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Discussion Starter #1
It has been many years since I ran a trapline,but I still train my dog in some of the same areas.I have noticed the disappearence of the muskrats!The streams are cleaner now than when I was a boy,yet there seems to be very few rats around!Have you guys noticed this?Any ideas on where they went?
 

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Yes this is something that the PTA has been looking into
for a couple years now. Maybe someone who knows more about
it will chime in. I know I don't see much rat sign and only
caught two while water trapping last year.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's kinda strange,the swamps that I trapped as a boy were heavily polluted,but there were always plenty of muskrats,they would make lodges 3-4 feet high and all the streams leading to the open swamps had muskrat holes,now there is nothing-rat wise!The water quality is much cleaner now,go figure!
 

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I saw a pond in WV last year along a mountain West of Winchester,VA that had muskrats in it..I asked the caretaker what they were and he said muskrats.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I grew up in Cental NJ,the area we trapped was part tidal and some fresh water.It was easy to catch 5-6 rats a day before school,sometimes double that,trapping pressure didn't seem to bother them,they were in the same spots every year!There are no lodges in these areas now and only a few holes.There were a few mink around,lots of coon and fox!I am trying to think of what is different now.
 

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Just my 2cents. I think modern agriculture has a lot to do with the decline in numbers. Years ago your streams that ran through the farmers fields would always grow up with vegetation. It seems now a days most farmers spray everything with round up or some other kind of weed killer. Now I don't think the spray actually kills the rats but I wouldn't be willing to bet it doesn't do something to there reproduction rate. Maybe lowering sperm count or something like that. Just my thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #11

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Probably like our pheasants and quail, the hawks and owls keep them thinned out. Since our hawk and owl numbers increased our small game has decreased. They have to eat too.
 

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I think there are at least two obvious reasons for the decline in rats. One is the over abundance of hawks and owls.They are every where.Must be at least half a dozen hang around my place just waiting for a chance at the wifes chickens.
Second is the herbesides that all the farmers are using.A lot of it is running off in the streams.Most of the streams around here don't have any of the water grass or water cress growing in the creek bottoms any more.When the water rises during heavy rains the vegetation it touches dies when the water goes back down.The rats have to search farther and farther to find what they like to eat and that exposes them to more hawks and owls,mink and other predators.All the corn,beans, and alfalfa is now genetically engineered with herbiside right in it.All that stuff is in everything they eat and drink,they can't get away from it .Matter of fact neither can we.Wonder why there is so much cancer around now days???
 

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Well I think that birds and chemicals are a herbisides/pestisides are a good bet. But I was talking to my fur buyer a couple years ago about it and he pointed something interesting out. all the rats I had were large and most of what he had bought were large you just don't see the little ones. He pointed out a news broadcast from ealier in the year that mentioned the high levels of progesterone in the water from the birth control pills. Seems the sewage plants don't filter that out. Makes sence to me that it could be effecting fertility in rats too.
 

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Rups said:
I think there are at least two obvious reasons for the decline in rats. One is the over abundance of hawks and owls.They are every where.Must be at least half a dozen hang around my place just waiting for a chance at the wifes chickens.
Second is the herbesides that all the farmers are using.A lot of it is running off in the streams.Most of the streams around here don't have any of the water grass or water cress growing in the creek bottoms any more.When the water rises during heavy rains the vegetation it touches dies when the water goes back down.The rats have to search farther and farther to find what they like to eat and that exposes them to more hawks and owls,mink and other predators.All the corn,beans, and alfalfa is now genetically engineered with herbiside right in it.All that stuff is in everything they eat and drink,they can't get away from it .Matter of fact neither can we.Wonder why there is so much cancer around now days???
wow, are you missinformed with the farmer bashing.don't spout off about things you don't understand.
 

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I live on the edge of a huge marsh in NW PA and I just don't see them like I used too....Still some though but I'm afraid to trap them....Then they'll be more gone!!!
 

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I just don't see them like I used too....Still some though but I'm afraid to trap them....Then they'll be more gone!!!
I stopped trapping them myself for the same reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
OldMink said:
I just don't see them like I used too....Still some though but I'm afraid to trap them....Then they'll be more gone!!!
I stopped trapping them myself for the same reason.
This is hard to imagine!They used to be all over the place,trapping pressure had little effect on them!I agree something is very wrong!
 
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