4th Day Of Trapping Season: A Grey Fox

My first catch of this trapping season is a Grey fox!

The first day of trapping season begin last Sunday, which found me with still un-waxed traps. Sunday afternoon I managed to get four of my eight coil spring traps waxed.

On Monday, I went out and set a hay set where fox sign had been the year before, with one 1 1/2 and my only 1 3/4 coil spring traps. My second to last 1 1/2 I set close by, where I know raccoons enter the woods. Then with the remaining 1 1/2 coil spring I intended to set in a small stream, near by. The set I intended to do was a simple one aimed at raccoon, that involved putting a piece of tin foil on the pan of the trap. When I got the stream however, I found it to be dried up. Looking around, a fallen log caught my eye. The roots of the log were in such a way, that they formed a small tunnel that a animal the size of a raccoon could go through. Looking at the dirt, I could see that some animal had been walking under the root. Still wanting to try out the tin foil I made a set under the tree root, with just the tin foil attached to the pan visible. Then I sprayed some raccoon urine as an experiment on the tree root.

Two days later on Wednesday, when I made my daily trap check, I had the Grey Fox in it–caught by only two toes. I was immensely glad, that I have been checking traps in the morning, instead of the evening as was my custom last year, which would probably have allowed it to escape. The snow that morning allowed my to see a little of what the Fox, was thinking before catching him. It appeared that he had walked up the log, either smelled raccoon or spied the tin foil. Then he turned around in circles a few times and jumped off the log to checkout the trap.

Making A Catch Pole: How To

A trapper who catches non-target animals, as all trappers do at some point in time, needs some way of retrieving them safely out of the trap. A catch pole, which is similar to that a dog catcher might use, can be used to hold a trapped non-target animal’s teeth and claws away from the trapper while he sets the animal free. A catch pole can also double as a humane killing device for target animals by means of suffocation.

Because, I am a naturally cheap person I decided to build my own catch pole instead of buying one. The main body of the pole is made out of conduit pipe. Threaded through the conduit is a steel cable covered in plastic, which then hooks unto a chain for the handle end of the pole.

While I think that catch poles might typically be longer I decided on a three feet long pole, because it weighed a lot less than a four or a five pole would. As an added bonus, it will be easier to navigate through heavy brush with a shorter pole. On the downside I have to be closer to the animal that I want to put it on, which is something I might regret if I catch a really big dog or coyote.

To make the catch pole I drilled a hole in about an inch from the end of the pole. Then, I threaded the chain through the pole and attached in onto the end of the cable. Next, I put the other end of the cable through the hole I drilled making a loop. To secure the cable, I crimped a couple of nuts to the end of the cable inside of the pole, to keep the cable from pulling back out of the hole. On the other end of the pole I made a notch big enough for the chain to fit into, so that once I have something in the pole I can lock the loop size in place.

Finlay to finish the pole up I made loop out of the chain, for a hand hold, and secured it with a nut and bolt.

In the future I was thinking of maybe rigging up a spring inside of the pole so that once I release tension on the cable the loop will automatically open.
A catch pole is an important tool for the trapper, because it allows him more easily to release dogs, cats, and other non-target animals from his traps. Some people, sometimes think that a trapper should be able to avoid non-target catches, which to some extent is true. If you set a bunch of traps real close to a house that has cats and you bait the traps with sardines, chances are you will be catching a lot of cats. However, in most cases non-target catches are unavoidable. For example, very soon rabbit season will be starting up and people will be running their dogs. Then, when trapping season starts on the twenty-sixth of this month a trapper who is targeting canines such as coyote or fox will have a chance of catching other canines that are also out in the woods, namely hunting dogs. A trapper must be equipped and ready to safely free non-target animals, in such a way that no damage occurs to both the trapper and the animal.