Resetting traps could make monthly trap-checks a thing of the past. We’re trialling 40 self-setting possum traps to see if we can control possums to a low density without toxin.

Traditionally we have baited for possums as we do not have the manpower to trap effectively on a large scale over difficult terrain. However, this could change if new self-setting traps make pest control less labour intensive and more efficient. If these traps prove themselves, we could potentially put a lot more traps in the wild, and kill a lot more stuff. That’s a promise we feel excited about.

The A12 Goodnature possum trap is powered by a replaceable CO2 canister and can reset itself 12 times between checks. A long-life cinnamon lure is used to entice possums to the trap. There is also another model, the A24 trap which is suitable for rats and stoats. While the traps have been available for a few years, early versions were plagued with technical glitches. Goodnature have worked to address the issues, and DOC now gives assurance of trap reliability out to 18 months.

Our traps have been deployed at a spacing of 200 metres and will be checked monthly. We’ll be trialling the effectiveness of these traps in a remote area of high biodiversity that has had no possum control in over ten years.

While the total possum kill will not be known (carcasses get scavenged by pigs and we have not opted to purchase the costly trap-counters), we have already seen immediate results with piles of possums under the newly installed traps. We’ll use chew-cards to monitor how effective the regime is.

At $185 each, Goodnature traps are more expensive than a single setting trap. But if you have a real rat or possum problem, and want to avoid the use of toxins they might well be worth the investment. They are particularly useful in places where traps are difficult to check or for absentee bach-owners.