Friday, November 18, 2011

Some days ya just gotta go with the flow

Sometimes the trapline throws ya a curve ball. Well mine came today. Wasn't sure if I should just burn it and bury it, or try to pull it out. Well I didnt have enough matches so I opted for the latter. In the end everything worked out fine with a little brut persuasion.


And then help arrived

video
My partner standing in the hole.
But all's well ends well. Helped out on a cull hunt and got me a nice meat doe for the freezer,so all was not lost.
video
So, that was my day,it was alright though, I was in the outdoors like everyday and wouldn't trade it for the world, I belong out there. All in a days work chasing and killing coyotes.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

GRIM HUMOR

GRIM HUMOR


The headline in this morning’s Saint Paul paper reads, “80,000 ACRES AND GROWING – Smoke reaches Chicago as BWCA fire forces families from homes”.  For the non-canoeing public, BWCA stands for the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness that is protected from forest management; wildlife management; natural resource management and use; access roads (that would double as fire breaks and firefighting enablers); and other such human benefits such as downed timber (fire fuel) removal and use after storms by that federal ostrich behemoth the National Park Service.

The past two weeks I have read several reports about how the Bob Marshall Wilderness (that was, until recently, a very popular hunting destination for elk, deer, and moose) is now literally devoid of elk, deer, and moose as a result of federal introduction, protection, and spread of wolves and grizzly bears that have decimated the calves, fawns, and reproductive females of the elk, deer, and moose.  Thousands of these desirable and useful animals have been replaced by hundreds of deadly, dangerous, and destructive animals.  Also lost were 200-plus years of state and local Constitutional authority over what and how many wild animals would exist within each state and be allowed to coexist with local communities.  The Bob Marshall Wilderness (named after a “founder” of The Wilderness Society) encompasses over a Million Acres south of Glacier National Park in Montana and like the BWCA is “protected” from all manner of human prosperity by the National Forest Service that was originally staffed with foresters (i.e. “one who practices or is versed in forestry”) and today is simply a hodgepodge of hacks, diversity (sex and race NOT “bio”) programs, and environmental zealots.

So, what’s so funny about a popular canoeing destination going up in flames and a big-game hunting area’s big-game decimated of all the big game?  Good question.

Next summer Minnesota canoeists will “ooh” and “ahhh” as they pass by ashen campsites and barren hillsides.  Scout leaders will tell their paddling munchkins about the “natural processes” resulting from Mother Nature’s fire.  Visitor Centers will explain how the ashen runoff and formerly shaded shorelines will enjoy all manner of benefit from the fire.  There will be displays about how in 200 years it will once again be the pristine “native ecosystem” they saw only last year.  Asthmatic Milwaukeeans and Chicagoans that are coughing today will take their kids to the Park Service films in the Visitor Centers to let the Park Service propaganda about good old Mother Nature wash over the kids like Aryan claptrap drenching German kids in the 1930’s.

This fall local big-game outfitters will find few hunters willing to pay for being “guided” through the biological vacuum that is the Bob Marshall Wilderness today.  Despite the Forest Service website touting “The Bob” as “Home to lynx, grizzly bears, and bull trout”: who pays to find lynx?  Who pays to engage grizzly bears in remote areas where death and injury are the only real results?  Who pays to see a bull trout that was purposely replaced by other more abundant and appreciated trout?

Environmentalists and government bureaucrats are wont to tout wolves as killing coyotes that in  turn encourages “more” lynx.  Aside from that being a lie (resulting in “more” lynx since the northern 48 states have always been the southern fringe of lynx habitat where historically scattered and variable lynx populations are entirely dependent on cyclic rabbit/hare populations); these same zealots work to ban trapping, throw paint on fur coats, and demean trappers as perverts abused in their own childhoods.  “More lynx”?  For what??  But that’s not the joke.

These former wolf-loving advocates (i.e. the “usual suspects”) are no longer touting the wolves they love so much.  Despite “The Bob” being as infested with wolves as a Minnesota wolf is infested with disease-carrying fleas and ticks in summer, the website oddly doesn’t mention them as a destination highlight.  Could this be because they don’t want any member of the “general public” to associate “no elk, deer, or moose” with lots of wolves?  But that’s not the joke.

