Start Ďem young, kill 'em fast.
4th August 2019
Itís fun to get a group together, load the packs with poison, bait, hot drinks and a picnic, and make a day of it.
We had to be back by three for the Scoutsí annual winter swim so meeting time was at nine Ė a hurdle for the budding teenagers, one of whom didnít make it out of bed. We left him to catch us up.
The base of Middle Ridge is at the Butterfly Creek picnic area. The ridge climbs gradually over a few kilometres to meet the ridge between Eastbourne and Days Bay, at Mt Hawtrey. Half way up the ridge is a dear little hut built in the 1970s by Eastbourne conservation legend Stan Hunt.
The 21 stations each have a Timms trap (to catch possums) and a rat poison tube. Every second station has a DOC 200 trap Ė targeting rats, stoats and hedgehogs. Weíve also set up a couple of cat traps. These are Timms traps baited with meat, with a ramp up to them. Itís always good when you donít catch much prey as it indicates that pests are under control. However itís very satisfying hurling dead possums off the ridge and rebaiting for the next little bugger.
Our bed-loving laggard caught up at the third station but silently stalked us for five more stations before launching himself on us with a roar, and great hilarity. Apparently the maggoty rat from station five we tossed behind us very nearly landed on him.
At the top of Hawtrey, the kids raced off on their springy legs. The middle-aged members of the party reminisced about youthful, downhill canters and plodded stolidly down.
East Harbour Park is criss-crossed with traplines, giving trampers lots of routes and loops dipping in and out of Butterfly and Gollans valleys. Walking in the Park has become very popular and more people are venturing off main tracks onto trapping routes. We were surprised to bump into two other groups on Middle Ridge and a picnicing family on the unmarked route between the tops of McKenzie and Kowhai tracks.
- Party members
- Trappers: Cameron Johns, Sage Pettus, Ned Sykes.
Support staff: Troy Baisden, Bjorn Johns, Sarah Pettus, Jocelyn Turnbull, Sarah White (scribe),Tom White.