Organisers of an annual 24-hour rabbit hunt in Central Otago say the region is seeing an exceptional growth of the pests and farmers are under pressure to control them.
Thirty-six teams and 432 shooters are taking part in the 21st Easter bunny hunt in Alexandra on Friday.
Convenor Dave Ramsay says rabbits are in large numbers in the region but there has been a lot of growth in the high country and they are going to be very hard to shoot in the long grass.
However, an animal welfare group says the event is a fun day out and not serious pest control.
SAFE executive director Hans Kriek says it attracts inexperienced hunters, which increases the number of animals not killed cleanly.
Pest control needs to be taken more seriously and executed more humanely, he says.