This story starts with the discovery of a water stained box recently rescued from my parents basement. On the outside, scribbled in faded permanent marker, were the words trapping supplies. Within the confines of the slowly disintergrating cardboard, were my old and well rusted leg hold traps.
Upon opening, I was immediately flooded with many happy childhood memories of outwitting fox and coyotes with dirt hole and scent post sets. I started trapping when I was 8, immediately becoming addicted. For me there was something deeply intoxicating about checking the trap line each early Fall morning. The anticipation of a wild animal caught by my "trickery" was an amazing experience for a young sportsman. At some point during my reflection, I determined that this trapping season I would once again try my luck at capturing a few wiley canines.
An examination of my old traps showed that the years had not been kind and only a few were servicable. The logwood dye had blackened and magically somehow managed to save a few #2 Victor coilsprings from certain destruction, wrought from several decades in a damp basement.
Equipped financially much better than I was in middle school, I put the heavily rusted antiques aside and invested in 6 new #2 coil springs by Bridger. Where trap design has changed little in the past 20 years the process for blackening and preserving them against the elements has changed significantly. "Speed Dip" is now the new dyeing method and takes minutes rather than hours. The only drawback is that traps must be aired out for months before they are ready for fox and coyotes. Due to time, I will be airing mine for one month so this year trapping may be an experiment in frutility!?!? I hope it is enough time!
Another major advancement, is the creation of "disposable" stakes. These wonderful creations, eliminate the need to use rebar stakes that were practically impossible to retreive at the end of the season or when it was determined that a set needed to be moved. These new stakes are driven with a special tool and then easily retreived by pulling on a second wire attached to the anchor that reverses the direction of the device and allows it to be easily extracted. Apparently, gone are my days of swearing and herniated disc that occurred with the removal process of the old stake systems.
With traps preped and supplies secured the next step in this process would be securing a trapping licence. I was worried that IFWs records would not include my adult trapping licence but they were able to find it and issue me a new licence in minutes!!
Lastly, if I do in fact manage to actually catch something, I secured a couple handmade stretching boards from an oldtimer at the recent trappers rendezvous in Sidney, ME. Yeah, I could have purchased a couple of those fancy wire stretchers but for me the wooden option was the best fit and reminds me of the ones I used to have as a youngster.
Well off to the wilds to pre-build a few cubby and dirt hole sets! Will keep you posted as the season opens on October 18th!
Well I'm looking forward to seeing your results, and make sure we get to see some of the set ups. I tried my hand at trapping when I was thirteen in the Meadowlands of New Jersey, unsuccessfully I might add.
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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I managed to "preset" 10 dirt hole and cubby sets and will make sure to bring the camera when I start with the "official" set-up process. If I actually manage to catch something I will be sure to take pics. In addition, I bought a tanning kit to preserve the hides and will outline that process as well. I can't wait to get started!!