DOC wildlife biologist Corey Mosen spends much of his time in the Fiordland mountains, searching for kea with his canine companion Ajax. Here’s what he packs.
For a multi-day trip, I use a Deuter 65+10-litre Air Contact Pack. This is the perfect size to fit all my safety gear, food and kea catching equipment. I have managed to do overnight trips with my 45-litre Ortovox, but I usually need to pack a few things in a dry bag on the outside.
I always carry spare clothing and a raincoat, just in case the weather gets wet or cold. I have a Macpac short-sleeved merino thermal, some blue long johns that I inherited from the lost property at work, a new DOC uniform high-vis short-sleeved top, a Macpac hat that I’ve lost numerous times but keep finding when I return to the area, and a heavy-duty Bushbuck raincoat that acts as an extra warm layer as well as waterproofing. I always pack gloves and a balaclava.
To find, catch, band and process a kea by myself I require a catch bag, a net gun, a fishing rod with string, a burrow scope, coloured and metal kea bands, scales, callipers, kea restraining device, transmitters, R1000 radio receiver, trail cameras, SD cards, alcohol swabs, needles and blood vials.
I have pitched my Mountain Designs Neutrino two person tunnel tent in some pretty precarious places. It has a small footprint and can handle wild weather. My Mountain Equipment Glacier 750 down sleeping bag is ideal for cold mountain tops and makes a good base to lie on when the weather is hot.
I use a Primus OmniFuel with white spirits. It works really well on the mountain tops, the fuel lasts well and it can burn liquid and gas fuel.
I have a Triple-One Care first aid kit packed with all the usual items plus an EpiPen for when the wasp season is in full force. I have a PLB and a DOC VHF radio for emergency and general communication.
Ajax wears a high-vis coat so people don’t mistake him for something else and a muzzle as part of the rules implemented by the conservation dog programme.
I always pack a compass, a Garmin 64s GPS, a Leatherman multi-tool with a screwdriver, electrical tape and a Ledlenser headlamp. I also take Leica binoculars, spare batteries, a pencil and a notepad.