Here’s the joke.  If Weyerhaeuser (or any other “fat-cat”, corporate, “land-raping” land owner) had let hundreds of thousands of woodland acres in Northern Minnesota burn down and spread “aerial pollutants” from Duluth to Chicago and beyond… all “H@#*” would have broken loose.  The EPA would be flooding the Upper Midwest with Regulation Writers, Special Agents, US Attorneys, and a train of Camp-Followers made up of private lawyers from the environmental alphabet soup such as NRDC, CBD, WS, etc.  The papers would be interviewing children hacking outside their school in Michigan.  State and federal lawyers would join the enviro-lawyers to sue for all the lost wildlife and environmental harms verified by University eco-zealots from San Diego to Orono, Maine.  There would be pictures of logging slash (called “downed timber” on public lands) that was the “fuel” for the “conflagration”.  Canoe outfitters and fishing organizations (strangely silent today) would be warbling on Radio and TV about the need for federal intervention to save the land from these “robber barons”.  Universities would admit with their heads down that hunting and fishing will probably never recover to previous levels.  Politicians would appear in groups of thirty or more in one Washington corridor picture looking grim as they assure us that they will “do something”.

What if the Bob Marshall “elk, deer, and moose” had been decimated by hunters, poachers, and local “rednecks”?  Imagine.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service would assist (like we “assisted” Iraq) state fish and wildlife agencies to “crack-down” on interstate commerce in animals.  Phone taps and “No-Knock” search warrants would be ubiquitous along with undercover operations, draconian prison sentences and fines for hapless local residents.  Local residents that fit the media image of “poachers” will find themselves targets of both law enforcement and media reporters.  Road blocks and a need for cameras and satellite photography would begin as soon as new federal funding (from that corridor-full of Washington pols noted above) was forthcoming.  This federal/state Anschluss would also discourage any hunting or trapping while spreading more wolves and grizzlies (but not lynx) over more and more area which in turn depopulates rural environs, drives down rural land values, AND makes more rural land available to federal agencies (i.e. a “win-win” all around, except for a “few” folks that didn’t belong there anyway).

The joke?
If federal agencies burn and waste millions of acres of woodlands while polluting the air for millions of people it is “natural”.  Such bureaucrats are rewarded and government gives millions to Universities and other propagandists to explain the benefits of unplanned fires.
If private businesses or other private property owners burned and wasted millions of acres while polluting the air for millions of people it is a catastrophe.  Owners and others responsible are imprisoned, fined, ruined, and vilified.  Lawsuits, government seizures, and Grand Juries would extend far into the future while creating hundreds of newly-rich “John Edwards’s” as campaigning lawyers championing all the “little guys” irreparably harmed by the thoughtless and cruel capitalist land owners.

If federal agencies introduce, spread, and protect wolves and grizzly bears that decimate elk, deer, and moose it is “natural”.  Such bureaucrats are rewarded and government gives millions to Universities and other propagandists to explain the benefits of “native species”.
If hunters, poachers, and local “rednecks” decimate elk, deer, and moose it is Armageddon.  Public outcry for harsher penalties and no mercy for suspects would abound.  Hapless hunters would be apprehended and incarcerated for everything from lead bullets in their pocket to failure to unload their gun before entering the road ditch before crossing the road.  Mothers and children in wolf and grizzly country left abandoned by jailed husbands would be considered as getting their just deserts by smarmy big-city environmentalist newspaper articles.

If that isn’t “Grim Humor” I don’t know what is.  It is the darkest of dark humor.  It is the despairing humor common to Russia under Stalin.  It is the stark result of governmental abuse before which the individual is helpless.  It is one more clue that it is not only our national economy that is in decline.

To quote a somewhat famous Russian-American comedian, “Is this a great country, or what?”  It is sad to say, the answer today is “what”.

Jim Beers
14 Se. 2011           ........................If you like, Share it...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Late Summer Wolf River Smallies



By Duane Fronek

I’ve been fishing the Wolf River the last couple weeks. And the Smallmouth Bass action has been hot. The Wolf is historically known as trout water, the upper part at least north of the Menominee Reservation. Brown trout is the main target. But for me I’ve switched gears and got into hunting down big smallmouth bass on the Wolf. By big I mean 16-18 inches maybe 20”, they’re in there because I’ve caught them up to 18”, not overly that big compared to other areas of the state or even compared to the Largemouth. But these smallies or Bronzebacks as some call them put up one heck of a fight in the strong current of the Wolf, they make big Largemouth look like powder puffs when it comes to the battle. The smallmouth could probably whip their weight in wildcats, seriously they are a fighter but majorly overlooked on the Wolf.
video
A good example of a deep eddy around a boulder
video
My partner Volker landing a nice 16 incher

