By: Bears Butt

A.M. Report, Feb. 25, 2012

WOW!  High Winds last night!  The forecast said up to 25 mph and I believe it.  These winds are expected to shift from the South to the NW by this afternoon and pick up speed to 30 mph by late this afternoon, as a front comes through with snow.

All of this does not bode well for a muskrat trapper.

First of all, today I expect to spend a lot of time re-tying my locator flags.  I really do not like to do that.  And in anticipation of that I am going to experiment with a “new idea” for flagging.  I’ll not let you know what my idea is until it has been tested.  But I feel “VERY CONFIDENT” it will work and if it does there could be a small “trappers” market for this idea.  A man has always got to be thinking of better, faster, cheaper….!

So, what do I expect besides re-flagging?  My predictions have been so bad lately, I almost hate to advertise a guess, but I will anyway….14 rats.  Why this high a catch rate when my last two days have been so very far off?

It was warm and calm all day yesterday.  The 1/2 inch of ice was all melted off by 2 p.m. and so there would have been some rat movement during the afternoon and into the night, before the winds started.  It was warm all night, with a low of only about 40 degrees (perfect for rat movement).  Plus I had set a new bunch of traps which usually, but not always, tends to yield around 25 % the first night.

And so, until later!  I’m outahere!

Bears Butt

P.M. Report

What a long day!  I made it to the trapping fields only to find snow, blowing and howling winds and colder than an Oly on a winters trip in the Crawfords.

I put on almost every piece of clothing, coat, rain gear, hat, sweater, rubber pants, boots, wool gloves, rubber gloves and face mask I had in the truck.  I felt like a penquin out of a northern ice field.  And still it was cold.

Was I complaining?  Not one bit!  Had my boots been leaking, you would have seen this note posted about 9 hours ago with loads and loads of 4 letter words.  But, since my dear wife allowed the budget to see a way for me to have new boots, I was a happy camper this morning!

I don’t think there was more than two seconds that went by that I did not run my right wrist across the nostrils of my nose…and that went on all day long.  I see how some folks get a very enlarged end of the nose as they age.

Did I say it was cold?

I launched my toy down on the “Goose Club” line, that I set yesterday.  I figured if the storm was going to have me cancel any of my trapping I would at least get this line checked.

It went well…”weller” than expected.  35 traps…13 rats!  Not bad for an old guy and a toy.  In the wind, I even managed to set a colony trap and two other conventional traps!  Back at the rig, with the wind howling I was not even phased…heck…if we get $10 /rat, that was a $130 day.

Driving up to the Trellis and Fish Springs lines, my mind wandered to how the country would look like on August 6th….hot…dry…It almost made me think I was warm.

Unloaded at the stop and ready to head off, I could not help but notice across the street in “Petes place”, the fields were all burned and ugly.  HMMM.

I checked the Trellis line with a big grin on my face, because any more rats was just going to be a bonus to the catch of the day so far…I added 2 more rats to the catch…no other set off traps.  Life is definitely good.

Bob pulled up at the same time as I arrived back at the rig.  The weather had turned hospitable…only a 30 mph cold wind and threatening snow in the distance.  I kept the gate from banging into the front of his truck as we talked.  Mostly about Petes fields all burned up!  Heck, that is where is trap lines are.  All of his flags are burned.  Will he be able to find his traps.  The place is charcoal black!  He was going to go and talk to the owner “Pete” about what happened and hope like heck it wasn’t the exhaust of his truck that set it all ablaze.  After all, he drives out in through four foot high crested wheat grass with his pickup to check his traps.  Did his exhaust cause the problem yesterday?  Did Pete lose any cattle in the blaze?

We talked for awhile and then he headed off to talk to Pete.  I headed off to my Fish Springs line to One:  Pull 1/3 rd of the line and Two:  Catch more rats (I hope)!

30 mph winds kept me going slowly into the wind in order to keep my hat and ear muffs on my head.  It was blowing so hard, I could not tell if my toy motor was running, and only my forward motion told me it was.  Off across the waste lands of Fish Springs and surrounding wet marsh grass I went, to the very end of my line.

I pulled 22 traps as I made my way toward the beginning of the line.

Checking the remaining traps I had two set off with nothing in them and two that held extremely large rats.  I figured the only rats that would have come out of their dens would have to be 50 pound rats with 8 pack abs and that is exactly what I caught.  We will have to look into buying special order conibear traps for future use.  Those rats barely fit in that 4 inch square trap.

So accounting ones among you:  17 rats total for the day.  Bob chose not to trap because of the “inclement weather”….will I be such a puss when I reach 74 like him?  So, Bob’s count is O.

I left the swamp with a belly full of wind and cold.  I punctured one rubber trapping glove on a barbed wire gate and had a wet hand and arm, but I made it through the entire trap line.  That glove is now repaired and ready for Monday’s balmy weather.

Does life get any better than this?

By the way, Bob talked to Pete about his fields being all burned up and Pete said there was a semi truck loaded with large ties that had a problem with one of its right rear wheels and as he drove along, it was spitting out hot metal and fire along the way and did a real good job of starting a series of grass fires on the side of the road.  Then when yesterday afternoons winds caught hold the fire really went to town.  Pete and sons were able to get all the cattle moved and none were hurt.  The truck drivers auto insurance will pay dearly for the “HUNDREDS” of cedar fence posts and barbed wire that will have to be replaced because of the damage.  AH!  The life of a cattle rancher.  If it isn’t hard enough just to tend to the cows calving and an occasional one getting through the fence and onto the highway, what would thay have to do?

Bears Butt P.M. Report

No trapping tomorrow…It’s Sunday and I need a break.


Written on February 25th, 2012 , Daily Trapping Events

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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.