By: Bears Butt

FloatAssembledI haven’t posted on my trapping lately and I need to do that to get you all updated.  I took most of the weekend off to do the archery thing but there wasn’t much happen on the trap line and so it wasn’t worth posting.  I’m not really sure what is happening with the rats this year.  Low water is one thing, but where we do have water there just aren’t the rats moving around like in normal years.  Perhaps they are in a down cycle and just flat out aren’t there to be caught.  (shrug shoulders)

Yesterday I did finally manage to catch a coon but not in a dog proof trap.  It was waiting for me in a live trap that I was planning on moving because of in-activity.  Because it finally caught one I left it where it was.  I moved another one for lack of activity however.  Now I have 5 live traps and 3 dog proof traps all within a 50 yard area.  What was funny was the dog proof traps all had the bait eaten out of them (most likely from mice) and one of them was covered with mud from raccoons touching it with muddy paws.  Even the log the trap is tied to was covered in mud.  They had been all over it during the night.

So, I was reading in the latest issue of Fur-Fish and Game magazine and there is an “I knew that” suggesting I cover the opening of the dog proof trap with a walnut to keep the mice from getting to the bait.  The raccoons will come along, smell the bait, knock the walnut off and go for it!  I’ll take a sack full of walnuts out on the line with me when I go out next….not today because of all the snow we are getting!  (4 inches on the ground and more coming down)

So, without going back and reading what I have written about the number of rats we have caught on a daily basis, I’ll just report to you our total right now.  With the 100 Bob caught last Fall in the freezer, and what we have caught so far this Spring, our total catch is 411.  Our goal is 500, so we should easily make that mark.

I was in hopes of setting a slew more traps today, but that isn’t happening with the snow.  Heck, I doubt I’d be able to even find my traps.  It’s going to have to warm up enough to melt the snow off my flags before I’ll be able to find them.  I remember three years ago it snowed for two straight days and I worked like crazy to find my traps.  I even had to go back the week after I pulled them to find some I couldn’t find the day I pulled from that line.  When the snow is heavy like this is today, it lays the toolies down that are holding the flags and then snows on top of it keeping it down.  Once it melts the toolies stand back up and reveals the flags.

So, today will be a stay at home day….I think I’ll make something fun!

Bears Butt

March 3, 2015

Written on March 3rd, 2015 , Daily Trapping Events
By: Bears Butt


How is that for a pile of raccoons?

As it turns out, these coons were in someone’s freezer and the guy decided to give them up to Brek and his buddy.  Most of them won’t be worth skinning as they appear to be road kills etc., and I understand the guy who had them also runs dogs.  They range in fur benefit from prime to summer scruffies.  They will decide whether to skin them or toss them.  But for sure they make an impressive pile.

Bears Butt

February 27, 2015

Written on February 27th, 2015 , Daily Trapping Events
By: Bears Butt

TransportingTrapsThis was the picture yesterday of me moving my Trellis line.  It is not an easy task to pull a line of traps and try to get them out on the next line.  It takes hours and hours.  Pulling traps is one thing, setting them in another.

So, here you see the toy loaded down with iron.  The wood floats on the front make it look like a pack mule with a whole elk.  In actuality the floats are light but bulky and I only had to travel about 1/2 mile while balancing them.  Back at the truck they fit nicely in stacks of 3 high, 3 across.  The traps I left on the toy for the reset out on Big Spring.

I wish it were as easy to set traps as it is to pull them, but when I’m looking for “the set”, I want to maximize my chances of a full trap the next day and so I pass up a LOT of good sets to find that perfect one.  Needless to say, I pulled over 40 traps and only managed to set another 22.  I have miles of trapping space to set traps but limited time to do it.  Some of you might remember my getting stuck last year and if you are so inclined you can go search for my story about getting stuck while trapping and having to be “saved” by Wapiti and Weasel.  Without their help my toy would still be out there.  Well, this is the same place where I’m trapping now.  I will be sure and stay away from that bog hole!

