A day in the life of a pest-buster
Guest blogger: Inaugural 2008 Pest-buster Winner, Bob Walkington.
To win the pest buster award means we have a pest problem. To lose the award I would say we are gaining ground over pests. My pest busting ‘career’ began 5 years ago, and I’ve realised to be a good trapper you need to go the extra mile. By that I mean, you need to check the trap itself adding more than just bait, using aniseed, and sometime a bit of eucalyptus to lure in pests. 1080 is a quick fix, but that doesn’t apply where I operate – Taranaki’s oldest covenant “Collier & Dickson” 360ha of lowland podocarp & hardwood forest filled with short-tailed bats, whitehead, kakariki, tomtits and fantail.
Because I live 64ks from this area I have to plan everything, it’s usually a 3 or 4 day visit. Arriving at the farm I back my atv bike & trailer out of the shed & load up with all the necessary. Chuck a cover over my jeep & I’m away. By now the weather is looking good after a week’s rain. Possums hate rain, so they’ll be out tonight hungry. The checking & loading traps starts with a 30min walk to service 5 tunnel s in the bush. The hut is only about one kilometre or less, but it’s 2 hours to get there after checking 20 tunnels & 7 timms. The timms traps are on stands as we have lost some to pigs in the past. At the moment there are plenty of green apples to load the timms with & I sprinkle a bit of either aniseed or eucalyptus mixed in with flour along the stand .Yum yum they love it.
A quick brew up & I start checking timms & tunnels right down to the lake, 20 timms & 28 tunnels in all. I’m back at the hut at 6pm.I can’t be bothered cooking spuds & meat, it’s just bake beans & toast tonight. I remember to switch my cell phone on. You can get through here just .There’s a voice message from my missus. Switch your phone on, she says. Hmmm can’t quite work that one out. It’s getting dark & I crawl into my kopaki moe (sleeping bag), got a big day tomorrow. It’s Saturday & I head for the far ridge & the long ridge which is about 40min trip on the bike , checking the odd trap on the way. It’s the same procedure as yesterday except I don’t have to worry about timms traps.
By the end of the three days, I’ve caught 15 possums, 13 rats, 1 hedgehog and 2 stoats. The possums alone would chew through the equivalent of 2 and a half supermarket bags of foliage in one night, so it’s been a satisfying trip, just knowing that this piece of forest will be greener, and more hospitable for our feathery folk.
Hope the missus has got something good for tea. Kia ora BOB.