Stoat catch by month 2004-2008

The parameter shown is catch per trap - the number of traps has risen steadily throughout the period, so catch per trap corrects for the effect of this increase on actual numbers caught.

There is a consistent increase in numbers in mid-summer, when the female stoats come off their nests with their brood of around eight offspring. In two years (04-05 and 06-07) this produced a very large peak in December/January, but in the other two years there was a much less marked increase, spread evenly from December to February. It is not clear why there was this change in pattern - in 05-06 there was a bigger catch in the preceding Autumn, which could explain lower breeding in Spring, however 04-05 and 06-07 had similar patterns for most of the year but very different results in December/January.

Traps are checked and re-baited less often in winter and more often in summer - for most of them the frequency is two-weekly and weekly, respectively. The bait used for most is rabbit meat, with a cracked egg as well (especially important in summer, when meat rapidly deteriorates), but for some a rabbit paste is used.

All traps used are kill-traps (DOC 200, or GoodNature)


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