Archive for January 28th, 2012
Cold and windy. Windy and cold. That pretty much describes today, tonight and tomorrow. But… we’ve got some weather changes on the way, and they are most favorable indeed!
We’ll talk about that in just a little bit. But first, some admin tidbits to cover :)
First off, I have said numerous times that we have not even gotten off the ground yet with this online production for trappers. I don’t want to over-promise and under-deliver anything, so I try not to say too much. But I will say this much…
My discussions and coverage on topics will not be muskrat myopic forever, and not even a whole lot longer. That happens to be the mode I’m in right now because it is mostly what’s left available for me to trap. And there will be much more to profile on muskrat trapping to come. Also, I’m preparing for some in-depth discussions on trapping coon, fox and coyotes, too. We’ll look back at some photos from the past and pictures taken in the near-future for that. We’ve also have plenty fo chat about when it comes to traps, gear and preparation, gathering bait, all-season scouting and myriad other things that pass thru a fur-addicted trapper’s mind.
Nor will I be the only voice here sharing information. In addition to Redbonechick’s expanding role ahead, we have a growing library of article submissions from individual trappers already. I welcome all that will come in the future.
There will soon be brief video productions added, too. Lots of them over time. Much of our future productions will be video conversations in addition to pages in the web. Expect a mix of trapline conversations, related topics such as preseason scouting and bow fishing for bait all the way to interview snippets with trappers, dealers and vendors at trapping conventions this summer.
Speaking of pages on the web… our very next step forward here is the addition of newsletter email format, should be available for opt-in sign up on Sunday. In a nutshell, we will send out current website posts in email format each Monday and Thursday evenings. That gives readers a chance to download and view by phone or ipad, print out and keep on paper or whatever else they prefer. In addition to that, there will be a once-monthly “magazine” edition that’s apart from the website and exclusive to the email newsletter only.
There will be other benefits to being a newsletter reader, which will unfold in their own good time. Suffice it to say that we have a variety of topics and viewable choices coming your way soon. What you see right now today, you will barely recognize in the near future ahead :)
Now speaking of what’s to come in the near future…
It is prime-time, mid-winter muskrat time. Pelts are 100% peak primeness and fur quality will never be better. Rats and beaver are right at peak apex condition, right now. Three big males I boarded today are classic examples of that. Thick, leathery hides. 17+ to 18+ inches long. Luxurious fur coats. Just what those anxious consumers of muskrat products in China (and elsewhere in the world) are waiting for. Many of us on this side of the world are doing our very best to oblige.
A legitimate 18″ to 19″ muskrat on an industry standard stretcher is nearly good as it gets. I do have a couple of bonafide 19+” specimens stretched and packed in the freezer… but they are not clear hides. Usually when you get jumbo-jumbo rats like that, they are battle-scarred warriors with crescent-shaped bite mark scars in various vintage from months, weeks, days and hours ago.
Anyways, our mid-term weather forecast here is cold for the next two days… and then moderate warm-up with temps in the upper 40sF with sunshine. That will finish the job of opening up enough remaining ice to permit me launching the “muskrat chariot” canoe by Tuesday at the latest.
I have two different moving waters available to float. One is tougher to navigate, but supposedly has not been trapped by anyone this year. Muskrat and beaver sign are both abundant. I’ll pack in a pile of #160s and blow the dust off a dozen #330s for this trip. Most of the public water beaver in my area were hit hard by other trappers before December 1st. It will be nice to actually set some castor mounds and slides where beaver remain present and fully prime. Looking forward to the smell of castor in my boat!
Should this rather unseasonable weather hold out for two weeks, I’ll attempt floating both locations and expect to haul some heavy loads out. But let’s not count hatching chickens before the eggs are even warm yet. I can pretty well see my future from now thru next weekend, and it looks pretty favorable from here. One week to float is all I could reasonably ask. Two if by sea, and I might just need to order another batch of boards post-haste :)
We all have different tools in our tool shed, and I am sure my trapping bag looks different than yours. I am going to share with you a few of my must have’s in my land trapping toolbox.
Let me first start with the carrier. Some use a bag, some use a bucket, some even a pack basket, not me. My carrier of choice is a plastic tote(not the big square kind you are thinking). The tote I use is originally intended for carrying horse grooming stuff, but basically it is a 2 compartment container with a handle in the middle. This is not a practical method if you walk a long distance between or to sets but it works for what I do. I put baits and lures on one side.. Hammer, sifter, and gloves on the other along with anything else scent free… My stake driver, and trowel go in the handle.
The trowel I use isn’t currently set in stone. I plan on buying a good trowel this year that will last. I try and buy one better tool each season so I can better the quality of tools without breaking the bank all at once. My ideal trowel will have a wider digging head that is a little longer than standard, a long handle is a must with a D handle at the end. For now I have just been using and abusing the $12 show special and it does the job.
The next thing I do not leave the house without is a good hammer. There are a lot of nice ones on the market these days, my hammer is the lifetime hammer from DCTM. I have the smaller version of the hammer and really like the balance of it in my hand. How a hammer feels is very important if you plan on having in your hand for hours at a time. My hammer also has a digging blade on the back. Why I like DCTM’s design more so than others is his blade comes straight off the back instead of at an angle, this way the dirt doesn’t get scattered around as much when making a set.
Another tool in my arsenal is my sifter. I have a lifetime sifter from Dead Coyote Snares. It has nice angular sides for scooping up soil and a coarse screen that really grinds up dirt clods well. I have gone through a lot of sifters by stepping on them or just tossing them around and this one really has passed the test.
The last two seasons I have used wolf fang anchors with great success. My driver for them is also from DCTM. Jason made me a custom length extra long driver out of hexagonal stock, with a hardened driving tip. I like my driver a little on the long side so I can drive anchors standing up. This driver had gone two seasons and I can easily see it lasting at least two more, DCTM’s tools are top notch.(yes purple tools work better)
Last but not least are my gloves. In years past I was a big fan of the jersey cotton gloves, I have really grown to like the nitrile coated knit gloves. They really hold up well, and have a tight fit for better feel. I find by having a rubber coated palm and fingers the gloves really help with scent control and moisture blocking. These gloves can be found at most hardware stores, at a inexpensive price.
I try to buy tools of a high quality as I rely on them so much in the field. I always keep a back up of each tool in the truck but rarely have to dig them out, because the tools I have are built to be used and abused. That about covers my tools, my bait and lure choices will fill an entire other article so I will save those for a rainy day
Happy Trapping :)