For starters, I cannot believe another trapping season is upon us! For my fur brothers and sisters to the north I am jealous that you are already in the field!
Man what a year last year was. I am not going to lie I flat got my teeth kicked in! I had a lot of theory’s to test out last year.
For starters last year I thought I was going to master dog proof traps. I know lots of guys that take large numbers of coon with dog proofs. I studied every way I could think of on how to accomplish this and still came up short. I tried different baits, different lures, flagging, different colors of dps, hanging them, burying them, next to the water, on land… Ect Ect Ect. What I found with them was this. If I could find a hungry coon and place the trap where he was eating. I would catch the coon! The second I got away from the feeding location of the coon no matter what I did to try and get the coon to commit to a dp it was like pulling teeth to get the coon to commit to the trap. I was even trapping frozen creeks at the end of the season with dp traps. I still had to get to the open water areas of the creeks for the coon to play the dog proof game.
Another thing I found is mice are a force to be reckoned with. At the end of the season I was hanging the traps 2 foot off the ground with a piece of rebar and I was still having mice problems. The bait would be gone and the trap would be full of mouse droppings.
So after pulling my hair out with dps for a couple weeks I started putting in pockets the old stand by of coon trappers here in the Midwest. I was still shocked when I had coon tracks walk right past my pocket that were baited with four different high end baits.
I also forgot to mention last year I was working a full time job in aviation, I would go in at 4:30 am get off at 2:30 pm, check till 4:00 pm and then go to my shop. I own an Outdoor Power Repair business. I would work at my shop from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm then go finish checking traps in the dark after that.
Basically the only time I could set was Saturday and Sunday. Normally Saturday morning I spent some time with my wife. So to put the time I wanted to towards trapping flat out did not happen. On top of all that, to make matters even worse the coil spring traps I was using cost me 50% of my fur because of pull outs. To say I was ready to throw in the towel would be an understatement. I was so frustrated I was ready to give up. That does not happen to me very often.
Then finally something started to click! I broke down and bought 6 dozen sleepy creek #3 long springs. I lugged them with a welder for an offset and put a large pan on them. The only reason I went this route is because we used them in Texas at the Predator Control School and I knew without a doubt that they held coon on dry land on a late day check. I also got frustrated and said to heck with bait I know what a coon trail looks like I could see the coon tracks in the dirt, I could see the tracks along a creek in the mud, I could see them in the shallow water. So myself and a friend went out and started bedding #3 sleepy creeks in every trail we could find. We only covered 3 pieces of property with the blind sets. I was convinced they would work and he was ready to try anything himself due to his frustration. So after five weeks of struggling and working my tail off to get only a small amount of coon on the stretchers using dps, pockets and dirt holes on land, it happened! Our new set worked immediately. The coon started finding our sets! Not only the coon but, bobcat, fox, grinners, skunks, coyote and feral cats. You name it what walked down that trail landed in them sets! We were happier than two kids on Christmas morning.
So after the 3rd day of checking the blind sets and seeing fur in them like never before I ordered enough stuff to build 100 snares. This was another eye opener. I could put in snares so fast it even made my head spin! To my surprise they nailed coon, grinners and fox the same as the footholds.
So I am doing things differently this year. I have yet to get any bait for coons. I have had guys tell me 6 ways to Sunday why I need bait and that I am crazy for going 90% blind sets. I just hope that my gut instinct is correct! Every year guys talk about, Acorns, Frogs, Plumbs, Corn, Fish, Lure, water, etc and how they affect the coon movement and eating habits. I have made an oath to myself and a couple other trapping buddies. I am going with the one thing that does not change from year to year and that is gravity. If it works like I am planning, life on the line will be as simple as it can be!
Enough about my failures, tribulations and hair brained ideas. I want to thank all you folks for the encouragement you gave me last year while I was on the line. You truly do not know how much that meant for me. Clint thank you for a great site I am happy to be a part of it and I look forward to you and your community holding my feet to the fire!
This weekend I am pre-staking. I have 648 footholds and 400 snares that are ready to roll. All that is left is to load the truck and God willing bring home some some fur!