Stoats are probably New Zealand’s single most devastating predator. They’re also the wiliest and the hardest to get rid of.
Stoats (Mustela ermina), along with the larger ferrets and smaller weasels, were introduced to Aotearoa in the 1870s to control rabbits. It turned out New Zealand’s flightless and cavity-nesting birds were an easier catch.
If you want to get involved in trapping stoats, contact your local group who may be able to source traps or link you up with an existing trapline.
Luring a stoat into your trap is tricky too. Check out our lures page for suggestions and heed the following tips.
Tips for trapping stoats
- Use gloves. It is safer for you, and human smells put stoats off visiting your traps.
- Generally use DOC200 traps, Goodnature A24 gas resetting or AT220 mechanical resetting traps.
- Don’t leave discarded rotten lure near the entrance of traps.
- Try not to contaminate your box with strong chemicals or pet urine – these odours can badly affect catch rates.
- Make sure there are no sharp edges or wire protruding near the entrance to the trap.
- Make sure the visiting animal will line up with the trap plate for a cleaner catch.
- Make sure your traps ‘Spring-off’ weight (the weight that triggers the trap) is sufficient. Care needs to be taken so talk to your group leader about attending training.
- If you catch a stoat, let your group leader know asap and if possible KEEP the stoat. If it can be promptly frozen, they are useful to wipe against the DOC trap as the smell later attracts more mustelids.
- Keep traps out of direct sunlight to help fresh lures last longer.
- Tilt your tunnel slightly so liquid from any bait runs out of the tunnel not around the trap to avoid corrosion.