The Official Publication of the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association
December 2013 Edition 1 (TEXT ONLY EDITION)
President’s Report: Dale Hendershot
The hide project is winding down and we should have all of the hides collected next month. A big thank you goes out to all that are organizing and working on this project. We started this project a little late but it is looking like it will be successful, and we are already talking about doing it again next year. The fur project is still up and running, though, and we are taking donations at our fur sales. Anyone who ships to Fur Harvesters or NAFA can designate one or two hides to go to Defend the Hunt, and the truck will have a separate bag for it, just let them know that it is for MTPCA Defend the Hunt. I know that some are saying that this fight is only about the wolf issue, but it is about much more. The anti’s are coming after us and how we do business with the DNR by trying to make us go to the ballot box more and more often. This is very expensive, time consuming and difficult. The DNR and NRC are not perfect, but to lose what we have will send us back a long ways. Please support these avenues of raising money to fight HSUS, as we know that their objective is to stop all trapping, hunting and fishing!
We are collecting signatures for a Ballot Initiative to fight what HSUS is doing, so please consider collecting all the signatures that you can. We are not the only ones that are collecting them: most of the hunting and fishing groups in the state are involved. We all collectively need to get about 350,000 signatures. Several of the old directors have agreed to make calls to members and get petitions out to people. If we all get signatures from our family and friends we can collect a lot of signatures in a hurry, so please get out and help. I would encourage everyone to contact a board member if you are not contacted, as this is very important to us as trappers.
I want to thank the outgoing Directors for the work that they have done. Several were very active and did a lot of work and some helped whenever they could, and all of it was appreciated.
We counted the ballots at the Fur Sale at Jay’s and we have three new Regional Vice Presidents and eight Directors. The results are in this Trapline, and I want to thank all who ran for an office. I am looking forward to working with all of you. We have a lot of work to do, and I am looking forward to the new structure and seeing this work. I have already talked to all of you and we have an excellent group of people.
Letter from the Editor: John Caretti
In this issue of The Trapline is the results of the election of the Regional VP’s and Directors. Thanks to all who offered to serve and to those who voted! This was a major step in implementing our new structure. Thanks for your input!
MTPCA Officer Election Results
Region 1 (This Region includes all of the Upper Peninsula)
Mark Spencer Jr.- Regional Vice President
Mike Anderson- Regional Director
Mike Marcusen- Regional Director
Region 2 (This Region includes all of the Michigan DNR Hunting and Trapping Zone 2)
Ed Kramer- Regional Vice President
Chris Elie- Regional Director
Scott Harbaugh- Regional Director
Chuck Turk- Regional Director
Region 3 (This Region includes all of the Michigan DNR Hunting and Trapping Zone 3)
Everett Emery- Regional Vice President
Mark Earl- Regional Director
Trent Masterson- Regional Director
Gary Schinske- Regional Director
Fur Sale Director Report: Matt Johnson
Ravenna Conservation Club- January 4, 2014
Otisville- January 18, 2014 (Note: the previous Trapline misstated the date as January 28)
Houghton Lake (The Playhouse)- February 1, 2014
Kalamazoo Fairgrounds- February 8, 2014
Jay’s in Clare- March 22, 2014
Reports of Carcasses being dumped: John Caretti
I received emails from the leaders of the DNR Wildlife Division complaining about piles of skinned raccoon carcasses being dumped near parking lots in the Gratiot-Saginaw area. I have seen the results of similar disgusting, short-sighted and lazy fur harvesters in the Huron National Forest. Emily and her co-workers cleaned up several carcass dumps while she worked this summer in the State Game Areas in SE Michigan.
Since I know that no ethical hunter or trapper would do this, I hope that the people reading this (our members) are not the ones doing it. However, it is possible that you may know these people. Dumping carcasses like this is obviously a crime and it also reflects poorly on sportsmen and sportswomen. Other hunters and non-sporting people see the results of these lazy people and get a negative opinion of trappers and fur hunters. Lastly, these sites do eventually get cleaned up by State workers, so your hunting, trapping, and fishing license fees pay for it. Wouldn’t it be better if those dollars were used for the benefit of our wildlife resources instead of cleaning up some slob’s trash?
If you know someone that is dumping carcasses on state land, explain to them that they are making all trappers and fur hunters look bad and they are putting our trapping and hunting privileges at risk. If they keep it up- the RAP line is 1-800-292-7800. Thanks!
