State Hopping - Trapping Trips Part #2
In the last blog, I mentioned that a hotel is the most convenient/flexible form of lodging.
The first year we went to Arkansas, our first choice property was just plain not going to work. We spent the rest of the day driving and looking at other properties, 350 miles later we found one that would be a good fit for trapping. If we had set up camp or booked a room for an extended stay it would have been difficult to be flexible. For the first trip to a new area, always plan that where you stay the first night may not be where you spend the second night.
I cannot mention it often enough, going in blind it is very important to be flexible.
It is a good idea to have a goal or plan as to what animals you want to target, particularly if you have limited time. Here again you need to be flexible. You should be at least somewhat prepared for all furbearers in the area in case your target animal is just not there in the numbers you had hoped for.
Generally, the trips we take are to trap bobcats. While you have to be flexible and willing to adjust, we try not to get too distracted with other types of trapping. In other words, we can trap coons at home and coons in the south are not worth very much- it is just not worth spending limited time on an animal that you can catch at home.
The majority of equipment you take should be geared toward the target animal with some additional equipment for other species. Here again flexibility is important. It is very important to have back-up equipment, depending on what it is 2 or 3 duplicates is a good idea. Nothing could mess up a trip more than losing a key item, such as a stake driver without having a back-up
Some other suggestions and considerations:
Weather - obviously you have no control, try to be prepared.
Skinning - try to have a plan in place. It is common for us to use an unoccupied deer camp. Many times they have areas where deer are hung, which are perfect for hanging a skinning gambrel.
We normally take a small freezer with us and have found that hotels don't mind us bringing it in to the room. A small freezer works for us however, if you are trapping; beaver, coon or a large number of coyotes you will need a big freezer.
Very important! Read and reread the trapping regulations, I don't know of any state that has the exact trapping regulations of my home state.
If you run into hunters or other trappers, be friendly. Many times conversation with others can open up other areas for you to trap. Some may become lifelong friends. It is true, some may not welcome a non-resident trapper with open arms - the upside is worth the risk of a grumpy resident! It is always best to size up the situation before having an extended conversation.
Sometimes you just have to know when to admit defeat! A couple of seasons ago, Justin and I were on a second trip- the weather literally sent us home. Two days of snow followed by an ice storm warning was enough to persuade us to leave. Ice storms in the south are notorious for power outages, impassable roads, etc.; we just weren't willing to experience all of that first hand.
To sum all of this up: don't sweat the small stuff, try to be as flexible as possible, know the laws and have a great time!
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.
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