Elbow Room


At this point in time, I’m just waiting for the weather to cooperate in our actual start to the spring muskrat season adventures. Same as it’s been all winter long… continued patterns of freeze – thaw – freeze – thaw keeps water conditions neither open or closed.

I’ve had plenty of time to look over just about every significant piece of public water within three hours’ drive of my driveway. That’s about far as I want to range in the muskrat quest to come. For me it’s a combination of chasing fur, enjoying the fresh air and waterways one more time, and opportunity to amass a collection of fresh photos to the file.

Lately I’ve received a lot of email and PMs asking if I’d considering writing an updated book on muskrat trapping, an instructional DVD, or both. Truth is I’ve pondered each project for a long while, and I’m no nearer to making a decision on that today as I was weeks or months ago. So about all I’ll do for now is continue to stockpile on-line photos to the collection and if someday I find the need for them, they will exist.

Considering all public waters here in this state have been combed to some degree or other by trappers thru the season, I have no delusions of grandeur for giant catches this spring. If I’m able to piece together some modest catches thru next month, that about meets modest expectations I have right now.

One thing I’ve been told a few too many times is the concept that water trappers up north are “territorial” and that they “don’t like outsiders” in their area. Well, that’s nothing new in this state or any other state in the country. Private or public ground, certain individuals tend to lay emotional claim on what they perceive is theirs. I’ve seen that all my life, and I’m sure I’ll see it again.

Fact is, about all the muskrat trapping I do happens to be on public ground, behind other trappers ahead of me on private ground, or both. The pictures here which have published before = you’ve probably seen before both come from places just like that. Very seldom past the first week or two of open water here in NY can you find easily-reached places where no man has tread before.

Sharing space with other trappers in my backyard is never an issue with me. It is state ground, each man has equal right to it and whoever opts to work longest & hardest is who probably amasses the biggest catch. Pretty simple law of physics or cause & effect or whatever universal law applies in this case :)

Anyways, it has been several years since I have lost one single trap or animal to theft. That may sound surprising to some, and heaven knows I’ve dealt with my share of theft in the past and then some. But our group of local guys here respect each other and give space to one another with no problems between us. Matter of fact, I had more duck hunters poking around my muskrat sets this year than anyone else… all of them harmlessly curious about what goes on. Many of them either had prior trapline experience or would like to give it a try someday. I always take time to answer questions, share a little show & tell and encourage others to try our sport.

Perhaps that all costs me some higher catch totals in the end. Perhaps not. I don’t get too wrapped up in the whole competitive thing with others, at all. I do work hard to make the most of my time afield and I do move fast as feasible on the water to cover much area as possible. But if someone beats me to somewhere, it’s my obligation to graciously go somewhere else.

So I don’t have any fear or trepidation of potential conflict with other trappers in my travels on the road to come. I’m sure a few guys won’t be thrilled to see anyone else around, nothing that I would take personal. I’m equally sure that many or more guys will welcome the presence of other respectful trappers on public ground in the spirit of camaraderie and brotherhood. That’s the position I choose to come from, and look forward to meeting others of like kind :)


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Categories : AP Lines


  1. Boots says:

    Yup, its all crown land here, for the most part.Every trapper around these parts will be in the Rat trappin mode in a few weeks.I rarely loose gear.if its high competition, let the hardest trapper win.I never get on top of another trapper, and never ever trap where there is a elderly trapper or kid.Let the goodtimes roll!

  2. Boots says:

    A lot of competition in my neck of the woods.If Im in an area a trap every year, even if I dont get there before another trapper, Im settin it up, he may have some good locations set, but I have the advantage of knowin the whole area.If Im goin to plan a line in newer territory, Ill give the season a few good days or a week, see whats there for trappers and scout.Ill never set right on someone, and if its an elderly trapper, or kid, Ill let em have that location.If I happen to meet the youngster, Ill always try to help, and talk some trappin, to keep their interest.We are lucky in New Brunswick, as many Canadian provinces have registered traplines.No new areas, and many lines poor for Rats

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