Its early morning. The sun is just coming thru the pines as you begin checking your trap line. Your sets include dog proof raccoon traps, snares in runways for coyotes and cats, and Duke #4 coil spring traps. You arrive at your first set and its gone. No catch circle. Just a cut cable and nothing to be found. Trap thieves! Hopefully this is just a single act , but as you soon find out its not. At each set you find your traps gone, snares cut and empty catch circles with pools of blood just beginning to congeal.
Unfortunately this happens. If you have been trapping long enough you will fall victim to this especially if you trap public land. Even if you trap private hunting land you may be subject to problems with fellow hunters that don’t want dogs injured in traps. I have had this happen to me and it feels like your guts have been cut out when its discovered.
Here are several ways to reduce your risk of getting traps and animals stolen from you on the trap line.
- Trap on private land
- Don’t trap near roadways
- Use green or brown dog proof traps
- Set up game cameras
- Don’t advertise your presence
Private or Public Trapping?
Trapping on your own land is by far the safest option. Not only can you restrict access to the property but you can also have your pick of animals to trap. Make sure that your land is posted as private property and you have control of keys to the gates. For example, I trap on 40 acres of my own property and the only access is thru a road that runs beside my house. I know where all of my traps are and can set them there year after year. In addition, I can pre-set locations and get ready for trapping season beforehand.
Avoid The Roads and Crowds
Another idea is to avoid trapping near roadways. In other words, get out of any area that a lazy person could park and walk to steal your traps or your animal . People are lazy. Most people will not walk more than 100 yards from their vehicles. I learned this when I was a avid deer hunter. Most hunters will only walk an average of 200 yards from their truck when hunting on public land. To kill more deer, I learned to “go deep”, put the boots to the ground and get away from roads. The same can be said for trapping. This also prevents people from driving roads and spotting traps or animals in a trap.
Hide and Seek
Since this is a dog proof trapping blog, lets talk about what you can do to reduce theft of those DP traps. There is a big push to use white traps as this is thought to attract coons. I offer the opposite advice. Hide those suckers. I use Duke DP’s exclusively and only the olive green ones. These traps also come in brown, black and grey. If you use natural colors, this prevents would be thieves from seeing your traps from a long ways off. Some trappers use flagging tape to mark the trap locations. Instead of this, use a hunting app and mark your trap locations so only you know where they are. Are you a coyote trapper and use footholds? Here’s an idea. Use blind sets that won’t draw attention like a dirt hole set. Blend the trap in versus leaving a brushed out area of dirt or grass clippings. If the surrounding area is leaves, sift leaves in on top of the trap bed to further hide the area.
If you are in a situation where you are getting traps and animals stolen on a regular basis, you might consider using game cameras to monitor your trapping area. I have used this several times to keep track of my trap line activity on public land. This is a great idea, but I would caution trappers to use cheap cameras and hide them well. It can be a great tool on your trap line that would can use to prove theft and provide information to law enforcement.
No advertising allowed!
Finally, one last piece of advice. Don’t advertise your presence. Facebook is great but thieves are really smart. I have posted pictures of land and maps before asking for advice or showing trap line pictures and others have been able to find where my traps are. Now I don’t let anyone know where I am except the landowners and immediate family in case of an emergency. Don’t park at public parking areas and keep trapping items out of public view. Do whatever you can to reduce your presence in a public area.
These are just a few pointers on how to reduce theft of traps and animals. Nothing is fool proof but there are things you can do to ensure a good trapping experience.
Introducing for the 2019 trapping season…..Bandit Buster! It’s an anise trailing scent for use in your DP sets. 4 oz flip top bottle. Get yours for $10.00 while we still have it in stock.
Several weeks ago I met a young man by the name of Anthony Asher. Anthony is a author that has written a series of books called Adventures of Rex the Police Dog. Why does this relate to us trappers? Well his latest venture is a log book for trappers. You can keep notes on your trap line in an easy to read format. Each book is set up to record the date, set type, target animal, location, baits and lures, weather conditions and notes. Anthony has three variations; a long liner version as well as one to keep in your truck and a small one to keep on you or in your pack
The truck version is 8.5 x 11 and has 300 sets in the book. The long liner version, also 8.5 x 11, has 500 sets, 40 lure charts, 40 bait charts, 14 urine charts, has a notes section in the back of the book. The pack version is 5″x 8″ and has 150 sets per book, and a notes section in the back. All of these can be ordered through Amazon and hopefully will be available on our website soon.
What are 4 steps you can use to plan your trapping season? The 2019 trapping season is approaching fast. As summer heat gives way to cool fall mornings our attention turns to cleaning traps and getting our dog proof trapping supplies back in shape from the long summer break. How do we make this trapping season the best we have seen in years? It’s not going to be because of stellar fur prices. Likewise will it be due to our getting a break on anti-trapping legislation. The key to planning your trapping season will be what you do beforehand and how you ensure fur in the back of your truck.
