By: Bears Butt

Today is March 30 and according to the weird and zany, today is “National I am in control day”.

Reading up on the origin of this holiday, it isn’t so crazy after all.  It is actually a day dedicated to YOU.  Getting your life back in order.  You are in control today, so forget about the facts that the weeds are growing beyond control, that the lawn should be mowed and fertilized before it rains.  That the dog needs a bath and the garage needs cleaning.  You decide what needs to be done.  You are in control today.

Have a great day.  I have to go check on the asparagus to see if it’s growing and I need to clean up the fence line before it does.  Oh and the weeds need to be sprayed and of course the lawn needs mowing and fertilizing before it rains on Sunday and the dog…well he is another story…but wait, I cleaned the garage yesterday.  And of course I have to go to town and buy donuts for tomorrows work crew and order some timothy seed and make sure the cans are full of diesel.  Yes, I am in control today.

Bears Butt

Written on March 30th, 2012 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

Lookie here!  It seems that while most of you were off making a living, Christopher and his cousin Cole were off fishing.  I can’t tell you where they were, but I can tell you that the fishing was pretty good.  They caught a few that they turned back, but this one was impossible to turn loose.

18 inch rainbow that weighed in at just under 3 pounds (my guess and I’m sticking to it).  The 18 inches is for real.

Nice fish Chris (Clutch)!!!!  Congrats!

Bears Butt

Late March 2012

Written on March 29th, 2012 , Hunting/Fishing/Trapping Stories
By: Bears Butt

Do not buy a car today!  Do not listen to any politicians today!  And be prepared for someone to fool you with what seems to be reality!  Why?  Because today is National Smoke and Mirrors day!

Now, if you do happen to talk to a politician or watch one blowing smoke on the television or hear one talking B.S. on the radio and you believe what you are seeing or hearing….just wait until tomorrow and see if that politician backs off of what they said and apologizes for playing around with the holiday.  An honest politician would do that you know.  But then, is there such an animal as an “honest politician”?

Yes, National Smoke and Mirrors day!  What a wonderful thing.  Who thinks these things up?

Smoke and mirrors was what magicians did in the old days and probably still do today (I have not seen any magic shows lately).  They would have a stage on which they performed and they had lots of mirrors positioned around the stage.  When they wanted a certain illusion to occur, they would explode a smoke bomb to distract the audience and then quickly move a mirror into a given position to give the illusion they wanted.  I’ll bet the first one to do that was amazing!  After the audience caught on however, the magician would have had to do something really different to make you think he/she was a real magician…like Houdini.  Now HE was real.

Why do I think he was real?  Because he worked alot under water.  Chaining himself up and being dropped into a huge tank of water.  And then he would get out of the bonds that held him and would surface just in the nick of time to get a breath of air.  Besides, you can’t explode a smoke bomb under water, so he must have been real.

Now don’t go and blame me for blowing smoke up your…….I’m an honest man, with integrity, valor and all thoughts good and pure.  Always in YOUR best interest…remember that…I may run for office one day.

When I think of magical shows, it leads me to think of the traveling ones and always around Tennessee….is that how the mountains down there got their name…The Smokey Mountains?  Or am I just imagining a Chameleon on a mirror?  By the way, what color would that critter turn?

Bears Butt

March 29, 2012

Written on March 29th, 2012 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

I must have weird friends.  One of them told me that today is “something on a stick day”.

Does that mean like a corn dog?  Or do I roast a hotdog over a fire on one of Edjukateers famous “not so long sticks”?  Maybe shiskabob?

It might not mean eating anything though.  Maybe it means to whack someone with an “ugly stick”!

Something on a stick, could be a balloon tied to a stick (Happy Birthday Clutch!).  Or just a string, or a whip, or best of all a fishing pole!  For a juggler, it could be balancing a ball on a stick.  For uncoordinated folks like me it could be a empty beer can upside down on the end of a stick.

Here is an idea website for you fans:

Well, whatever you find it means, have a great day doing it!  Happy Something on a Stick Day!

