Potential Trapper Qs

KrisB

Six Pointer
I joined the NCTA back at the Dixie Deer Classic and am now signed up for the WRC's basic Trapper Workshop on May 25th. Took and passed the North American Tapper Education Program prerequisite yesterday. I wanted to ask the experienced and new trappers here a few questions about trapping for a potential new trapper:

1. What species do you recommend focusing on for new trappers? The online course suggested kill-type water sets and trapping for muskrat and mink starting out, which don't require the new trapper to kill the animals themselves. It also said those sets cost the least, so it is a more affordable way to start out. What are y'all's thoughts?

2. Are there any particular traps you'd recommend for beginner trappers to get as their first set(s) (i.e. snares or foothold, water vs land sets, etc, or even any brand)?

3. Are there any tips you'd give to a beginner trapper as far as fur handling and selling furs goes? For example, if it's your first trapping season, how do you go about contacting potential fur buyers? Do you recommend selling to local fur buyers in NC as opposed to buyers outside the state?

4. Are there any particular organizations that are good at helping new trappers get started, be that through mentoring or in other ways?

5. Are there any general tips you'd give to a new trapper?
 

41magnum

Ten Pointer
click on the TRAP LINKS thread atop this forum...trapperman has an AWESOME Archives that could take months to learn.

Get a spiral notebook for taking notes and sketches for ANY AND ALL learning ops....your class, the convention in Sept, and also dvd's or books. My notebook is broken down by Target Species.

Snares can only be used for beaver here in the Piedmont.

1).....muskrat and raccoon are best for beginners. Body grips dispatch, but in many locations, they won't work, so a foothold on a drowner will do.

2)...covered in TRAP LINKS thread, but Duke tend to be good value for $........ 1.5's work fine for both coon and mink and rats.

3)..You are not too far from Kevin in Gold Hill who not only buys fur but has taught many folks how to "put up" fur. Groenwold makes a run thru NC buying fur too...there are threads on the NCtrappers forum...(also linked in the LINKS forum). Shipping fur off, either at a pick up or mail tends to get more $$ BUT it may not be for a year or more. Selling in Martinsville Va at Southeastern Outdoors Supplies, Mr Hundley will give you store credit, to go in and buy MORE trapping gear.

4)..Joining the NCTA will keep you in the loop of events and classes in NC but also the VaTA is a good one with a nice show in Bland Va in Oct....my wife LOVES the Va mountains in Oct! Asking for a mentor on the NCtrappers forum could work too.

5) read all you can, and there are some good guys on utube but not sure who, right now. The problem with utube is they are usually from different states so the laws are different, and they could teach a technique illegal in NC.
Get catalogs from the LINKS forum and circle what you want/need and give to loved ones to get your Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary, May Day, etc, etc gifts. Explain that you want their money going into something you are sure to use/need and not some sweater that'd hang in the closet forever!

The link to our shop is in my signature, so feel free to email direct thru Contact button.

BEWARE, you are entering a dimension of outdoors not many appreciate and it is SO ADDICTIVE.....its like Christmas every day, because you don't know what will await. A mink?..or coon?..or rat?...or fox?....or bobcat?...etc etc,
 
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41magnum

Ten Pointer
..also, you 'd be wise to attend more than 1 class this Spring, since teachers often change, thus different techniques are taught.
Someone on the NCtrappers forum will be able to tell you how/who be different from location to location.
 

KrisB

Six Pointer
Thank you so much! I saw the links, but didn't look at them closely enough. Will definitely be getting a notebook. :) Great advice!
 

QuietButDeadly

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Kris,

I agree with John on many points.....

Raccoon is a good place to start. A dozen DPs that are easy to set and anchor will get you started. 1 1/2 size traps work well for coon and fox also but now that we have coyotes on the landscape, I would only use 1 1/2s in water sets for coon, muskrat or mink. A coyote in a 1 1/2 usually does not end well.

Particular brand of trap.....sort of like asking which is prettier, a blond, brunette or redhead......You will get as many answers as the number of folks you ask. There are a lot of good traps on the market today. For the beginner, it can almost seem overwhelming at times but some time spent with an experienced trapper with a handful of various traps discussing the pros and cons will go a long way to getting you to a starting point.

There are a lot of different anchor systems as well...rebar stakes or many different kinds of earth anchors and drivers and pullers.

Dispatch methods is another question for beginners for various species. These need to be discussed via PM Only.

Fur handling - I recommend you plan to learn how to do it but if you have someone close to sell to that is certainly an option. Here is a link to the licensed fur buyers in NC: https://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/Trapping/Documents/Furdealers_1819.pdf Call the ones close to you and ask them what they are interested in and how they prefer to buy.
Carcass - meaning unskinned - fresh or frozen
Green or in the grease - skinned but not fleshed - fresh or frozen
Fleshed and dried - generally the method required to ship to the auctions

We have ongoing fur handling demos at the convention in Sept. and usually offer at least one Comprehensive Fur Handing Class each year. It is money well spent. I also recommend that you try to find someone local who is willing to help you get started with the correct methods of skinning and fleshing.

The same goes for trapping. A ride along with someone will help shorten your learning curve as well.

I see you posted your questions on the NC Trapper forum as well and you will get more answers there. Joining the association was a good move and will help you make connections to shorten your learning curve.
 

nccatfisher

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
One thing I will mention is several have suggested coon trapping and kill sets were mentioned. That will equal bucket sets or box sets. If you are squeamish about the act of dispatching I would suggest that you don't go this route. Do as QBD suggested and get DPs and you are set. You do have to dispatch the animal but that really is a part of trapping and is something you will adapt to. The reason I say this is sooner or later you are going to get something you don't want in one of these traps. One, it most likely will break your set loose and either take it back home and the possibility of a very ugly confrontation with it's owner even though most likely the animal wasn't supposed to be there in the first place. Still for someone not fully prepared to deal with this situation it is unpleasant at the least. Two, depending on the size of it you may walk up on it and find it there in the trap and it has either succumbed or it will have to be released. To you become proficient doing this you DO NOT want that mess.