So what are some of the tips that can help you in your planning to have success this 2019 trapping season?
- Prepare early
- Use mapping apps or software
- Read up on your prey
- KISS and Enjoy Yourself
We are going to discuss a few reasons why using these tips are important to planning your trap line and making your trapping season successful. First, you need the prepare early. I plan for the trapping season year round whether its scouting or working on trap cleaning and repair throughout the off season. Secondly, you need to know the area that your are going to trap. This is where game cameras help me out a lot. Thirdly, you need to KNOW your prey. If you are trapping raccoons in dog proofs, you need to know habits of the animal.
Preparing early for making a trapping season successful can encompass a lot of things. For me it means running game cameras like the Browning Command Op Pro Series throughout the summer to see what animals I have on my property. You can find out more about trapping with game cameras here. Setting game cameras on pre-set locations or bait piles can ensure that you have good populations of animals before you ever put a trap in the ground.
Using mapping software or phone applications can be an excellent way to ensure success each year. Many people use these maps to mark trap locations, look at topographic features to predict animal movement and keep track of where you parked your trapping vehicle. There are many options to chose from, some free and some for a monthly fee for use. These include IGoTrapping, OnX Hunt and Huntstand. Everyone has their favorite, but I personally use the Huntstand app because of its Huntzone feature which gives you real time wind direction and scent dispersal zones at your current location.
Trapper, Know Thy Prey
Every trapper must know his prey intimately. His habits, his breeding patterns, his food preferences, what he does when the whether changes and what his tracks look like in sand, mud or snow. In this day and age of the internet, books have gone by the wayside. I encourage you to buy some books on general trapping and animal identification such as Peterson Field Guide to Animal Tracks and Trapping North American Furbearers, a classic by Stanley Hawbaker.
Most importantly, remember to keep it simple stupid! Use the KISS method in your trap line and you will enjoy your self so much more. We as trappers can “think ourselves to death”. We worry too much about the right trap set, the right bait and lure, the right location and so on. Go out, set some traps, try some new bait and lure and be content with your accomplishments. Just enjoy being out in nature and seeing what the good Lord has given us.
This is a very important video from my friend Clint Locklear. The Trump Administration has announced it will take executive action to delist wolves in the lower 48 states. This is a huge deal for trappers and predator control managers. Please take a moment and go to https://biggameforever.org/ to fill out a support letter on this issue.
Recently, English Mountain Lures had the distinct privilege of finally being listed in a major trapping supply retailer. It has taken three years of constant emails and networking to get to this point. Its something I am extremely proud of.
Last week, on a private Facebook message someone asked me why I spent so much money and time on lure ingredients, containers and labels only to hand write my product names on the labels.
Well, this is the way I look at it. All of our products are hand made in small batches to ensure freshness and product consistency. Each container is filled and labeled by hand and the name written on the label as a testament to our quality control and obsession with making the best dog proof bait and lure for trappers across the United State. I hope you agree with my reasoning and like I told the person sending the message, I hope you choose to buy our products and try them on your trapping line. Thank you to those that have made the 2018-2019 trapping season a great one. English Mountain Lures looks forward to serving you for many years to come.
What is the meaning of trapping to you? For some its simply a sport that rivals that of deer hunting and fishing. Others is a tradition that has been passed down from generations that have come before you. Things that your grandfather has taught you about his experiences on the trap line. Walking that line with your son or daughter, just like you did with your dad many years ago. To some its feel of the crisp fall air as you drive to the trap line, that steaming cup of coffee in the console. Its like Christmas at every trapping location. What will this one hold? Will I finally get the animal that I have tried so hard to outsmart?
Trapping can mean so many things to different people. For me, trapping is a form of recreation. You see, when I moved to Tennessee from Alabama I was a huge deer hunter. Up every morning of season before daylight to sit in a tree stand and freeze my rear end off. The first year in Tennessee I hunted hard. And saw no deer. The next year I hunted harder. And saw no deer. Come to find out the population of deer in East TN and Alabama is vastly different. I needed something to do outdoors and hunting wasn’t gonna cut it anymore. Enter trapping. It afforded me the opportunity to get outside and not freeze my butt of near as much. As I progressed in my trapping journey I found that I could make extra money by selling fur to fur buyers, selling the by products of the animals like meat and glands to other trappers, as well as making my own baits and lures for those that use dog proof traps.
I took a brief survey on our Facebook group page (The Dog Proof Trapper) and here are some of the replies. Among the responses was predator control, ensuring that the tradition continues through the ages, spending time with my family, enjoying time in the woods and for the sport. The one that struck me every time was “its in my blood”. How often do you hear that anymore? We get so busy with the journey of life that we forget whats really important. Most of the population just exists now a days. They don’t LIVE.
How are you living your life? Do you make time for pure enjoyment anymore. Maybe that is something to consider. Have a great week and get out and enjoy what God has given you.