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Safety on the trap line
By Keith Dewars*

When you are running your trap line safety should be your number one priority.  Please keep these things in mind-

  1. Make sure someone knows where you will be.  Tell somebody or leave a note saying where you will be and at what time you expect to return.  If you have an accident or are incapacitated you will know help is on the way.  An even better idea is to trap with a partner.

  2. Do not over-exert yourself.  Drink lots of fluids and take a small snack or bag lunch if you anticipate being out for a long period of time.  Take time to catch your breath.

  3. Plan ahead.  When trapping, especially in the winter, know the weather report and dress accordingly.  Little things like a butane lighter or dry pair of socks in your pack can make a world of difference.  An extra set of clean, dry clothes in your vehicle is a good idea.

  4. Know your equipment.  Traps are dangerous!  Make sure you know how to use your equipment before venturing out.

  5. Use caution and common sense when trapping in the winter.  Winter trapping can be an enormous amount of fun and hard work and can be equally dangerous.  Be extra careful when trapping beaver and muskrat under the ice.  Constant water and animal movements will cause unseen thin spots.  These normally occur near dams, feed piles and lodges but seeping springs and weather conditions can make the ice thin anywhere.  Carry a five foot long ice spud (usually a long piece of rebar sharpened to make a chisel on the end) and constantly check the ice when you are walking on it.

  6. DO NOT PANIC.  If you should happen to get lost or incapacitated when you are outdoors follow the "STOP" rule of thumb-

    Sit down

    Think

    Observe

    Plan

    What this means is to stop what you are doing, Sit down and calm yourself, Think about and assess your situation, Observe your surroundings and then Plan your next move in a calm manner.  In other words, take a deep breath and think things through.

Safety issues are a matter of common sense.  Start practicing proper precautions now and before long you will not even have to think about it.  It will become second nature to you.

*Keith Dewars is a freelance writer, avid outdoorsman and owner/webmaster of Malum Internet Properties. He can be contacted at keithd@maluminternet.com.


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