Tuesday, November 2, 2010

31 October - 2 November 2010 Trapping season begins.

Susan is vacuum packing shortening for long term storage.

Two down ... more to go!

If the socks have small holes we often repair them (under the cat's supervision, of course!).

The canoe at the landing loaded with 12 bodygrip traps and 4 foothold traps, a bucket with pliers, gerber multi-tool, wire, hatchet, carrots for bait, muskrat lure, and an assortment of wooden stakes.

Ready to shove off!  It's raining lightly as we head out.

We pull the canoe into the land (in this case they are floating mats of cattails) near a feeding site and I place the traps.

One ot he bodygrip traps set to go.  I set several with the triggers down to see how it worked.  I had several sprung, but empty traps this morning so it didn't work too well!  My carrots were too small also and came off the trigger wires too easy.  I used larger diameter carrots this morning when re-setting them.  I add a little lure at each site to draw in the muskrats.

This morning (2 Nov.) at the lake.  The water is glass calm!

This is one rat caught  in a foot hold trap.  The traps are set with a couple of feet of wire attached tot he anchor stake.  When it snaps shut on the muskrat's foot the rat automatically dives for safety from whatever attacked it.  The weight of the trap holds it underwater where it drowns.

This stake is too large for the spring eye to fit down onto the top so I worked the spring eye up from the bottom. It's the only one I set that way.

Muskrat number two this morning.

Another set waiting for a muskrat to sample the carrot.

Heading back for the landing area.  The 22 Ruger is for dispatching anything caught in the traps that might still be alive.  I've only had that happen once when a rat got the wire tangled up in some cattail stalks and couldn't get to the water.  I kept the rat back with a stick and freed the trap wire.  The rat dived into the lake and I left it there.  I came back after checking the other traps to retrieve the now dead muskrat.

It was raining yesterday afternoon (1 Nov.) when we set the traps out.  We were both wet to the skin and cold.  My legs were cold from kneeling in the water in the bottom of the canoe while making sets.  Susan had the stern position and was soaked as well.  The first thing we did when arriving home was fire up the wood stove, change into dry clothes and have some hot cocoa.

(Nov. 2nd) Susan with the take of the day.  Three muskrats from 15 traps set the night before.  Not a bad start.  I still have about 30 more traps to set out.  I'll take these home and dry them off a little then hang them up to dry completely before skinning and stretching them.

We went home and changed clothes then went out to vote.  We vote in a small town about five miles away as the crow flies.  We used to vote in Fortine but they changed it when they went to GPS addresses and found out they had us in the wrong district.  The problem is that you can't drive to our new location unless you drive through Fortine then back around to Trego.  The route is like a big "C" on the map.  It's about 15 miles each way.  They offered us absentee ballots but we have to go seven miles each way to mail them.  Then you don't get to talk to the people who help with the voting or those coming to vote.  (It's kind of a social event also.)  We looked into changing the voting district boundary but found out the taxes are lower in the district we're now in so we just decided to leave things alone and drive the extra miles every two years.

After we voted we drove out to another lake to scout it out for trapping potential then drove into Eureka to take care of some things there.  After that it was home again.   I checked the muskrats in the shack but they're still too wet to skin.  I guess I'll do it tomorrow after we run the line.  No rain today.  What a change!

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