Archive for January 23rd, 2012
As I worked in my shop today finishing up some fur tanning, I thought … “it is time to prepare for my 2nd trapline of this season.”
My maiden NY land trapping line is now just a memory, the traps are pulled and piled waiting for next seasons trap preparations. The freezers of fur are getting near the bottom as each pelt is put up and ready for the market. Spring water trapping is on the horizon! I am now ready for the next trek into the wild.
This year will be a bit different in my years past. In CT most all trapping was in the water due to regulations. This year they are two distinctly different lines. I do normally enjoy running both types of sets at the same time in order to cover trapping locations more effectively, this seasons line just didn’t make sense that way. Therefore I decided early on in the season I was going to run them seperately.
Before I put my waders on and hit the marshes and swamplands, I will spend the next couple weeks hard at work. Double checking water traps, scouting areas and picking up new areas that have yet to be harvested by a fellow trapper, and a little bit of rest and recharging from my k9 line.
Happy Trapping :)
The Light Came On [by Rod Gipson]
Upon hearing this, my youngest son’s (14 yrs. old) eyes lit up and Momma said “do it”. Well after not running a trapline for almost a decade, having quit from being burnt out on long-lining for the coyote and fox live market since the late 80′s or early 90′s, I thought what the heck, a few water sets will be fun and the boy will enjoy it.
I went to the shed and grabbed a 1/2 dozen mixed small traps, a roll of wire, a pair of hip boots (that I hoped didn’t leak from dry rot) and what trapping tools I could find laying around. I figured a 1/2 dozen blind sets for mink might work out. I had taught a few younger guys how to land trap in the years that I had “taken off”…made a couple of phone calls and instantly had permission to get to it. I also asked if I could reclaim some of the gear I had loaned them over the years.
My son and I headed to the creek and I made 6 quick blind sets with the boy watching and learning. It was no big deal that night and I slept good, not even thinking about our sets. Nov. 27th at 7:00am we walked to our first set. I looked under the root wad and there sat a buck mink staring back, held securely in a 1.5 coilspring. Something happened at that moment like an electric shock or something and all those old feelings that I had not felt in a very long time rushed back into me, it was amazing.
I imagine my son could see the joy of life rush back into me that had been missing for so long. You see I have been very depressed along with some other physical problems for the last few years. I have been in a “dark place” as I call it and at that moment life was definitely worth living.
The next set held a boar coon. We immediately went and skinned, then drove to gather up my loaned-out gear. The guys were giving me lure, bait, dry dirt and etc. They also gave me back my old trapping areas that I had turned them onto so many years ago. They were as excited as I was to see me back in the game so to speak.
I stayed small, didn’t use much gas and after two weeks on the short line my small freezer was full. We sold fur on Dec. 11th, we had caught = 7 buck mink, 1 female mink, 1 male otter, 1 tom bobcat, 1 dog red fox, 11 coon, 2 beavers, 7 muskrats and 4 possum. They brought a nice price and we were happy as was Momma.
Tomorrow my son and I will get up before daylight to run a lot of sets, how many I won’t say but most of them are water sets. You see, I’m back in the game with a vengeance, and it doesn’t take long to fill the freezer up now. I would like to leave you with a couple of pics from the short line and my re-finding of the joy of life. Trap on and tight chains my friends!
Rod GipsonShare on Facebook
Yesterday’s trapline efforts were a short-time venture… for now. Temps in the single digits Saturday night made the local ice where I intend to work just thick enough to hold two of every three steps. Third step goes thru, and then the surrounding ice remains just thick enough to almost hold weight while you struggle to get back topside again.
Veteran ice-walkers out there no exactly what I describe… the worst possible conditions for mobility access :<(
Did manage to stake in a couple dozen big bodygrips in semi-open flows. The general area I’m working thru is a place where large creeks flow into the start of a cattail & wooded swamp. Said creek spreads out thru the flooded timber, which is mostly ash and soft maple. Beavers are there, otters are present and muskrats all around.
I always save this spot for the end of our water season here, because of its nature. Flowing water attracts traveling rats as mating season approaches. That’s still well ahead of us right now, but big male rats are starting to swell glands and cover real estate in preparation.
Most of the local rat population in this zone are either grassy houses in side sloughs or hidden bank dens in elevated humps of tree root networks. I don’t bother worrying about where they live or where they are… only need to focus on where they are going to get there and back. It’s a simple game of walking the fingers of flows, blocking pinch points with bodygrip traps and keep rotating thru the area until end of season arrives.
Because river otters are present and we have no open season on them here, I’m careful to choose with traps get set. My aged #210s are weak single springs and lightly staked. Several prior tangles with otter in years past always result in easy escapes with no harm done to the critter. I do not set true #220s or #330s in the channels here… beaver sets are castor mound only with trigger avoidance measures taken for visiting otter.
I also use #160s via single-spring traps too, but these flows are wide enough so even the 7″ frame can barely cover deeper runs in the main current. Lots of side channels and sub-terrain tunnels finger thru the overall area, which are easily handled by the smaller traps.
Weather today is mild, temps into the low 50s F with steady rain and high winds later. That will melt off a most of our snow, pump up the water levels and get things roiled again. Muskrats will move, along with chunks of breaking ice. Forecast is above freezing temps by day, below 32F at night for the rest of this week. Hopefully that creates a controlled melt until the next bout of winter weather sweeps thru.
Meanwhile, I’ll begin the final assault on winter muskrat trapping here in western NY wherever moving water fills or drains wider flows. Time to let muskrats do much of the “legwork” for me… time to fill their timeless network of aquatic highway flows.