The hunter who can combine trapping with weekend or extended hunting trips is fortunate. One or two mink, raccoon, fox, or coyote pelts can help defray the cost of a week in deer camp or a weekend stint of chasing after pheasant.
With perfect gears, you need a proper guide especially in the beginning season for trapping tips for fox, raccoon, coyote hunting.
Trapping Tips for Raccoon, Fox and Coyote Hunting
For making the perfect trapping bait for coyote, fox and raccoon hunting, you need to follow some basic guide. Here are some tips and simple guide you can follow.
Preparation of Making the Traps
Some preparations are necessary to make this approach to trapping work. It does little good to stumble onto a surefire set location for coyote while, for example, you’re hunting sharp-tail grouse if you left at home your bottle of coyote scent or the small space needed for making the dirt-hole set.
This set and others will be explained in detail later in this chapter.
Storing the Traps
Well before the hunting and trapping seasons, build a box in which to store all your trapping gear. Then make it a permanent fixture in a car trunk or truck box.
A good way to keep gas and oil odors from permeating your gear is to keep the box outside your vehicle, as on a cartop carrier.
The trapping you squeeze in on hunting trips will not require many traps, but you never know the kind of furbearer you are going to encounter. Store traps of several sizes in the box.
Dye the Traps for Better Result
Trappers like to dye their traps first with a solution of wood bark. This is a job best done outside.
A fireplace can be improvised by placing rocks in a U-shape and putting several iron bars across the rocks to support the tub used for boiling the traps.
Treat Trap Properly
The first step in treating traps is to boil them in water. This will remove oil from new traps and excessive rust from older ones.
After the traps have boiled for an hour, pour off the oil, dirt, and old trap wax that have risen to the surface. If the traps are new, remove them from the tub and leave them out in the weather for a couple of weeks to rust.
Prevent Trap Rust: Tips to Follow
It’s important that traps have a coating of rust because smooth shiny steel will not take on a good color. To ensure that the inside of the trap jaws get a coating of color, put a nail or chain link between the jaws.
If the traps are already rusty, bring clean water to a boil and add bark from hardwoods such as soft maple, white oak, or green butternut, or sumac bulbs, or walnut hulls, or other material or trees common to the area.
Evergreen bark should not be used, however, since it produces an overly concentrated odor.
A short cut is to use one pound of commercial wood dye to every 5 gallons of water. Wood dye is available at trapper’s supply houses and sporting goods stores. It is not expensive.
Allow the Traps to Sit Perfectly
If time permits, allow the traps to sit for several days in the water and wood-dye or bark solution.
This will give the tannic acid in the dye or bark time to etch itself into the metal and will give a more lasting color.
This treatment frees traps of the odors of steel and rust and imparts a natural woodsy smell. It also makes them easier to conceal.
Store the Accessories in the Trap Box
In the same box used for storing traps, keep such accessories as a small spade, hand trowel, rubber gloves, dirt sifter, stakes, lashing wire, and hatchet.
Also, keep a 10-inch framework of wood with a 1/4-inch-mesh screen across the bottom. Build a separate compartment for bait and lure bottles.
Making the Wooden Fur Stretchers
You can make your own wooden fur stretchers. You can get the idea of how wooden fur stretchers should be shaped by examining commercial steel stretchers or go to the nearest fur buyer and ask to borrow some of his wooden fur stretchers to use as models.
It pays to become acquainted with the fur buyer. He will answer your questions on the preparation and handling of animal furs. It is to his advantage that you bring in well-handled furs.
If you are not experienced in skinning, fleshing, and drying pelts, don’t let this deter you. For buyers will buy animals that have not been skinned, generally deducting a small amount from the pelt value. Skinning, fleshing, and drying of pelts are skills you will want to acquire. They all add to the overall enjoyment of trapping.
Make a Dirt Hole Set for Catching the Animals
The dirt-hole set is useful for the hunter/trapper because it will take a variety of furbearers including fox, coyote, bobcat, raccoon, skunk, opossum, even mink. Especially the dirt hole for trapping coyotes is very effective.
The basis of the dirt-hole set is the habit of foxes and other wild canines of digging holes to bury food they want to eat later. The trapper attempts to imitate such a food cache.
The set is even more effective because animals delight in robbing food caches. The dirt-hole set should be made out in the open, away from high grass, trees, large rocks, and stumps.
This is because an animal, in approaching what it thinks is the food cache of another, does not want to be ambushed.
Making for Fox, Fox, Coyote, Bobcat Raccoon
When making this set for fox, wear clean rubber gloves and rubber footwear. With a small shovel or gardener’s hand trowel, cut a triangular clump of sod about one foot from corner to corner.
- The corner where the hole is to be dug should be against a low rock or other backing the fox can see over.
- Shake some of the excess dirt from the sod into the excavated area. Toss the sodas far as you can into nearby high grass or carry it away with you after completing the set.
- Next dig a hole with your trowel about 3 inches in diameter and 6 inches deep, and at a 45-degree angle under the backing. Scatter this dirt as far as you can throw it.
- Now dig a trap bed directly in front of the hole so one jaw of the trap is 1 inch from the edge of the hole. Put this dirt in your sifter. The trap bed should be deep enough so the trap will sit slightly below the level of the surrounding dirt.
