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Discussion Starter #1
I think this forum has been a bit quiet this year... let me see if I can do my part and stir things up!

Heading into the season I knew I'd need to take things a bit easier after a major injury to my right leg and knee. Therapy helped and it's healed well but is still holding me back... a pinching pain with every step but probably more so mentally.

With that in mind, I knew I'd have to set a new goal and way to push myself. Rather than trap all things, each week, with every trap I decided I would focus on one critter at a time and make the days count. My goal for the year is to catch as many fox and coon as days set. So if I trap fox for 15 days, I need to catch 15 fox, etc… along with continuing to chase firsts such as fisher, bobcat, and beaver.

I set a line before Thanksgiving with a 5 day check at a distant SGL for red fox
...a line over Thanksgiving with a 7 day check for coon and hopes of lucking into any mink.
...a line with a 10 day check the last week of rifle season on my home SGL for red fox.
...and today, well today I spent at heaven on earth setting a bobcat line with hopes for many more.

Now I need to upload and organize some pictures to share. I’ll leave you guys with this one until tomorrow!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Holy Smokes! This week flew by... Opps! I didn't mean to be a tease. I’m off for two weeks chasing critters, friends, and family. I look forward to these weeks all year but why do these days fly by so fast! Finally, some computer time :)


Line 1 - Set Day
As I have for the last three seasons, I chose to start my season at a SGL 35 minutes from home. While last year I trapped fields, creeks, and woodlands catching more than a handful of coon and a few fox; I set the fields only this year targeting just red fox. I staked my sets the Sunday before Thanksgiving and planned to pull them Friday AM after five checks.

Time to get dirty…



I must have been busy putting in a good effort because I only stopped to take one picture of a set. At this corner I placed a dirt hole up against the brush line and a scent post next to the one high stalk by my bucket and basket.



I had 23 traps staked by the time I remembered forgetting to eat. I stopped at 3pm to drive down to a local pizzeria and do my best to finish off a pepperoni pie. After fighting every urge to call it a day thinking that was good enough, I drove back up to the game lands and burned the rest of daylight in one more field adding another four sets. I finally quit after the day told me it was over when just about all my gear failed me…



In hindsight I figure I’d put in about 300 sets with these tools over the last two years. I can’t be too upset.


27 sets, 5 parking spots, 5 days to check with a goal of 5 fox.

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Check 1
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Two Fox!!!


I’m off to a good start was all I could keep thinking.

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Check 2
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1 Fox!!!

Oh yeah! Keep em coming!

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Check 3
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Yup, saw this coming. People who don't know how to behave… two stolen traps. I made my usual call to the PAGC reporting the incidents.



Oh… but I still caught two more fox :)



To bad this guy won't make it to a board.



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Check 4
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I had set a triple at a real hot spot from last year. No action so far, but seems I had a visitor last night.



Oh, and almost forgot to mention… one more red fox!



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Check 5
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After pulling a dozen empty traps I parked at my third spot. As I was loading up my gear and offering a friendly hello to an orange leaving his vehicle, I could hear one of his buddies up the road yelling... “Hey, do you have your furtakers? There is a fox up here pouncing on a mouse.” I asked the guy I was walking the road with to kindly ask his friend not to shoot the fox I had in my trap. As I approached I found I had a double in my trenches… actually, my first multi species double! The group heading out to hunt birds was nice enough to come up and take a picture for me. When one asked where I was trapping because he didn't want to step in one and lose a leg, I took the chance to show him the trap and how there wasn't a chance of that happening. :)



I ended Line 1 with 7 fox and an incidental coon in 5 checks… Goal met! (4 fox and a coon in the freezer, 3 fox with mange not)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Line 2 - Set Day

After looking at my vacation balance and having some extra days due to canceling a summer trip, I decided to take off the week of Thanksgiving and try my hand and walking the woods for PA bear and build my excitement for Mondays. It wasn't until Monday night that I pulled the lids off a few boxes and got some coon traps cabled up. I walked a familiar creek I’ve trapped for many years and threw out DPs at all the spots I’ve had luck with in the past. It sure was a beautiful night!



I also planned to trap mink while walking this creek but setting bottom edge sets would have to wait until daylight. This year I connected with a guy from Instagram photos and we bartered some of my homemade canned goods he drooled over for a few of his homemade mink boxes and wild mushrooms!



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Check 1
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Good to see they're still around here! One coon for the mornings check.



I set a few 110s for mink but held out on digging any pockets guarded with #11 long springs because dummy me left all that bait at home.

I learned one very big lesson as I took my time slowly setting over the two days was how much more sign I noticed. I found four different set of mink tracks in just over 300 yards of creek. Pleanty of other tracks as well.



Here he ran under the log…



So I blocked it up and put in my security system :)



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Check 2
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A little coon here. I might have let go but I caught him so close to the houses, I figured one less would only be appreciated by those letting me trap there land.



I also had one sprung 110, look at this…



Caught on the trigger. I bet I can't repeat that one.
I ended the day with two coon in all and another warm day to enjoy wandering around for a lucky bear.



