Backyard Legends: A series of profiles about the champions of backyard trapping

Maurice- Pine Hill

Over the last few months the City Sanctuary trap catch records have had days of frantic action, we wanted to find out who was behind this backyard catch bonanza and what their secrets were to their successful trap catches! It turned out many of these catch reports were coming from one backyard! Was this a prank? No, just a dedicated trapper.  We had a chat with Maurice to find out what he had been up to and what his tips and tricks were to lead to such amazing catch results!

Maurice noticed some unwanted critters taking up residence on his property - a passel (pack) of possums. He invested in a Timms trap and caught  5 or 6  possums a year. He thought that would do the trick and noticed an increase bellbirds, tūī, waxeyes and rosellas . He even noticed more falcon in the area and knows that the local harrier are appreciating a free feed from the trap catches. 



New Zealand falcon/ kārearea (photo by Craig McKenzie)

Over the last 5 years, he has noticed the possum population increasing and decided to ramp up his control efforts. Maurice now has:

  • Timms trap
  • Sentinel trap
  • Cage-trap
  • Goodnature A12
  • Trapinator 

We asked Maurice what he thought was the most effective trap:

"I have set up trail cameras to see how the possums interact with different trap types... My preferred method is the A12...sometimes there can be two or three possums at the bottom of a tree. Cage traps seem to be good at attracting the weary ones…"



Caught red handed! This big guy was checking out Maurice's A12 trap

He believes all the traps have their advantages and it's good to have several tools in the toolbox as not every possum is the same. Over the last three years Maurice estimates that he as removed 200 possums and always from the same pine tree! 

Maurice became involved with City Sanctuary last year, and hadn’t realised how much was happening city-wide. He was particularly inspired by the work of the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group and is committed to doing what he can in his area.

With a passion for the predator free vision Maurice encourages people to do the same, and if they don't like trapping, and live locally, he says he is happy to lend a hand. 


A special thanks to Maurice for his efforts. We are proud to have him contributing to the City Sanctuary project.