December 21, 2013 Jay’s Fur Sale Results: Emily Caretti
Species Total Low High Average before commission Average after commission
Badger 1 $15.00 $15.00 $ 15.00 $14.25
Beaver 83 $6.75 $47.00 $23.30 $22.14
Beaver cast 3 $5.00 $50.00 $27.33 $25.96
Coyote 31 $3.00 $57.50 $21.11 $20.05
Deer hide 160 $3.00 $17.00 $13.05 $12.40
Gray Fox 16 $10.00 $40.00 $31.94 $30.34
Red Fox 51 $38.00 $72.50 $60.10 $57.10
Gr Beaver 37 $2.00 $35.00 $ 17.01 $16.16
Gr Muskrat 8 $7.50 $7.50 $7.50 $7.13
Gr Otter 1 $ 65.00 $65.00 $65.00 $61.75
Gr Raccoon 317 $0.25 $22.50 $11.30 $10.74
Female mink 64 $8.00 $25.00 $17.95 $17.05
Male Mink 138 $3.00 $35.00 $25.90 $24.61
Muskrat 8038 $0.50 $16.55 $12.21 $11.60
Opossum 28 $0.75 $6.00 $3.92 $3.72
Otter 8 $50.00 $97.50 $79.69 $75.71
Raccoon 1599 $0.50 $34.50 $14.28 $13.57
Skunk 19 $2.50 $7.00 $4.68 $4.45
Squirrel 4 $1.00 $1.25 $1.19 $1.13
Weasel 1 $1.50 $1.50 $1.50 $1.43
Grand Total 10607 Total Sales $139,205.20 $132,244.94
January 4, 2014 Ravenna Fur Sale Results: Emily Caretti
Species Total Low High Average (before commission) Average (after commission)
Badger 2 $20.00 $35.00 $27.50 $26.13
Beaver 73 $7.00 $50.00 $25.68 $24.39
Beaver Ca 1 $240.00 $240.00 $240.00 $228.00
Beaver OS 1 $15.00 $15.00 $15.00 $14.25
Coyote 43 $5.00 $51.00 $29.55 $28.07
Deer DHS 96 $3.00 $15.00 $8.88 $8.43
Gray fox 12 $17.50 $40.00 $32.25 $30.64
Red fox 29 $17.00 $70.00 $61.19 $58.13
Gr beaver 5 $7.00 $30.00 $25.00 $23.75
Gr coyote 2 $8.00 $24.00 $16.00 $15.20
Gr otter 1 $95.00 $95.00 $95.00 $90.25
Gr Coon 109 $1.00 $27.00 $12.30 $11.69
F Mink 28 $10.00 $25.00 $18.54 $17.61
M Mink 64 $10.00 $40.00 $25.84 $24.55
Muskrat 2682 $2.00 $16.75 $12.26 $11.65
Opossum 17 $1.00 $4.25 $2.66 $2.53
Otter 2 $90.00 $110.00 $100.00 $95.00
Raccoon 973 $0.50 $34.00 $17.20 $16.34
Skunk 1 $6.00 $6.00 $6.00 $5.70
Squirrel 5 $0.25 $0.25 $0.25 $0.24
Grand totaL4146 Total sales $60,108.50 $57,103.08
Trapper Education Update: John Caretti
Several Trapper Education Classes are were held during the month of December. Some of these were Field Days to support students who completed the book work on-line or through home study. The three field days were held in Troy, Saginaw and Kalamazoo. Thanks to MDNR Law Division Sgt. Tom Wanless for helping pull these together!
“The Making of a Trapper”: Dwayne Etter, Wildlife Research Biologist, MDNR
In 2002, I came to work for the MI DNR as the bear research biologist, and a year later, I was also assigned furbearer research duties. At the time, I wasn’t all that familiar with recreational trapping. As a teenager, I tagged along on my cousin’s trap line while visiting my uncle’s farm in southeast Pennsylvania. My cousin wasn’t much of a trapper but fur prices were high then (late 1970s) and he targeted mostly raccoons and fox. I don’t remember that he ever caught a fox, but as I recall he was really good at catching skunks and opossums! We had some friends that were a little more serious about trapping and they also had a few coon hounds. We’d spend some evenings in their garage while they put up coons and the occasional fox.
Most of my personal trapping experience was from conducting research. In 1991, I moved from southeast Pennsylvania to central Illinois to go to graduate school. I loved to deer hunt and worked on a deer project funded by the IL DNR. There was also a raccoon project being conducted out of the field station I worked at and there were two graduate students assigned to that project. We all helped each other out with trapping and radio-collaring deer and raccoons, but all the coon trapping was with home-made box traps. However, one of the guys on the project (Bob) was a hardcore coon trapper and he’d take off the first week of season to run 100+ traps. It was impressive to see the back of Bob’s pickup full of coons after the first night’s sets. It was even more impressive to watch Bob put up coons! IL DNR was also working on testing the “Egg Trap” as part of BMP testing. I was an observer recording trap testing data on Bob’s trap line for a few weeks, so I got to see how hard he worked at his craft and I was really impressed by that.
