Buckshot's Trappers Tales

Scent and Using Lures

The issue of human scent has come up a few times. When you are trapping you have to minimize human scent. The first thing you have to do is have clean equipment, then what leaves the most human scent is your walking. So when you are trapping you don 't want to go in to a gas station and walk there in the same boots you are wearing when you are trapping. Think about the last time you were at a gas station. Did you see, spilled gas, anti-freeze on the ground, oil spots, etc.? Even if it appears clean all those different smells are all around you, so just by walking there, you are picking up foreign smells that warn animals.

So don 't wear the same boots when you gas up. Here is an example of how important human scent on the fox trapping line is. I run my traps and every year a friend and his son would come trapping with me for one day. The child had a ball and loved seeing fox and raccoons. I really enjoy having them come a long. After 3 years of doing this I notice a pattern. The next day after all three of us had check traps the catch would drop way off. Why?  Because of all the extra human scent around the sets. So if you take some one with you when you are trapping you are going to catch less then if you are by yourself. That is for land trapping.

When you are land trapping fox and coyotes you should keep your vehicle clean, walk in mud puddles to wash your scent smell off. Check your traps with binoculars to stay away form your sets. Just think "scent" and keep it down. Fox and coyote still know you were there but you don't want them to know you were there every day. By using the binoculars you can check your traps from a distance keeping your scent down.

Water trapping different. Because you are in hip boots or waders your scent is being washed clean. The only pattern I have seen on water trapping is if you have more then one person and you are yelling back and forth a lot, the catch drops the next day. I have trapped plenty of raccoons and beaver setting the trap bare handed. But you should use gloves and just get in the habit of when you touch your traps make sure you are wearing gloves.

The question of rust came up also on a coyote trapping question. My answer: Stop and think of all the barb wire fences in America. Know that a coyote range is up to 50 miles. In that 50 miles how many barb wire fences has he gone under? When setting coyote traps if a little rust appears on the trap use fox or coyote urine sprayed over the cover trap. This will show the next coyote another coyote was all ready been there and it is safe to walk up. For your conibears set in water there is not much of concern and when setting the #220 on land scent is not the issue with coon. Coons have no problem raiding chicken coops. They raid garbage cans and do not fear human scent the same way as a fox or coyote does.

Bobcat So when I say trapping the exclusive ones that is what I'm talking about -- the foxes and coyotes. I think most of you will be trapping with conibears the first few years, going after muskrats, raccoons, beavers, and easier animals at first. Human scent is not that much of a concern, but having a trap well blended into the environment is a concern. Like I said, know what your are trapping, don 't wear the same boots to the gas station when you fuel up as do on the trapline.

There is a rule that the old deer hunters use around here. If you wound a deer at just before dark, track him until you find him. You don't have to do anything but touch the deer. Then the deer is safe from coyotes that night and maybe the next night. Now why do you suppose that is true? Because of trappers. That is correct -- coyotes learn that fresh kill with human scent equals danger. So think about it when you're trapping coyotes. Check your traps from a distance using binoculars to keep your scent down and you will catch more animals.

Lures are attractors to bring the animal over to take a look. Because animals are sometime fussy, you use lure that is blended together with different ingredients. Out of all the different ingredients it only take one to make the animal dig.   Lure is hard for beginners to understand. It is an attractor so in order for it to attract, the animal has to smell it. There are of course different things that effect how much lure to use and when to re-lure. But the most important very first step in making any set is which way is the wind blowing. I watch the weather channel and see what is coming for the next week. Say for Sat. through Sunday the wind will be coming from the Northwest. Then on Monday and Tuesday it will shift to the southwest then the rest of the week the winds will again be out of the northwest. With that forecast I would make 80% of my sets so the back of the set is facing northwest and 20% of my sets facing southwest.

You see the majority of time for the whole week the wind will be out of the northwest. That is why 80% of my sets are made that way. But to prevent me from having two slow days on the trapline, I set 20% of my sets for Monday and Tuesday. How I test lure for fox and coyote is to have my dog test them. It only took a few years of that until I settled with one lure guy for all my predators lures. I like my own lure for the 3 different kinds I make. But I could not come up with a lure to beat this guy's product. It is Craig O 'Gorman out of Montana, and it is he who taught me to trap predators. Craig has been the foundation for many a great trapper.

Lasting Lures

So you place 6-9 drops of lure at your sets or a small lima bean size of bait (commercially produced) down the hole. How long is it good for? That depends on many different things. First off, did you make a catch and the animal ate or dug it up so much it is not working anymore? What I do is re-set the trap and if the next day there isn't another catch then I re-lure. Always re-lure after a rain, even if it only rains hard for 10 minutes. My best catch always every year is that one night when it is foggy or misty light rain. Why do you think that is?

My theory is that because it is so dark out, the animals hunt more by their nose. Also, they can 't see little things wrong at the set that may scare them off. Three, it is so dark they have trouble hunting, so they go more for what is already dead. Four, I think the lure carries in the mist better and makes it easier for them to find.

The last one is, if you know this type of weather is coming you should re-lure that day to make sure you are ready to take advantage of the weather. This is very important I don 't care what you are trapping, make sure you re-lure and all you sets are in good shape. Then go home and sharpen the skinning knife because the next day you are going to busy.

Cold effects lure also. This is how I handle cold. Above 32 degree, I stay with normal lure use. Below 32 degrees, I double my lure. Below 0 degrees, I triple my lure use. This is for land trapping because below freezing, you are trapping under the ice on water trapping. Except on faster moving creeks, streams, and river then your sets will stay working longer.

After the first season, and you have made enough to pay back your investment on traps, the next year you can buy more traps and spend more on lures and baits. What good is having traps without good lure? Here is example the guy that tested my beaver lure ran out of beaver lure his first day. So by the 3rd day his catch drops to 20% or less. This guy is one of the top -beaver trappers in the area. So against my better judgment I sold him 4 oz. of my lure. By the end of the week he was back up to 35 to 50% catch each day. So you see with lure his catch increase 15 to 30%. What does this equal in real numbers?

He was running 40 beaver traps catching between 4 to 8 beaver a day with no lure. With using lure his catch jump to 12 to 20 beaver a day. In money at $25 average price per beaver his top day of 50% equal $300 more profit for a $12.00 bottle of lure. Now do you see how important lure is? That is just one example. Look at it, good lure equals success.

I have finished my first video on how to trap. With the sets I teach in the video and with a #1 complete package deal and you can make sets for coons like I said. Go get permission and get 24 buckets out per-baited, find your muskrat runs, find your beaver spots. There is absolutely no reason you can not catch enough animals to pay for all your equipment, give you some extra pocket change and have a freezer full of free meat. Name anything else in your survival supplies that you can say that about. Traps are the only thing I know of that pays for themselves, provides meat and you still have them to re-use every year, over and over again.

That 's all for now. Check out my new special offer for this month. As always, feel free to e-mail me with any questions.



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