Cheap Fur? Make Money!

Trapping-General

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With the low prices that are on the horizon at our fur sales this year, some of us trappers are pondering was to do with our catches and how to make up the difference in the prices we might be paid at auction. Currently prices are dismal and probably wont get any better until long after the change of guard in Washington. There are several ways to make significantly more by keeping your fur this year and putting a little more work into a finished product. This includes self tanning, selling to taxidermist and others, craft projects, selling meat, skulls and skeletons.

Once you finish fleshing those raccoons, fox and coyotes, take a minute to go over them again and get ready to enter the world of self tanning. Tanning has come to be known as an difficult process when if fact it is more time consuming than anything else. There are tons of ways to tan from using salt, alum, brains and commercial tanning solutions. I prefer to use the salt method, which involves soaking your pelts in salt water for several days followed by layers of salt to pull out the moisture. Being that you can buy a 50 lb bag of salt for $4.00 at Tractor Supply, this is not a huge cost investment. While you are there, go to the equine section and pick up a bottle of neatsfoot oil to finish your tanning process and you are good to go. The process can be done in about a week not including time to stretch and soften your pelt. Once you are done, you can either sell as is or smoke your pelts for a rich, golden color on the underside. I use a old smoker for this purpose and find that the propane burner makes for easy temperature control and even smoking of your tanning project.

Once you get done tanning your furs you can begin marketing your products via the internet on E-bay and other trapping and taxidermy websites. Taxidermist are always looking for suppliers of quality furs as well as those that know how to tan and prepare fresh pelts. Remember that the way a taxidermist wants a pelt cased is very different that what auction houses want. They are looking for intact feet with claws and pads included in the skinning. Also most prefer a non cased pelt unless they are sending it off to have it tanned themselves. In addition to taxidermist and fur lovers that want your finished pelts, you may find a good market on the Native American pow-wow circuit. In my past life, I created Native American jewelry and attended pow-wows in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The vendors at these events have a special group that they market to and fur is a needed commodity when it comes to making regalia, crafts and ceremonial items. The coyote, for instance, is one of the most revered and cherished animals in the Native American world and many will pay a hefty price for a well tanned and smoked pelt to make into a head dress.

If you are not familiar with the pow wow circuit or you are not near one don’t let that stop you. Design your own crafts and sell on Ebay, Etsy or other online shops. This can be as simple as stretching a raccoon pelt with leather thong on a framework of saplings tied together into a square. Many will pay for this unique item to hang in their mountain cabin or vacation home. This can be done with beaver, deer, coyote, fox or any other medium to large fur bearer. Keep them plain for a mountain man theme or tie feathers and beads on for a more Native American creation. You can also make money on coon skin caps, fur possibles bags, peace pipe bags and anything you can imagine. Fur is a powerful item that people just love to feel and spend money on.

Other ideas include the selling of meat, not only for human consumption (if legal in your state) or to other trappers for the making of various baits. Raccoon is very popular in the southern states around the holidays and makes an excellent meal. The bobcat that you skinned out can be taken and the meat ground for predator bait bases. This also includes the selling of glands to trappers as well. A gallon of coon glands go for well over $40 and all it involves is an extra 5 minutes while skinning to cut the vent and section of the intestine out and throw in a jug in the freezer. Before you throw the carcass away, take off the head with a saw and throw it in the freezer as well. Lot of people are looking for skulls and skeletons, either with the meat on or cleaned by dermastid beetles. A meat-on skull will sell from $1 to $5 depending on the animal. Simply freeze and then advertise on taxidermy or trapping websites to get customers. You can wrap them securely in plastic and newspaper and ship overnight or next day without the danger or thawing. Another idea is to get you a colony of beetles that will strip and eat the meat off the skull in a matter of days and you have a product that some will pay upwards of $10 to $50 for especially if it is whitened with peroxide and have the teeth intact or glued into place. Last but not least, remove the penis bones from raccoons for a Appalachian novelty that sells well in my home state of TN. Legend has it that this “Tennessee Toothpick” was used as stoppers on moon shine stills when the whiskey was flowing into bottles too fast. These can be sold for $5 in various markets.

There are many ideas that today’s trapper can use to make money and continue to enjoy the traditions of the trap line. The fur market will not always be as low as it has been but its nice to have some ways to fall back on and still make a profit from something we all dearly love. Whether its the feel of fur under our hands or the cool morning air as well walk our trapline, no matter the pay, this is all worth it.

Article in Fur Taker Magazine

Trapping-General

Take a look at the latest issue of Fur Taker magazine for my article on computer trapping. Finally got published!

