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Thread: Fur Harvests & Trap Line Talk - 2017/2018 Season

  1. #1
    14 pointer WoodsmanA's Avatar
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    Fur Harvests & Trap Line Talk - 2017/2018 Season

    Hey All - With just a little over a month to go until the general trapping season opens I figured I start up another post where any trappers on the forum can share their experiences and stories. I'm feeling some extra motivation for the upcoming season as I lost over three months of my last season after falling 25 feet from a ladder. Picked up a couple beaver in early December, a coyote and a fox at the end of the month and that was it.

    I'll kick it off this year with a couple stories...

    Before the start of last season, I spent my evenings for two weeks working hard on finishing a lot of hold-over furs from the prior season (2015/2016) that spent the summer heat inside my chest freezer. Can't put up fur in hot weather. So I waited until it cooled off and finished everything, including some of my trapping partner's furs, in early November just a few days before opener. I'm sure some of you remember the "End of the Line" picture I posted here on the forum. It also got published in Trappers Post and Fur Fish Game. Unfortunately, that picture led to a complaint being filed with CT DEEP against myself and my trapping partner. The person who made the complaint, whoever it may be, stated that, "Not all the furs are tagged", and they were concerned about the two bobcats in the picture as, of course, trapping bobcats in Connecticut is illegal. Both bobcats were taken and tagged in New York by appropriate authorities and then legally checked into the state of Connecticut by my area ENCON officer. The yellow tags are clearly visible in the picture. Every other fur in that picture that was required by law to be tagged, was tagged and accounted for by the DEEP. If the person who made the complaint is an anti-trapper, I respect your opinion but there is no need to make false claims against trappers if you do not know the true situation. If the person who filed the complaint is a fellow trapper, I appreciate your concern and please understand that I am an honest and ethical trapper and I strictly adhere to the regulations set forth by the CT DEEP. From season dates and species restrictions to trap type and size and chain length requirements, and everything in between, I follow the rules. There are quite a few people across this state that can attest to that.

    This next bit is not fur trapping but it's trapping nonetheless and it's pretty damn cool. I'm sure some of you have heard about the ongoing study by the CT Wildlife Division to live capture bobcats to be tagged and released with radio collars. There will be a story on New Channel 8 about the study sometime in the near future. So keep an eye out for it. The study aims to capture and release 50 bobcats across the state of Connecticut in "high housing density areas." The radio collars attached to the animals will fall off automatically after 10 months. I was issued a permit by the commissioner of the Wildlife Division along with a handful of other volunteer trappers to begin live trapping bobcats for the study on September 1st. I wasn't able to get any traps set the first week but on the 7th I decided to take one of my cages and practice making a bobcat specific set behind my house. Pretty straight forward ... Set the cage perpendicular to a trail, brush it in, cover the trap bottom and bait/lure it. I then hung a pigeon wing using fishing line just in front of the set. This is done to catch the cat's attention bring it to the area. I'm a believer in it's effectiveness... the next morning I checked the trap before sunrise and was happy to find an angry bobcat staring at me. Within an hour a team of DEEP biologists was on foot to the trap. The bobcat was tranquilized and removed from the cage. From there the biologists took samples and measurements off the animal. 27 lb male. It was then tagged and a radio collar was attached around it's neck. When all was complete the cat was given a shot of antibiotics and a reversing drug to counteract the effects of the tranquilizer and it was released unharmed and healthy, ready to send back loads of data to the biologists. Undoubtedly one of the coolest experiences I've had. Watching the biologists work was incredible. CT bobcat tag # 1 ... I'm pretty proud of that.





    Anyways... I spent my afternoon today getting a lot of preseason trap work done. Boiled six new traps and tried a new product to clean up 20 K9 traps. Wax-B-Gone. Great product! Saved me TONS of time scrubbing dirt and old wax off the traps. A couple hours of work by the old methods was completed in 20 minutes with this stuff. I'll never scrub traps again.



    Six of the traps need new padding so I started getting that done. Takes about 30 minutes per trap. It's a total pain for someone like myself who has big, fumbly fingers. Once the pads are replaced I'll be able to dye all my traps and then wax the K9 traps.



    I also wanted to rave about a product I started using last year. Melby's Fur Conditioner. Used it on all those hold-over furs in Oct/Nov. Spray it onto the fur and it helps clean off blood, dirt, burs and everything else. It really brightens the fur as well and makes them shine. I think the results speak for themselves... Here are all the furs after I received them back from the tannery in May.



    Looking forward to the upcoming season. I know not many people on here trap but there are a few who do. Chime in if you plan on setting some steel this year. Hopefully this hot weather kicks the bucket soon!
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    14 pointer WoodsmanA's Avatar
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    Alukban... Check This Out

    Forgot to post this in the original as well...

    Hey Andrew, I got this idea from one of the guys at Fur Harvesters Auction. It's a mink-specific trap box and it's 100% legal in Connecticut. I know you've targeted mink for the last couple years so when I followed the plans and built this last week I was thinking of you.