Let’s look at what else is going on in my life right now.  Archery!  I finished my last lesson last night and it was a very fun evening with popping balloons and shooting to see which one of us could hit a popped balloon.  I think before the night was over we each won our rounds and tied.  Although none of us actually hit the small orange remnants of a balloon, we won by coming closer than the others.  Nuff said about that.  The Brigham Bowmen are hosting a 3D archery event this weekend out in Tremonton.  An indoor event where they have the entire brand new event center rented.  It is going to be a blast and I hope everyone reading this will at least come out and see archery shooters at their best…see their post on Facebook, under group, Brigham Bowmen.

Well, I’ve volunteered to help transport trees and 3D targets out to the event center, help set up, help during the event and help take it all down.  That will involve 3 or possibly 4 days, some full days, some partial days.  I won’t know that until things begin….Tomorrow at 10!  SOOOOOO!  Trapping is going to be on hold while I do this archery stuff.

I do still have an obligation to my trapping and will make time to check them every other day.  Not only is that the law, it is only ethical as a trapper to conduct myself in a responsible manner.  What it also means is I will NOT be setting any more traps until this event is over.  Normally I would not be sitting here typing right now, I’d be out on the line setting steel as fast as I could to try and have ALL my traps out before dark today.  So, this is kind of like a day off.  I’ll go out and check traps and be back in time to put up the rats and wait until tomorrows archery stuff begins.

What do I expect out on the line?  I set 22 traps yesterday and so my line is 44 traps in size.  The sign reminded me of a time a couple of years ago, where I set a whole “sh** pot” of traps and didn’t catch one rat in two days.  The sign I saw at that time was so fresh it almost steamed in the cool sun, but the rats had moved out.  Yesterdays setting might end up with the same result.  I hope not, but who knows for sure.  I expect to catch 15 rats today.  AND a couple of raccoons!

Why raccoons?  I set 3 dog proof traps yesterday!  I explained what a dog proof trap is and roughly how they work in yesterdays post.  Well, this is what one looks like ready to fire:


A simple and safe looking little devise.  In the tube is mini marshmallows, dry dog food bits and on the top edge a secret concoction of shellfish and assorted other smells that raccoons like.  I place each of the traps near likely raccoon trails and fully expect to have 3 raccoons this morning!

15 rats and 3 raccoons would clearly make my day!

Bears Butt

February 26, 2015


The weather was sort of weird today…snowy, cold, sunny, warm, windy, calm…typical of Utah Spring time.  But more important was last nights weather and how the rats move in the wind….they don’t.

Todays catch….9 rats…NO coons!  I can’t believe the lack of coons!  All the bait was gone in each of the traps and I suspect mice.  I reloaded each of them and hope tomorrow nets some fur.

Bob took the day off from trapping to get his truck inspected and registered.


Written on February 26th, 2015 , Daily Trapping Events
By: Bears Butt


Yesterday felt like a day off even though I pulled 43 traps and managed to set 22.   Doing that actually takes quite a toll on this old guys body.  I guess what actually felt like a day off was time in the skinning shed.  With only 2 to skin and about 10 to flesh and stretch it didn’t take long at all.  What was very interesting was the fact that Bob had really taken the day off to fix up things in his rental, he also went to town and bought 6 “dog less” raccoon traps and assorted other stuff to go with them.

I’ve been reading about this sort of trap for many years but never thought about purchasing one to give it a try.  After seeing how simple they are I can see why they are such a craze to use against raccoons.  “Dog less” traps were designed to target only the curious animals with the ability to clench food with a fore paw.  Domestic dogs can’t do that.

I’ll be taking some pictures out in the field as I set the three he let me borrow.  But for now you have to just go along with me on how they work.  Raccoons are a curious animal.  They have really good noses when it comes to smelling out trouble and of course something to eat.  They will eat anything and everything.  They can scale straight up walls, climb trees, jump across huge expanses, dig, chew, swim and bite with the best of them.  The one thing that can get them into trouble is reaching into a hole to extract the goodies that are hiding down in it.  They like to reach into holes for stuff and their hand like front feet are dexterous enough to grasp items in the hole and hold onto it while they pull it out and then eat it.