In 2006, I was asked by Assistant Chief Reeves if I wanted to attend Trapper College in Indiana. FTA and MTA (at that time- MTPCA now) annually sponsored 1 biologist and 1 conservation officer to attend each year. I thought this was a great chance for me to learn more about recreational trapping as well as pick up some skills that I might put to use for future research trapping. I knew an MSU graduate student and MTA member (Tim) who had attended previously. He said it was a great learning experience, but he recommended bringing ear plugs for nights in the bunk room (and that was a great suggestion!). This class was great, and as soon as I got back to Michigan I told my wife that I wanted to take up recreational trapping. A friend of mine had some old 110s hanging in his barn and the neighbor said I could trap his ponds and on his property along the Looking Glass River. I had Tim show me how to look for rat and mink sign and where to make sets. After some scouting along the Looking Glass, I found a spot where a rock stuck out into the river and a few feet farther was a another rock that mink had been marking on. There was also a tree limb hanging over the water and the gap between the rock and the limb was just the right size to fit a 110. This spot was only a few hundred yards from my house and I checked it each day. Being new at this, I really didn’t expect much but when I approached on the 3rd day I didn’t see my trap. I couldn’t imagine how that trap could have fallen into the river because it was wedged between the rock and the tree limb? When I got to
the rock and looked down, I found out how. There was a small female mink in my trap at the bottom of the river! I called Tim and that evening I was putting up my first mink!
I caught 2 more mink and a few muskrats that fall and used the fur money to purchase some more 110s. I focused on water trapping at first, mostly muskrats and mink. Living near the Grand River, I started trapping on some of the local State Game Areas. I have several beagles that need to stretch their legs regularly and there are some good spots on the Game Areas to find rabbits along the river. So, I started taking my waders and trapping gear along with the dogs and this really worked out well. The dogs would chase rabbits in the brushy cover along river while I made and checked sets. Occasionally, I’d get done early and would return to the truck for my shotgun. Some of the places I made sets had steep banks, so I’d spend a lot of time walking in the river. I really enjoy reading sign and making blind sets for mink, and one day when I was moving along a sand bar I found a track that seemed out of place for this part of Michigan, or at least I thought so at the time. Under the bank next to the sand bar there was also a spot where I could tell a large animal had been sitting. I only had a little experience tagging along with other trappers making sets for beaver but I did have a 220 in my basket. A little farther down the bank was a fallen tree and poking around under it I found what seemed like an entrance to a bank den. Looking up on the bank there was a vent hole and when I looked inside, I could see wood chips. I made a set under the tree with my 220 and two days later I had my first beaver! I invested in some MB-750s and since then I’ve taken several other beavers in castor sets along that stretch of the river.
I’ve also started to learn the intricacies of river trapping for mink and muskrats. The local farm ponds I trap don’t have much feed and with the rivers nearby most rats usually leave before freeze up. However, in recent years there is almost always flowing water in the rivers throughout the season. I’ve taken some rats and mink on bottom edge sets, but there are a lot of roots and rocky places which makes it tough to find a good edge to set against. I started to make sets between the shore and trees that washed parallel to the shore. The current through those areas usually keeps it open during the coldest weather and it’s an easy fit for several sized conibears. However, I wasn’t catching much so just to experiment I started setting on the outside edge of the trees into the main channel. It didn’t take long to start to produce some rats and those river rats all seemed to run XL!
A few years ago one of the biologists in my office (Brent) and I decided that we wanted to trap marten and Brent’s father-in-law has a deer camp in the east end of the UP. The area around camp is excellent marten habitat and the camp members frequently see marten around their deer shacks. In fact, one marten liked visiting the camp woodshed in search of dinner. The woodshed has an entrance from the main cabin and also serves as the refrigerator during deer season. One day, one of the camp members opened the door to retrieve a pan of lasagna for dinner. Too his surprise, out from under the foil covering the lasagna came a marten and it wasn’t too happy that some human was going to take its dinner! This marten was thus named, “Lasagna”.
So, we decided to head to this camp the first week of December and a biologist working in the Marquette office at the time (Terry) offered to come over and show us how to make marten sets. When we arrived at camp there was a fresh coating of snow on the ground and heading into the woodshed was a fresh set of Lasagna tracks. We unloaded our gear and headed down a trail west of camp. About 50 yards down the trail we cut another set of marten tracks and Terry showed us how to make a natural cubby set. I cut another set of tracks about 50 yards farther and with a wooden box I’d built for a 160 I made a leaning pole set. We didn’t have anything the next morning, so we drove about 20 miles northwest to check a set that Terry had made on his way over from Marquette the day before. We walked along a creek for about a quarter mile while Terry described how he knew this was a good place because he caught a marten there several years before. He said there was a saddle that came down from a ridge to the creek and this linked up with another saddle to the ridge on the other side of the creek. He had made leaning pole sets on both sides of the creek. When we got to the first set the trap was sprung and there was a fresh set of tracks, but no marten. We followed the tracks to a log across the creek and Terry said it was headed right for his other trap. When we got across the creek there was a beautiful, big male marten in his trap! After some celebrating we headed back down the creek making a few otter sets on the way. We also stopped at a beaver flooding on the way back to camp and cut a large set of fresh bobcat tracks. We made a few more leaning pole sets in the area and returned to camp.
