Set On Smoke


I spent the better part of these past two afternoons out prowling around in familiar muskrat waters, eyes peeled and camera in hand.  I’m looking to do some photo work in specific situations and it’s way too nice outside not to be on the water somewhere.

Floated a section by canoe yesterday afternoon that had been pounded for rats this season by other guys first and then me. While out there I saw no fewer than twenty (20) different muskrats swimming around yesterday along with hundreds and hundreds of painted turtles out basking on any object above water. I’m afraid any traps set with floats or on logs with footholds would have been rendered useless past sunup.

Anyways, muskrats have already moved back in to an area which seemed totally devoid of a single remaining rodent just a few short weeks ago. That’s how it works with trapping pressure… a complete non-issue for muskrat populations as we’ve said in here numerous times before.

This afternoon I scoured a roadside location not far from where I grew up that actually yielded some of my very first muskrats ever… some thirty-eight years ago now. The area has changed in many ways, but one constant there is a good population of muskrats for the limited area in question. They were out en masse along the roadside, mowing down green grass like they were being paid piecework for production. Must be the fresh growth there awakened by our sudden burst of summertime has the sugar content boosted in those new shoots. Good thing I came along when I did… those frisky critters were getting way too close to passing traffic for my liking!

Shot umpteen images of muskrat habitat, signs and setups but neglected to bring my 300mm telephoto lens along for the stroll. Big mistake once more… could have gotten some really nice images of fluffy dry muskrats up on land, busy filling their faces.


Bank dens and hummocks are once again smoking with fresh mud in their runs as muskrats leave  wintertime housing for the seasonal shift to summer shelters. Muskrat houses of piled vegetation are in the early stages of decomposing here, with emphasis on the word “composting”. Heat inside as those shelters break down in the 70+ F degrees direct sun is becoming too warm to inhabit.

I’ll be looking to set on fresh smoke in front of bank hole locations along with any semblance of a toilet or trail for muskrats next week. No matter what, I’ll be staking out sets and running lines regardless all else. Worst-case scenario is I get lots of exercise, a little bit of sunburn and not much fur to show for it. Best case scenario is I find some pockets of rats like what surrounded me here the past two days and nights will be dedicated to skinning in motel rooms.

There are a number of catalysts pushing me out the door and on the water next week. First and foremost is pure love for the sport. I have two tickets for tonight’s mega-million lotto, jackpot is $200 million last time checked. So help me God if I won any part of that prize tonight, I’d cash in the winning ticket tomorrow and spend the next several weeks trapping spring muskrats out of state.

If MTV wanted to film me for one of their “cribs” episodes, I’d kindly show the camera crew around my newly purchased log home complete with state-of-the-art fur shed attached. Forget about Bentleys or Mercedes in my garages: walk-in coolers, walk-in freezers would be the feature attractions taking up that space.

OK… enough of the trip down fantasyland for tonight. That’s probably not going to happen (really?) and I’m probably going to settle for a trip away from home but closer to home than preferred. So be it. Let’s get after some fur!


We’ve got a busy agenda inside here this weekend, with a two-part article guest post along with some various items from me. I’ve got to squeeze that inside bits of two days before pulling out bright & early Monday with a steel-laden truck headed northeast for the week.

The very moment my spring fling officially ends the 2011- 2012 season, it’s time to begin preparation and plans for 2012-13 to come. Actually, I’ve already begun several loose ends in various directions that will weave their way into plans of action soon. Those who remain tuned in here will follow our progress from conception to inception and finally in action on traplines for muskrats & mink, raccoon, winter canines, late winter beaver & otter and spring muskrat seasons to come.

We’ve got much to do, much to discuss, much to profile, demonstrate and explain. But life only unfolds itself one day at a time. My primary focus for the immediate future right now is all about setting on “fresh smoke”  :)


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