I worked with an old boy from North Carolina and he told me of catching raccoons (coons) by finding a knot hole in an old log, placing a shiny button in the bottom of the hole and then driving three number 6 finish nails down on angles into the hole.  The raccoon would come along, see the button and reach in and take hold of it.  With his fist clinched on the button he would try and pull out of the hole, only to encounter the sharp points of the nails.  Rather than let the button go and pulling his paw out of the hole, he would hang onto the button and be there when the trapper came along to get it.

So, these “Dog less” traps do just about the same thing.  They are cylindrical pipes with a trigger and a wire catch.  The raccoon reaches in to get some food from the tube, fires the trigger and the wire catch pins his leg against the inside of the tube.  It is strong enough to hold him and he can’t pull out of it.

We were taught that using food such as marshmallows, dry dog or cat food or some sort of individual food pieces works the best as they keep reaching in for another bite until eventually they fire the trigger.

I made a beer bet with Bob that I catch three coons tomorrow (Thursday).

As for today on the rat lines.  I plan on completely pulling out of the Trellis line.  The rats that were there must have moved or maybe we have caught most of what was there.  I think between Bob and I we have taken nearly 50 rats from that area.  I’m also convinced there are at least that many more in there, but with time running out on our season (the run, slippage etc.), we need to move on and catch rats while we can.  Our goal is 500 and we are about 150 short right now (more is always better).

I set 22 traps yesterday and of them I think I’ll only catch 8 rats.  Several of those sets are on the big channel that goes from Big Spring down through Petes and onto the Goose Club (no trespassing).  Those traps will only attract rats swimming up and down the main channel and I’m hoping when the rats do go for a swim they swim the side of the channel where my traps are set.  Swimming on the other side will get me nothing!  Also, there are lots of ducks on that channel and I usually tag one or two of them.  They are always alive and I release them unharmed.

So, 8 rats expected in the new sets and I don’t expect to catch any in the Trellis line sets.

I do plan on setting more traps out on Big Spring so it will be a big day in the field.  The weather is looking pretty good today.  Partly cloudy with a high expected in the 40’s.  I love this time of year.  Not as much as the hunting season in the Fall, but still, Spring has its goodness to enjoy.  Like yesterday, I could hear some Chukars up on a rocky hill.  I stood there and looked on the hill trying to see them when all of a sudden I saw flapping of wings.  The birds were in their mating ritual and the males were battling over the females.  There were quite a few birds sitting on top of rocks watching the battle and I assume they were the females.  Can anyone enlighten me on this?

I’ll give an update later.  Bob is supposed to head out to the Goose Club and set some traps out there.  Eventually, he will understand his traps among Petes cows have caught all the rats that lived there and he will move them.  But for now, as long as he has traps in the truck, he will set them and continue to check the traps that have remained empty for weeks.  Old mind sets are hard to get to see thing differently.

Bears Butt

February 25, 2015


Well, Bob didn’t make it out to the Goose Club area….It was cold and VERY windy….nobody likes the wind.

I toughed it out and set another 22 traps, but he area looks very suspicious as to whether it holds rats or not.

My catch….11….Bob…3.




Written on February 25th, 2015 , Daily Trapping Events
By: Bears Butt


This is a 40 rat pile I caught the other day!  Yesterdays catch was not nearly this big, but big enough considering the cold and wind.

What about today?  Tuesday, February 24?  Another cold night last night with winds dyeing down.

I had to break the ice around almost every one of my traps yesterday and as cold as it was, I’m sure the ice formed right back up around them after I left.  So, if I catch 5 rats today I will feel very lucky!

Bob is taking the day off from trapping today and doing something with his rental property.

I’m planning on pulling the floats from the Trellis line today.  They have only produced 4 rats in over a week and it’s just not worth baiting them every day just to have the mice scamper out and eat the bait.  They can be better served down on Big Spring.  That is where I’m moving next.

Gotta go!

Bears Butt

February 24, 2015


Sure was a different weather day out on the line today than it was yesterday.  Relatively warm with a slight South breeze blowing.  Little to no ice.

