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Want to know how to trap possums?
Possums are the number 1 enemy of New Zealands native forest. In some areas they have destroyed whole canopies of forest, killing trees and reducing habitat for native birds.
Possum trapping is a way you can help to reduce this threat to our eco-system. Sale of possum fur will also help you to earn extra revenue.
There are two different methods of trapping possums in NZ. Live trapping or trapping with kill traps. Each has their own uses, advantages and disadvantages.
Live capture cage traps are ideal for use near your home or dwelling. These are safe to use in areas where pets or other animals are nearby, as any non-target animals can be released.
Cage traps are easy for you to use, simply lift the door and set the trip hook and place bait or possum lure at the far end of the trap.
Pestgard large possum cage trap or pro version cage trap are larger than most cage traps available. These are suitable for catching all sizes of possums along with other animal pests.
Possum leg hold traps are a cost effective way to catch a large number of possums. Pestgard leg hold traps are number 1 type traps and are compliant with MAF & Bio-security regulations for number 1 leg hold traps.
There are regulations around the use of leg hold traps in New Zealand. No leg-hold traps can be used within 150 metres of a dwelling without the express permission of the occupier, or in any area where there is a probable risk of catching a pet animal. Check with your district council for any specific regulations in your area.
Trapping with leg hold traps
Leg hold traps are commonly set at the base of trees where there has been noticeable possum activity. Possums will regularly return to the same tree each night to feed, so look for signs of possum feeding and worn paths through the undergrowth where possums have moved each night. Find an area to set your traps where you believe there are a good number of possums.
To prevent losing your traps, set them along a ridge line or a marked line on a map or GPS system. Trees can also be marked with coloured tape to help identify where traps have been set.
Staple the ring at the end of the trap chain securely to the tree to prevent escape.
Checking live capture traps
Live capture traps need to be checked regularly - at least once a day. It is common practice to set possum traps at night and check them in the morning. Kill possums that have been caught and reset these traps. Any traps that have not caught a possum can be moved to a better location.
Possums caught in live capture traps need to be killed quickly and humanely.
You may choose to do this with a high powered rifle or strike possums on the head with a heavy, blunt object.
Possum kill traps have the advantage of killing possums humanely in the trap, this also means they do not have to be checked as regularly as live capture traps.
It is not recommended to use kill traps in areas where pets or non target animals may be able to access the trap.
Like leg hold traps, possum kill traps are set on or near trees where there is regular possum activity.
There are a variety of different kill traps available in New Zealand. The possum kill traps sold by Maintrac Group have been used and tested extensively by DOC and other pest control operators. These have proved to be humane and have a high kill rate, they are also safe and easy to use.
Possum trap bait or lure
Use bait that can be smelt easily by possums. Possums like sweet things. Cage traps can be baited with pieces of apple or other fresh fruit or a variety of different baits can be mixed with flour including icing sugar or aniseed oil and applied as a paste onto trees or as bait in possum kill traps. Jam or peanut butter can also be used.
Cinnamon scented possum lure is a paste that can be applied to trees above possum leg hold traps it is also ideal for use in kill traps, simply squeeze onto the bait clip.
This lure has a strong smell which makes it easy to attract possums into your traps.
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