For a trapper when you are skinning out a critter it seems the tail can be one of the toughest things to make come out right. I’ve heard claims that a tail zipper makes doing the tail like working a zipper on your coat.
Well, after finally struggling with tails for a few years I bought a tail zipper. Turns out they are not quite as amazing as people claim. After you start the tail you can use them and they work pretty amazing down until the last 1/3 of the tail when the knife blade won’t contact the skin anymore. So you end up back using your knife again. Worth it? For $3 dollars or so I think so. It does 2/3s of the tail for you so I’ll take what it gives me.
Tail strippers on the other hand have surprised me. I had really thought the tail zippers would be amazing, but I was skeptical about the tail strippers. I got two different strippers. The metal hinged type that has just one whole in the center. Then I got a plastic one that had a smaller and a larger whole. I tried the metal one and was very unimpressed. It just didn’t work well, but just dug into the flesh. The plastic stripper on the other hand is amazing. After you split the skin on the tail and start the tail for the first few inches you can get the bigger hole over the tail and it just pulls right off. You may or may not need to use the smaller hole. It doesn’t do the whole tail, but its the end anyways that is the most trouble. All in all I’d say the plastic tall stripper that came for free with my tail zipper was my best buy.
I bought my plastic stripper and tail zipper from ebay. Cabelas has the tail zipper on their site if you are willing to buy 5 or more or some silly number like that. They also had the metal stripper for $3.99. For the plastic stripper and tail zipper set though on ebay it was only $4.95 so its a decent deal there.
Yesterday the PGC released the adopted 2010-11 seasons and bag limits. Among them a Bobcat season in which all licensed furtakers can obtain one permit! Also new is a Fisher season following the same rules of each furtaker being able to get one permit. One final thing about the season change that stands out is that cable restraint season for Fox and Coyote starts on December 26th opposed to the 1st of January.
Trapping season ended yesterday. I had a fairly slow season due to a very reduced trap line mainly because of college work. I ended the season with only one possum, but I still had a good season. There is nothing quite like taking a walk every day through the snow in single digit temperatures.
I did have something new happen to trapping in my area this year though. I had my first few run ins with coyotes. One hay set earlier in the season caught a coyote with promptly pulled out of the #1 1/2 duke trap. Then Yesterday, the final day, I found another hay set with both #1 1/2 dukes set off and a jaw ripped out; with coyote tracks running away. I will need to buy some coyote sized traps for next year.
It started snow pretty good late this afternoon and it was still snow last time I looked. The weather says we are supposed to have about a foot of snow by sometime tomorrow. It will be fun finding my traps in the snow tomorrow.
I shot a very small possum the other night trying to get at our chickens. Thankfully I got him before he did any damage (not sure though if a possum that small could have actually grabbed a chicken).
College has kept me busy, but now with Christmas break I have time to trap again. Today I put out one hay set in the same area where I got my two Grey Foxes last year. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get a few more sets out.
Even though trapping season started last Sunday, still did not have my traps ready. So, today I boiled my traps in Black Walnut hull juice (to dye them black) then waxed them (to keep rust away). Hopefully some day next week I will get out and get some set. There is field of standing corn that I want to give trapping the edge a try to see if I can get some raccoon.