Kia ora, I help with the predator control on a small (2ha) northern Manawatu bush remnant.
We currently have 5 DOC 250’s. We are considering adding some traps up in trees, aimed at rats, stoats and weasels.
We are currently considering either the D-Rat, or the Grant Morriss and Bruce Warburton modified Victor stoat and rat trap, with an appropriate cover, supplied by Traps.co.nz.
I appreciate any advice or comments you may have. Thanks.
Kia ora, I help with the predator control on a small (2ha) northern Manawatu bush remnant.
Hope you are well and trapping lots. We have used both traps, the victor modified and the D-rat trap. Unfortunately both traps did not perform at all. I believe they are better suited for in house or around the house.
The victor model is easily disturbed in our case by possums. They play with them and the covers just come off. The rats themselves do not go into the trap but find a way around and access the lure from the top where there is an opening.
The D-rat trap has never caught anything. It is easily triggered by possums as well and rats seem to avoid it.
If you have no possums it might be different. We have 12 victor traps and 10 D-rat traps as a trial.
We also have 50 DoC150 which are effective but need constant checking and re luring and setting. We also have 31 A24 traps. They seem to be the best. The problem is often the catch disappears either other rats or cats remove the bodies. Plus they are expensive. But DoC uses them extensively in Fjordland and seems happy with it.
Have a look at our website: www.thefantailtrust.org or check it out on www.trap.nz.
Hope this helps.
Thank you so much for such an informed and valued summary of your experience. Out of curiosity, did you use the Kill Trap Tunnel (Traps.co.nz part # PTR1029) with the modified Victors?
We have been using one Victor modified trap on the ground, baited with peanut butter, fresh rabbit meat, and a pierced whole egg, and have caught a number of ship rats, but no stoats or weasels. We have a home-made shroud. I’ve attached a picture:
I had a very good 'phone conversation with Fred of environtools.co.nz regarding the mounting of the D-Rat in trees. I paraphrase his advice and experience in saying to be watchful of the various tree fruiting season, or what the rats are preferring as their arborial food source. For example in his experience the Mahoe was a favourite as it seems to host many invertebrates, also the ripe fruit of the Pigeonwood and KawKawa?
When we first started trapping the 2ha remnant (20 odd years ago) we took out over 200 'possums! Mostly using leg holds. We employ 7 Timms traps, alternating baiting with meat and apples to keep on top of the 'possums, and feral cats. Our Regional Council also help with maintaining a number of bait stations with Pestoff laced with the odd cyanide capsule. Even with the 7 Timms used as a ‘sentinels’, I’m always surprised at the several dead 'possums I find at the bottom of the bait stations when they’ve been topped up! But we rarely see any 'possums; mostly males wondering in from the surrounding farmland having been kicked out of home!
Congratulations on the very smart website www.thefantailtrust,org, and indeed the Quickberry Guesthouse too! Maybe if I’m ever down your way again I’d like to pop in and say Hi… and maybe help with clearing and re-baiting some of those DOC 150’s for you!?
Thanks again for the valued sharing of your experience,
Hi Robert - do you ever put cameras on the A24s? I’d love to see some real footage as opposed to the online video advertising that runs constantly in our Mitre 10 !! This is a serious request - I hear all kinds of stories about Chirp, scavenged pests etc etc but have never ever seen any footage showing what really happens out there in the dark!! Cheers, Tony
Dear Tony Thank you. I do have a camera but never used it on a A24. I believe they are good technology and work. So does DoC. they have thousands of them in Fjordland. Occasionally I find the evidence underneath the traps. Most often not. But then I have cats on camera and know they move the rats, mice or stoats and even the possums under the A12. It is mostly about placement and location. Good luck. Robert
Dear Alasdair Thank you. Please call in and I show you our trap lines. Do you really get cats with the Timms trap? We do have some cats around but I never catch them!
The Victor traps I put onto the tree. No tunnel. I see you put them into a wooden tunnel. Then they are probably fine. If they are exposed the possums trigger them and the plastic cover comes off too easily. Of course when you put the Victor traps inside a tunnel then you would not need the modified version.
Yeah Robert, I believe they are good technology too but would love to see some solid evidence instead of all the hype. I bought an A12 and an A24 two and a half years ago. The A12 remains a useless ornament on the possum’s favourite tree. I have caught 47 possums in that time in various places and traps, but never in the A12. The closest was a rat trying to gnaw through the top to get at the bait. The A24 caught 6 mice, another expensive trial during which I have caught total 219 rats and 644 mice in a mixture of dependable doc200s victors and Rat Zapper electronic traps. Please please are there any trappers out there who have put cameras on A24s and come up with a good result?