I began by pulling the traps from Fish Springs….all 42 of them and while I did I managed to catch 2 rats.  I was expecting 3.  Then on to check the Trellis line….nothing.

A quick trip out to Big Springs and I was setting traps in no time.  I placed the one float I pulled on the big flow of water from Big Springs.  The amount of water flowing is only about half what it normally is.  Then down the flow I drove the toy setting bait sets as I went.  Against the Goose Club fence is as far as I can go.  Back toward the top of the spring that heads South and East and I placed a couple of traps on two small spots on the way.  The spring itself had quite a bit of sign and so it was pretty easy to set 10 traps in there.  A total of 22 traps went out.

Tomorrow I’ll pull the Trellis line and continue to set Big Spring.  There are miles of water ways out there.


Written on February 24th, 2015 , Daily Trapping Events
By: Bears Butt


After a much needed day off from the trap line, I have restocked my anise-carrots, gassed the toy, filled up the crank case with oil and am ready for another full week of “stuff”.  Let’s look at this weeks schedule:

Monday: Trapping, Shed Duties (you should know what that means by now, as there is a whole lot more to trapping than setting and checking traps), Archery.

Tuesday: Trapping, Shed Duties, Other Duties as Assigned (yet to hear about these ones, they usually come with little or no notice).

Wednesday:  Trapping, Shed Duties, Archery (Last lesson, will probably end with a test that I can’t pass).

Thursday:  Trapping, Shed Duties.  (Hey!  What’s going on?  Is this a free day?)

Friday:  Trapping, Shed Duties, Help with the set up of the 3D archery range in Tremonton.  (I have not a clue as to what to expect with this one but I know they have a lot of work to do and a short window in which to do it and I want to help where I can).

Saturday:  3D tournament begins in Tremonton.  I want to play in it as well as help out where I can.

Sunday:  3D tournament ends, again, I want to play and help out.  After the event is completed, there will be take down duties.  Will these duties extend into the wee hours of Monday?  I’m not sure, but want to help where I can.

SOOOOO, it looks like the week begins slowly and ends in a flurry of activities that don’t necessarily include trapping.  With this, and my need to be moving traps from Fish Spring to the Big Spring out West, I’m sort of at odds with everything and my stress level is sort of high right now.  Do I begin moving traps today?  Do I just plan on pulling a few traps each day this week until Fish Springs is completely pulled and plan to set traps early next week?  I need to keep traps on the Trellis line until they just completely quit producing rats, so no moving them yet.  If I set traps out on Big Spring, than means a second stop to check traps and every stop means more time spent out on the line.  More time out on the line means a later time getting home for shed duties, and later shed duty means longer hours, longer hours means less time available for archery.  I have to laugh right now. 🙂 (Hey Weasel, are there smiley faces available for this web site?)

As my friend Muskrat always said:  “I’ll decide”!

Expected catch for today?  The weather has been cold, snowy and windy the last couple of days and nights.  I caught 13 on Saturday, which was a pretty good day.  Took yesterday off and so I’ll have two nights of catch waiting for me today.  The lines are starting to show signs of limited rats in the areas where they are set.  All of that leads me to believe I will catch less than 20 but should catch more than 10.  I’ll extend my hopes to the mid point and say 15 rats today.

Bears Butt

February 23, 2015



Ice everywhere!  All traps covered in at least 1/2 inch of ice, all rats under or in the ice.  That means they got caught before it froze.  I had to break every trap out of the ice today and ended up with 10 rats and 4 other traps set off with nothing in them.  I’ll take 10 rats any day when it’s that cold out there.  Also caught a big old colorful coon!

I needed the bait and so I sat down and skinned all 10 rats and used their carcasses in the coon traps.  They will be hungry when things warm up.

Bob had 4 rats when I stopped along the highway and talked to him.  He was almost finished checking his line and he didn’t think he would catch any more rats.

LATER:  Bob ended up with 5 rats today!





Written on February 23rd, 2015 , Daily Trapping Events
By: Bears Butt


Today is Saturday and it marks the end of week number two of trapping for this season.  Yesterday was a record catch for me at 40 rats.  The weather was cold and windy (see yesterdays update) and will effect the rat movement for last night.  We are seeing more sign that the run is going to happen in earnest really quick and perhaps yesterdays catch was the run in full force.  You never know with these little critters.

