Interesting Muskrat Article - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Interesting Muskrat Article

Anybody who get's the PA Outdoor News probably read this. An article about the rapidly declining muskrat population with PGC furbearer biologist Tom Hardisky stating the decline is mostly caused by increased predation from the air (hawks and owls) and cleaner water. The clean water comment kind of threw me until he mentioned that raw sewerage that used to be dumped into streams and rivers caused thicker plant growth along streams, which in turn gave muskrats more food and shelter.

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 12:06 PM
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Re: Interesting Muskrat Article

We've always said it was hawks and owls...back in the day they were fair game...

I never associated it with sewage...but now that I think about it....all the housing plan run off ponds here are the only place to find cattails and choked out ponds and creek bottoms..
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 12:28 PM
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Re: Interesting Muskrat Article

Does anybody have a link to this article?
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 01:41 PM
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Re: Interesting Muskrat Article

Its a good article,I never thought about the sewerage but it make scenes.

Nature can teach us alot.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Interesting Muskrat Article

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Originally Posted by trapper233
Does anybody have a link to this article?
They have nothing but older articles online. You could pick one up at a newsstand for $2.50 - March 14, 2014 edition.

They also have a good article on otters and the state coyote hunts.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 05:28 PM
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Re: Interesting Muskrat Article

Thanks. Will purchase one.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 12:32 PM
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Re: Interesting Muskrat Article

Back in the days, I would put out 100 conibears in a large swamp. I would check them three times a day for the first few days. Many sets would yield 3 rats a day. A few times I recall standing up after making or redoing a set and see a rat swim into the new set and caught before my eyes. While I can't argue the sewerage issue, no sewerage flowed into this swamp that I knew of. This past autumn I scouted the swamp for rat sign- there was none. Over the years I watched the rat population there decline, year after year. And I wasn't trapping it, nor was anyone else that I knew of. Basically, the swamp itself never changed. Raptors are the problem in this case.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 12:47 PM
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Re: Interesting Muskrat Article

Just anecdotal, I noticed as the mink population increased the muskrats population wet down. I would place the down trend more on mink than raptors.



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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 08:15 PM
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Re: Interesting Muskrat Article

I too see a lot more mink sign in my rat swamps than I see raptors. Also most daytime raptors pose little threat.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 10:07 PM
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Re: Interesting Muskrat Article

Perhaps I should have been more specific than "raptors". Great Horned Owls are the suspected culprit. They are nocturnal so you won't see them much, they don't leave tell tale tracks like mink do; having said that, they are the ultimate hunters- silent and deadly. Add the mink explosion and a 'rat doesn't have much of a chance.
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