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Old September 4, 2018, 11:20 PM   #1
FindANewSlant
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Those of you who trap animals, how do you do it and what do you trap?

I'm specifically interested in learning about raccoon/coyote/bobcat trapping, but I want to learn as much as I can. Thanks!
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Old September 5, 2018, 02:54 AM   #2
Old Stony
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I trap hogs on a regular basis, and coons occasionally when I get too many of them around my deer feeders. I use the dog free traps for coons and they are quite effective. Just a little dry cat food for bait..
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Old September 5, 2018, 04:02 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by FindANewSlant View Post
I'm specifically interested in learning about raccoon/coyote/bobcat trapping, but I want to learn as much as I can. Thanks!
Before you get all invested in trapping lookup the prices currently being paid for the skins you want to trap, prep, and sell. Back in the very early eighties I remember getting 45.00 for a large 'coon hide here in Michigan. They buyer did not want me to flesh it out, just case skin it and bring it in (he had a machine that looked like a wood lathe that did the defleshing). That was for one single racoon, I had trapped several more that year and got a little less per each for the rest. I remember getting $60.00 for a single fox fur...and that was not the top price for the best grade fox. Then the anti-fur mob went nuts and the price of fur dropped to the point where they and other furs were no longer profitable to trap...I rmember being offered $1.00 for a "Blue 'Coon (a small yearling that had not obtained its winter coat). I quit trapping inasmuch as I will not kill a 'coon for a dollar).
The price of traps, equipment, and time does not make trapping worth while for most people sad to say because the over population of racoons (and opossums), have virtually destroyed the ground nesting birds (no more quail, pheasants, etc., and I suspect geese and ducks suffer egg loss also) near my place.
Do some research in the current fur prices before you invest your money and time:

http://trappingtoday.com/2017-2018-f...rket-forecast/
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Old September 5, 2018, 05:17 AM   #4
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I only trap pests that are getting in to things destroying parts under the house. Pretty much raccoons with live traps if i'm going to be away for a while and Dog free traps. They'll eat lots of things on hand. Dogfood is dirt cheap especially if you have a dog.

Every time I visit state campgrounds I suggest maybe they should call up the local boy scout troop and get that trapping badge. No shortage of raccoons at friendly campgrounds.
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Old September 5, 2018, 06:18 AM   #5
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As mentioned, trapping anywhere except in the high quality fur areas is mostly for either varmint reduction or entertainment-not for profit.
Coons are easy to trap. Bobcats and coyotes are difficult. I'd suggest starting with coons.
I/we catch about 100 coons per season. The last season was mostly for population reduction on a place that raises free range chickens. My best run was 23 coons caught using 3 traps over a 10 day period.
We use "dog-proof" coon traps exclusively and so far have not caught any pets. The DP traps are a bit more expensive than foot holds but are far easier to set, very effective, and like I said pet safe.
Bait is fairly simple: fish flavor canned cat food, marshmallows, and fish oil. If you buy your DP traps from a trapping supply business, you can get the trap tags(generally required by state regs) and a pint of fish oil on the same order(don't forget TWO trap setters as you'll likely lose one the first day or two) and the other bait items from the local grocery.
I've had as many as 50 traps in 3-4 locations but quite often 4-5 traps in the good spots catch most of the coons. Be prepared to catch quite a few possums and skunks if the area hasn't been trapped for a few years. That's why I like to set several traps per location. Once you catch a possum, that trap's not catching a coon until re-set.
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Old September 5, 2018, 08:25 AM   #6
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Trapping, unlike hunting or fishing, cannot be a fair weather game. Trapping, because of the rules here in the lower 48, is a commitment. Traps are set and must be checked daily regardless of the weather. Don't feel well, still gotta check the line. Going out of town....pull your traps for the duration. Good trappers are also good hunters, takes the same general knowledge of your quarry. It also takes folks with good woodsmanship skills. I've seen a big surge in interset for trapping since those shows like "mountain men" and "Below Zero" came out. Folks think it's easy cause it looks like fun on T.V.

I'd start small with just a few traps. 'Yotes and Bobcats get educated quickly and can be very difficult for beginners to trap. Lots of info at the library and the internet about making sets and preparing your traps. Still gonna take woodsmanship to know where and when to make sets. Also takes a large area of accessible land to keep anything but a very small line going. Trapping can be fun and a very good way to reduce predator and nuisance animal numbers. Used to be it could be profitable too, but that's not always the case anymore.

I wish you the best of luck.
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Old September 5, 2018, 10:33 AM   #7
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@Old Stony: what do you use to trap hogs?

