Showing posts with label trapping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trapping. Show all posts

Preparing Traps For Trapping Season


Any links to merchants in this post are affiliate links.  If you click on a link and purchase a product mentioned in this post I may earn a commission.  This will not add to the price you pay for that product.

For those outdoorsmen who enjoy trapping and those who rely on trapping for an income, the season seems like it is an eternity away.  However, it will be here before we know it.  Taking a little time now to ensure everything is in order can go a long way towards ensuring you aren't running behind when trapping season arrives.

Conditioning traps is something many new trappers may not be familiar with but it is an important undertaking to ensure your traps are ready to go when trapping season opens.

Rusting Traps

Rusting your traps prepares them to be dyed and waxed and is easily achieved.  
Begin by placing your traps in a mixture of soapy boiling water for about thirty minutes.  Once this is complete rinse the freshly boiled traps with clean water and hang them outdoors allowing a light coat of rust to form (this part of the process may take a week or two).

Dyeing Your Traps

The process of waxing and dyeing your traps is the next step after rusting them and completes the process of preparing them for use.  It seems monotonous, but before dyeing and waxing your traps you must clean your body-grip and your foothold traps by once again boiling them in water.  Once this is complete it is time to dye them.  The boughs from evergreens found in your neck of the woods, hulls from walnuts and the bark from maple trees are all great choices for use as your dyeing agent.  You can also purchase a ready made Logwood Trap Dye at a very reasonable price.   Add your choice of these to the boiling water allowing the water to pull the natural dyeing agent from it.  Next place the traps in the water and simmer for about an hour.  By placing the ring of the trap chain between the jaws of a foothold trap the whole trap will be able to be dyed. Be sure you are using enough water to keep the traps submerged throughout the dyeing process.

Waxing Your Traps

Once you feel comfortable that your traps have been sufficiently dyed, it is time wax them.  Waxing your traps will enable them to function properly.  You can purchase Duke Traps Pure Trap Wax or you can make your own by combining one third beeswax with two-thirds paraffin wax.  Place the wax in the water with the traps and allow it to melt (you will see a layer of melted wax floating on the top when it is ready).  At this point it is time to slowly lift the traps out of the water one by one allowing them to be coated evenly with a thin layer of the melted wax.  After the wax has dried, foothold traps should have the wax removed from the ends of the dogs (the mechanism used to hold the trap in the open position when set) and the pan notches (the notch that the dog hooks into to keep the trap in the open position when set) to ensure they will remain set.

Body-grip traps should never be waxed as it will cause them to become slick causing them to be extremely dangerous when attempting to set them.  

Always preform trap maintenance outdoors and store your traps away from human and pet odors.  Allowing your freshly prepared traps to absorb these odors will make the animals you are attempting to trap leery of them and cause your trapping season to be much less productive.

If you liked this post, you may like Dog Proof Traps For Raccoons.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Dog Proof Traps For Raccoons

Raccoon, Trapping, Raccoon Trapping
One of the Raccoons caught on my trap line last  season

What are Dog Proof Traps

Dog proof traps were designed in order to prevent catching domestic dogs while trapping raccoons.  They are cylindrical in shape with a heavy spring activated wire which is pushed into place and set with a locking mechanism.  These traps are open at the top and have a trigger positioned near the bottom.  When a raccoon reaches in to retrieve the bait, they will typically hit this trigger causing the wire to be released which in turn catches their leg in the trap between the wire and the outer edge of the trap.

Types of Dog Proof Traps

There are two basic types of dog proof traps.  One type has a "pull" type trigger which sets the trap off when the trigger is pulled upwards while the coon attempts to bring the bait out the top of the trap.  The other type of trap has a double action trigger also known as a push-pull trigger which can be set off by being pushed down or pulled up as the name implies.

Setting Dog Proof Traps

Setting the dog proof traps is fairly easy.  You can purchase a setting tool or you can use the tailgate of your truck.  I typically lay the trap on my tailgate wire side down and push the "can" down forcing the wire loop at the top to move to the set position.  With the trap in this position I set the locking mechanism on the side of the can and place a piece of PVC pipe about six to eight inches long inside.  This prevents accidental discharge of the trap while making my way to the trap line.  To ensure the raccoon will not take off with your trap, it needs to be secured to something.  Stakes about eighteen inches long made out of rebar work very nicely for this purpose.  Use a mallet to put the stake into the ground and attach the trap to it with a piece of heavy duty bailing wire.  

Baiting Dog Proof Traps

When using a liquid bait simply douse a cotton ball with your bait and place it below the trigger (this should be done before setting the trap).  I don't recommend using liquid baits when the temperature is going to get below freezing as it can render your trap unable to "fire."  If you are using a solid type bait (dog food, pelleted bait, etc....) pour just enough bait into the trap to cover the trigger (this type of bait can be added after setting the trap).  When baiting a trap that has been set, be extremely careful that your fingers are nowhere near the opening as you DO NOT want to get your finger caught in there!

Why Use Dog Proof Traps

The use of dog proof traps will enable you to set trap lines in many more places than using traditional methods of trapping.  Many landowners will not allow trappers to set lines on their property unless dog proof traps are being used.  Dog proof traps will not eliminate catching all non-targeted animals, but they will greatly reduce the number of those animals being caught.  These traps will enable you to release any animal you do not wish to dispatch without harm.  The main non-target animal I tend to catch with dog proofs is opossum; however, you cannot rule out the possibility of catching the occasional skunk.

I hope this information helps you understand the basic principles of using dog proof traps.  I have found them to be relatively easy to use and very effective in catching raccoons.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Should The MDC Encourage or Discourage Feral Hog Hunting?

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feral hog, wild hog, wild pig
Photo Courtesy of MDC

Feral hogs are very destructive animals and are capable of transmitting diseases to humans and their livestock.  Sows are able to have two litters each year with an average of 6 piglets per litter.  Large numbers of wild hogs must be killed each year in order to prevent their population from expanding.  Many of the wild hogs in Missouri are a result of intentional release into the wild by individuals in an attempt to gain access to new hunting opportunities.

Because they are attempting to eradicate them, the Missouri Department of Conservation presently discourages feral hog hunting.  This is because according to the MDC hunting these wild pigs makes them more leery of human presence thus they become more difficult to trap.  Alan Leary the Missouri Department of Conservation's Wildlife Management Coordinator says "feral hogs are not wildlife and MDC will not manage them.  The goal is to eradicate them."

Many states in the U.S. allow and even encourage the hunting of feral hogs; MDC however, discourages this practice and according to information I have seen would like to do away with this option in Missouri all together.

Should Missouri hunters continue to pursue these animals or should they leave all eradication efforts to the MDC?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

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