I have released several out of them all up north and luckily none of them were mine. There isn't anything like running after a dog that just stuck his head in a bucket and had a trap around his nose or across the top of his head running into trees going crazy. Getting it caught and getting it off. If the trap gets much farther back then you usually have the worst case scenario.
 

JoeR

Six Pointer
which don't require the new trapper to kill the animals themselves. I
I'm a beginner trapper myself, and you have already gotten some great advice, so I only have a little to add.
If you are not prepared to dispatch the animals you are targeting, or anything else you may catch in there, then I'd probably advise against trapping at all. (I'm not saying this is the case, because you didn't state that, but just in case....)

In one season I have learned that things will go wrong, and you need to do your best to prepare for it. I had butterflies a few times this season. I had a non-target catch that I had to release. It was NOT entertaining to me. Thankfully I don't go out without my catch pole and a .22 pistol. It was released unharmed. I don't want to do another, but I know that I just may have to do it again.
I also had 2 beavers on drowning sets that didn't drown. A cement bottom near the dam made it hard to find a good, muddy spot. Each time I made the set I was certain it was good enough. Beginner mistake though, and I had to dispatch them.
As a trapper I believe it is my duty to cause as little harm as possible. Either release them unharmed as early as possible, as quickly as possible, or do the same to dispatch them.
My 2 cents (actual street value).

Lastly, you won't regret going to the trapper convention. The classes are great. The vendors will help you pick out some traps and lure, and if you're social, you'll meet some great folks. I went by myself last year, and I'll attend again this fall. If you see me there, be sure to say Hello. I'm east to spot. I'll be the only 6'4" greasy Italian guy with a big nose in attendance.
I'm also going to the FTA Convention in June. http://www.furtakersofamerica.com/convention.html

Joe
 

41magnum

Ten Pointer
One thing I will mention is several have suggested coon trapping and kill sets were mentioned. That will equal bucket sets or box sets. If you are squeamish about the act of dispatching I would suggest that you don't go this route. Do as QBD suggested and get DPs and you are set. You do have to dispatch the animal but that really is a part of trapping and is something you will adapt to. The reason I say this is sooner or later you are going to get something you don't want in one of these traps.
Dogs are kept out of bucket sets with a quick release, 12" overhang/roof. At least it has worked for me for 15 yrs.
My cousin has watched his coon hounds come up to my buckets on our creek and sniff around but DID NOT get on their bellies to crawl into those buckets.
Setting the body gripper 6" inside the bucket AND using a pan-trigger helps some too.
 

Philjam

Spike
You have time to make a plan. My time now is spent scouting for places their is evidence of fur critters. I have to figure out how many traps needed to set for the locations found and critters targeted. To me, setting traps is more about setting where there are animals, rather than technique. Practice sets get you used to setting before the season.. and don't get all caught up spending money on magic baits and lures. In fact, the best way to learn is blind setting with no bait or lure. This takes longer to learn this way but when you finally get it to work, the "aha" light goes on. Again, keep it simple even though the closer it gets, the more your mind races with ideas and questions. You can write these down in a notebook, along with locations found. My notebook is detailed enough so my traps can be found if I am kidnapped by aliens.
 

finbar

Button Buck
Kris,

I agree with John on many points.....

Raccoon is a good place to start. A dozen DPs that are easy to set and anchor will get you started. 1 1/2 size traps work well for coon and fox also but now that we have coyotes on the landscape, I would only use 1 1/2s in water sets for coon, muskrat or mink. A coyote in a 1 1/2 usually does not end well.
Thanks for this advice. I am getting into trapping and thought it might be just more versatile to just start with 1 1/2 for water and land sets and to get practice doing things like bedding a trap. But that's a really good point. Do you think there's a good multispecies coilspring for our region or do you think it is better to have more specialized sets? Great advice all around, thanks everyone.
 

QuietButDeadly

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Trying to cover several species with a single trap will always be a compromise on one end or the other but it is impossible to exclude every non target from the intended set. And I am not talking about domestic non targets. Anything but a coyote in a trap I set for a coyote is a non target. I do not want to catch a possum or coon but it is going to happen. I do not usually mind catching a fox (except in counties where I can not keep them) or bobcats but they are still not my primary target.

I use MB 550s cast or rubber jaws and NOBS K9 Jrs and catch a variety in them from skunks to coyotes. An MB 450 can be used as a multi specie trap, it is better for the smaller critters and will hold a coyote but is certainly not an ideal coyote trap. I know folks that use #2 or #3 bridgers with the #3 being better for coyotes and bobcats but less than ideal for the smaller critters. Other brand name #2 and #3 traps can also be used. Some may require more modifications than others.

The NOBS 1 1/2 is a stout little trap that I believe will handle a coyote. Other brand 1 1/2s may hold the occasional coyote but they may end up in pieces if they have not been modified to make them stronger.

And whatever you chose for a foothold trap that is bedded (not a DP) needs to be staked to hold a coyote or bobcat. Always stake for the largest critter you might catch.
 

KrisB

Six Pointer
Thanks for this advice. I am getting into trapping and thought it might be just more versatile to just start with 1 1/2 for water and land sets and to get practice doing things like bedding a trap. But that's a really good point. Do you think there's a good multispecies coilspring for our region or do you think it is better to have more specialized sets? Great advice all around, thanks everyone.
Could not agree more. Thank you, everybody, for the great advice!
 
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