Today we have a 50% chance of rain.  I don’t mind the rain so much as the wind.  Keep the wind out of the equation and things are pretty good.

I’d like to get my trap line checked and then go off and do something different today.  We will see what happens.

Expected catch for today is half what yesterdays was.  I’m guessing at 20 rats and that would make for a pretty good days catch.  The skinning shed time will be all consuming today with over 40 rats to put up, but that is just the nature of the business.

An update will come later.

Bears Butt

February 21, 2015


I headed out early to get the traps checked, knowing there were going to be several hours worth of fleshing to be done later on.  As it turned out, I caught 13 rats and was home by 12 p.m.  A quick call to Weasel and he was quick to arrive at the skinning shed where he went right to work combing the rats that were drying from yesterday.  Unfortunately most of them were too wet to put up and so they went back on the drying rack and will have to be processed tomorrow.

We managed to put about a dozen up on stretchers and skinned the rats I caught today.  We also pulled down 50 rats from stretchers that were dry and put them on hangers.  We now have plenty of room for our catches for the next day or two.  We also skinned the 13 rats and put them with the others to dry.

When you think about trapping fur bearers it’s easy to think trapping is just going out in the field and catching animals….it is far from just that.  Catch, skin, flesh, stretch, take down, put up, comb and who knows what else.  It also involves more than just that with certain fur bearers like fox for instance.  Timing is everything with turning them.

Now I wait for Bob to get back from the line.  When I left the trapping area I ran into him just going out.  He was in for a very wet day.  The storm was blowing through just as I left and it was hailing like nothing else I’ve ever seen.  I hope he is safe out there and comes in with a large load of rats.

I’ll update his success on here when I know what he caught.  Bob came in about 4 p.m. with 8 rats!  Two of them got put up!



Written on February 21st, 2015 , Daily Trapping Events
By: Bears Butt


Took yesterday and went to Uncle Donalds funeral.  It was a great service.

Now back to trapping.  Remember that the other day I set a whole pile of traps out.  I now have 106 traps set and ready to catch muskrats.  Those same 106 traps have sat for two nights and with between the number of traps and two relatively warm nights, I really expect to catch a pile of rats today.  I’m saying 30 and that might be conservative.

We will have to wait and see how the catch goes and I’ll update you on how it went later today.

Bears Butt

February 20, 2015


The weather was cold and windy.  By cold I mean unseasonably warm for this time during a normal year, but for lately I had to bundle up with most of my gear and then by 10:30 I was taking stuff off.  I ended up wearing my coat all day however and the wind was blowing pretty good all day as well.  But, as I ran my lines my blood was pumping pretty good as the traps seemed to all have had some kind of activity.

Back home the count was 40 rats!  That is the most rats I have ever caught by myself in one day!

I had also had 2 raccoons hit my traps.  One was able to back out of the trap because a leg bone had gotten between the door stop and the door.  A second had gotten into a trap and ate the contents of the bail and then left without the door going off.  The reason the door didn’t trip was mud and debris under the trap keeping the trip lever from pressing down to fire it.  I didn’t have any muskrat bodies to rebait with and so I used small boxes of raisins.  I’ve never used raisins before and so it will be interesting to see if they work.

Bob came in with 6 rats and so we had a very good day of trapping.

On the downside is all the time it takes to skin, flesh and stretch and tonight (Saturday) will be the big night for doing that.  My back hurts just thinking about it.


Written on February 20th, 2015 , Daily Trapping Events
By: Bears Butt


Monday was Presidents Day and the kids had the day off school.  So, since Kenzie had not gone out on the trap line with me I asked her if she wanted to go and she jumped on the chance.  It was a great day to be out in the field…pretty warm, about 50 degrees, a little bit of wind but not too bad.  We did get to see some pretty big dust devils however.  Kenzie was a great help especially finding my floats which were high and dry from the water going down in the ponds.  It was a very fun day.