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Check 3
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Coon!




After checking what was established I decided to head over to another creek I wanted to set a few mink sets across one or two hundred yards. Looky what I found. More mink tracks!



I think this is mink skat as well…



I liked this guy he liked getting his picture taken :)



Another day, and a pair. Four and counting.


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Check 4
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Turkeys are my friend, two less egg eating possums.

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Check 5
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Should have stayed in bed :)

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Check 6 - Pull Day
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I was happy to make one last catch as I pulled traps and had my cousin along with me.



Turns out we would have two to skin that morning.



Happy guy on the road home.



We took our time at home and I let my cousin skin a coon teaching him along the way. I was a bit bummed I didn't connect with a mink this week but I’ll be back!


I ended Line 2 with 7 coon and 2 incidental opossum in 6 checks… Goal met!
 

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WOW! sounds like your off to a great start! congrats and keep the pics comin : D
 

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Great stuff , I've trapped 36 years and although I'm not a big conibear guy i will say I've never seen one do that , bummer . But way to meet your goals
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Line 3 - Set Day

For my third line this year I chose to trap my home SGL and a 20 acre private field just a mile down the road from me (after meeting a guy while jet skiing in OC, NJ this summer who turned out to be my neighbor). Small world! I was even given permission to drive down the field edge to the corner and trap out of the truck. What a treat that turned out to be for a guy who usually pushes his pack-basket weaves to the max!

I set 25 traps at 3 parking spots on the SGL and 4 sets in the private field.

I’m playing catch up writing here so I’m just gonna come out and say it… I caught fourteen red fox in ten checks with twenty-nine traps out! Woooooohoooooo!!!

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Check 1
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Two fox...





Caught that second one with both front feet. Something I ended up seeing a few times that week.



One had some mange, thankfully that trailed off into the week.


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Check 2
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Three fox and an incidental coon! :)




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Check 3
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Another double in the private field which made five in three checks with four traps in the field. Hot stuff in those sets!




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Check 4
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Two more reds today! ...and about time I catch another fox on that SGL. I was beginning to think someone beat me to it!



Some bad news this day as well when I went to check a scent post I had previously caught a fox on and found it was stolen. Those catch circles are hard to hide from dishonest folk.




Thankfully after that I found another beautiful red waiting on me! A good solid catch on him as well.




In other news, a guy can't get any better motivation mid season then getting a box of fur back from the tannery I sent to last year! I’m going to start on some small gifts but hopefully in a few more years and I might have enough for some projects I have in mind.



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Check 5
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Big ole goose egg today! I dare not complain tho for the week I’m having and welcomed the extra time to make a hot breakfast before work.


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Check 6
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I caught one red in a set that had not received any attention yet this week. I'm glad this one got worked, I was pretty excited about it.



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Check 7
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One more to keep those numbers going, but boy would he not cooperate with the camera crew :)



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Check 8
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Another goose egg! “Oh no whats happening” I didnt think as I went home looked at all those bags in the freezer full of fur and enjoyed an extra cup of coffeee on the couch with the dog before work.


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Check 9
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Back at one! A little we that day, but it will dry and fluff up just fine.



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Check 10 - Pull Day
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I couldn't have asked for a better way to end this line then with the gorgeous fella.



When I was pulling my sets and about half way thru I hooked onto one trap and BARLEY started to lift when snap!



Brand new chain put in this year. I suppose this is why some of you recomend the american chain over the import?!?


I ended line 3 with 14 fox and 1 incidental coon in 10 checks… Goal met!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Beaglador Rtrvr said:
The first journal with it's own pilot/ teaser- neat... Did you ever get that dyed raccoon back from Tubari?

I knew someone asked about it but couldn't remember who. Glad you asked!

I'm pretty happy with it over all. I'm not sure this batch of tanning measures up against the ones I send to Mink and Moyle the year before however. I think I'll end up getting a few dyed black to trim a blanket when I'm ready to make one. I have it with me this week and can take a few close up pictures if your interested just let me know!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks everyone for the comments. It has been a great year so far. My only regret is not starting a journal sooner and getting to share!

Zrabfan30 said:
Way to go, is this your best catch year now?
That's a good question, I'm going to have to go back and count!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Line 4

I’m spending two weeks back in my hometown for Christmas and New Years. I usually try to run a mink and coon line near my parents place. I’ve set a few k9 sets down the road that I’ve never had any luck with. This year I made an entirely new plan with a new goal, Bobcat! Back at Thanksgiving I met up with a guy who I’ve never met before. He posted on HPA and offered to show a trapper where he saw bobcat recently. We drove around in his truck and he walked me through the woods giving me my own little personal tour for a better part of a Sunday afternoon. My excitement was rocketing! It’s hard for me to spend enough time in the area to scout enough. Finally, a real opportunity at catching a cat!

