQSM says:

    I have had a real life experience with possums.I set about planting my Q E 2 covenant wetland with 30,000 trees from 1982 & had widespread possum damage to young trees. I did night spot light shoots, getting 52 the first night .I persisted until Talley’s dropped to only 10–dozen finally it became a waste of good sleep time. Numbers were so low they seemed unable to sustain against my onslaught & NEVER CAME BACK to this day40 years later, such poor breeders as they are in severe climates.
    Further, I note the great writer researcher on this subject, the late Bill Benfield. This 1080 drop madness fails to recognize that pushing against nature like this is like pushing against a spring it will always return to its natural balance of equilibrium, finding the carrying capacity balance.
    Efforts to upset this will not be successful & in this particular scenario will have un expected, & unwanted side effects like the insecticide 1080 reducing the birds food source & by kill of non target creatures.

  4. Stewart Hydes says:

    Bottom line is – mankind is systematically destroying the ecosystems on our planet.
    We must change our destructive ways – which include the use of Aerial 1080.
    * the human population cracked 1 billion not much more than 200 years ago. By 1970, there were 3.5 billion of us. We are just about to crack 8 billion. And there is forecast to be 10, pushing 11 billion of us, by the end of this century
    * 93% of the mammalian biomass on the planet is now either human, or the animals we farm to feed ourselves
    * there has been a 60% reduction in global wildlife, since 1970
    * there has been a 75% reduction in global insect biomass, in the past 30 years
    Einstein told us the definition of insanity – is to keep doing the same thing – and expect a different outcome.
    By interrupting the Krebs cycle – 1080 kills everything that consumes oxygen.
    YOU HAVE BEEN LIED TO, NEW ZEALAND – AND YOU KEEP BEING LIED TO.
    Aerial 1080 is no “silver bullet” to mysteriously target introduced species.
    How could it be – when it kills everything? It was first developed as an insecticide, for chrissakes …
    It kills the very non-target species it is meant to save. Especially, the likes of Kea, Karearea (NZ Falcon), and Ruru (Morepork) – who are killed via both direct and secondary poisoning.
    We’ve been using Aerial 1080 for more than 65 years – and it has achieved absolutely nothing.
    Except waste hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.
    New Zealand is, by international standards, TB Free – so that is no justification for it’s continued use.
    Predator Free 2050 will cost us 1.6 trillion dollars – if we were just to eliminate possums, rats and mustelids from public (conservation) land alone – which is only one-third of New Zealand’s total land area. So that’s a ridiculous pipedream – and no justification for the continued use of a counter-productive, ecocidal poison.
    A small and dedicated group of New Zealanders keep trying to tell the majority (most of whom are city-dwellers, to be fair) to WAKE UP.
    The incessant ring of the alarm clock appears to fall on deaf ears .. but it keeps ringing, nevertheless …

  5. Dr. Charlie Baycroft says:

    We ought to be wondering what the real agenda behind this pollution of the environment with such highly toxic substances really is?

    Why are people with great political influence so intent on spending over 18 Billion dollars of the people’s money to poison the environment they live in?

    In a very lengthy advocacy for NZ becoming “predator Free” commissioned by Gareth Morgan (as the Predator Free NZ Trust) there is a statement that the return on the (then estimated) 9 Billion cost would come from increased income from tourism and agriculture.

    Tourists, it was assumed, would stay around 3 more days because they could see more native birds. This assumes that their available holiday time would suddenly increase and that some birds are a major tourist attraction that visitors cannot get enough of.
    Perhaps? Nope.

    Income from farming would vastly increase because livestock could eat the vegetation that possums were consuming.
    They did not say whether they would be cutting the native bush and trucking it to farms or perhaps just turning more native forest areas into farms.
    I guess Mr. Morgan (who is very good at getting rich) does not understand that habitat destruction and reallocation is the major threat to native species.

    The big bosses in DOC regard this government enterprise as a big business even though it does not provide desired goods or services to many willing customers.

    The obsession with 1080 and other lethal toxins must have some ultimate commercial goal.

    Allocating our public lands for different uses and charging people for access to them has great economic potential but how can the people who communally own these resources be persuaded to agree?

    Poisoning that gets rid of the interesting wildlife is likely to discourage more and more people from visiting, enjoying and valuing their communal property and make them more agreeable to commercializing it.

    Then DOC managers and their friends in big business can allocate specific areas for things like bird watching, tramping, hunting, fishing, mining, farming, etc. and charge “customers” who wish to go there.