Bears Butt

March 28, 2012

Written on March 28th, 2012 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

For those of you who don’t have a calculator Bob and I ended up with 677 rats this year.

Bob started early in January and ended with a total of 311 rats.  I started the second week of February and ended with a total of 365 and No Grimace came through with one rat!

We have the last 122 drying in the shed right now and are patiently waiting for a buyer.

There is a very important auction happening this week in Klamath Falls Oregon and after that auction the buyers will be coming out of the woodwork.

What does not make sense to me is that if I was a buyer I would be making us offers to get our rats at a lower price because once the Klamath auction is over, everyone will see that the rat prices will be very high…could be as high as $11 or maybe more!  None of this hurts my feelings.  Every penny is $6.77 more.  That is like saying, every penny is another 12 pack of Oly.  Works for me!

I’ll keep you posted on the sale of our rats!

Bears Butt

Written on March 27th, 2012 , Daily Trapping Events
By: Bears Butt

A.M. Report March 23, 2012

Today is the official end of my trapping season for 2012.  There are still a lot of things that need to be done after pulling the traps.  We still have a bunch of fleshing and stretching to be done and of course the few rats we caught yesterday and what we catch today will need to be processed.  But the actually catching ends for me today.  Bob is continuing to trap until Sunday.

A beautiful Spring day is on tap for today.  Highs expected in the mid 70’s!  Wow!

Expected catch today?  That is a tough one, but after yesterdays disappointing catch on my lines, I have to say I’ll catch 3 rats today.  It won’t pay for the gas to go out to Petersons, but it is what it is.  I just hope I do catch 3.

There is some excitement in the wind right now and Bob is taking the lead on that.  I’ll let you know later on how things go.  What am I talking about?  I’ll give you a hint: “You catch the fur….The fur buyer catches you”!


Bears Butt

P.M. Report

All my traps are now out of the swamp and in a big pile waiting to be looked over for repairs before being put away for the rest of the year.  The season was a tough one on a lot of the traps.  Broken chains, broken dogs, broken pans and triggers, missing hing pins and connectors, just about anything you can think of that makes a trap unusable.

It was a pretty fun ride through all the weather and moving traps, but it was worth it.

When I started on Feb. 13th I weighed myself and wrote it on the calendar…145 lbs.  You could have said I was short for my weight.  Today, March 23, six weeks later, I weighed in at 133 lbs., a 12 pound loss.  I think I’ll have a beer on that note!  And I think I’m still a little short for my weight.

It was a beautiful day even with a bit of wind and a proper ending to a fine trapping season with a finish catch of 7!

Now it’s time to clean up the rigs and get ready for the next adventure.

Bob netted 8 rats today and thanks to yours truely he was saved a rat and a trap as I “the hero” came along just about the time he was giving up trying to find a live rat caught in a leg hold trap that had broken the chain.  With one quick look around I spotted the little devil hiding under some grass that cascaded over the bank and into the water.  That saved us about $20 in trap and rat.

So, the daily trapping stories will come to an end, but I will keep you informed as to the price we end up getting for our furs.

Thanks for tagging along on this journey!

Bears Butt

Written on March 23rd, 2012 , Daily Trapping Events
By: Bears Butt

Now that the trapping season has come to a close for this year, I can let you in on my little secret.  If you have visited this site and read all the stories on here, you have read about how I keep track of my traps.  All the maps, the flags etc. without them I would lose a lot of traps each year.  The maps tell me about where the traps are located and how many are at each stop along the way.  The flags actually guide me into where the trap is actually located.

I’m sure I am not alone when it comes to mapping and flagging.  Also, I’m sure I am not alone when it comes to having the wind blow my flags down.  This is a very frustrating thing to experience on the trap line, especially when you set your traps the day before and are not really sure as to where you put it.  You look across the vastness of the swamp toolies and bulrush and your map says there should be say three traps and you cannot see one flag waving out there.  So you go looking and with patience and perseverance you finally find all three and you re-flag them.

You just lost some time and now you go to the next trap set area, more missing flags…it is just plain frustrating.