In the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas I opened almost every back issue of Fur-Fish-Game, Trappers World, and Game News scanning for any information I could learn about bobcat sets. I’ve seen plenty of trappers in PA catch them in plain old dirt holes, but I wanted to stack my deck in every way I could and really go at them with a variety of sets.

The season opener came fast. On December 19th I was blessed with the greatest thing I could hope for in making my week a success. A fresh blanket of snow for set day!

While I had only been in these woods twice (I did a little scouting of my own with a friend a second time at Thanksgiving) I had a rough plan in mind. As I drove past my first parking spot on the way to my starting point I stopped mid road. I put the truck in reverse and decided to quickly check for tracks on the gas well road.

Bingo!


My plan changed as I got sucked into following tracks for an hour and a half learning a bit about how these animals were moving. Wanting to set traps, I kept reminding myself this was time well invested.

Right in the middle of the road was a fresh scratch and scat. While I’ve seen platny of fox skat at my sets, I honestly don't know how to tell what bobcat is. I’ve looked online, but I need some real world experience. These prints were fairly clear and I thought it was cat but I’m still not 100% sure. If anyone has advice on how to identify cat scat please chime in!




After all the distractions I decided it was time to load up the basket and start actually making sets.

The first was right on the road near that skat pile. A double cubby with two traps guarding them. Still nervous to leave a trap open I decided to bury these two.



I put in another dirt hole and a scent post before busting off the road and heading in deeper.




A trench followed next. I just can't help but try for and fox or coyotes who might be running around.



I talked myself back into focusing on ideas I read about for targeting cats specifically and put in a multi pocket set again. This time along the side of a nice bank that I followed tracks down.

Before



After




Remember, I don't actually know what I’m doing here and learn most lessons in trapping the hard way… so be nice :) Constructive criticism is always welcomed! I thought this rock in the middle would make their feet move more. One hole had bobcat urine, one feline fix, and one a couple rib bones from a meal out of the smoker a few weeks ago. They still smelled great!


Next came a dirt hole baited with Widow Maker 800 at a nice ridge which was also the intersection of a few trails.



For my last set out of this basket I had some fun and made a cubby out of sticks. I dug a small pocket in the bank, added a rib bone, some lure and a little urine in front of the set. I placed an open Bridger #2 dogless 4 coil as the main set and buried a Bridger 1.75 on a drag in front hoping to clean out any curious coon and leave my #2 operational.




Back in the truck I was and up the road a few miles I drove to my next spot. This was the trail I scouted twice and planned some sets based on terrain and skat found. I hopped out of the truck and saw tracks everywhere! Right into the culvert!




Excited as could be, I glanced in at the overgrown road into the thicket and holy smokes! A highway!



Not a single deer track to be seen, but the k9s and cats sure are using this trail! I walked up about 50 yards and punched in a dirt hole baited with Gusto. Up flushed a pheasant!



Up to road I went, continually staring at tracks trying to find that M shaped pad of the cat. As I saw tracks break off the trail into the thicket I decided to follow. 10 yards and up on a log it jumped finally showing me the first clear cat track for this rookie!



Which quickly was guarded with a trap on a drag hoping it would pass thru again.



Another 50 yards up and again tracks broke off the trail. Again, I thought it might be a cat as the pad looked more M and there were clearly no nails sticking out.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So again, trap and drag were placed.



Just a bit further up the trail I spotted a scent post and some older scat.



Which I also snuck a trap by and squirted some grey fox urine on the tuft of grass and bobcat urine on the small stick to the opposite side hoping to get them extra curious.



I finally made it to the top of the hill where I had previously seen two piles of scat. Today there were four piles. So I put in two dirts holes. One much bigger and with a subtle lure and the other smaller with a strong lure.




Up the trail further I got a little crazy with another pocket set in a bank. I dug a few holes, hung some ugly old christmas ornaments laughing all the way.



Again, one open and one buried set because I'm just to scared to do them all open.



The final trap was put in a trail for a walk thru blind set. I added a lot of sticks hoping to really guide him in. Maybe too much? What do you guys think?



I had planned to go further into the woods to a nice ledge but was out of traps and doubled back to the truck. At the truck I decided to walk up the road and see if I could spot any tracks crossing. Plus, I also wanted to place one last set on a little ridge near the road.

Sure enough, I spotted some tracks run up the hill and across the ridge. I figured that was as good a place as any to put in a dirt hole incase anyone walk walking along the ridge.



My third basket full of the last sets went across the road from the first parking spot. At this point I knew I was tired because I struggled to get in four sets. A few dirt holes and trenches along the field but no real sign to get excited about.

As the day came to a close I called Josh on my drive home excited to tell him about my day. I forgot to mention that when Josh was showing me around at Thanksgiving he expressed some interest in learning about trapping. I offered to take him along for a check and teach him what I could. We made our plans to meet up the next morning.

As I went to bed Saturday night I remember thinking… “Today was perfect, it’s everything I love about trapping. I don't even need to catch a cat this week... I have already had enough fun to remember this trip for a long long time.” ...and I mean that!
 
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