  I’ve been fishing the Wolf since the late 80’s mostly for Brown trout. But after hooking into a few big smallies they slowly got my attention. I know the Wolf pretty well from all the years of fishing it. And found the big smallies hang in the deeper eddys and holes. Fishing these spots you need to take caution on the Wolf. The current is strong and the deeper you wade the more chance of getting dumped and going for a swim.
video



  So what gear do you need for this type of fishing? Well first off, you can don chest waders and I do at times. But for me I throw on a pair of shorts and rubber boots. You’re gonna get wet fishing these guys so I look at it like go comfortably, chest waders are hot and when you fill them, it’s a pain. So I go light. I strap on a back pack for my tackle which is minimal, a bottle of mountain dew or 2, my camera, and my surgical looking forceps for removing hooks. My camera is in a Ziploc bag as well as my cell phone, never know when you may need to call for help.

  For a rod, use what you want in the med. to ultra light using atleast 6#-8# test line. My buddy is using that red Cajun line in #4 test and hasn’t broke off yet, tough stuff. My favorite line is Royal Bonyl but it’s not made anymore, at least I can’t find it. So I use Trilene Max, and it has been performing fine, I was using Berkley Iron Silk, but can’t seem to find that either anymore, at least it’s not carried around here anyway.

  For lures I’ve been using spinners in the size 2 range or topwaters in the 1/8 oz range. The Rapala Skitter pop is doing a dandy job smacking the bass as is a shallow running rapala. The spinners were doing fine early on but the topwater lures have been explosive, getting hits that send your lure 2 feet or so, or the explosive smash of a big smallie or sometimes the subtle suck it under. Either way it’s been fun. Fishing deep rapids with large eddy’s or stretches of deep water with weed growth along the edges seems to be the ticket, these spots provide a good food source with crayfish thick and abundant in the slow weedy stretches and in the eddy’s they prey on other fish like chubs or even trout. I caught a 17” that had a small brown trout in its belly. I usually catch and release but will keep a few for the frying pan, they are good to eat with a tighter grain meat than the largemouth, and ones feeding heavy on crayfish have a taste of crab which I like. A local lake I fish the smallmouth taste like snow crab to me, their also bigger in that lake, but the action and fight on the river is more exciting and challenging, fighting around logs rocks is tough on your line and you just never know when you’ll here that dreadful snap of your line being shredded in an instant.
 A nice stringer full
 Deeper slow water
20" from an area lake
video
 Sometimes the action is so fierce you get 2 on one lure,lol.

 You need to take caution wading in the Wolf, the rocks, boulders, trees submerged under the surface are a challenging but treacherous obstacles to be aware of. Many times I’ve taken a header into the strong current of the Wolf, and she is not forgiving. When this happens always get yourself positioned facing and your head upstream while trying to get up it’ll protect your head from smashing a rock and you can actually swim it out if you face upstream. I’ve recently twice now this past week took swims, once losing my small tackle box and once yesterday smashing my knee into a boulder. So pay extra attention to where you’re walking, and if you’re going to fish till dark carry a waterproof flashlight to shine the bottom as you walk, walking blind in the river is dangerous stuff.
Some areas along the Wolf are walkable from shore where you can take your son or daughter. As you can see in the background how rough the Wolf can be.

  A bonus to fishing towards evening is the chance at catching a nice snapping turtle, their good to eat and not hard to catch. When you see one swimming, just grab it by the tail and hoist it up, but keep it at arm’s length to keep from getting bit. I’ve caught 3 so far with shells measuring at 15”, that’s a good size turtle. I usually carry a plastic burlap bag in my backpack for these guys. Just put them in the sack and tie it shut with a piece of rope and drag it along on my way back to my truck, then kill it at home, then clean it. I guess I’ll have to write up on how to kill and clean a turtle. Their excellent table fare.



  Well any way I hope you enjoyed the pics and vids, and give the Smallmouth a shot if your ever on the Wolf you won’t be disappointed.     