So, we go to trying to figure out how to tie the flags in order that they won’t go flying off in the wind.  We wind them around the stocks, tie them between stocks and come up and over the top of the stocks and re-tie again.  Sometimes that works, most times it doesn’t.  And sure as shooting, just as you think you have your flags all secured down, here comes one of those wet spring snow and wind storms that wets things down and blows hard and poof…off your flags go!

Now most of us trappers are always thinking of better and better ways to make the job quicker, more successful  and just plain funner and cheaper.  After all if we figure in our time, none of us are making any money at trapping.

The flagging tape I use is fluorescent orange (Hunter Orange), ¾ in wide and comes in rolls of 500 ft.  I usually purchase it at a box store like Home Depot or Lowes and the price is about $4 p/roll.  It isn’t enough to break you, but it adds to the expense of trapping.  And in the end, when you pull your traps you also pull the flags and put them in the garbage.


And so, why not figure out an easy way to set your flags out and be able to re-use them over and over?  There must be a way.  Besides, sometimes you only want to move your trap a few feet and then there goes more flagging tape.

One day in February I happened to be making myself a sandwich to take out on the line with me, when I noticed a jar on the kitchen counter and in it were various sizes of snap type plastic clamps.  We use the larger ones to seal up open bags of chips but never have used any of the smaller ones.

I took the four that were in the jar out and looked at them.  HMMMM, I thought, about 2 inches long.  They have two slots on one side, just right to slip the end of the flagging material in and tie onto the plastic clamp.  I thought, if these things will clamp onto grass, bulrush, toolies etc., maybe they would work for what I’m thinking.

I put some flagging tape on them and rolled them up and put them in my pocket.

Out on the line, I had a lost flag and so, on went one of my new ideas!  About two weeks later, when I pulled that trap, I popped the clamp off the bulrush, rolled it up and put it back into my pocket.  I used it the next day, when I set my next line.

Next came a question about high winds, snow, rain etc.  Would they hold up, or would they be too heavy and cause the plant material they were clamped on to break off?  Questions only time and weather could answer.

I used one of the clamps on another set and also put on a tied flag next to it.  Both hooked to the same type of  grass.  We had a very good test of weather hit soon after I put the “test” up.  We had wind with gusts exceeding 60 mph and sustained winds of 30 mph.  We had snow.  The heavy wet spring type of snow and we had rain mixed with snow.  You could not have had a better test of this flagging idea.

So, what happened with the test?

These pictures show where the tied flag was the day I pulled the traps from this spot.

Look very closely at the center of this picture.  See the hint of red?

And so, guess who is going to be buying a bunch of these clamps for future trapping?  You guessed it!  ME!  And I have found a supplier of these fine little clamps and if you want me to get you some, just let me know.  If you want, I will even put on some flagging tape so when you get them they are ready to deploy into the field.  We can talk price when you tell me how many you want.

Bears Butt

End of the trapping season, March 2012

Written on March 22nd, 2012 , Hunting/Fishing/Trapping Stories
By: Bears Butt

A.M. March 22, 2012

This is the next to the last day of trapping for this year for this kid.  What with 55 traps on Petersons and 21 traps at Doris’ pond, I expect to catch about 15 rats today.

Bob and I figure if we could each catch 30 or more rats each in the next two days, our total rat count would go over 700.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

My thoughts on it are this…I’m tired of trapping and my honey do list is getting longer and longer.  If I want to do any fishing this year I had best get started on that list.

Back to trapping.  Usually a new line will net the trapper 25-50% on the first night.  I caught 20 yesterday on a 54 trap line.  I did set one more colony trap on that line yesterday, so I am checking 55 traps today.  My expectations for that line today is 10.  Half of yesterdays catch.  Any more than that will be bonus rats in my opinion.

As for Doris’ pond.  Well, I figured there were about 10 rats there when I looked it over the day I set it.  I have already caught 12 and so, there couldn’t be more than maybe 3 or 4 left to catch.  If I catch 3 today there I will consider myself very lucky.

So to say a 15 rat day for me today is more than what I really expect to catch.  We will see.

