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Trapping  RSS feed

 
                    
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Beowulf6502-04-2008, 01:09 PM
Just got this from my bro Madicine Wolf as an email about updates on trapping, for those that don't know him Medicine Wolf is an old Army buddy of mine who works for the government as a Ranger up in Montana.

The human activity of animal trapping has two separate but related meanings. Firstly, it describes the hunting of animals to obtain their furs, which are then used for clothes and other articles, or sold / bartered (see fur trade). Secondly, trapping relates to the use of traps to catch animals for a variety of other purposes, most usually for food or pest contol.
Trapping requires more time and energy than most other hunting methods but can be very efficient. For this reason, trapping is safer and less expensive for the hunter, but in modern times it has become controversial for its alleged cruelty.
Trapping is regularly used for pest control most commonly beaver, coyote, raccoon, cougar, bobcat, opossum and fox in order to limit damage to farming, ranching, and property. Federal authorities in the United States use trapping as the primary means to control predators that prey on endangered species such as the San Joaquin kit fox, California least tern (a type of bird) and desert tortoise. It is used to reduce numbers of predators in order to increase the populations of quarry species for hunting. It can also be used to control over-population or control diseases such as rabies, mange, and tularemia. Trapping is also used for research and relocation of wildlife.
Many wildlife biologists support the use of regulated trapping for sustained harvest of some species of furbearers as an effective method of managing or studying furbearers, controlling damage caused by furbearers, and at times reducing the spread of harmful diseases, and for economic benefit, subsistence, and as a legitimate recreational activity. Biologists who study wildlife recognize that regulated trapping is a safe, efficient, and practical means of capturing individual animals without impairing the survival of furbearer populations or damaging the environment. They also support regulatory and educational programs, research to evaluate trap performance and the implementation of improvements in trapping technology in order to improve anmimal welfare.
Snares are anchored cable nooses set to catch wild animals such as foxes, rabbits and coyotes. They are also widely used by subsistence and commercial hunters for bushmeat consumption and trade in African forest regions.
Snares are one of the simplest and are claimed to be one of the most effective traps. Made of galvanized aircraft cable, they are cheap to produce and easy to set in large numbers. A snare traps an animal around the neck or the body and tightens around the animal, restraining it. They are widely criticised by animal welfare groups for their alleged cruelty. UK users of snares accept that over 40% of animals caught in some environments will be non-target animals. While in the USA non-target catches reported by users of snares in Michigan are just over 10%. Some scientists believe that in animals which are trapped, pressure necrosis may have caused hidden injury to the animal, and that trapped animals should be taken to a vet rather than released. However, modifications and regulations now provide working snares that have relaxing locks that do not cinch down, break-away locks that open up after 250 pounds of pressure are exacted (allowing large dogs, calves and deer to remain unharmed), deer stops which prevent the snare from closing down so far as to catch a deer's leg, and live-catch stops that prevent the snare from closing to a point that chokes an animal of a certain size. Powered snares use the option of a spring to deposit the snare on an animal's leg or neck through the triggering of a spring mechanism.
Foothold traps or leghold traps
Probably most commonly associated with trapping, the leghold/foothold trap is made up of two jaws, a spring of some sort, and a trigger in the middle. When the animal steps on the trigger the trap closes around the foot, preventing the animal from escaping. Usually some kind of lure is used to position the animal, or the trap is set on an animal trail. Leghold/Foothold traps set for beaver, mink, river otter, and muskrat are positioned in shallow water along the shores and banks of rivers, lakes and ponds. The trap is attached to a weight sunk in deeper water. The animal, when caught by the foot, tries to escape by diving into deep water and drowns. Traditionally, these traps had tightly closing jaws to make sure the animal stayed in place.
