Tag Archives: traps

Promising Fox Tracks

For a week or so the weather seemed to have been keeping the fox holed up. But now after the snow storms have retreated leaving behind a foot and then some of snow the fox have ventured out again.

Today when checking my traps I saw tracks of probably two maybe a few more fox. One set of tracks actually walked on the path a cable restraint was on, but it missed being caught in it. Another set of tracks started up a field road towards another cable restraint only to turn back to the woods.

It was very encouraging to see tracks again, but even more so that my cable restraints seem to be in the right area.

I am considering increasing my number of cable restraints from 6 to 18, another catch would probably help me decided in favor of expanding.

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.

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!

Cable Restraint Course

I took my cable restraint course yesterday.

They gave me one cable restrain (we used them to make some sets out in the field for the instructors to look at to see how well we set them up), a manual on cable restraints, the pa hunting trapping digest (like I did not get one when I got my license), and a temporary card saying I completed the course that is good for 90 days (it might have been 60 I forget). The game commission is supposed to issue a replacement card for my temporary card. It cost $15 to take the course (the course is mandatory if I want to use cable restraints). It went from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, while four hours my seem like a long time, the time passed rather quickly.

I missed four questions on my test (but I still passed), but I think would have done better if I had enough time to read the manual they gave me. I guess maybe if I have showed up before 9:00 am instead of 9:01 am I would have had time to look it over.

After the course a guy demonstrated trapping with steel traps (this has nothing to do with the course). One of the sets he showed was a hay/straw bale put out in a field by itself. Then you put your trap next to the bale, spread some straw from the bale over the dirt spot, where your trap is, so that is looks like it just kind of fell out of the bale. Next you dig a hole (like a dirt hole set up) under the bale in front of your trap. Put some bait/scent or some thing down the hole, and dribble some fox or coyote urine on the bale above the hole.