By: Bears Butt

A full inch of new ice out in the trapping fields this morning.  That is a cold bugger when it does that.  Cold like that also keeps the rats hold up in their nice little warm dens.

I had a very big surprise when I pulled the traps at Doris’ pond…I caught a rat!  It must have been a very lonely rat.  So, no more traps are set on Doris’ pond until next year.  By then there should be at least one small family of rats taking up residency there.

At Big and Little Springs I turned one rat on each of the two lines.  Not much of a showing for that many traps, especially after having so many unfilled, set off traps yesterday.  I expected more.  But on Big Spring, the little swamp where the rat had been setting off my trap each day was filled with a big old fat rat today.  I was pleased to pull him from the bank hole.  No other traps on either line were set off, so I figure it was just too cold for most of the critters to get out and about.  There was a whole ton of tracks of coyote, foxes and weasels however.  Those predators had been working hard for whatever they ended up finding to eat.

I was able to go a bit farther east on Big Spring and managed to set 4 more traps out that direction.  I have almost caught up with the ice down that line and maybe tomorrow I will find the edge of the ice and be stopped.  We will see.  The bigger surprise to be found on this line was a bunch of places to set traps on the large flow of water in the Big Channel.  Big Channel is a very large flow of water that goes out and through the Goose Club and is fed by a series of big springs.  For me it is almost a scary place to walk as you never know if you are walking into a spring or not.  It is also where the cow had drowned, only on the other side of the flow.  It’s too deep to wade across as well.  Anyway, I walked out there to rinse off the rat I had caught up in the small slew and it was covered in mud, when I got there I found a very nice deep run coming out of the bank and into the main flow.  A perfect place for a colony trap, which I had pulled from another location.  I also found four more places to set conibears.  So 5 sets went into those locations.  I will mark those places in my mind for upcoming years trapping as I had not found them before.

On Little Spring, I was able to make the round and head west setting more traps down that line.  I reached the ice just before the road crossing on the Goose Club road.  No more traps will be able to be set on that for at least 3 or 4 days and then it will have to warm up quite a lot to free it up.  There is a lot of good trapping down that line from the Goose Club road on out to their fence.  Right now the rats are swimming and playing in absolute safety because the swamp is totally covered with a thick layer of snow and ice and the rats have thousands of miles of runs and swimming channels to use, day and night.  I always like to find an opening in the snow and look under the canopy at all the trails.  The rats will even come out on the edge of the canopy and make a mess…easy pickens for me then.

Once done setting Little Spring I figured I still had lots of time and I decided to go and see if I could set the Trellis.

Bob was waiting up by my rig when I got there and he had 3 rats of his own.  So a total of 6 rats for the day.  We’ll take it.  Both paid for our gas and a little extra to boot.

By the time I got backed into the Trellis parking area it was almost 2:30.  With the sun angle as it is this time of year, I have a difficult time looking down into deep runs to see if they are being used or not, as the sun begins its decline;  So, I had to move fast.  I was able to set 13 sets before I hit the ice line out there.  13 traps in that area is a good number.  A real bummer of a sight was at the point where the water crosses under the road.  The ranch owner had blocked off the pipe, I suppose to get the water to go farther to the east down a ditch in that direction.  The rats have tunneled under the road and now the road is not travel-able.  Huge gaping holes and cave ins going across the road and all the water is gushing through and carrying the road base away.  This is one of the reasons we are out there trying to catch as many rats as we can, but they managed to cut a path under the road and the water will take the path of least resistance and take all the dirt and rocks with it.  I feel bad. (Ed, if you are reading this, don’t try and drive past the pipe going east, even a shovel won’t help you when you crash through that mess).

So, right now I am enjoying my favorite beverage and recalling all the days events.  My rear end is kicked and the hot tub is going to feel very nice tonight.  I was back at the rig by 3:15 and home by 4:15.  Out to the shed with Bob to flesh and stretch the catch and was in the house by 5 p.m., ready to settle in for the evening.  It was a very nice day, but not one to take any time for pictures.  I had 53 traps out, today I set another 29 and pulled 9…so now I have a total of 73 traps out.  Bob has 16.  His catch rate was equal to mine rat for rat today, but his percentage kicked my butt.  Me 5.6%(based on 53 traps) , Bob 18.75%.  I still have him out numbered on total rats caught so far.

And that ends week number one.  Seven days, 38 rats.

As a side note, I looked at the results of the NAFA auction which was held last week and muskrats averaged $11.51 at their sale.  That means we can reasonably expect to get around $9 for our rats if the price holds at that level.  For those of you trapping and reading this, keep in mind you will only get high dollar amounts if you are properly handling the furs after you have trapped them.  That means drying the pelts, properly skinning them, fleshing them and stretching them.  Some people even comb the fur before putting them on the stretchers.  Bob and I are really proud of the way we put up our rats and we expect to get the highest dollar as our reward.

Bears Butt

Feb. 25, 2013




Written on February 25th, 2013 , Daily Trapping Events

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    Wapiti commented

    Lot of work – but a good day.

    February 25, 2013 at 10:59 pm | 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.