Muskrats Part Three

All of the previous sets mentioned work well when water levels are stable but toss in heavy rain and you will spend a lot of time adjusting sets.

To combat erratic water levels you need to improvise. My favorite for this condition is float sets. This past fall float sets were a must with the abnormal rainfall we experienced. Float sets are simply traps attached to anything that will float. I usually use what I find along a stream. Dry logs will float as a rule. Simply notch out the top of the log, set the trap in and staple the chain to the log. Push the log out into the stream, anchor it and the set is complete. Depending on the length of the log you can set four or five traps on a log and will produce in high and low water conditions.

The other high producer is by using the conibear trap. Conibear or also known as body grips are easy to set and wicked efficient. Body grips in the 110 size placed on the edge of a stream will quickly hold and dispatch your catch.

Winter weather is a trapper’s nightmare. Once ice occurs the weather will weed out the amateur trappers. Ice up will test you on every level from frozen traps to frost bit fingers. Checking traps is fun chopping through three inches of ice to just check them will really test your sanity.  I always watch the weather closely and when the big freeze is predicted I bite the bullet and yank the steel.

Not totally though as I use a set that produces all winter is what I call a crate set. Chop a six inch hole in the ice and push a stick down in the mud , take a two foot square wooden crate with a carrot nailed high on the wall with the trap stapled to the crate turned upside down over the hole and you are set. Any rat in the area will investigate the hole, climb up the stick and see the carrot and the rest  is history. Leaning pole sets with body grips on foot traps will produce also.

So there you have it, all of these sets will work and with practice you will know what will work and what will not work for you. Do not trap an area out and leave some seed for next year and remember no traps on or in a rat pushup or directly in front of a bank den.

And now that you have caught them prep the fur and eat the meat. Yup you heard me rats are excellent table fare. Par boil for twenty minutes, drain, break the meat of the bones, dunk in melted butter, roll in flour and deep fry in oil in a cast iron fry pan. If ya do not like it, ship it to me and I will eat it.

Keep your waders patched and your lures in the shed and more importantly take a kid outdoors with you.