It’s opening day for trapping most furbearers in Nebraska. We at the Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association wish you a season filled with success, pride, enjoyment and education. We also hope you end up making a little money on top of it, although with prices the way they are, do not set your expectations out of reach.
We would like to to keep the following things in mind this season as you set out to trap:
You are setting an example for all trappers, everywhere. Be the trapper you would want kids to learn from.
Take someone with you who has never trapped before. Show them a few sets, harvest a few animals and show them how it’s done.
Be respectful of landowner’s property and do not trespass. Ask permission on private ground.
If trapping on public ground, please be aware of the fact that other people (and their dogs) will be using the property as well, and place your sets accordingly.
Don’t be afraid to release animals that look too small or do not look primed up. There is no shame in releasing a sub-par animal.
Help another trapper/outdoorsman if he needs it.
Share advice with a beginner. We were all there at one time.
Take time to learn something new.
Stop and take in all that the outdoors has to offer.
Obey all your state laws.
Thank you and have a good season!
-The Nebraska Fur Harvesters
Once again at the Nebraska Fur Harvesters Convention, Mike Lance will be doing the youth trap toss. This is a fun activity for kids of all ages. Mike has been doing this for a lot of years and kids look forward to it every year.
But we need your help.
We need used traps for the giveaway. Each kid comes away with a trap to take home. If you are coming to the convention, please bring a 1 1/2 coil spring, dog proof, or 110 for donation to the youth trapping program. If you are not coming, send one with someone who is.
If you are at the convention and see Mike, tell him thanks for all he does for Nebraska’s trapping future.
It’s the time of year when the Nebraska Game and Parks sends out their annual Fur Harvest Survey. It is also the time when we will remind you to fill these out and send them in.
The importance of these surveys can not be stressed enough.
Without numbers and hard facts, wildlife biologists are left to guesswork when making strategic decisions on your trapping and fur harvesting future. We, the fur harvesters of Nebraska, will be providing the decision makers with the data they need to do their jobs and protect our interests. It is also completely anonymous.
One thing of high importance on these surveys is the question about river otters. Nebraska is getting close to having a trapping season of some sort on river otters, but it will never happen unless biologists get hard facts on how many are around.
It takes about 5 minutes of your time, no one will know its you, and it won’t cost you anything for postage.
Let’s all do the responsible thing and send in our surveys!
If you follow wildlife in the news, you can’t escape the stories. Cities in California are struggling trying to manage the problem of cohabitating with wild canines. Coyotes spotted in the park, coyote grabs dog, coyote bites Hastings, Nebraska boy…wait…what?
In a recent story in The Hastings Tribune talks about a 1 year old boy being bitten by a coyote at a fireworks celebration in Hastings, Nebraska. Shay Burke, writer for the Hastings Tribune writes:
“According to the report, the family was lighting fireworks and the coyote came walking up the sidewalk from the south. The coyote allegedly bit the child then ran off to the east between some houses.
“The witnesses, the child’s family, said they are positive it was a small coyote,” Hessler said. “They have hunted them in the past and know what they look like. It was mangy looking, hair was falling out.”
Sgt. Brian Hessler with the Hastings Police Department confirmed Wednesday morning that there was a report filed of a coyote allegedly biting a child in the 500 block of South Boston Avenue about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Coyotes aren’t the only wild canines that take up residence in our urban environments. All too often, red fox get pushed out of their
natural habitat into town. Once there, they find abundant food sources such as rabbits, stray cats and garbage. Soon they take up permanent residence. The sight of these creatures makes neighborly conversation and the cute and cuddly pups often earn offerings of table scraps and other food. This is where urban wildlife problems begin. This benevolency of citizens starts the wheels in motion for problem wildlife. A situation that will not end well for the animal or the citizen.
I asked Dave Hastings for his opinion on the matter. Dave is the editor of The Fur Taker Magazine, official magazine of the Fur Takers of America, and a long time fur harvester. ” Well obviously we need to come to our senses and prioritize human and pet safety and health above wild predators. We are not “equal partners in the happy ship earth.” A coyote will eat a child in a heartbeat; not because the coyote is inherently evil, but because the coyote is a wild carnivore, and in his amoral eyes, meat is meat.”
When I asked Dave about what people need to understand about wildlife in urban areas, he had this to say: “First, wildlife is beautiful, admirable, and morally important. But un-threatened populations become dangerous. Raccoons seem cute until a homeowner finds roundworm-infested scat everywhere. Disease, direct threats to people and pets, and ultimately the degenerated health of the animal populations themselves are the result of poor management. People die from this. Children are attacked. Beloved pets are killed and eaten. This is not Disney; this is real.”
For us fur harvesters, this opens up opportunities. Check your plat maps and see who owns the cornfields at the edge of town. Urban areas are usually the hunting grounds, not the residence, so they are coming from somewhere. Check with your local authorities before taking any action against urban wildlife. Above all, be a good example for trappers and hunters everywhere. Practice common sense and obey all regulations.
In the last article I talked about some of my favorite trapping dvds. Now I would like to talk about some of my favorite books. I am a self proclaimed bookworm, and if I am interested in a topic, I will read anything I can get my hands on about it.
Trapping books vary widely in subject matter. One of my all time favorite predator books is Ray Milligan’s Coyote Fever. Ray knows the coyote like few do. The book is very much to the point and goes through the equipment and sets you need to be successful.
