Because of our show; Hoosier Trapper Outdoors, a common question we are asked is "How do I go about taking an out of state trapping trip?" The idea of a trip can be pretty exciting. However, it can be intimidating and a bit overwhelming. Over the years, I have come up with a list of considerations, conditions, and suggestions to those of you that are contemplating a trapping trip.
1. The first question you need to ask yourself - Do you want to trap animals that are not legal to trap in your home state? Or do you just want the experience of new geography?
2. Where to go? Do you know someone or have relatives out of state that would give you the initial "in"? If you do and they happen to be farmers - you are more than half-way there!
3. If you don't have an out of state contact, sometimes you can talk to your deer hunting friends that hunt out of state and get a connection that way. Many times outfitters want their hunting land trapped to keep the predators under control.
Another angle on this would be private hunt clubs that need predator control done. It may take some time to develop this type of relationship with a club; however, they normally will provide a place to stay, help with license costs, and in some cases may compensate you for your success/time.
4. O.k. so you don't have a connection… In other words, going in blind, I personally like this challenge. The next step is to start looking at states that you may be interested in. First consideration on the state you choose would be; what time of year do you want to take your trip? Typically, trappers start in the fall with the northern or western states and as the winter progresses will move south. No sense in fighting the weather!
Need to look at the Trapping regulations/laws that pertain to the state you may be considering. Is this state trapper friendly?
Do they allow non-resident trappers? If your home state doesn't allow non-residents, some states may not allow you to trap - reciprocal law.
Do the regulations dictate a completely different set of equipment than what you may already have? For example, Tennessee requires rubber jaw traps.
How much public land is available for trapping and what is the procedure for trapping? For example, in Indiana you have to be drawn or bid on State Property in order to have trapping rights. Typically, national forest ground is available for anyone to trap, here again check regulations specific to the state you are considering.
One obstacle or big consideration; what hunting seasons are in place when you are considering your trip? Obviously, you would not want to show up to trap on opening weekend of gun season for deer.
An important consideration, and this applies to public or private land - Is the property big enough? Remember, you are there to trap. Trapping has your complete attention. You won't have the daily responsibilities you have when you are trapping in your home state. If you are on a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) or National Forest, working off of the forest service roads is the most efficient and effective approach. If you don't spend a lot of time walking, traps can be set over a large area. As you can see, property size is very important. This pertains more to land/predator trapping than water trapping.
Another consideration, where are you going to stay? Certainly, you can camp or pull a camper. However, camping takes time and does require a place for electric, etc.. You will just have to weigh out the feasibility of camping.
As we have shown on Hoosier Trapper Outdoors, we have stayed in cheap hotels and have been provided lodging. For going in blind trips, a hotel is the most convenient/flexible.
For those of you interested in taking a trip, this will give you some idea of where to start. I will conclude this "state hopping" blog on my next entry later this month.
Until next time…..
Charlie Masheck has been a trapper since 1972. He started Hoosier Trapper Supply in 1976 and was a fur buyer from 1976 - 1991. Charlie is also the formulator of the Leatherwood Line of trapping scents, Top Dog Predator Bait and Lip Licker Deer Lure. His 46 years of trapping experience and association with trappers and the fur industry have given him a history and perspective of the trapping trade few have.