TFBT Staff InterviewCharlie Montgomery (Data Support)

Charlie Montgomery

Charlie Montgomery was able to combine his interest in technology and love of the great outdoors and conservation when he joined The Forest Bridge Trust 3 years ago as their Data Support person. Charlie is responsible for collating and analysing the catch information landowners, volunteers and backyard trappers from the Rohe record and send in.

It is pivotal to The Forest Bridge Trust to capture catch information on a regular basis. With over 2000 traps the information collected helps us be accountable, ensures that we are meeting targets, trapping in the correct areas and to be aware of the whereabouts, numbers and species of mustelids entering the area.

Our Community Liaison team often are the first point of contact for people wanting to work with The Forest Bridge Trust, our Predator Control team then establishes a trapping plan and sets up trap lines, but not everyone gets to meet Charlie in person, so we caught up with him to learn more about his role and why it is so important to record and send in catch numbers.

Charlie, you are The Forest Bridge Trust’s Catch Data Support, what data are you collecting?

I am responsible for collecting and managing all of the data coming in from over 2000 traps across the rohe. Collecting data on how often the traps are checked and what is being caught.

How is catch data recorded?

Trap catch data is mainly recorded in two ways: Using the TrapNZ smartphone app which means the record goes directly into the system, or by landowners and volunteers sending us a manually written record each time the traps are checked.

How and by whom is the information you collect used?

The trap catch data collected is used by all the different teams within the TFBT organization. From giving regular updates in newsletters to reporting to our funders.

How can a landowner in the Rohe get started with predator control and trapping on their property?

If someone is keen to get started with trapping then a call to the Community Liaison team will get the ball rolling. Tris: 0220 240 314 or

Once set up how often should people check their traplines?

About once a month is usually sufficient, though during summer, particularly dispersal season, it is good to increase checking to once a fortnight.

What should you take with you when you set out to check your traps?

If checking traps using the TrapNZ app then take a fully charged smartphone, screwdriver (for the DOC traps), bait, gloves, a dish brush for cleaning trap plates, and a trowel or mattock to rough up the earth around the trap. If sending in a written record then take pen and paper as well.

Are there any particular months when we should be more vigilant than others?

The summer months usually see more pests around so being extra vigilant during this time often sees more reward. The flip side is that they are usually harder to catch as there is also usually more food around!

If you have a trap that never catches anything, should you be concerned?

Not unless the trap has been in that position for over a year. Not all traps will catch pests. It may be due to there not being many pests around, the time of year or the location. As long as the trap is set correctly, functioning properly and regularly rebaited then it’s good to go. If you think the trap is not functioning properly, just give us a call and we’ll have someone look at it.

How often should you record and send data in?

It is vital to record each time a trap is checked, even if nothing is caught. This is so that we know which traps are active across the rohe. If manually sending data to us, please do so at least every 2 months.

If you aren’t great with technology and Apps but you still want to record catch data what can you do?

The person checking the trap can write down the date, the numbers of those traps that have been checked (or simply write the line number or name if the whole line has been checked) and the species of any pests caught along with the trap number. This record can then be sent to me directly – or via the admin email –

What types of traps are available for use and how can people get Traps?

Give us a call and we will be able to develop a plan for your property. Our team will come out to the property and deploy the traps. The main traps that we use are flipping timmy’s, DOC 200’s and DOC 250’s. The Flipping Timmy’s are tree mounted and are for catching possums, the DOC 200’s are wooden boxes that are set on the ground to target stoats and weasels though they will also catch rats, the DOC250’s are slightly larger and are designed to catch all mustelids including Ferrets. All of the traps that we use are NAWAC approved for humane trapping.

Can one backyard trapper make a difference?

Yes most definitely! When the results from one backyard trap are combined with hundreds of others from across the Rohe the effect is huge.

What is the future of trapping, and what developments can we expect to see over the next 10 years?

I think that we’ll see a lot of technological advancements that will make trapping a lot easier. Self resetting traps keep improving so in the future traps won’t have to be checked quite so often.

How long have you been in the role at the Forest Bridge Trust?

I have worked in various roles within the Trust since 2019.

What do you enjoy more about this line of work?

I love getting out into the community,doing site visits and helping people to get set up on TrapNZ. Community events like workshops and social gatherings are very inspiring. Being part of this conservation journey is awesome.

Interview with Charlie Montgomery Feb 2023 by Nikki Morgan