Episode 10, Season 1

Fly fishing

Behind the Scenes

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The Hunt

There are so many really cool species of animals that you can hunt around the world and we have certainly had the privilege of hunting some amazing animals in some amazing destinations. But do you want to know a guilty little secret? One of our favourite things to hunt is actually possums! 

I know it sounds stupid and there’s probably very few hunters who would be chomping at the bit to go on a possum hunt, but it is just so much fun. 

Queue all the antis having a pink fit at me admitting that I enjoy hunting something. I even used that dreaded ‘F’ word – fun. But that’s exactly what it is – fun with a cause. 

You see, none of us are out here killing things for no reason. There’s always a reason behind why we hunt. 

For many hunters, that is putting meat on the table – and while we love wild game as much as the next hunter, I think it’s a dangerous precedent to set to claim we only hunt for meat or that meat hunting is somehow more ethical than other forms of hunting. 

Take possum hunting for instance. We’re not just out there shooting fluffy animals because it’s fun and we enjoy it – that’s kind of the perk to the job. 

The reason we do it is to help reduce brushtail possums in Tasmania, which helps mitigate the damage they cause to the environment, to farms, and even in the suburbs and cities. 

Unlike their shy cousin, the ringtail possum, the brushtail is not afraid of anything or anyone. He will venture onto farmland for a feed, invite his friends over for a smorgasbord in your garden, or help himself to your garbage. He may even decide to take up residence in your roof or wall cavity, keeping you awake long into the night with his incessant scratching and twittering. 

The possum is also an opportunistic eater, feeding on anything they can get their paws. Predominantly herbivorous, they have a penchant for vegetable gardens and crops but are not adverse to raiding nests to eat eggs, or to eating small mammals and invertebrates.   

Possums are just as comfortable in the bush as they are on a farm, or in the suburbs or even in the middle of a city. 

Oh yes, and they carry diseases that can be passed to humans. 

One of the most common call outs for pest control is the removal or destruction of possums in a suburban or urban residence. 

The Tasmanian government recognises that recreational hunters and farmers are the best form of defence against possum invasions in our cities. Take them out in the country and you reduce their numbers in the cities. And it sure beats the alternative, which is laying 1080 poison baits for them to eat! 

So what is it that we like so much about a good old possum shoot? Well, imagine you are clay target shooting… at night… with a spotlight. Only your target is sitting way up in a tree, well out of sight. The only hint that its up there is a faint red gleam from its eyes as the spotlight hits them. You have a split second to fire the shotgun before the target takes off amongst the tree branches. 

On this particular hunt, Dad used the Burris handheld thermal for the first time, which was a bit of a game changer, as he could see them in the trees long before we could. 

You’ll also notice there was a bit of a twist to this hunt, as Jess took the fur from some of the possums that we shot and used them to tie flies for fly fishing. 

She then finished the episode trying to catch a brown trout on a possum fur fly. 

Did she succeed? Well, if you haven’t already watched the episode, we won’t spoil the fun. 

The People

The following people appeared in this episode. Click on their photos below to follow them on social media. 

Rod Byfield
Rod Byfield
Jess Byfield
Jess Byfield
Tash Byfield
Tash Byfield
The Location

We were shooting possums on a farm in the Southern Midlands of Tasmania, which is Australia’s southern most state.  

Tasmania is world-famous for its wild brown trout. Fly fishers come from all over the globe to hunt fish in the fast running rivers and lakes. Jess was fishing on the Tyenna River, up past Mount Field in the Derwent Valley. 

Animals hunted

While we were mainly shooting brushtail possums in this episode, we also shot some wallabies, and ‘hunted’ some brown trout with the fur from the possum.

Click the images below for a more in-depth look at both of these species. 

NAME

Red-necked Wallaby

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Macropus rufogriseus

RECOMMENDED FIREPOWER

Firearm - .22LR or larger Bow – Not Allowed

Conservation status

Least Concern

WHERE TO HUNT

Tasmania, Australia and South Island, New Zealand

Rufous Pademelon
NAME

Tasmanian Pademelon

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Thylogale billardierii

RECOMMENDED FIREPOWER

Firearm - .22LR or larger Bow – Not Allowed

Conservation status

Least Concern

WHERE TO HUNT

Tasmania

NAME

Brush tail possum

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Trichosurus vulpecula

RECOMMENDED FIREPOWER

Firearm - .22LR or larger Bow – Not Allowed

Conservation status

Least Concern

WHERE TO HUNT

Tasmania

NAME

Brown Trout

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Salmo trutta

Habitat

Inland fisheries, lakes and rivers

Conservation status

Least Concern

WHERE TO HUNT

World wide

Gear List

Provide a brief overview of the camo and gear the hunters were using in this episode, along with links on where to buy, and discounts available for these items for members. 

Clothing
Equipment

My favourite equipment to take with me everywhere from guns and packs, to binos and rangefinders. 

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Episode Sponsors
Garmin

Garmin make durable devices engineered on the inside for life on the outside. Their products go wherever you go and track your precise location in the process. Go farther than ever before when hunting and finding adventure.

Winchester

Winchester have been supplying quality ammunition and firearms in Australia since 1967. Other brands include Browning, CZ, Steyr, Huglu, Norma ammunition, ADI gun powders, and Meopta optics.

Burris

Burris wide range of optics are built tough to provide a lifetime of reliable performance in the field. The company has so much faith in their products that they provide a lifetime guarantee on all of their optics.

Foodsaver

FoodSaver is a leading producer of vacuum sealer systems that help you preserve food freshness and flavor, and limit waste. We use their GameSaver as its built tough for use in the field, and even comes with a 12V adaptor.

Mansfield Hunting and Fishing

Situated in Victoria's High Country, Mansfield Hunting & Fishing stocks a huge array of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear. I Am Hunter members enjoy a 10% discount on any purchases made in-store or online.

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