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October Special on Baits

Trapping-General

Hey guys! Got an awesome October special for all my followers on here! We are offering 16oz sizes of our DP Dynamite and Mini Bear Crunch for $5.00! This is a perfect size for your trap bags and if you want to try something new this upcoming season!

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Our New Bait is Available!

Trapping-General

Introducing Mini Bear Crunch!

This all season dry bait is a candy/cracked corn/dog food mix. Its sweet with an irresistible smell that coons love. Cracked corn and dog food is added for protein to use late season. Includes powdered flavorings to enhance the base products. Attracts coons with a variety of smells and tastes! Good for use in cage traps as well as dog proofs.

Get it here at our Lure and Baits page

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New DP Tool on the Market

Trapping-General

There is a new DP tool out of the market that looks to be really slick. I will be ordering one of these in the next few weeks and let everyone know about it. Really looks easy to set and it has other uses as well. Please take time to check out our new group page on Facebook and our new online store here on the website. We have t-shirts and decals available with free shipping on decals for group members. Only 88 days till trapping season here in Tennessee!!

Computer Trapping

Trapping-General

untitledTrappers today all have one thing in common. Finding land. Back ten to fifteen years ago, most of us would ride around looking for land that we could trap on, then talking to landowners or waiting days to see the farmer in their fields or feeding their cattle. In recent years we are turning to computer technology. We can use web forums, online maps, social media platforms and computer programs to find and gain access to our catches.

Web forums like Trapperman.com and others allow trappers from all over the nation to connect. Use this tool as a way to make contacts with others. If you are a trapper that can travel to other areas and states this is useful in finding locations to trap. You may even find others that want to trade locations with you and trap the land in your area. This can extend your trapping season and allow you access to animals that you might not have in your home state. You can look at other forums that attract deer hunters and bear hunters as well.

Online tax assessement maps is one of the easiest ways to find land. These can usually be found on your counties website and have a search feature. To begin looking for areas to trap just put in a name of a nearby road or even you own address. This will bring up the map and you can begin to search for land that looks suitable for trapping. Each property is lined off showing the boundaries of the land. Once you find something you like you can locate the landowners address and either go visit them or send a letter to ask for permission. I have done this in the past and sent letters out in bulk and received good response.

Facebook groups allow you to advertise trapping services and connect with others in the outdoor community. In my home state of TN, I join farm and garden groups in my local area that sell chickens and other farm animals. These folks are always having trouble with predators at their farms and welcome trappers to help them rid them of their problems. Recently I met a older gentlemen that needed help ridding his property of coyotes that preyed on this birds. No only did this help with my fur count but ensured me deer hunting property come next season.

Craigslist is an option to use and have others do the searching for you. From your web browser search for www.craigslist.com. Select your state and nearest city. From there you have several sections that you can advertise in. Simple tell people that you offer free trapping services and ask nothing in return but the fur from the animal. Be specific as to what animals you trap. Some sections to consider are Free Services, Lawn and Garden, Personal Services, Services Offered. You can do this with or without a free account. Each listing has an expiration date so check back to renew your listings. Go a step further and list your services in nearby cities as well.

Use your computer to create flyers and place in your local farmers coop, Tractor Supply and post offices. These locations cater to farmers, hunters and landowners. I have found that flyers that have tear off tabs at the bottom where interested people can tear off your name and phone number have served me best. Most computer have programs such as Microsoft Office that will create a professional looking flyer that will serve you well at many locations.

We have come a long way in the last 20 years in how we as trappers locate land and the landowners that we can serve and assist with their predator issues. Using the computer and the internet allows us to use technology to our advantage.

Coyotes vs. Wild Turkeys | Realtree

Trapping-General

This is a great read about how everything is intermingled in the world of predator control.

Source: Coyotes vs. Wild Turkeys | Realtree

According to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department (VFWD), additional predator “control” strategies (such as a bounty system or management method other than hunting and trapping) wouldn’t benefit wild turkeys.

In their current Big Game Management Plan 2010-2020 draft, the VFWD suggests that: “Predator/prey relationships are extremely dynamic and complex. These relationships involve a variety of factors which defy a simple, quick fix. Wild turkeys are prey to a long list of predators including coyotes, bobcats, foxes, fisher, weasels, skunks, opossum, raccoons, snakes, hawks, owls, domestic dogs, and humans. In the case of implementing ‘coyote control,’ for example, assuming that this could be effective, removal of coyotes would only reduce competition among the remaining host of predators that would continue to prey on turkeys.”

In other words, coyotes help control the list of other turkey predators.