Modern trappers have found that steel traps with thick smooth jaws are as effective and most modern traps have a gap called an "offset jaw" or a padded jaw that reduces the chance of injury to the animal. The belief an animal will chew off their own foot to escape a trap is erroneous. Older traps came in a single size. This large size was designed for the large back feet of beaver. Since manufactured traps were limited, trappers used the same sized trap on raccoon as they would on beaver. These traps would restrict blood flow and numb the caught foot. This was part of the design as it reduced pain. However, on large jawed traps, smaller animals could fit their noses underneath, and while they bite at the trap on their foot, would unknowningly bite their foot as well, resulting in damage. Today's traps are specially designed with different sizes for different animals, preventing this type of damage from taking place. The traps are often criticized for being indiscriminate, and non-target animals are sometimes caught in these traps, occasionally including dogs, cats, and endangered species. These animals are usually able to be released unharmed. Also, research has shown that these traps are not indiscriminate as sizes have become more varied, and sets (how a trap is placed and lured or baited) are regulated, preventing injury or capture to most non-targets. As a result the foothold/leghold trap has been banned in some countries and in eight U.S. states (Washington, California, Massachusetts, Colorado, Arizona, New Jersey, Florida, and Rhode Island). Trappers respond that a trapper knowledgeable about his/her target animal can set them so as to reduce the chances of other animals getting caught. Due to the fact that the foothold/leghold trap is a type of "live catch" trap, often "non target" animals caught, that have not been injured by the trap, can be released. Humane organizations criticize leghold traps for breaking animals' legs and leaving them in pain often for prolonged periods of time, but these traps do not break animals' legs if used properly. It is for this reason it is the preferred trap used for capture and relocation of endangered and threatened species such as Wolf, Otter and Bobcat. In states that have banned the use of the foothold trap, a number of issues have arose. In Massachusetts, the beaver population exploded from 24,000 in 1996 to over 100,000 beaver in 2006. This increase has shown in a recent University of Massachusetts study that 83 percent of beaver are suffering from emaciation, injury or disease. Also, due to the increase in beaver populations, there has been an increase in wetlands. The increase of stagnant water in the warmer gulf-stream climate has given way to a variety of mosquito borne diseases including Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile. Cases of illness and death of humans as a result of this has increased by more than 300% in the past 10 years since the foothold trap was banned (though bear in mind that even with this 300% increase, fewer than 40 cases have been reported among humans in Massachusetts in the last 42 years). In 2006, it was shown that half (50%) of the raccoon population tested positive for rabies, and one in three skunks carried the disease. In 2007, it was estimated that the coyote population in the state exceeded 10,000 animals. Due to the increasing numbers with no ability to effectively control them, diseases like mange, distemper and rabies have spread, and human/animal conflict has increased. Newer footholds on the market are known as dog-proof, and are designed to work only on raccoons. These traps are small, and rely on the raccoon's grasping nature to trigger the trap. They are sold as coon cuffs, bandit busters and egg traps just to name a few.

-archived "foraging,hunting,fishing and trapping" on wilderness-survival.net. Wolf65 continues into various types of traps and details.
 
                    
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Here's a what's necessary to set a modern trapline in Alaska from the Alaska Native Knowledge Network. ANKN

J. Bacon
Operating a Trapline
Subsistence Trapline,
or Subsistence Net

Set a trapline:
enlist the help of a local expert; if no money is available, provide all or part of the catch as payment

either order traps through the mail or borrow them

be sure not to set traps on another person's trapline

keep records of where traps are set and what is caught

have students prepare sets, check traps, and skin the animals.

-curriculum resources for the Alaskan Environment

Set a net:
borrow a net in exchange for a share in the catch

purchase a subsistence permit (it's cheap)

obtain a boat; if the school will provide gas and oil, one of your students will probably be able to provide a boat

consult with elders to find a good location; don't fish at someone else's site; don't block more than one-half a navigable stream

check net twice a week; keep a record of numbers and species caught clean the fish; examine stomach contents; determine what the fish eat eat the fish: distribute among the students; save some for a feast.

 
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