Setting the Trap
Before setting the trap, drive a stake into the trap bed. The trap chain is wired to the trap stake by the fourth link from the trap. Pound the stake completely into the ground and slightly below the level of the trap bed.
- Now take a 412 X 7-inch sheet of wax paper, tear a slit for the trapped dog, and then place it over the trap pan with the ends under the trap jaws.
- Set the trap firmly in the trap bed with the trapped dog, or trigger mechanism, toward the hole.
- Now take your dirt sifter and sift the dirt in it over the trap to a depth of about 1/4 inch.
Drop the Bait in Right Position
A stiff piece of wire works well for spearing bait from the bait jar. Drop the bait into the hole, being careful to not spill juice on the buried trap.
- This could cause the fox to dig where the trap is, and this usually results in a sprung trap rather than a trapped fox.
- Pour a few drops of good gland lure on the edge of the hole, letting it run down inside during the making.
- Spray the spot where you have crouched, and the trap bed, with red-fox urine.
Making Blind Sets for Minks, Muskrats, and Fox for Effective Result
Blind sets are popular for taking minks, muskrats, and raccoons. This is simply setting traps where you believe the animals will step.
Making it for Minks
Minks have the habit of investigating every narrow passageway, hole, brush pile, or space under overhanging tree roots along creek, river, or lake shore. A trap placed in a narrow passageway and under 2 inches of water will catch mink.
If a passageway is too wide, narrow it with weathered sticks or rocks. Wedge them into the creek bottom to narrow a passageway and force the mink to step into the trap. Muskrats and raccoons will tumble to the same set.
There are many possible blind sets for muskrats. Look for their droppings (similar to rabbit droppings) on rocks and logs. Also, muskrats will climb onto these to enjoy a snack at leisure. A trap set where the muskrat crawls out of the water is sure to connect.
Many blind sets will take raccoons. Traps can be set where the animals enter and leave the water. Tracks, trails, and droppings are easy to find along waterways. Raccoons also spend a lot of time on land. A tempting bait is a fish. Try the dirt-hole set for raccoons, using fish for bait.
Making and Set Snare Traps: Effective Tips
During winter hunts in the snow, you can make very productive fur catches using steel snares. The self-locking steel snare is ideally suited for catching foxes, coyote trapping, bobcats, and lynxes when the snow lies deep.
One of the best things about using snares is their lightness. They weigh only ounces and you can carry a half-dozen in the pocket of your hunting coat.
Check Local Regulation Before Setting Snare
Before you even consider using snares, check the local regulations and then get in-depth information from the local conservation officer. Restrictions on the use of steel snares will vary with the state or province.
Generally, snaring is legal only in areas of very wild terrain where there is little chance of catching dogs. At that, you may be advised of restrictions as to snare length and size of the snare noose. Snaring in deer trails is usually illegal.
Effective Snare Setting
Snaring is most effective when soft, deep snow induces foxes, coyotes, and wild cats to stick to established trails along with bow hunting for sports.
A trail may appear as a single track because each time the animal returns it places its feet in the same tracks. Even the winding, helter-skelter tracks made by a fox hunting rabbits in a thicket of willows will be followed step by step by the fox when it returns.
Snare Setting for Foxes
In making a snare set for foxes, lean a sapling 3 to 4 inches in diameter across and a foot or so above the trail—unless you have found a natural opening where the trail passes under a limb or vine.
- Hang the noose directly below the sapling. Wire the other end of the snare to a tree or the sapling.
- The sapling across the trail forces the fox to lower its head and guides it into the snare. The noose for fox snaring should be about 8 inches in diameter.
- The bottom of the noose should be about 5 inches above the trail.
When snares are set in rabbit trails, often the case when foxes are hunting rabbits, the rabbit can run under the noose but the longer-legged fox gets caught.
Hold the Snare by Using Weed Stalks or Small Twig
You can use weed stalks or small twigs thrust into the snow to help hold the snare in place. This helps to break up the outline of the snare.
Snares need not be treated in any way as long as they are kept free of foreign odors and gloves are worn when making sets. Very shiny snares, however, should either be darkened or whitewashed.
Making Deadfall Traps: Things That You Should Know
The common deadfall with a figure-four trigger arrangement as shown in the illustration seems awfully primitive by today’s standards. Yet it is not unusual for professional trappers to use this old method occasionally for capturing a particularly trap-wise fur bearer.
Its advantage is its freedom from the odor of steel. One trapper told of a trap-wise wolverine that cost him an estimated $1,000 – $2000 in furbearers stolen from his traps. He finally killed the wolverine in a deadfall set.
I will discuss this special deadfall traps in future.
Making Trapping Stakes in the Right Way
An excellent stake for fox trapping is made from old hardwood flooring, usually about 12 inches long for clay soil, longer for sand.
A piece of sheet metal is fitted over the top of the stake and held in place with two nuts and bolts to prevent splitting when pounding on the stake.
As the final touch, drive a nail through the stake and sheet metal and then form a loop in the pointed end of the nail. The trap chain can then be wired to this loop.
Wax Paper Trap Cover
Wax paper is popular for covering traps before further concealing the traps with dirt, leaves, or whatever is the natural material at the set locations.
The wax paper prevents dirt or other covering getting under the trap pan and preventing the trap from operating.
Wax paper has the added advantage that it is not affected by dampness and freezing temperatures. Such conditions could render a trap inoperable.