In­stalling drop­boxes

Drop­boxes are a great means of re­duc­ing the rab­bit pop­u­la­tion, es­pe­cially when they’re in an area hard to ac­cess.

Sporting Gun - - CONTENTS - WORDS ED COOK PIC­TURES PAUL QUAGLIANA, REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

“When a box is in­stalled it can take some time for rab­bits to use them”

It's been a few years since I in­stalled my first drop box, 17 in fact! From our last count I think the busi­ness was re­spon­si­ble for mon­i­tor­ing more than 500 drop­boxes scat­tered across quite an area. I dread to think how to many we have in­stalled for oth­ers to check, but it would be a notable amount more.

What is a drop­box?

Drop­boxes are as the name sug­gests, a box that some­thing (nor­mally rab­bits) drop in­side. These traps work along­side a rab­bit fence, which acts as a gi­ant fun­nel to guide the rab­bits into the tun­nel sys­tem where the box is lo­cated.

The rab­bit fence needs to be con­structed to the cor­rect spec­i­fi­ca­tion so the rab­bits don’t just chew it up, hop over it or dig un­der it. The bet­ter the fence the more ef­fec­tive the traps will be.

Un­like most other traps, these are mul­ti­ple catch traps. The num­ber of rab­bits wait­ing to be despatched the next morn­ing de­pends on how many pass through the tun­nel – my per­sonal record from one trap is 27.

Why a drop­box?

We tend to in­stall fenc­ing and add drop­boxes to sit­u­a­tions where rab­bits live in an area that we can­not ac­cess for what ever rea­son, such as rail­way em­bank­ments, neigh­bour­ing land, or the ground which is im­pen­e­tra­ble. It can also be a great con­trol method if there are sim­ply vast num­bers that need re­duc­ing by ev­ery means pos­si­ble.

When a box is in­stalled it can take some time for the rab­bits to use them, that said we fenced an area and in­stalled drop­boxes a few years ago and we bagged rab­bits within days – but it was heav­ily in­fested.

It is wise to al­low rab­bits free pas­sage through the tun­nel sys­tems to build their con­fi­dence, as well as to help en­cour­age their mates to fol­low. This will mean num­bers us­ing the tun­nel will build up to the point where a run can be seen and the trap is then worth set­ting. Set­ting the trap is easy, all you have to do is un­lock the box and wait for rab­bits to drop in.

Once the trap is set, rab­bits will drop into the cel­lar be­low one by one. Reg­u­lar mon­i­tor­ing of the fence helps in­crease hauls.

It is also worth not­ing that other species in­clud­ing rats, pole­cats, hedge­hogs (if you live in an area where bad­gers haven't eaten them all) cats and foxes can mis­tak­enly fall in. So its well worth be­ing cau­tious!

Lo­ca­tion

Drop­boxes are in­stalled in areas hard to ac­cess

Tun­nels

The boxes are lo­cated in­side a tun­nel sys­tem to catch the rab­bits

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