    Impossible? Well maybe not because paying for access to these recreational products is commonplace in most other parts of the world already and is becoming more accepted and common here as well.

    New Zealand people have been conditioned since the 1980’s to accept “user pays” (TWICE) for many things that those in government force us to buy.

    DOC already requires people that hunt to obtain permits for specific areas but has not begun charging YET.

    DOC is also in the process of taking over the management of fish and game and also the revenue from licenses.

    Changes to the management of the fish in the sea (which the people legally own) will result in reduction of the recreational “quota” and license fees as well.

    I start seeing Predator Free as a means for the real predators (the political and commercial elites that control the main political parties) to take more of our FREEdom from us.

    The ambition of the politically elite busybodies is to have the authority and power to control everyone else and that of their corporate funders and partners in crime is to have everyone else’s money and ownership of the communal resources as well.

    Maybe people have forgotten that they used to own the railway, airline, power plants and other assets that were privatized.

    It’s only logical that the people that sold and bought what we used to communally own will do the same to our communally owned lands and the valuable natural resources they contain.

    It should be obvious that this Predator Free “ambition” is foolish, impossible, dangerous and cruel.

    DOC officials admit that the poisoning also kills native birds but justifies it by saying the “bounce back”. Yes, the surviving birds do breed up and restore numbers because there is more available space and food.

    The rats, mice, possums, stoats, ferrets, feral cats, deer, pigs and other “predators?” do the same but we are not supposed to know that.

    Polluting the environment with the most lethal substances available that kill every living thing that relies on metabolizing oxygen at a cost of over 18 BILLION dollars is sheer lunacy and that is why no other country will attempt it.

    “Saving native birds” by polluting their habitat with poisons that also kill them (because some can survive and reproduce) has to be an excuse for a more sinister agenda.

    That agenda can only be stealing the ownership of our communally owned lands and resources from the people so that they can be commercialized for the financial gain of the rich global corporations.

    It might be truthfully called LOSER PAYS?

  6. Those who know the land learn the languages of Mother Nature Papatūānuku knows of what Peter Hill speaks
    Great that more literature is available so kids who can’t get into the Bush have some alternative to DOC PR
    We know it’s all about the money
    Kia kaha
    Reihana

  7. Bud jones JonesQSM says:

    I have had a real life experience with possums.I set about planting my Q E 2 covenant wetland with 30,000 trees from 1982 & had widespread possum damage to young trees. I did night spot light shoots, getting 52 the first night .I persisted until Talley’s dropped to only 10–dozen finally it became a waste of good sleep time. Numbers were so low they seemed unable to sustain against my onslaught & NEVER CAME BACK to this day 40 years later, such poor breeders as they are in severe climates.
    Further, I note the great writer researcher on this subject, the late Bill Benfield. This 1080 drop madness fails to recognize that pushing against nature like this is like pushing against a spring it will always return to its natural balance of equilibrium, finding the carrying capacity balance.
    Efforts to upset this will not be successful & in this particular scenario will have un expected, & unwanted side effects like the insecticide 1080 reducing the birds food source & by kill of non target creatures

  8. Lewis Hore says:

    We are forever having the “ science “ of 1080 rammed down our throats “ look at the science “we are told.
    Over the last 20 years I’ve monitored several 1080 poison drops one area in particular for all of those years and what I’ve seen is nothing like the science that’s being preached to us.
    The one area of 4,000 hectares I monitored was the subject of a scientific study for three years on the effects of 1080 on tomtits. Having managed to get hold of that study the scientists findings was nothing like what I found. The study found “ no dead birds birds were found before or after the drop” Three days after the drop several of us went looking and found 16 of the study birds “tomtits “ and 8 other of species along with weta, bush worms lying on top of the ground and heaps of other insects. All the birds were offered to the DoC Otago Conservancy for autopsy but they declined saying “ we only have funding for one autopsy a year”
    All birds were grid referenced to a map, the opportunity arose to have the numbers of dead birds found in the 4,000 hectares by a senior Landcare scientist who estimated there would have been 10,000 bird deaths, he saw the look of horror on my face and said “ what’s the problem were there any extinctions “. I rest my case. There is a lot more to my findings than the above too much to write here.

  9. Dave says:

    How many Peter Hills do we need? This information came out in the 1960’s. DOC is just like Forestry when the Choppers started taking the deer numbers down. They were concerned about their kingdom and losing it which they did so there is no way DOC will allow this cash cow to go. It is not about saving the bush it is about the egos of those in power who spend our money on an unobtainable objective.

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