A young disperser caught in a basic cage trap set.

Kia ora team, at Christmas we talked about it being stoat season. This month the message is the same, except it’s ferrets.


Over February and March, young ferrets are moving through the landscape as they leave home and go in search of some prime real estate that they can put their mark on – literally. As they start moving, many will stay with their litter. As they age and move, they will gradually split apart and become individuals.

As with stoats, young ferrets are often naïve, curious, and quite hungry. They have much to learn. This is the best chance you will get to catch them so make the most of it.

Let’s outline some key points:

  • You will often find ferrets in your projects where before you had none. They can invade from a long way away. Be ready.
  • If you catch one, there are often more there.
  • If you have ferrets near kiwi, then throw away the one in five, six or ten traps a DOC250. Buy only DOC250s from now on. They are great at killing stoats too.
  • Don’t be stingy with your baits. Go for fresh, big, and bloody. Rabbit is best; leave the skin attached. Hare and possum is second, but rabbit is best.
  • Use trail cameras as your most sensitive sort of trap to know what is happening with ferrets.
  • Consider cage trap pulses to get the animals that won’t enter a DOC trap.

We will be talking a lot more about ferrets moving forward. There is much to discuss. In the meantime, be vigilant and proactive. The best way to resolve a predation event is to catch the culprit before it starts.

Good hunting team.

John Bissell
Save the Kiwi National Predator Advisor
Instagram @nzpredatorhunter

Two down and more to follow on future nights. Hanging young ferrets near the trap can help attract and hold their litter mates close by until it is their turn.

The weapon of choice for foundation model ferret trapping is the DOC250. But don’t just do that. It will get you part way but not all the way if you have ferrets near your kiwi.