I’m headed out fairly early, but have plans for this afternoon.  Part of the honey do list you know.  When you think about a trap line and take everything into consideration, today is sort of a day of leisure.  Only 76 traps to check on two lines.  No traps to pull.  A beautiful drive out in the country where most people don’t go.  A wonderful spring day ahead.  Weather near 70 degrees, what better day for a trapper?

Bears Butt

P.M. Report

A beautiful day it was.  The only thing that wasn’t what was expected was the catch rate.  I could go into a long story, but then you would just thumb your nose and say, “He don’t know nuttin”!

The 55 traps kicked out a whole 6 rats today and no additional ones set off.  Did I catch all the rats in one night?  Well not quite, but add the six I got today and maybe I have caught them all from Petersons place.

Doris’ pond was a clean “nothing”!  The pond water is nice and clear and so, I think I have caught all the pesky little buggers from there.  She will be happy about that.  I did find a run that had a bit of mud in the bottom of it.  Was it mud made by a rat or a duck?  Tomorrow will tell.

All my traps will be pulled tomorrow.  Bob is going to stretch his season out until Sunday and then pull his.  Speaking of Bob, his catch for the day was 8!

Bears Butt

Written on March 22nd, 2012 , Daily Trapping Events
By: Bears Butt

A.M. March 21, 2012

Very busy day in the works for today.  Hitting Club 41 and pulling all traps there.  That will take some time!  I am expecting to catch around 14 rats on that line.  If it wasn’t for the end of the season they could still be left and catch a few more rats, but there isn’t time left for me.

Then over to Petersons and Doris’ to check the other traps.

It will be a late day/night before retiring.  18 rats from yesterday to skin/flesh and stretch plus today’s catch.

Let’s see…hmmmm…with 59 newly set traps and the usual 25-50% catch rate added to the expected 14 rats on Club 41 I could net 30 or so rats….hmmmm.

So, here is my thought process:  The weather is absolutely beautiful.  No wind, warm, calm in the swamp.  All that adds up to a wonderful night for the rats to swim and play.  Plus they are looking for “muskrat love” (I’d post the song but I don’t know how).  Second,  I’m very optimistic about the Peterson line.  54 traps, most of which are set in very good places.  If I was to net a 50% catch rate there that would yield 27 rats.  Discount some “near catches”, you know, traps that get the trigger caught in the jaw and hold it open for the rat to escape, or the rat is swimming too fast for the jaws to catch etc.  So, with say, 5 of those I expect 22 rats there.

I set 5 new sets at Doris’ pond and they “should” net 50%, so there is another 2 rats.  The “old” sets at Doris’ should yield half of what they did yesterday which was 7, and so give 3 more for today, total yield at Doris’ today would then be 5….what it all means is 14 + 22 + 5= 41.  That is my expected catch for today..41…

Now once home with my41 rats.  Bob will come in with 10 and add to that the 18 in the fridge we will be processing about 70 rats tonight.  It looks like I better get off this computer and head out!

Bears Butt

P.M. Report

This P.M. report is actually being accomplished in the A.M. of the next day.  My rear was kicked big time last night and when I came in from the day’s activities, I crashed!

So, what happened?  Lots!

I managed to pull all the traps on Club 41.  I had over 70 traps out, scattered over nearly 3 miles, so it took some time to gather them up.  I did manage to pull 8 rats, which I call “bonus” rats.  I also took a couple of pictures of what was a lucky rat and I will post them later in a special report I have planned.

So, you are probably interested in “the bottom line” so you too can get your day going.

Bob pulled out 9 rats yesterday.  He too pulled his Club 41 line.

I checked the Peterson line with a great deal of enthusiasm as I really thought I would knock them little buggers in the head.  I had about 10 set off traps with nothing in them.  Caught one duck and two little brown birds, but the best part was I nailed 20 rats!

Over on Doris’ pond I got another 5 rats and so the total for the day for me was 33.

Getting home rather late (after 4 p.m.), and going straight to work on skinning/fleshing and stretching, we had 60 rats to process and it took until just about 8 p.m.  That made for one very long day for this old man.