Dear Alasdair, I enjoyed your post. Please see my replies to Robert re A24s. Good luck with your trapping, cheers - Tony
Well my A12s have caught over 400 possums in a year. I will use the camera to see what happens at my A24s once I install my newest 25. You made me curious now.
What are doc200 victors and rat zapper traps? Thanks. Robert
Wow you’re the only person I’ve heard speak well of the A12. I only ever hear people say they don’t catch a thing.
And regarding the A24s, the feedback is better, but they’re still not very good. I’ve filmed them investigating them and not being caught, even triggering my one once and not getting caught. It seems they’re just not keen on sticking their heads right up into the bait area.
And the large scale studies I’ve seen have found the A24s to be no better than a DOC200. But I’d be interested to see any research showing otherwise - they’re such a good idea.
Kia ora Robert,
Good to hear from you again… Forgive this brief reply, I’ve got a bit of a deadline in front of me work-wise, but I thought just a few photo’s for you to dwell on meanwhile. I’ll reply more fully hopefully in a couple of day…
Kind regards, Alasdair
Yes David I still think the A12 are good traps. We have 70 of them. But now they do not make them anymore. What to replace them with? The trapinator does not seem to work for me and what about the flipping timmy? There we are in the 21st century and have no better traps than doc150 and 200. Maybe cyanide is the way to go.
Alasdair - thanks for sharing these snaps - can you advise what bait you were using for the feral cats? We have several wild cats in our bush neighbourhood and I have baited a cage trap with both catfood and Erayse, plus have two SA2 traps set up with smeared cat food, Erayse and salmon spray with no effect.
Re other comments about the A12 - we have one which has only been good when I change its location and put in fresh lure and a new gas canister - our best record was three possums in 10 days - then nothing, we catch the silly ones and the smart ones aren’t interested. I do have some short video footage of possums bypassing the A12 in favour of a bait feeder with fresh rat bait!
Keep up the great work
Hmmm, not sure what to replace them with. We use a few Trapinators, and do catch possums in them. But we also observe them walking straight past, or investigating but not getting caught etc.
Same with Fipping Timmys. Timms are better in some ways, being on the ground, but they don’t meet the NAWAC standards so we don’t use them any more.
With the A12s, are you remembering to refresh the bait? Every month or so, you’re supposed to remove the lure bottle and give it a squeeze to refill the lure bar that the possums bite down on. You need to use the prefeed regularly, too.
Nice results! Any baiting advice?
I do get some feral cats in my Timms, but I’m always looking for ideas to improve my trapping. Something I’ve tried using recently as general meat bait is lamb/sheep hearts. They’re excellent to cut up and really cheap, so I hope that there are fans of it in the area.
Thanks, yes I used to do that regular refresh of lure and adding some down the tree below the trap. Never caught anything in my one A12 but plenty in other traps. The actual possum lure in the squeeze-bag I find to be useful used in conjunction with Timms and Possum Master traps to freshen up longer life lures like the raspberry cube or Nara blocks. cheers
I thought that you probably did, but I certainly forget to do things, so I didn’t think it could hurt to jog your memory.
How effective have you found the Nara blocks? I know somebody managing several large properties that might be interested in a long-life lure like that.
FYI, on a whim, I decided to put some of the possum lure in a few of my DOC 200s to see if rats are interested. A large brown rat gave me a quick answer to that question, showing up in a trap that night, and several others showed up in a few days. If you’re experiencing a rat drought, it might be worth a go. If local rats are enjoying some of the possum lure you’re using, I’d expect a good spike in rat traps, because they’re already fans of the stuff.
Also, despite ship rats’ supposed dietary preferences, I’ve killed scores of them using Goodnature’s Stoat lure in snap traps and DOC 200s, year-round. I was catching dozens of them when there was tons of seeds and fruit available. I was worried when I first used it that my ship rat numbers might drop, but I experienced a very large increase in ship rat kills within a few days. I highly recommend giving it a go.