“Coyotes, in fact, prey upon weasels, opossums, raccoons, foxes and rarely skunks,” the VFWD suggests. “All of these species are effective predators of nests, chicks, and nesting turkey hens. For this reason, it is possible that removal of coyotes could allow the populations of these other predators to increase resulting in more, not less, turkey predation and an overall decrease in a turkey population. Complex species relationships are common in nature.”

Could the wild turkey and coyote have more in common than we think?

“Many of the qualities that hunters admire so much about these birds, such as their incredible eyesight,ability to detect movement and wariness, are products of the turkey’s long evolutionary history that they share with their predators,” the current VFWD management plan draft suggests. “As wild turkey populations increase, the potential role of this species as a significant source of prey for other Vermont animals may now be greater than ever before.”

Predator hunting is encouraged however. There’s no closed season on Vermont coyotes, and a fall trapping season as well.

E-Books | The Dog Proof Trapper

Trapping-General

Source: E-Books | The Dog Proof Trapper

Hey guys! Wanted to let you know that we have a new e-book on the site. It’s from Jeremiah Wood with Trapping Today. Great information. You also get $5 off if you order through The Dog Proof Trapper. Get yours today.

Today’s Catch

Trapping-General

Welcome to tales from the trap line. A ongoing story of success and failure in the life a  weekend hobby trapper. 

1.18.16  Just wanted to give everyone an update on my trap line results from today. Would you believe a big fat zero? I am on a new piece of property made up of about 5 acres of logging roads and old home places here in the mountains of Sevier County. I had several Duke DP’s set out along the road where trails were intersecting down towards the creek. I had also set up three on the site of an old trailer directly opposite of the creek. Plenty of sign there, just need to wait it out and let the sets work. Many of you have asked what bait I use in my DP’s and it varies by location and temperature. If I am trapping new territory, I usually start off with dog food with a good squirt of fish oil in the trap and around the area leading up the trail. Sometimes in cold weather I switch to something loud smelling like sardines. This is a great alternative because you can buy them for cheap at stores, keep them in your trapping bag until use and they never go bad. Some people swear by marshmallows. It really all depends on the trapper and the location.

The weather here has turned bitterly cold with a low of 9 degrees forecasted for tonight. I doubt that I will get a lot of action with the dog food but I am going to let the sets sit awhile since its new property. These Dukes seem to be a pretty robust trap. The set tool that I bought makes them easy to set and the staking choices are endless. You can use metal rebar or attach with a wire to trees nearby. I usually use rebar for the simple fact of me not putting many traps in at one time. If I was running a long line, I would suggest the wire setup. I have notices that the green OD green paint comes off fairly easy once they are in the weather awhile. I am going to paint these white in the future of better eye appeal.

I hope everyone’s trapping season is going well. Be sure and share this site with others. Upcoming videos and an online store or in the future.

2.18.16  Well today was a good and bad one. I caught 2 squirrels and a possum in the dog proof traps. Squirrels! Who knew?  The letdown was the huge catch circle I found with the trap and stake missing……..I honestly think it was a fox or bobcat. A coon couldn’t have done this.IMG_0850 I broke a cardinal rule in trapping. I didn’t check my traps on my 24 hour schedule like I usually do and this this catch got away. Live and learn I suppose. I was using sardines for bait which seems to have really upped the catch since all this cold weather and snow. This weekend is supposed to be spring like and in the sixties so hopefully I will redeem myself. I also bought some AuSable disposable stakes and swivels, hoping to alleviate the pull out issue of the rebar. Another day in the life of this trapper.

 

Today’s Catch

Trapping-General

Well guys, this is the first catch from my DP traps that I set out several nights ago. The first is a 20lb boar coon that was taken on dog food and fish oil. Possums, I have learned love dog food too and are just as capable of being caught in a DP as that masked bandit of the night. Since I run a short weekend line, I had set out six Duke DP’s plus a Duke #3 and a snare. See I told you I liked leg holds a little! This was late on a Friday night. On Saturday afternoon, I checked the line and found those two possums above. On Sunday morning, I found Mr. Coon. I am not one to throw anything away. I am currently fleshing all three, while looking for someone to take the meat. Incidentally, I found out that coon peckers (sorry ladies) may be worth more than the fur is right now. This guy was definitely packing…….

When I worked my line on Monday morning, I found my snare and leg hold stolen and sets destroyed. I am sure some anti-American found them and threw them in the nearby pond. Such is the life of  a trapper.

What did I learn? Set your traps away from the road. Even on private property. Expect some losses. Put up cameras. Don’t get down on yourself or society. Tomorrows a new trapping day. Peace.