coyote trapping, Land trapping — December 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm

The down fall of being a copy cat trapper, thoughts from Dustin

midwest coyote trappingI am guilty of being a copy cat trapper. I read Wolfernation, Trapperman, listen to trapper radio and then add of all the conversations with trapping buddies and friends about how they catch their animals and low and behold I find myself going in more different directions then a compass can point!
I have found that doing this has its pitfalls. When you read about other peoples system and what works for them and try and copy it you can never duplicate it. You are not them, you do not know why they are doing it. Even with them putting it on video and explaining it I always come up sort.
Take location for instance. Where I am at if you read all the fox books and go out in the country and set your traps for fox in the locations they talk about you will not catch any fox. You will catch some coyotes but no fox! If you want to catch fox around me you need to be close to towns, like really close! I caught 2 fox this year within a 100 yards of my front door and I live in town! 
Take dog proofs, I have never caught more then 2 coon in them sitting next to each other. So after putting 5 dps at every location for 2 trapping seasons, this year I started putting 2 down at each location and started covering more locations. My catch went up. Copying other peoples style was causing me to waste more time then I needed in my area where I trap.
Lets look at traps, I own 96 big pan cdrs. I love them, you own some trapping real estate in front of a set. But now when the ground is froze solid you could not pay me to set them. Same goes for long springs. Trying to chip out a trap bed in rock hard frozen ground is no fun! I am thankful I have my #2 Bridgers during this time of year. If I were in Texas in sand or around here before the big freeze heck yeah they are awesome!
This last couple weeks I really started focusing on my own style of trapping. While there has been some strike outs there have also been some home runs! I feel my biggest home run of the year was the way I modified my #2 bridgers. I double jawed them all with 1/4 square key stock. Guys were telling me instead of doing that just use a #11 or a 1.5 coil spring for coons mink and rats. Been there done that and got the pull outs to prove it! So far this year I have only had one coon pull out and leave a toe nail in my trap. The mink and rats I have caught in were held high and tight! The coyotes I caught were held solid! Another thing I did was swivel them off the edge of the trap instead of center swiveling them. I could not be more pleased in how friendly they are to bed. I pulled up as hard as I could with a hammer in the trap and never popped a jaw, and the 3 times I caught myself this year when my hand hit the end of the chain, my fingers found out just how much tighter the trap holds as my finger slid toward the lever. So I am down to only using foot hold traps on my trap line! A big pan CDR and Bridger #2 and I am loving it. I have never heard of anyone just using 2 types of foot holds to cover all the different animals they are after.
The main reason for writing this was to help new guys entering trapping to hopefully not make my mistakes of copying people and to hopefully think for themselves about what they are doing. This will sound stupid but, I talk to my black lab Mr. Buddy Lee a lot when I am trapping and I have found him not answering me has really helped in working out issues on the trap line. I am sure none of this information I am sharing with you is new, just do not be afraid to think out of the box and even more important start thinking for yourself. You will learn more and be better in the long run because of it. At least it has been this way for me. Hopefully you can come up with something new and make a video so maybe guys will start copying you.

God Bless,
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One Comment

  1. Dustin,
    Sir I would have to disagree with your article on the copy cat trapper. For a new trapper starting out they must learn the basics, and like anything you do in life even our occupations we learn from others wither on the job or via schooling. I would agree that adopting your own style of trapping once one has learnt the basic is important. I personally have learnt so much from people like Clint Locklear, Pete & Ron Leggett, Tom Kruse and many others in my own local trappers association. Knowledge is a powerful tool and that tool is passed on from one trapper to another.

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