She even posed with my brand new Studio C sign:


We ended up catching 17 muskrats this day and I told her I needed a picture of her holding one or two…..she said I would eventually get a picture of her with one….but it didn’t happen until we got back to the skinning shed where she said she wanted to give skinning a try.  Her dad (Weasel) took this picture.


Kenzie did a very good job at skinning two rats!  She never did the typical girl thing of EWWWWWing or anything like that.  She just mustered up and did the job!  And I must say they were both skinned perfectly!  Good job Kenzie!

While we were on our way home that day, we stopped in Corinne to get a soda pop and we parked right next to the big historical sign that gives a brief history of the town of Corinne.  For those of you who don’t know about the small town of Corinne, it was a major hub in its day.  With the site of the Driving of The Golden Spike, just a few miles to the West of town, it quickly became a town of major proportions.  It’s location next to the Bear River and in a part of the valley that afforded access to trails (roads) in all four directions, it became a hub for moving goods to the mining areas of Montana and dry goods to Oregon and other points West.  Rails and wagons.  With the type of men who work those kinds of jobs, it also brought gambling, drinking and of course women of a shady style to town.  Corinne came very close to becoming Utah’s state capital.

So, here we parked next to this big sign that tells a similar story to what I just described to you:


So, I quickly read the sign out loud so both of us could hear the story at the same time.  It’s funny that I have lived here my entire life and have never stopped to read this sign before.  I’m sure I’m not alone in that regard.

Anyway, back to the sign and its story.  If I was a person assigned to making a sign like this one, I think I would make dang sure I was spelling and punctuating each word and sentence properly and if I didn’t know something I would certainly ask someone.  As I read this story in my quickest way, when I came across one certain word, both of us began laughing at the same time.  You see Kenzie was reading silently as I read aloud, we came across the word at the same time.

How do you spell decision?


Kind of imbarrassing.


Well, today is Wednesday, what do I expect with todays trapping?

Yesterday I pulled the 53 traps on Bull Run and managed to set out 25 more on Fish Springs.  I also moved 10 traps on Fish Springs down the line a ways.  It was quite a busy day for this old man and to only catch 9 rats yesterday was actually a good thing as it got us out of the trapping shed earlier than we usually are.

My floats just haven’t been paying off like they usually do and I haven’t figured that one out yet.

So, from the float sets I should catch 3 rats.  The West Trellis line and Arrow Head should produce 2 rats and Fish Springs should kick out 12….total 17 rats expected today.

Also, I will be setting some traps around the float sets on the Trellis line.  It will be a busy day again today.  I have archery lessons tonight and tomorrow a funeral for Winemakers brother, Don.  I’ll be taking tomorrow off from trapping.

Bears Butt

February 18, 2015


It’s a very good thing I set some traps yesterday, without those traps out, I would have only caught 2 rats today.  As it turned out I ended up with 15 rats.  No traps on the Trellis were even set off.

I managed to set a bunch more traps today and now have a total of 106 traps out.


Written on February 18th, 2015 , Daily Trapping Events
By: Bears Butt


A long day ahead!  I’ve decided to pull my traps on Bull Run and make an attempt to re-set them on the Trellis line.  I’ll leave the 6 live traps on Bull Run and hope to catch a million raccoons there.  I’ll leave them out there until I’m done trapping for the season.

My expected catch today is, 3 at Bull Run, 3 at Big Spring, 3 on the West end of the Trellis and the two at Arrow Head and 6 from the floats.  15 rats.

Gotta Go!

Bears Butt

February 17, 2015


Maybe Bob is right…the run just might be over!

I pulled the 52 traps over on Bull Run and caught a bonus 4 rats….AND A RACCOON!!!!   YEAAAA!

Hit the rest of the lines and it was poor trapping.  Ended up with 9 total rats!

I did manage to set 25 more traps out on Fish Springs but none at the Trellis.  Tomorrow I’ll set more traps on there.

With only 9 rats to skin (Bob took the day off), Brek ended up skinning 6 in the time it took me to skin 3, we finished in the shed before 5 tonight.  A good thing to have behind us.


Written on February 17th, 2015 , 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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