Trapper Profile: Trapper Trev
Username: Trapper Trev
Trapping Area: 1 Hectare
Location: Wendy Road (off Anzac Valley)
I trap an area that’s a bit over a hectare. It’s mostly old kanuka forest, which had been opened up to stock. About fourteen years ago we fenced it off and covenanted it and I’ve since planted lots of native trees, and there’s a lot of regrowth, with fern and the like. It goes up a fairly steep hill at the back and a stream runs down the middle of the catchment, to a pond, so there are lots of different habitats and ecosystems. The whole area is surrounded by kikuyu pasture, which means predators can re-invade.
I started trapping about 15 months ago, after a ferret came and killed one of our chooks, which really annoyed us, and we just carried on from there.
I’ve got about 15 traps out at the moment. There are a couple of DOC200 stoat traps, five Timms traps, and the rest are tunnel traps [Victor traps] for rats and mice. It takes me about an hour to check the line, depending on what’s going on. I used to go every 2-3 days, but now that things have dropped off, I’m stretching it out to every 4 or 5 days.
I bait with peanut butter and Best Foods mayo for the rats, and fresh fruit (mainly apple) with peanut butter for possums, along with a flour blaze. The mustelid traps are baited with an egg, or sometimes rabbit, but that seems to go rotten really quickly these days, so I’ve eased that off until the winter.
My kit bag is fairly standard, although I do carry my electric drill, to get into the DOC200 traps.
I’ve seen a distinct change in the range and type of predators being caught. I used to catch up to five or six in a day – now I can go five or six days without catching anything. I catch almost no possums now, only the odd rat and occasional mouse…and quite a few hedgehogs [Trapper Trev holds the PFWT record for catches of hedgehogs], which my cruel son, Waitakdan, likes to mock me about [he says they’re not real pests].
Although it’s a bit dispiriting when you don’t catch anything, but it’s also a really good sign [that there are low numbers of predators]. It’s nice working in the bush and seeing it grow and develop, seeing the birdlife improve and seeing and hearing them. The exercise is good as well. There’s also a primal instinct to seeing what you can catch.
I make my rat tunnels out of corflute from old election signs. They’re lighter and easier to carry than wooden ones. Signs from The Green Party are best, because they blend in better with the bush. The signs also make great protectors, when planting young trees.
I don’t see my trapping changing over the coming years. As long as we’re here, I’ll keep doing it. It’s good exercise, good recreation, and every now and then you get something, like, today I got four. It’s something to do.
Waitakdan does pest control on his property in the foothills of Waitakere Township.