Bears Butt

Written on March 21st, 2012 , Daily Trapping Events
By: Bears Butt

A.M. March 20, 2012

This month is cruising!  And today I am cruising!  Lots to do and little time to do it.

Hitting Petersons property first thing this morning.  My plan is to get it “set” no matter how long it takes.  I have plenty of traps for the job and all day if need be.

Last year I set 81 traps over two days and that was an overkill for the area needing to be trapped.  I did manage to capture 35 rats in 3 days however.  And this is about all the time I have to trap it this year.

I think 60 traps should do it this year and in that arsenal I have two colony traps available.  I think there are places I can use those two traps out there and they lessen the total number of traps needed to capture the little critters, as each is capable of up to six rats p/day.  Not that they always catch that many, it’s just that six can fit inside each trap should they come thundering along the trail and pack into it.

The days goal also has me checking the traps I set yesterday at Doris’ and if there is enough daylight left, I’ll check all the traps on Club 41 and pull a few of the ones that have not captured any rats lately.

A hefty goal for one day.

Expected catch:  22 rats.

Bears Butt

P.M. Report

When I went to head out, I had a very low tire on the trailer…boooooo.  I puffed it up and waited 10 minutes and then checked the pressure….it was down 6 pounds!  BOOOOO!  So, I headed to Les Swab to have it fixed.

Arriving there they jumped right on it and pulled the tire.  Dunked it in a tank of water and held it down for about a minute.  Could not see any bubbles and therefore, put it back on the trailer and filled it with air (40 pounds).  No charge and out the door I went.

Arriving at Petersons about 10 a.m.  What a beautiful morning it was too.  A bit chilly and some thin ice on the water, but the makings of a great day.

There was quite a bit of rat sign and I went to setting traps as quickly as I usually do…slow…By the end of the line, which is a very long loop, I had set 54 traps and the sun was getting low in the sky.  I knew there would be no way I would get my traps checked on Club 41….oh well.

I worked my way back to Doris’ pond and ran into a ranch worker.  He said he had seen a rat in one of the ditches and he took me over and showed me the place.  I grabbed 7 traps off the toy and walked into the ditch.  It did not take long to find 5 bank holes, which I promptly covered with iron.

Then on to check the 16 traps I set yesterday.  I am always hoping to catch a rat in each trap, but reality says somewhere between 25 and 50 percent is usual and so it went.  I caught 7 rats.  BIG HAIRY LEGGED RATS I MIGHT ADD!!  I’m pretty sure one of them will stretch to 18 inches.  We will see tomorrow.

Needless to say, I did not leave Doris’ pond until nearly 5 p.m. and my butt was kicked.

Before leaving Doris’ I checked the air pressure in the tire…23 pounds…boooo.

Back home, I loaded the 7 rats into Bob’s fridge, right next to the milk and then backed the trailer into my garage and changed the tire.  I don’t have time to mess with not getting an early start tomorrow.  I decided to put the tire I took off the trailer on as a spare.  So I puffed it up to 40 pounds.  Then just because, I checked the tightness of the valve stem…I was able to turn it one full turn!  HMMMMMM.  Was that all there was wrong?  I hope so.  I will check it tomorrow before I leave.  But, even if it is low, I’m still heading out as early as I can.

So, my count was down, because I did not get over to Club 41 to check and pull some of those traps.  Life is touch sometimes.  The rats that I would have counted in todays catch will be there tomorrow for tomorrows count.  I expect a very large catch tomorrow.  I will dream well tonight.

Oh, Bob once again kicked my butt with rat catch…11 for him today!  He was a happy guy when he told me.  I am glad for him and for us, an 18 rat day is OK for us.  By the way, we are now 8 rats short of having 600!  And still three more days to trap.  Bob has four days left to trap and five if he wants.  Me?  I want to be done on Friday.

Bears Butt


Written on March 20th, 2012 , Daily Trapping Events | Stories, Ramblings & Random Stuff From an Old Mountain Man is proudly powered by WordPress and the Theme Adventure by Eric Schwarz
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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.