Other predator books worth mentioning are the ones by Charles Dobbins. Anyone who is familiar with the late Charles Dobbins, knows that anything he has written is worth reading. My two favorites are The Dirt Hole and its Variations, and Variations of the Flat Set. Not only are these entertaining to read, but I also use these books as reference manuals. When things get slow on the line, I can always find a new set to use from these books. The print is small in these books and Dobbins packs a massive amount of content in them.
When it comes to coons and water trapping, there are also many choices. One of my personal favorite authors on the subject is Mike “Red” O’Hern. If you have not met Red, you owe it to yourself to do so. He is quite a character, and very interesting to read and to listen to. Red wrote Coon Trapping – the Untold Story and Mink Trapping – The Quest For Prime Mink. If you want to become a better coon and mink trapper, this is a good start.
If you are looking for something a bit more modern, don’t pass up Trapline Principles, 8 Keys To Success by Kellen Kaatz. Not only is Kellen a super helpful guy, but he is also a very knowledgeable trapper and lure maker. Upon finishing this book, you will understand what Kellen believes is the 8 biggest things you need to work at to be a good trapper. An excellent book for making yourself a better trapper.
Last but not least, I wanted to mention another favorite of mine. Chronicles of a Longliner by Gary Jepson. This isn’t a “how to make a dirthole” book, but rather a book full of Gary’s experiences on and off the trapline since the 1950’s. Gary talks of the hardships faced on his ranch, and the good years during the fur boom. Gary documents his travels to conventions, his lure making adventures, and battling the harsh winters in North Dakota through the years.
Go out and pick up a book or two. You are almost guaranteed to learn something, and you will most definitely be entertained in the process!
My next article will talk about some of the youtubers I have found to be helpful in gaining some more knowledge of the craft!
When I was a kid the thought of having to go to summer school was enough to make me do my math homework. After all, summer was time for swimming, baseball and catching bullheads. It was definitely not for doing school work.
But fast forward to modern times. For us trappers, the summer is our “off season”. But is it really? Even if you don’t do any animal damage control work, there are still things to be done in the summer. Remember those dog proofs you put away that were all crusted up from bait? How about those 1 1/2s still packed with mud and grass, and those Bridger #3’s with the bent dogs and the chains all tangled in corn husks? Not to mention the bucket of “miscellaneous snare parts” that always gets put away for a rainy day.
Forget all of that stuff for now. One of my favorite things to do in the summer is catch up on all those books and DVD’s I bought during the year. I am the type of person that retains information better if I take notes. My system of learning from a DVD involves watching them at least three times. The first time I watch the DVD I watch it for the entertainment value only. I like to watch the guy making sets, seeing the scenery and just watching one of my favorite activities being done by someone knowledgeable. The second time I watch the DVD I will come prepared with a notebook. I stop, start, rewind, fast forward and try to take in and write down tips and information the instructor is offering. The third time I will watch again with my notebook, going over my notes as they are talked about in the DVD and picking up the new information I missed in the last viewing. After all this, if it is a good DVD, it will still get watched again. Books are kind of the same way.
Some of my favorites
Like anyone else, I have my favorites when it comes to dvds. One of my all time favorites is Coyote Trapping with Mark June. This is one I watch at the beginning of the season every year. Mark is a high energy guy and understands both trapping and the coyote itself. This dvd was filmed in Nebraska as well which makes it close to home.
Another of my favorites is Trapping the Elusive Coyote by Gary Jepson. Gary is a cowboy from North Dakota and his trapping experience is vast. Gary is a man of few words, but when he talks, one is inclined to listen. The first 10 minutes or so of that dvd, Gary talks about family units and habits of the coyote, and the information presented there is well worth the price of the dvd.
A couple other favorites of mine are Lesel Reuwsaat Professional Farmland Trapping Methods and Ed Schneider’s Fall and Winter Coyote Trapping, both of which were filmed in Kansas, or otherwise close to home.
In the next article I will talk about some of my favorite books, some awesome youtubers you should be watching, and some water trapping dvd’s.
The Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association members met April 30th, 2017 at the VFW in Seward, Nebraska. President Eric Stane gave out door prizes including dog proof traps, .22 ammo, bait and lure. Shane Claeys of Papio Creek Trapping Supply was there with products for the giveaway also, including his dirt hole augers and hole punches.
The following points are a recap of what was discussed at the meeting:
Discussed the 2017 convention, and what vendors are going to be there and how things are progressing. Discussed the possibility of two demos going on at the same time.
Approved the purchase of a new PA system for use during demos and at the convention.
We are looking for more volunteers to do trappers education presentations. Contact Eric Stane if interested.
Talked about ways we can promote fur by donating a fur jacket, scarf, etc to Miss Nebraska or Miss Rodeo Nebraska.
Discussed a legal defense fund. Also discussed a spring banquet to help fund the legal defense fund. Fund monies would be reserved to help other states in need of trapping defense funds, as well as for our own use if the need arises.
Repairs to the enclosed trailer for hail damage were discussed and approved.
The NFH will become a member of the Sportsman’s Alliance in addition to being affiliate members of the FTA and NTA.
Discussed trapping regulations and what anyone would want to see changed.
Discussed the reduced/no cost hunt, fish, and fur harvest permits offered to veterans. If you are a veteran age 64 or older, a deployed military member, or a disabled vet, please look into getting one of these. This is a great service offered by our game and parks.
If you have any questions or would like more information about volunteering for trappers education, contact Eric Stane at firstname.lastname@example.org