@dahermit: this is almost entirely for fun/getting furs for myself as trophies/to make into apparel and gifts for friends and family. Profit isn't a factor for me.

@blindstitch: define live traps?

@Mobuck: are possums/skunks bad catches? how do you dispatch coons?

@buck460XVR: are wireless-transmitting trail/game cameras acceptable for checking traps? What books can I read to learn about woodsmanship when I can't be out in nature learning hands-on?
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Old September 5, 2018, 07:29 PM   #8
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We use "dog-proof" coon traps exclusively and so far have not caught any pets. The DP traps are a bit more expensive than foot holds but are far easier to set, very effective, and like I said pet safe.
I did not have good luck using dog-proof traps. I used marshmallows to avoid catching my barn cats but the leg hold being round as opposed to rectangular in cross-section (as in a double coil spring leg hold), I found that if given solid footing the 'coons could pull out and did. Once they were trapped and pulled out, they would ignore the marshmallow baits and would not attempt to get them out of the dog-proof traps again. I would not use dog-proofs again unless used with a drag or in loose sand (their feet slip, cannot get purchase to pull out), or in conjunction with a cable and falling weight to get their trapped leg up in the air to keep them from applying pressure. I got so that I just poisened them with Golden Malin Fly Bait and Coke. However, not all 'coons will eat (drink) the fly bait, but then neither will my barn cats.
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Old September 5, 2018, 07:33 PM   #9
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@dahermit: this is almost entirely for fun/getting furs for myself as trophies/to make into apparel and gifts for friends and family. Profit isn't a factor for me.
Turning raw hides into usable tanned fur is not a easy process...it takes more than just scrapping and drying. It is a romantic notion, but not so easy...that is why most people leave it up to the tanners.
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Old September 5, 2018, 07:45 PM   #10
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are possums/skunks bad catches? how do you dispatch coons?
Possums are usually incidental catches when trapping for other species...they make more work, especially if they are caught in a fox set. I found that the easiest way to dispatch 'coon is a .22 to the center of the head, behind the ears. I tried dispatching a trapped 'coon with a baseball bat once, but that turned out to be a mistake...it took more force than would have knocked a human out. Repeated blows to its head to no avail. A .22 is more humane.
As for a skunk, they always spray if shot. If in a live trap and uninjured, the professional skunk trapper (he would live-trap nuisance skunks and other vermin for a living) claimed that he would approach the live trap cautiously with a banket, talk lowly and not make any threatening moves, cover the whole trap with a blanket, could then lift the trap up in the back of his pickup and drive away without it spraying. He cautioned however, if the skunk was wet from being rained on, they would always spray so you had to let them dry off before dealing with them.
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Old September 6, 2018, 07:58 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by FindANewSlant View Post

@buck460XVR: are wireless-transmitting trail/game cameras acceptable for checking traps? What books can I read to learn about woodsmanship when I can't be out in nature learning hands-on?
As for the wireless game cams, without knowing where you are trapping, it would be hard for me to say, given state regs on trapping and the use of electronics can be different. I would contact your local warden or DNF/F&G website and ask, getting a specific answer. Could very well be they don't have a definite answer yet either since the technology and it's use in that scenario is fairly new. Here, while one can use game cams and other electronics to scout and communicate, you cannot use them to actively take game. IOWs you can't have wireless trail cams around your stand to tell you if a deer is coming, nor can your buddy radio you to tell you one is behind you, and you harvest that animal in either scenario. Again, check your state and local regs. I have found my states website to have a e-mail link that usually gives me a answer within 24 hrs. Have had some questions the person at the computer had to go ask someone else and get back to me....sometimes taking longer than 24 hrs. Either way I got a definitive answer.

As for Woodsmanship. One can learn a lot from books and the internet. One just has to take the time to look and read. Google is your fiend. There are other dedicated hunting forums and dedicated trapping forums out there that can give you better info than this sub-forum. There are also YouTube videos on how to set traps. There are trapping mags and the library. Still, nuttin' is going to educate you like being outdoors.

As I said, trapping takes dedication and a commitment. Unless your pockets are very deep, odds are you ether are going to set very few traps or not have trail cam on every one. Doesn't sound like much of a commitment. You get home after a long day at work and see you have a coon in the trap. It's dark out and raining. Are you going to go out right away and get it or wait till the next day? One answer is ethical, one is illegal in my state. One takes a commitment, one.....not so much.


P.S. My state mandates that any new trapper take a state designated trapping course before they are even allowed to buy a trapping license. Again, check your regs. Even if not required, if one is available, I'd go for it.

