Sunday 7 October 2007

Check your traps from the breakfast table

Whilst at the National Partridge Conference, I met Dick Bartlett from British Moorlands. He has developed a clever system that allows a keeper to check his traps by mobile phone.

Basically each trap (or a group of traps close together) is connected to a transmitter, like the one Dick is holding in the photo.

At a pre-defined interval - perhaps each hour - the device sends a radio signal to a receiver placed somewhere in the centre of the estate. The signal says "no change - trap still set".

If the trap has gone off, the "all clear" signal isn't received, and the receiver unit logs it. The same lack of signal would occur if the transmitter had failed, so the system has a built-in fail-safe.

Now here's the clever bit. The central receiver has a mobile phone built in. The keeper calls it from wherever he happens to be - and receives a text telling him which traps need to be checked, and which can safely be left alone.

The system saves time, fuel and more - allowing a keeper to cover more traps over a wider area. It could also mean that trapped animals are dealt with more quickly, because the keeper knows exactly which traps to visit straight away.

Estates can hire or buy the system, which Dick says works out at around £10 per trap. More info on his website

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