The next morning we walked down the trail west of camp and there was Lasagna in the leaning pole set I’d made the first day. Over the next few days we cut several more sets of marten, fisher and bobcat tracks and made several more sets, but we didn’t catch anything else on that trip. However, this is now an annual adventure with as many as 4 trappers attending. And Lasagna was mounted by one of my trapping partners and she hangs in Brent’s father-in-laws house to remind him not to venture into the camp woodshed after dark.
A few years ago, I was talking to one of the professors I work with at MSU (Gary) and we got to talking about trapping. He said he used to trap when he was in high school and college in Wisconsin, but he hadn’t trapped for a long time. However, he still had a few crates full of traps in his garage, so we planned to do some muskrat trapping in a marsh at the Rose Lake State Game Area. Rat prices were still low at the time, so we had the whole marsh to ourselves. We did well in the fall and as the marsh froze we started to investigate how to trap
rats under the ice. Terry had given me some pointers about making baited conibear sets and we got on the MTA trappers forum and found out that “some guy” was making tip-ups for under ice rat trapping. We had a great late season catching prime rats under the ice. We took our fur to a March MTPCA sale and found out that rat prices had spiked. As usual, fur money was put back into additional trapping supplies.
With fur prices increasing, the marshes are now full of trappers each fall. So, Gary and I started asking around at local golf courses for permission to trap. Although it’s not as demanding as river or marsh trapping it’s still great to get outdoors on a crisp fall morning and check some sets! Our muskrat trapping also helps out the golf course because of the damage rats do around the ponds. One of my older beagles (Gracy) went blind a few years ago, but she still likes to get outside with me. So, my wife suggested that I take her along when trapping for rats in winter. At first, this didn’t seem like a very good idea. Every time I spudded a hole, she was getting in the way. But pretty soon it dawned on me that she was picking up on what I was doing. She wasn’t particularly interested in every hole that I spudded, but she could pick up the scent of a rat in a trap under several inches of ice; that really amazed me. She started to become infatuated with muskrats and there was no leaving her behind when I went to check traps. I’ve found taking Gracy along on the winter trap line is a great way to keep her active and continue our bond outdoors.
As I write this, I’m dying some #3 coil springs I recently purchased. Gary and I cut several coyote and bobcat tracks on last year’s UP trip and although I watched him make several foothold sets, I didn’t have any large foothold traps to make my own. My next goal is to get into dryland trapping and hopefully catch a bobcat or a coyote this winter. My wife and I sold our home last February and we’re still looking for a new one. One of my new home criteria is, “does it have a barn that I can convert to a fur shed or is there space on the lot to put one”! So, as you can see I’ve contracted the “trapping fever” and the only cure is to set more traps and stretch more fur. I owe a great deal of gratitude to MTPCA and FTA for sponsoring me to Trapper College in 2006, THANKS!
(Editor’s Note: Thanks, Dwayne- for a great article! It’s good to see another key person in the DNR has been bitten by the trapping bug! Good luck and be safe out there!)
A new program called “Defend the Hunt” is asking Michigan trappers and deer hunters to donate furs and hides this year to protect hunting rights. The program, coordinated by Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association, will use the proceeds from the sale of hides and furs at the Association’s Fur Sales to donate to the campaign protecting hunting rights from the anti-hunters trying to repeal Public Act 21 of 2013.
Anti-hunting forces led by HSUS are on the attack in Michigan again with two referendums aimed at stopping the hunting and trapping of the wolf by taking decision making by state wildlife professionals away and leaving it up to the ballot box biology of millions of misinformed urban city dwellers.
The goal of the Defend the Hunt program is to educate the misinformed about sound scientific game management and protect the manners of take like trapping.
How can you help? You can help us to raise money by:
1.Donating deer hides at any of the dozens of drop off locations around Michigan.
2.Donating fur to be auctioned off through the major auction houses, NAFA or FHA, and designating that they go to the Defend the Hunt program through the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association accounts
3.Donating fur at any of the MTPCA’s six state auctions this year.
Anyone wishing to help in this effort can call any of the board officers or Dennis Cronk @ 248-798-1996. We could use your help!
Together, we can defend conservation, defend sound science and defend our trapping tradition all by defending the hunt! Check us out at http://www.defendthehunt.com
Emily’s first catch on her 2013 Trapline.
Warren, MI 48088
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