Eight of us set off from Wainuiomata Golf Course, keen to learn the ins and outs of possum and rat control from maestro Mike Phethean. Our other task was to do a bit of work on the track to make the job easier for the fortnightly checks. We successfully avoided getting clouted by golf balls and soon came across the first of about thirty trap stations. Fortunately, this one came complete with possum, so Mike could demonstrate the whole job, starting with detaching a garrotted possum from the trap. Each station also had a rat bait dispenser, which needed to be checked and replenished.
Our route initially took us up a small stream before climbing to a ridge separating the Wainuiomata and Gollans Creek catchments. A side track to the south needed to be checked and some fallen vegetation cleared before we dropped into the stream and took a break for lunch. From there, we headed up stream, with instructions not to service any traps, as this was part of someone else’s line. Soon it was time to climb to the ridge again, where a side track to the north needed to be checked before we headed back to where we’d first hit the ridge and retraced our steps to the golf course. We’d sent the spade wielders ahead to cut some steps on this section, and they’d done a job Sir Ed would have approved of.
There was some discussion about the possibility of the club taking on ongoing responsibility for this line. If 26 people were to be rostered for each fortnight, it would mean you’d only have to do it once a year.
From Mike: If anybody is keen to help out with this trapping line, please do get in touch. I suspect we will have to do it more than once a year though!