Last edited by buck460XVR; September 6, 2018 at 08:08 AM.
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Old September 6, 2018, 09:13 AM   #12
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I trapped as a kid & a young adult for the cash & to make my own stuff. Mostly used snares because they are so light & easy to pack compared to compression traps when setting up a line. At that time a trapping license cost almost nothing & went up to $5 when I was doing it. Muskrats were $2, average coyote & fox were $40 & could double for a nice prime silver coyote. Bobcats were in the $350-$375 range-it helped me supplement my income in the winter when construction would slow down. Still have my bear paw snowshoes, beaver skin gators, badger hat & 5mm Remington rifle. There’s a lot of of little tricks to be successful & I always enjoy time outdoors & honing my now a bit rusty backwoods skills.
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Old September 6, 2018, 09:25 AM   #13
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I've been an avid hunter all of my life.

I strive to have respect for my quarry and make a quick, clean, humane kill.

I will not intentionally allow an animal to die slowly in pain. I don't trap.
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Old September 6, 2018, 05:58 PM   #14
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The majority of the hogs I trap, I prefer to use these type smaller traps as they are more mobile than other types.
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Old September 6, 2018, 06:00 PM   #15
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I keep one of these type traps set up at one location. They are not mobile really, but can work well when dealing with larger numbers of hogs.
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Old September 6, 2018, 06:02 PM   #16
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This is one of the dog free traps for coons. They are pretty effective..
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Old September 6, 2018, 08:52 PM   #17
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possums and skunks are "junk" animals that mess up sets BUT if you're interested in removing nest predators to help the ground nesting game birds, the more varmints taken out, the better.
I've had very few "pull outs" with the DUKE DP traps. "Z" DP traps have a slightly softer catch spring.
Depending on location, I may use a "tap stick"(club about 18" long) on possums and small coons and then suffocate by standing on the ribcage. Most coons get a sub-sonic 22 bullet through the brain. Skunks? I shoot and walk away. Return the next day after the stink has dispersed and pull that trap as nothing but another skunk is coming to that spot.
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Old September 7, 2018, 11:44 AM   #18
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"...into usable tanned fur is not a easy process..." Tanning hides stinks, big time. So it's not something you'll be doing in the back yard in town.
Start with a visit to your State Fish and Game or whatever it's called in your State. There should be a link to all the assorted rules and seasons on that page.
Possums are not fur bearers. They look like big rats.
"...is a commitment..." And that's putting it mildly. If you cannot visit your traps every day of the season, don't even think about trapping.
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Old September 7, 2018, 11:49 AM   #19
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I thought leg hold traps were illegal in most states????? Is that not correct??
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Old September 7, 2018, 07:34 PM   #20
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I thought leg hold traps were illegal in most states????? Is that not correct??
If I understand correctly, dog-free traps use a different mechanism to leghold traps and therefore escape those regulations.
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Old September 8, 2018, 03:24 AM   #21
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The dog free traps do not randomly grab anything that comes by, and requires an animal to place part of it's body into a small pipe type apparatus. I have caught coons and occasionally a possum in one. One time I even caught a large domestic tom cat in one, but that's very rare. Getting that cat out without shooting it was a challenge, but I got it done. He was sure in a bad mood !
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Old September 8, 2018, 06:38 AM   #22
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If I understand correctly, dog-free traps use a different mechanism to leghold traps and therefore escape those regulations.
Again...check your local and state regs. Leg hold traps were not banned because they were catching dogs. They were banned because holding an animal alive by the leg is considered inhumane. Conibears will catch and kill dogs just as well as they kill 'yotes and coon.
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Old September 8, 2018, 08:19 AM   #23
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"Dog proof" traps require the critter to reach 1-1.5" into a confined space approx 1.25-1.5" diameter to release the trigger. Most dogs can't do that. We used only "sweet"(marshmallows/molasses) bait around places where pets frequent as that is less likely to attract cats than using fish oil and cat food.
Leg hold traps are legal in my state but Connibears over #2 must be set under water and snares(cable restraints)must have a choke stop and deer release.
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Old September 8, 2018, 09:11 AM   #24
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Any leg hold trap is inhumane.
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Old September 8, 2018, 09:20 AM   #25
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"Dog proof" traps require the critter to reach 1-1.5" into a confined space approx 1.25-1.5" diameter to release the trigger. Most dogs can't do that.
While they are considered "Dog-Proof", they are still considered a "leg-hold" trap in many states. The bigger benefit of those types of traps for coons is not just the prevention of catching a dog, but they also tend to prevent a coon from chewing off it's foot.
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