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I am taking on the task of writing a blog.  I will write at least one a month and in some cases more.   Some of them will be completely current and some will be a little more random in terms of subject.  My goal is to help everyone become a better trapper.  And quite frankly, I will be learning too.  Sometimes writing things down gives you a little more time to develop your thought and perspective on your subject.  I hope it is helpful and as always I am open for comments, suggestions, and constructive criticism.  Thanks Charlie Masheck
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Evaluations and Considerations

Jul 24

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7/24/2015  RssIcon

     

This time of year, many of us are preparing for the upcoming season.

     Personally, I am looking at a heap of dirty traps that need to be power washed, checked for repairs, adjusted, dyed, waxed and then gone over again to remove wax on the end of the dog and the pan notch. 

     Sometimes it easy to get caught up in preparation and to forget about last season's successes, failures, and open for thought happenings.  It is easy to remember the success and the good time.  However, we always need to look at things from a critical eye or what could I have done differently.  The evaluation of last season and prior seasons is what gives us the base line for becoming better trappers.

Consciously or to some degree subconsciously we all do this. All of us learn as we go and sometimes the best education comes from the not so great times on the line.

     Last season, we ran into an issue that happened more often than I would like.  As some of you may know, we don't just run one type of trap.  We use primarily Bridger #2 Offsets, a growing number of MB-550 Offsets, a few Sterling MJ-500s and several #1 3/4 Offset Sleepy Creeks.  Depending on where we are making sets pretty much dictates what trap we will use.   Last season we had run into quite a few gray fox so we were setting a few more #1 3/4 Sleepy Creeks than we typically would have.  The problem we were having with the #1 3/4's was more flipped off traps than the acceptable number.  We were still catching fur in them however; we were having a disproportionate number of fired, empty traps with the smaller traps.  No issues with the larger traps.

     I have always been an advocate of proper adjustment; particularly pan tension, very stable bedding of the trap, and minimal cover over the trap.  So, it was a bit of a surprise to have more than the usual issues with flipped off traps.

      Generally, all of our traps are adjusted similarly, always with coyotes in mind.  If we were trapping gray fox only we would lighten the pan tension on all traps.

       After the season I was talking to E.J. Kelley who is an instructor at the Fur Takers of America Trappers College, I was explaining to him the issue with the flipped off empty traps.  His response was "sometimes smaller traps need a slightly lighter pan tension than a larger trap". 

Back in the day, when we didn't have coyotes and we were all fox trappers, we used small traps primarily #1 1/2 coilsprings.  The original Victor #1 1/2 had a pinch pan that really didn't allow for any type of pan tension adjustment.  Sometime in the late 1970s the adjustable trap pan became pretty much the only way a coilspring trap was manufactured. 

      Now, don't get me wrong we will still have a fairly stiff pan tension on our smaller traps; we certainly aren't going back to the old free falling pans of the past.  However, we are going to try a lighter tension for the smaller traps, even though they are set-up for coyotes.   This is somewhat subtle in terms of a change.  Sometimes, that is what makes the difference between consistent success and sporadic success.

      Always be observant, communicate with other "experienced" trappers and never just say "I have this completely figured out!"

 

Best of luck on the line!

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3 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Evaluations and Considerations

Charlie, is the pan tension on an mb550 adjustable?

By David Kaufer on   8/6/2015
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Re: Evaluations and Considerations

The MB-550 Traps are adjusted by bending the dog up or down.
To lighten the pan tension bend the dog down. Minnesota recommends bending the dog from 1/4" to 1/2" from the notch end. Out of the box the trap has approximately 3 lbs. of pressure.

By Charlie Masheck on   8/6/2015
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Re: Evaluations and Considerations

Cool Blog, thanks for posting.

By Chad on   8/7/2015

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