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PostPosted: 20 Feb 2008, 15:10 
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Joined: 03 Feb 2008, 12:18
Posts: 16413
Location: Lufkin, TX

Just a little trapline rattling from down in southeast Texas. For some of you that haven't had the chance to trap in the swampier areas of the USA, well it can be different from the frozen north and the rocky west. When I go on my line to set for coons and otter, the only equipment I need in addition to my traps is a good sharp hatchet and a jar of Mackarel. I never staple, nail or wire my water sets. I have added longer chains to all my traps and once I have found a place for a set, I look around and see if I can spot a nice gum sapling about 11/2" or 2" thick and I cut it about 6'-8' in length (for some reason the coons don't eat up the gum as badly as the ironwood and oak). If the set is being made in a hollow log or tree trunk I measure out far enough with my stob (pronounced, st au b)...some of you folks would just use the word "stake"...but down here "stob" is a common word...to make sure the coon can't get up in the tree or log as to where I can't get to it when it comes time to remove it from the trap. I also look to see if there are any cypress knees or roots that a coon or otter can use for leverage to break free of my trap. Considering all this, I shove the small end of the stob down into the soft ground until it is firmly anchored. Then I loop the chain through the ring and drop this loop over the top of my stob and bring it down to the bottom of the stob and work it into the mud a little...taking all the slack out of the loop as I do this. I cover the chain up with wet leaves and small limbs in the area.....coons are bad to pull your trap of it's bed by finding the chain and playing with it. After bedding my trap in the entrance to the hollow log, tree trunk or the "blade roots" of a tree, I fence the area off to guide the animal in. Then I place some Mackarel on a stick with a lot of juice on it and sit it behind the trap and cover the exposed bait with damp leaves....this makes the oil dissipait into the water and also hides the bait from crows and other birds. If a person traps in shallow water.....blind or bait sets....they will catch both small and large coons...but if you trap in deeper water you will catch mostly large coons....the smaller ones will be paddling on by. Sometimes the ground is too hard even in the sloughs for one of my stobs and when this happens I still do not staple,nail or wire my traps....I will then cut what we call a brush drag....huckleberry are the best in our area. I cut them so there is a fork and trim the thinner fork so it has little brush on it, leaving the main stalk very brushy. Then I loop my chain and bring it over the shorter stalk and over to the main stalk....I choose the size of my drags according to how open or thick the area is and if I am coon/otter trapping or up on high ground where I may catch a cat or coyote. But still, all I need is my hatchet and bait. The good part about not securing my traps to things is that when I need to pull my traps I can just go to them pull the loop over the top of my stobs and I am ready to go...plus if I decide to come back in the area to trap again my stob is still ready. Sometimes I will remove my stob and relocate it rather than cut more. But they are good for only one season. As I post photos of catches in the water, you will sometimes see one stob standing and a couple old ones on the ground. And if I am dealing with flucuationg water levels I sometimes have a high water stob and a low water stob and just move my trap from one to the other as the water changes. Making water sets takes little time once you are set up the first time.....as I have told my sons and others....I feel like I spend more time "hiding" my traps from humans than from the target animals. I know dirt trapping is much different and I do use more precaution when setting them. Another advantage of using tall stobs is that if the water does rise on me rapidly I can see my stob sticking out of the water and know I can either take the time to fish it out or wait and come back when the water goes down.....the brush drags do tend to wash away and using them should be with caution. When using the Conibears I do use wire and pliers. Most of my Conidbear sets are not far from my vehicle and so I have the items handy. But a person can run quite a line carrying no more than traps-hatchet-bait. Just another tale from the woods and swamps of southeast Texas. Swamp Rat

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