I've always wanted to trap, but never had anyone to show me how. Last year I helped my friend Alex run a small beaver line close to campus, and it was a huge learning experience for both of us. Alex managed to get about a half a dozen beavers, and helping him fanned the flames and I decided I was going to trap this year.
Not having a vehicle on campus makes it had to trap, but running a line with Alex allows me to get out and makes things a bit easier on both of us due to school schedules.
I decided that I wasn't going to go into this season in a cheap manner and bought everything I could need ahead of time, read as much as I could in books, on HPA and Trapperman and felt like I had a good start on my first season trapping. A big thanks to the guys who have helped me out on here and on campus, one of the students here is also a HPA member. Thanks Jerry.
Once school started I did a bunch of scouting, and located some good muskrat habitat. Our schedules only allow for one line to be run at a time, and we figured that muskrats would be a good place to start.
I was counting down the days and soon it was October 25th, and New York's season would open at 7 am. We would run two lines at first, once which we could access from a short boat ride from campus, and I would check with Alex's roommate Josh. This was Josh's first season as well.
We rode in the small Jon boat in the early morning dawn and soon reached our first spot. It had some rat sign, but not as much as our second spot. It is one of those hidden in plain sight spots and we had hopes of getting one or two rats out of there.
Shortly after seven, we drove the first stake down into the soft marsh bottom and set the traps. About 15 traps in all and 4 out of my availible 7 muskrat traps.
Josh had a 9:30 class and we reached campus shortly before then. I loaded the boat back on the rack infront of my dorm and waiting until 2:30 when Alex and I would set our second line.
Alex and I set the second line that afternoon and had high hopes as the amount of sign had increased from when I last checked about a week before hand. I set my remaining three traps and Alex set a few dozen as well.
October 26, first check line 1
In the northern part of the state we are on a 48 hour trap check. Since we wanted to alternate lines every day, we needed to check today to get line one on the M,W,F and weekend check.
Our traps were all empty and I was a bit disappointed in the results, but held out hope for tomorrows check on line two.
October 27, First Check, Line Two
We motored into our second line and began checking. Alex's first few traps held nothing, and on the 4th trap, we had a nice rat in a 110.
A few more traps and we found a rat in one of my downing sets on a feed bed in a #1CS. The set had worked flawlessly and I was pretty excited.
Checking the last few traps we discoved another rat in Alex's trap. A 110 set on a run into a feed bed. Our total for the day was three muskrats.
Alex with a bit of muskrat love.
My first trapped animal, a nice muskrat
October 28th, Second Check, Line One
I had skipped class in the morning due to the storm coming and felt that it would be a great day to do some duck hunting, and we were right, the storm really had the ducks moving, and we got my roommate his first duck on his first hunting trip ever.
After the hunt, I went to my class and then paddled to line one to check traps. After the success on line two, I didn't have much confidence in line one, and decided that if we had no catches on this check, I would pull my traps and move them over to line two. I had nothing in my traps, and pulled to them, while Josh left his to sit for a the weekend.
October 29th, Second Check, Line two
We found ourselves checking a bit later in the afternoon after a morning of deer hunting and found a rat in a run set in a 110. However, a mink had wanted a snack and tore into Alex's rat leaving a nice hole.
We made a pocket set near this trap and baited it for the mink and had high hopes to see him there on Sunday morning.
The next trap in the line was mine and held a huge rat in a run set in a 110. This thing was a monster compared to what we had been catching before.
We stuck out a few more sets here, a bit further down than we had trapped before.
My second rat, what a porker
October 30th, Third Check, Line Two
We have to check both Saturday and Sunday in order to be able to check on Tuesday and Thursday and stay legal with our 48 hour check law, so back on the line we went that afternoon.
Our muskrat traps were all empty, and we were not too disappointed, it had only been one day.
Checking two of our new sets we had made, we were surprised to see a mink in a 110 in my muskrat run set.
A nice mink from our third set. My first mink ever.
November 1st, Fourth Check, Line two
Today was the opening day of our otter and beaver season.
We have a great beaver spot, but wanted to wait on that, as we already have traps in this area and wanted to try for the beavers we had here as well.
We set about a half a dozen beaver sets, with two of them being mine. Both were 330 sets on castor mounds that I had made.
While setting we ran into a few buddies who close to use and they had already got a beaver in a trap they had set this morning. A nice 45 pounder.
Our muskrat traps were empty and it was our first skunking on this line. We do have a good feeling about the beaver traps though, as we set on some really good sign.
Here are just a few random pictures.
Me fleshing a muskrat in the Fur Shed (Bathroom)
Trying to figure out how that thing works
A nice set for a rat, we came close to catching him, but I'm not sure if he likes pickles.
I'll update this throughout the season, and am looking forward to trapping PA during Thanksgiving and Christmas break.