Thanks for your follow up! All interesting stuff … The long life lures I use are from Connovation I think 1) cat/mustelid cube excellent in the doc traps for a month or more if they don’t get wet. Good for rats, stoats, weasels, hegehogs. Fish-based. 2) raspberry-based cube for possums. Strangely caught a feral cat in a Timms with one of these. Quite a surprise! These cubes last even longer than the cat/mustelid cube and retain a strong fruity smell. Our local Greater Wellington Regional Council stock these, which saves sending away. The Nara blocks I came across when an OSPRI team was in the area. They used them in Possum Masters as something the possum could grab and pull, then put a very sticky possum dough on top and as a pre-feed. Wonderful stuff but you can only get it from a Chch company. If I had a steady stream of possums I would get some, but numbers are way down after that last Ospri visit. I use the Nara blocks to help hold my raspberry cubes in place in the Timms or Possum Master!. They are not cheap. I was given some to trial. I will give your other tips a try - some of our group use the GN choc lure, but I haven’t had as much luck with that as with PB and the cubes. I tried the stoat lure in an A24 once, but it was even less successful than with the choc. If i can find the old stoat lure I’ll give it a go. I fancied trying the new GN lure but haven’t got round to it yet. Our local Mitre 10 stocks the GN stuff but not the stoat lure or new lure. I live on a 2ha block on the bushline and also have a line up through the neighbour’s bush. Its been a pretty quiet 3 or 4 months here and in the 2 project areas I coordinate for Pest Free Upper Hutt. At the end of the day its hard to tell if there is nothing much around or if we are just not catching it. But the birdsong is awesome this year, so I’ll take it that we are doing ok and making a difference! Good luck with your trapping … cheers, Tony
I also haven’t had a lot of success with the GN choc lure, for some reason. In my area, rodents devour Stoat lure, and I’ve trapped stoats and weasels in traps where the Stoat lure was part of the lure and bait cocktail that I was using, so I don’t know if it made a difference. The fact that I kill so many rodents with is suggests that it should be a mustelid magnet. Surely, having a lure that mimics the smell of blood can’t be a bad thing, can it?
I read a study recently about trapping carnivores in North America, that found the combination of baits and lures to be far more effective than either one on its own. I already use a “cocktail” approach, but trapping on a large-scale might be difficult and costly if both had to be used.
BTW, GN has a Blood prefeed that is the same thing as Stoat lure. When I set up my A24, I apply the prefeed to various objects in the vicinty of the trap where predators can sample it, like a rock 10m away, and onto objects where it can sink in, like fenceposts. Even a faint whiff of Stoat lure residue that’s been on a fence post for 3 months, might prompt a stoat to investigate the general area more throughly, which should increase the odds of them finding a trap. I apply a layer on the wooden interior of DOC tunnels, because it will last for a long time, acting as a form of insurance. A pest might have no interest in what bait you’re using, but be curious about the smell of blood. In winter, GN lures do go mouldy, but it takes much longer than other lures/baits I’ve used. Peanut butter can go mould in a few days, but I’ve found that GN lures take about a month to be colonised, and all I do is re-smear it, exposing the bottom layer of lure. This should reactivate the lure.
I scuff up the ground now and then on my trapping trails, making it appear as though rabbits and/or ground-dwelling birds have been active, and I keep the soil at the entrances of my traps disturbed. In addition to mimicking prey activity, it keeps weeds from blocking the entrance. I have a solid stainless steel gardening fork with 2 prongs that is excellent for this.
I don’t run enough traps for Nara lures to be worthwhile investing in. I do mini-trials of new lures and baits to see if I get any results, mainly to satisfy my curiousity. My “evidence” as to what works and what doesn’t, is anecdotal, of course, but I’m confident that my annual rodent kills would drop by half, or more, if I didn’t use Stoat lure regularly.
My family and I have managed to turn our rural property into an oasis, of sorts, for native and exotic birds, using concentrated flora and fauna pest control, allowing bush regeneration, and by planting thousands of seedlings, the vast majority of them native. The variety and number of insects and invertebrates is much higher than it used to be, and we have way more lizard sightings than we used to. You don’t have to go very far past our property to hear a dramatic decline in birdsong, and the number of species plummets. It’s simultaneously uplifting to see the results of what we’ve been able to accomplish, especially without using rodenticides, and heartbreaking to witness what happens when pest control doesn’t occur. Over time, I’ve been expanding the size of the area that I trap, and I’m seeing birds in areas where I never used to. I’m glad that your birdsong is also impressive. Here’s hoping it grows louder!