Muskrats Part Two

I start by walking the area; I plan on trapping to see where the majority of the sign is. I look for feeding beds, homes sites, droppings and other physical evidence and then decide what sets to use at every location. The following sets I have used for years and they constantly produce. A bank set is easy to make. Using your boot or a spade carve out a ledge in the bank approximately eight inches wide with a ramp down to water level. Just below water level at the end of the ramp I use a 1 ½ trap either staked solidly to the bank or wired to a rock in deep water. Either way a rat steps into a trap and it will head for deep water and the weight of the trap will keep the catch submerged. Rats love to investigate these ramps in hopes of finding food. If there is no action within a day or two spice up the set with some liquid lure, a piece of carrot, or the rat’s favorite food, an apple.

Feed bed sets work well also and are easily located by looking for chewed up pieces of grass and weeds in a mound type form. Again place your 1 ½ in water and lightly cover with liquid mud and stake securely.

Rats also love to crawl up on stumps and logs to sun themselves. Rats inspect every nook and cranny every time they pass a area looking for a meal. Traps placed around these perches with a solidly placed trap will pick them up here. Try to anchor in deeper water to avoid chew offs and to keep your catch away from predators. It really sucks to go through all the motions only to have your catch dined on before you get to it.

Culvert sets work well as most culverts are on town or state owned land. A quick check with the local highway superintendent will usually get you permission. These little fur balls cause lots of damage yearly to highways. A trap set in the inlet and outlet of culvert will catch you rats. As always stake to the max. The downside to trapping culverts is you will lose traps to Jonnie Sneakum, or trap thieves. It happens a lot not just in society but trappers are affected also.

Pocket sets are my favorite sets to make. Simply make a hole in the stream bank at water level about six to eight inches deep. Place lure on the end of a small stick and plant it right next to the holes entrance. The lure attracts the rat to the set by scent on the wind. Place a carrot chunk or a piece of apple inside the hole with a trap of choice directly under the hole should seal the deal. Do not forget to stake solidly use a drowner set.

Stay tuned for part three next time. Hell, I will even tell ya how to cook them and eat them. Until then keep your waders patched, your lures in the shed and be sure to take a kid out doors.  See ya on the trap line.