Consider ground contractors first

LETTER

I see there’s lots of comment about proposed pest control operations in the Raukumara ranges. As usual with this issue, lots of emotion comes up.

A little about my background. I was an employee of Trappersnz, an all traps and cyanide contractor based out of the Wairarapa doing both DoC work and Animal Health Board work combatting TB. I was one of the few to acheve a 0.0 percent RTC (residual trap-catch) in the Hawke’s Bay in the 2000s, and trapped for fur since I was old enough to open a gin trap. So safe to say I have killed more than my share of possums.

The problem with the Raukumaras is two-fold. There are few tracks due to the NZFS and then DoC wanting to keep the ranges free of human influence, I think the term is “Wilderness Area”. There’s only a few huts and they require expert-level Nav to get to. Had there been secure parking and a decent track/hut network, the recreational harvest of deer would be higher.

Farmers and forest owners also need to open up access. Recently I was told of huge mobs of deer on the pasture edge: “Sorry, farm staff only!”

Now cast your mind back to 2011 when possum fur was hitting $145 a kilo. I was making $300 a day by lunch and so were others.

All of the ranges were trapped in the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, I know of one chap who trapped his way into farm ownership.

So, that was then. What can we do now about the overpopulation of possums and deer in the ranges? Sure, 1080 is the logical way, but is DoC prepared to carry on working on the problem? I think our region is overlooked due to us not having “sexy” things like alpine mountain ranges and cute critters like kea.

My proposal is to invite tenders from ground contractors. If any come in and are affordable, so be it, if not . . . then 1080 it is. I’m not going to spout on about “jobs for the locals etc” as it takes years to become a good trapper.

Jason M.W. Allen

I see there’s lots of comment about proposed pest control operations in the Raukumara ranges. As usual with this issue, lots of emotion comes up.

A little about my background. I was an employee of Trappersnz, an all traps and cyanide contractor based out of the Wairarapa doing both DoC work and Animal Health Board work combatting TB. I was one of the few to acheve a 0.0 percent RTC (residual trap-catch) in the Hawke’s Bay in the 2000s, and trapped for fur since I was old enough to open a gin trap. So safe to say I have killed more than my share of possums.

The problem with the Raukumaras is two-fold. There are few tracks due to the NZFS and then DoC wanting to keep the ranges free of human influence, I think the term is “Wilderness Area”. There’s only a few huts and they require expert-level Nav to get to. Had there been secure parking and a decent track/hut network, the recreational harvest of deer would be higher.

Farmers and forest owners also need to open up access. Recently I was told of huge mobs of deer on the pasture edge: “Sorry, farm staff only!”

Now cast your mind back to 2011 when possum fur was hitting $145 a kilo. I was making $300 a day by lunch and so were others.

All of the ranges were trapped in the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, I know of one chap who trapped his way into farm ownership.

So, that was then. What can we do now about the overpopulation of possums and deer in the ranges? Sure, 1080 is the logical way, but is DoC prepared to carry on working on the problem? I think our region is overlooked due to us not having “sexy” things like alpine mountain ranges and cute critters like kea.

My proposal is to invite tenders from ground contractors. If any come in and are affordable, so be it, if not . . . then 1080 it is. I’m not going to spout on about “jobs for the locals etc” as it takes years to become a good trapper.

Jason M.W. Allen

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