Land trapping, raccoon trapping — December 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Dog Proof traps, better trap location at pocket set, blind sets, from the mind of Dustin

dog proof trapping trapWritten by Dustin Drews
After looking over my last 4 weeks of catches a few things are starting to expose themselves in my system from a LONGLING point of view.
Before I dive off to deep end in my thinking: This read is not intended for the father and son that go out and set a few traps on one piece of property. This writing is geared toward myself and others trying to streamline there system!
If I were a hobby or a trapper doing a control job for a land owner I would go to the piece of property and put three blindest foothold traps on every trail on the place. When I say every trail I mean every trail!
I am coming to the realization that long lining is different then hobby trapping. I do not know why it should be any different. The animals are the same, the locations are the same, but it is. Coon are my bread and butter. I feel the best way to catch a coon is in a blind set. Hands down if my life depended on catching a coon coming down a trail the blind set foothold is the set I would choose. But after running blind sets almost exclusively for 4 weeks I am noticing some things that I do not like. The first one being non target catches! At first I thought it was nice catching rabbits and squirrels so I had bait for my predator sets. Once you start remaking ten or fifteen sets a day from non target catches it really cuts into your time on your line. Add that to the time it takes to get all the grinners and feral cats out of your sets!  Plus remaking the sets from your target catches… the time just flies by. The second down fall to blind sets is this; once a blind set has made a catch, any type of catch for that matter, that location is no longer a blind set location. It has to be converted to something else. I convert it to a walk through hay set but after doing that, the sets that have caught, normally do not catch like a virgin blind set.
Snares are another great tool but I cannot keep snares organized in my truck. They are great at the beginning of the season. But after taking them off the support, putting them in the truck a few times it ends up being a huge mess for me!
I am now starting to see why guys go to water for coon! In the water your non target catches are normally welcome sites. IE mink, rats, beaver and otter in some parts of the country. Pockets have shown me a couple things that I heard but never thought were true. If you want to get more coon in a pocket you need to set further back in deeper water. Once I did this I stopped catching rats! Setting up close with coon I would have coon work the pocket but I had more misses and traps pulled from their beds. More than I was comfortable with.
We had our first bit of cold weather this week. So most of the creeks I was trapping were froze solid! Not only is the water froze solid, the dirt is too! What used to take me no time to put in a set now is taking about 5 times longer because of the rock solid ground!
Hmmm that really only leaves two options: one is dog proofs or  and the other is buckets. Sure we could set dirt holes and flat sets for coon but one rain or snow takes them out of commission just like it did my blind sets.
I refuse to run any buckets around my area due to the amount of dogs that are in my area. So we are down to dog proofs. Now as much as I really do not like the dog proof style of trapping I can see why so many long liners use them. They are not affected by weather very much, there is no digging, no bedding, you can use them by the water, in the water, on the ice or even hang them from trees!
It was not until I was pulling almost my entire line for the second time this year due to weather when the saying I have heard many times said by a salty trapper came into my mind. “It is not how many sets you have out, it is how many of your sets are working!” I knew if I left my sets out they would not be working and it would of been twice as hard to pull them after the weather came through.
Then another trapper saying, “If you want to trap coons set for coons if you want to catch coyotes set for coyotes if you want to catch a fox set for fox!” I have caught all these animals in my blind sets. Looking back is this the most efficient way to catch these animals on a large scale? Not likely because in the big picture the locations are different!
So what does a long liner do? I can put out 3 dps in the time it takes to put in one good blind set. Say I can get in 50 blind sets in a day. Would 150 dps out produce the 50 good blindsets? That is just one day. Lets bust our tail and go 3 days of nothing but pounding in sets. We are now up to 450 sets vs 150 sets. Lets look at remake times and try to calculate that! Bedding a trap in a burn circle on a trail takes time. I could reset and bait 5 Dps in the time it takes to do one blind set remake. Not to mention we get a lot less non-targets in dog proofs.
I know this sounds like a dog proof commercial. It is really not meant to be that way! I am just letting my head think something through while pushing some computer keys and watching them show up on a white screen.
I am trying to evolve my trapping system. I feel like I am trying to save my nose by cutting off my face with blind sets. My goal is to free up more time, the only way I can do this is 1) catch less non targets and 2) find a way to put sets in faster. Dog proofs are the best solution I can come up with.
I have been playing with some Dog Proofs. I have had 100 of them out this week and I was not blown away by the catches. But I made catches! The thing I like the most about the trap is I can put them on location. Like dead center location; no trying to make something work and I can do it in seconds, in any ground and even on ice. Plus with a cup over the trap it is completely water proof. It is things like these that make trapping so much fun and challenging and addictive!
We have been cold all week! like 10 degrees for a high cold! we are getting some snow tonight I geared up a bunch of traps with drags I am going to try and do some hay sets and nab some fox and coyotes.
God Bless,
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One Comment

  1. I totally agree about blind sets. I use blind sets with my DPs, usually on a culvert with water, bends in creeks, and on each corner on a bridge. I usually have a double. Sure, I could use 2 DPs at a set, but when there’s standing water I don’t care how shallow it is, I don’t even care if it’s a puddle PUT A BLIND SET THERE lol I’ve caught more coon on blind sets then DPs. In Iowa, we’re allowed to use exposed bait over water as long as it’s not in a river corridor such as the Mississippi or my local river as Des Moines. Anyway, if I use a few fish sticks along with blind sets I might have 5 or 6 coon at that location the next day.

    Heck, I caught my first mink on a blind set on purpose with a blind set.

    Also, to help with snares what my mentor is to make bundles of snares in dozens and zip tie them together. He’ll hang them in his truck or in a bucket. I have a snare pouch so when I open a bundle of snares I’ll throw them in the pouch.

    Btw, I’m not a huge numbers guy, I just had good experiences in my limited years of trapping I thought I share :)

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