Category Archives: Trapping

Caught A House Cat — Released Unharmed

Today, I caught a cat, which is a first for me. Releasing him was a simple matter thankfully, because he was so tame. All I had to do was to talk to him and pet him, then I just reached down and let him go. However, when I let the cat go it did the opposite of what I expected it to do; instead of running away it just stood there and continued to let me pet it. The cat even let me examine its paw to see if it had any broken bones, which it did not. So, the cat went through the experience unharmed and hopefully a little wiser.

Pennsylvania Fur Sales

For anyone out in Pennsylvania looking for places to sell their fur, the PTA (Pennsylvania Trappers Association) lists their upcoming events, which includes fur auctions here:

The word is that fur prices are down this year, because of the economy. Some say it might be best to freeze hides till prices go up. There is a list of fur prices from district 4 sale that I asked the compiler of the data for permission to post here. The list really illustrates how much prices have gone down from last year, so I hope I will get permission.

3rd Fox Of The Season — A Red Fox!

The hay set is a really great set! This is my 3rd fox of this trapping season which breaks my record of two in one season which I set last year. This fox weighed in at 6 pounds, a little on the light side.

Last time it had snowed, I saw a lot of fox tracks on a trail running through a field. On this same trail earlier on in the year I saw a lot of droppings so I decided to give the hay set a try. After the set was ran over by a truck then another day being set off with no animal; I then made a catch the very day after I remade the set.

While I do not do it often, checking traps at night can be done and this was one of those times when I did check my traps at night. However, by the time I had walked most of my line my batteries in my flashlight were going dead. So, I ended up shooting at it three times in the dying light of my flashlight before I gave up and called back home for another flash light. The lesson learned–carry a spare battery.

Second Fox Of The Season — A Grey Fox

Now that deer season is over, I am starting to put out more sets and “freshen” up the existing sets that I ran during deer season. Last Friday, after it stopped raining, I went out and re-scented all my hay sets. The next day, I caught this in one of those hay sets!

The hay set that caught this fox was set about 25 yards away from where I caught the other Grey Fox earlier in the season.

A hay set normally uses two traps, which as can be seen by the picture above is the case in this set. The fox actually managed to get himself caught in both of the traps.

The picture below is not of the set I took this fox in, but it is a picture of a hay set like it would have looked. This particular hay set, is at a “four way intersection” which makes the chances of a fox happening by greater.

Saturday, First Day Of Fall Turkey Season

Last Saturday, marked the beginning of fall turkey season. On that day, I managed to get into the woods while it was fairly dark. However, it might not have been quite dark enough, because as I was entering the woods near I was planning to hunt I spooked some large sized bird out of a tree. Whether it was a turkey or an owl I do not know, for it flew directly away from me, which caused trees to block my view of it.

After, I got settled in at the base of the tree, I tried out my slate and box call. After about an hour or so of hearing nothing I saw a squirrel, so I decided I might as well try for it. While it was sitting on a log about 50 yards away, I put the scope of my .22 magnum on it and fired. Then it jump off the log no worse for wear and hid. Soon, it reappeared and I tried another shot at it, this time though it was smarter and after scampering off it stayed hid.

Since, I had not heard any turkeys I decided to move on, after I checked for the squirrel just in case I hit it. On the other side of the woods, there there is a field so I move over there and sat awhile, but still heard nothing. Before I left for home, I walked to the end of the field and found two nice animal trails leading out of the woods to the corn in the field. As I was assessing the spot to see if I wanted to trap it, I saw that about where the trails intersected in the field, where two piles of fox manure. Not only were there two piles, but one looked a few days older that the other. Right now I have my traps set up close to my house, but once I get permission again this year to trap there, that will be a good place for a couple of sets.

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.

Changes in the PA 2008/2009 Hunting Regulations

The other day I got my PA hunting and furtaker’s license. As I read through the PA Hunting and Trapping Digest book I noticed several things that are different from previous years. This is the list of changes I noticed (it is possible I will see some thing I did not see another year too), this list is most likely not all of the changes that were made. To be on the safe side before you take my word for a law change, go look it up in your book to be sure—because it is possible that I might mistype something. I put “” marks in were I copied something from the book, I also included the page number so you can look it up.

  1. New animals added to mentored youth hunting. Page 15 In addition to being able to take squirrels and spring turkey youth hunters can now take groundhogs and antlered deer.
  2. Hunting turkeys with dogs in the fall season is now allowed. Page 36 “Dogs can be used to hunt turkeys during fall season but not during the spring.”
  3. Fluorescent Orange is no longer required in spring turkey season. Page 36 “Spring Season: Fluorescent orange is no longer required but is recommended when moving through the spring woods.” I think it might be a good idea to still wear at least an orange hat while moving, you might be a safe hunter and always positively identify your target but the guy over the next hill might not be. This was actually in effect for this past spring season, but was not in last years book because it was a change made later on.
  4. Antlered firearms season only then antlered and antlerless firearms season together for WMUs 2D, 2G, 3C, and 4B. Page 50 Antlered only from December 1-5, then antlered and antlerless deer season together from December 6-13.
  5. Opossums, Skunks, and Weasels may not be hunted on Sundays. Page 82 “Opossums, Skunks, and Weasels may not be hunted on Sundays and prior to noon during the spring gobbler season and, along with Foxes and Raccoons, not during the regular antlered and antlerless deer season from a half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset.”
  6. A person applying for a bobcat permit with six preference points now automatically gets a permit. Page 85 The idea of this seems to be so that someone does not keep trying for the permit year after year, but by chance never draws one.
  7. Pretty much anything can be used to attract coyotes (except living bait). Page 86 “Recent regulation change now allows any natural or manmade nonliving bait and any electronic or mechanical device to be used to attract coytes for hunting or trapping. The law allowing trappers to use any natural or manmade nonliving bait to attract coyotes still does not permit the bait to be visible from the air. Those hunting coyotes, however, may hunt over bait visible from air.”
  8. Tighter regulations over shooting Feral Swine (pigs). Page 92 Previously from the way this section was phrased it sounded like you could do pretty much anything as far as hunting the Feral Swine went. They still want you to shoot them, but now they pretty much want you to check with your township or county first.

If you see any thing I missed, phrased wrong, or just want to talk about new law change please fell free to write a comment.

Frozen Traps

Last Friday night was a good night for trapping foxes. There were fox prints by four of my sets, one set of foot prints right on the top of my trap at a dirt hole set. Unfortunately I caught no fox, why? Because my trap was frozen into the ground. Two of the fox prints had been by some of my cable restraints (which thankfully do not freeze up!) But I did not get anything in those either. Judging from the prints the fox had started to go on the trail the cable restraint was on, but went the other direction instead. Then in the other cable restraint set I think the fox went through a small gap I had left next to the cable restraint instead of through the cable restraint (I fixed the gap after seeing that.)

Well, I am pretty sure I have my traps set in good locations so all I can do is keep checking my traps, and wait for the next night when the fox come out. Maybe I’ll get one then!