My Three Years (Part II)By
One thing that it depends on is the type of set. I will switch up my trap position for a standard dirt hole, step down, scent post, or my new favorite set which I call the Blueball’s dirt hole because that’s my nickname on the NYSTA site and around at the conventions.
This set is something I came up with through trials and tribulations this season and I will try to describe this set in as much detail as possible. I have caught a lot of k9s in this set and it will be my main set next year. Remember, this is not a set that is some secret and it may not work for everyone the way it did for me.
This set is basically a walk-through dirt hole/scent post. I set on sign so there is no guessing if they are there, because the best set in the world can’t catch a k9 if there is no k9 in the area. After I find some sign I get two pieces of backing (My favorite backing is clumps of grass). You can also use sticks, clump of hay or anything else as a backing that will preferably hold scent.
I grab my hammer and dig out a trench that gradually slopes toward the middle about 2 inches deep, 24 inches long, and 12 to 18 inches wide. I should add I prefer this trench/walk through to be going upwind to downwind so the wind goes “through” the walkthrough. Once you have done this, make a trap bed in the center and stake your trap down (I prefer a larger trap for this set.). After this is done, I then face upwind and in the center of the walkthrough at the deepest point I put my first clump of grass or backing on the top of the ledge at that point. Then I make a dirt hole against the ledge that is at about a 60 degree angle in front of that first backing.
Next step is to put the other clump of grass on opposite side of first backing, on top of that ledge right next to the ledge. This will be the scent post part of your set. Next is to bed the trap so it will not rock around. This is my go-to set when the ground is not too hard.
In the trapping world, the word “competition” seems to make people cringe. Some aspects of competition make me cringe as well. There are three types of competition to me and they all strive to make me a better trapper.
The first type of competition is the one most people experience, yet I have not had much exposure with it. This is the type where two or more trappers are trapping the same piece of property. One person in particular made a HUGE impact on the way I think of competition: John Rockwood, one of my favorite people in the industry and a member of my “Family” of trapping friends. He showed me a couple of key aspects when trapping land with other trappers. The first thing he told me is when trapping public land it is always a “rat race” on opening day to get to the “best” spots. John told me for a long time he was one who would go fast as possible to get to the spots that everyone thought of as being the “best” such as bridges and culverts.
He then went on to explain that this is not always best and sometimes you need to think outside the box. This will make you a better trapper. I had the luxury to ride with him when he showed me spots that people would rush to set, and in this rush to get there they would miss out on A LOT of better spots. One place in particular was a spot with culverts. He showed me where everyone else would set on top of each other and then went on to show me a spot just a few feet away where most of the animals were traveling. Most people overlooked this spot because they would not think outside the box. This gave me a whole new outlook on competition. Competition makes you a better trapper, although you may not like it.
The next type of competition is obtaining new property rights. I happen to run into this a lot. When driving around to get more permission, you will often be rejected for many reasons. I have been rejected because others already trap it, they do not like trapping, because I am young they may not trust me, some just say they don’t like people on their land. This forces me to again “think outside the box”. I try to look and be as professional as possible. I had business cards made up with my name, number and address along with my email address in order to show them that it is a “business” to me and that I am trying to be as professional as possible. I think this helps out a lot.
I also dress appropriately and usually wear some nice jeans, a collared shirt and good pair of work boots. Again I believe this helps to show them that I will not disrespect their property and that I am professional. I also bring a nice trap to show them how it works and help take away some of the common misconceptions about trapping. After I do all this and still get rejected I leave them my business card and let them know that if they need anything to call and I will try to help. The property I get rejected from may be the best around, but I then try to get surrounding properties and develop a strategy to get animals coming to and from that property. It may be harder and I may not have great locations but it teaches me to learn other tactics to get the animal I am after.
The third type of competition is friendly competition between friends. This is my FAVORITE type of competition. I was challenged by “Redbonechick” or Danielle for short. She is new to my area and I consider her one of my closest friends. Well, she challenged me on our local trapping website (another reason to join a forum) in front of everyone that she could whoop my butt even though she was new to the area. I gladly took this challenge thinking I would annihilate her. Wow, was I wrong! She is a great trapper and she won that round. Back to the topic though, being challenged and having someone to compete against drove me throughout the season to keep putting in new sets and keep going even when things became rough. I would like to thank her for this because without being challenged, I do not know if I would have done as good.
The last thing I would like to talk about is Hard Work.
Many believe that people like Mark Zagger or others that succeed are infested with target animals or have a mystery set. The one thing that makes these people successful is hard work. People like Mark that go out and catch 100 plus k9s a year, or John Rockwood that catch hundreds of beaver a year are working hard EVERY day to do that. They wake up each morning and are going all day. They are running to check traps, dispatch animals, remake sets and put in new sets.
After trapping all k9 season, I know how hard it is to get up and get moving and how hard it is to put in new sets when you know you have more traps to check. Although most people may not be able to drive 100 plus miles a day or run 100 plus traps, if you want to succeed you have to keep going and push forward.
I hope this article was enjoyable for everyone and if you would like to see more pictures or see how my season progresses I have a thread
Also, bring a friend every now and again, makes for a fun time!
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