I think I can talk with some knowledge about trapping as I trapped for 80 years except for the last few years.
My dad started me trapping muskrats when I was 5 years old. Then I progressed to other furs. With my early trapping money I was able to buy a rifle, a saddle and other things.
During this time I trapped muskrat and mink along a creek on the way home from school. I am writing this because the anti-trapping people are trying to give trapping a black eye.
Yes there is a few new want to be trappers, who don’t know where and how to set traps.
For the most part they won’t catch enough furs to pay for their gas and also it takes a lot of energy. But you need to enjoy it so many of these new comers will fall by the way side.
Now I will explain about traps, what kind and where to use them.
The Little (Conabears) body grip traps there only made for catching little animals such as mink and muskrat. There only used in the water. They make large ones for beaver setting in the water also. Only a fool would try to catch furs on land with them because it is an impossibility so that eliminates people from getting from getting their dog caught in one of these types of traps because they are no good out on the land
Now to the regular traps referred to foot hold traps you use the small ones for mink and muskrats in the water. If used for marten, they are put on the side of a tree several feet from the ground now these kinds of traps in larger sizes are made only large enough to hold the size of the animal such as coyote and fox.
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These traps are made with offset jaws meaning a space between the jaws as wide as your finger so they won’t damage the foot. They are designed to only hold the animal.
The traps for coyotes, fox and coon don’t have more than a three-inch jaw spread.
Trapping is necessary for many reasons. I will give you a few. Muskrats dig holes around head gates which lets water wash them out. Beaver dam up road culverts and head gates and so forth. Foxes get chicken, ducks, about anything that flies. They get even baby goats and lambs. Coyotes get all of the above, even weasels and mink, chickens and ducks. All carnivore type critters play hell with pheasants, quail and everything that nests on the ground.
You folks with dogs are just as much to blame. You come here from the populated parts of the country. You settle out in the boondocks. You say, “Look here, out in the wideness with these wide open spaces. My dogs can run wild, they don’t think about the neighbors, cows, and sheep and game animals.” The dogs don’t know either so they raise hell with all these critters.
Then when the farmers get mad the newcomers say it wasn’t their dog or dogs, they were right here at home. They take dogs in the mountains and let them run loose. The first thing they do is chase deer, then get lost. They say, “Trappers must have got my dog.” If they did happen to catch the dog it was more than likely two miles from the dog’s owner. If they lose their dog immediately, it must have been one of those damned trappers. If the dog was killed it very well could have gotten killed by coyotes or wolves, even mountain lions have killed dogs.
So, before you dog people get to pointing a finger think about leaving your dogs at home where you won’t need to keep wondering where your dogs are. All you will need to worry about is putting your foot in one of those awful bear traps.
–Floyd Wood, Corvallis