    It's just some scrap board I had laying around. The box is designed to tilt downward into the water. The trap, a 120 Conibear, is 4.5" so only part of the frame has to be touching the water. The back end of the box is out of the water and it's here that the bait gets hung. The back is screened over so the mink cant get to it from the exposed portion of the box so it has to enter the front end and pass through the trap. For the floats the plans called for using cedar blocks (added buoyancy) but rather than spend money on cedar I took a couple pieces of cedar firewood out of my wood pile. Cut them to length, screwed them on and done.

    The trap is held in by 16 gauge wire and the set is anchored by chain or wire to a rock under the water.

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    Super Moderator Deadeye Logun S16 Champion, Backyard Shootout Champion TooManyHobbies's Avatar
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    That bobcat is freaking awesome. Congrats. Why two ear tags?
    Furs look great too.
    If you were on my side of the state, I'd probably trap with you. But, I've lost the interest over last couple years since my partner of two seasons moved south. Being a trapper though, every time I see a coyote track on a dirt path or a coon track in the mud, I look for a spot to put a foothold.
    I don't remember you saying if you ever caught a mink, hope that box works for you.

    You mentioned a fall from the ladder, but didn't go into detail. What the hell happened? That's a long fall, glad you're OK. Tom Logan and Kyle McDowell fell a few years ago too, they both shattered an arm.
    NOBODY EVER SHOT BAMBI....they shot his momma.

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    I will def by building me a couple of these to try out this season! This is intel I need! Man but I suck at trapping! LOL

    The open entrance is supposed to be under water then?

  5. #5
    Good stuff bud. I need to get over to your house to finish my Beavers from last year as well.

  6. #6
    Hello everyone, long time no post, been busy moving for the better part of 2 months back and forth (house sold fell through etc). Anyway, after reading this I just felt the need to post or reply. I say this because, I think you trappers are the nuttiest and weirdest people of all. Yet, it's not the doe or big buck kill posts that I can't wait to read, it comes from you weirdo trappers. I gotta be honest what you guys do and the stuff you post feels, it like I'm going back in time and I absolutely love it! I was a history majory in college and am just absolutely intrigued by this kind of stuff. I've always been very interested in the trapping business and lifestyle, but never had the drive to pursue it. So thank you for being weirdos, cuz I always thoroughly enjoy your stories, your pictures, and most of all your history.

  7. #7
    14 pointer WoodsmanA's Avatar
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    Thank nbarnych. I enjoy being weird. Life would be boring otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by TooManyHobbies View Post
    You mentioned a fall from the ladder, but didn't go into detail. What the hell happened? That's a long fall, glad you're OK. Tom Logan and Kyle McDowell fell a few years ago too, they both shattered an arm.
    Brian, not sure why two tags on the bobcat. I'll have to ask. The ladder fall... Back in early January after some snow melted I started clearing trees from right behind my house. Too close to the house. Put the ladder up to do a little trimming on one. Tied off the saw so it wouldn't fall if I lost my grip. Got the trimming done. Climbed down. Had some lunch. Climbed back up to untie the chainsaw that was hanging there. Ladder kicked out to my left. The first split second I tried to bear hug the tree but no chance. Down I went. My chest hit the side of the ladder and bruised pretty good. Wrist swelled up bad. Few cuts and scrapes. Went to docs and my wrist was fractured. He said I was lucky. Could have been a lot worse. Could have broke ribs, punctured lung, all that good stuff. Made it two days in a sling before I went crazy. Funny part is, after I fell the very first thing I did was stand up and look around to make sure nobody saw me... I'm surrounded by woods and don't have neighbors anywhere close enough to have seen the fall hahaha. Haven't like being on ladders much since. I didn't know Tom fell also.

    Andrew, definitely try the boxes! The front of the trap is submerged in the water, yes. Mink (along with fisher) are my nemesis species. This year I'm hoping this box helps me connect.
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    14 pointer WoodsmanA's Avatar
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    Here's the simple plans for the mink box:

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    14 pointer Grizzlyadam's Avatar
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    Awesome thread, I'll be following along, I love this stuff. Nice looking cat bud, I cant wait to see how much ground that thing covers before the collar falls off. It seems like I see the same ones over and over where I hunt, I always thought their range was much smaller than most other predators. It probably has a lot to do with food availability. Lots of rabbits here.

  10. #10
    14 pointer WoodsmanA's Avatar
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    Beaver Double

    Sunk a pair of 750 footholds on cable rigs and three 330 conibears yesterday at a customer's property. Beavers are causing issues in their yard. Pulled in at first light this morning to find a pair of beavers, both in the foothold traps. Great start to the beaver season. Didn't reset the footholds but adjusted the conibears to be under the ice that formed overnight. Not expecting anything tomorrow unless a beaver from another hut in the connecting wetlands finds its way into this pond. Plan for tomorrow morning is to set another beaver location and sink some steel for coyotes.

    Anyone else trapping?
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