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hot Summer Coyote Control



By Duane Fronek
Hot summer days don’t really bring visions of coyote hunting but more of fishing, swimming or just trying to stay cool. A friend of mine, Volker, had the permission and the go ahead to kill coyotes coming in to their dairy herd barns and calf pens. I had the privilege to go along and do some coyote hunting. The coyotes were coming in to feed on the occasional dead calves or cows that were put in an area to be picked up by a carcass disposal truck. Before the truck picked up the carcasses coyotes would come in to feed. If there were no carcasses that the coyotes were accustom to they would come in closer to the calf pens and open stall barns looking for a meal.
  The coyotes had become dependent on the free meal. So Volker and I would go to the farm around dark thirty or so and set up the ambush. And some nights the times would vary when we went, depending on the weather. One particular night was a thunderstorm ,so we decided to go out and setup behind the front. With the lightening still chaining across the sky we set up, the rain had stopped and the temp dropped quite a bit.Volker was setup with his Rem. 700 thumbhole .223 zeroed in to dilate the pupils on a coyote at any range. I was set up with my old faithful 700 Rem in .243 shooting a new load of an 85 gr. Speer soft point that Volker loaded up for me. Groups of .750 was the norm and plenty tight to kill a coyote in the dark.
  We set up in the tall weeds that ran along the lane along the barn. The lights from the barnyard lights illuminated the field the coyotes would come across to check the carcass dump. The light was enough that  we used binoculars to spot incoming coyotes. With the fur thin on the coyotes they would tend to glow in the light of the barnyard lights which made them easy to see.I’d like to make note that the fur was not prime for the taking, we were basically in there to kill nuisance coyotes, not to take fur. Sometimes whether we like it or not animals need to be taken out when causing problems regardless. I’d much rather take them prime, but that was not an option here.

  The first night out it was like a coyote hunters dream, coyotes coming in without so much as a care, no predator call was needed and wind didn’t matter, they were accustom to the sound and smell of people, trucks and noises
 The first coyotes came in maybe 10 min. after we setup The deuce pair came in from the west through a potato field The lead dog was 75 yds away with the trailer about 50yds behind her. I took her out with a neck shot that dropped her like a sack of rocks. Her accomplice trotted off maybe a 100 yds and stopped. I put the .243 to work on him putting him down, but he got up and ran into the poytato field and went down again and stayed there We couldn’t find him that night but the eagles and crows found him for us the next day.

Volker and I with a nights worth

After retrieving our first dog of the night, we settled back in our positions and not another 10 min. another deuce shows up. Volker lines up on the lead dog and I line up on the trailer, the bark of the .243 and .223 simultaneously complimented each other putting the 2 dogs down. We recovered mine at about 252 yds according to the range finder, and Volkers was about the 100yd mark, though we didn’t recover her either till a few days later because the hay field was about a foot or so high and a dead coyote is tough to find lying on the ground in thick alfalfa and clover. We set back in to our positions once again to see what the coyote world would bring us next, and sure enough in comes another which died of a fatal 85 gr Speer from the .243. The rest of the night was quiet after that.

  A week later we went out again , this time it was about midnight when we set up. A pair of coyotes came in from the north. But when I got the shot off I missed, yep, I do miss once in a while. But this pair wasn’t off the hook yet. After the shot instead of running off they just walked away like nothing happened. They were out there maybe 300 yds or so. Volker had a hard time picking them up in the scope, and I held off shooting again, because they acted like they may come back. I said to Volker that they’ll probably come back in but from a different angle to catch the wind better. Sure enough they came back in about 20 min. later from the east trying to pick up the southwest breeze. But they didn’t catch it soon enough, the .243 found it’s mark on the lead dog convincing the trailer to high tail it out of there. The rest of the night was dead. Volker and I would setup about once a week to let things cool off and to give time for other coyotes that were coming in to fill the void. As of right now it’s been pretty quiet there and looks like the problem is taken care of for now. But like a vaccum the the void will suck in more coyotes that will need to be dealt with.



  Night hunting requires a couple things, a good quality scope that gathers as much light as possible, a knowledge of what lays beyond in the darkness of your bullets path in case of a miss. A good battery operated spot light for those long shots if legal. Here in WI we can use a hand held light at the point of kill, but cannot shine looking for eyes, that’s where a good set of binocs comes in handy to spot coyotes coming in. We we’re using a Nikon, and an old pair of 10x50 sears that must have good glass because I could see just fine with them and there almost as old as me. My dad used them while working as a game warden back in the early 70’s I believe. But the most important thing is gun safety at night, be extra careful. And shooting at night and consistently hitting your mark takes practice at night. Having a good accurate rifle and optics is vital to make clean kills.


Tired eyes are common in night hunting especially at 2am

  Even the dog days of summer coyotes are like us, lay around trying to stay cool, but at night when the sun is down and temps are down, their on the prowl to fill their belly. Thanks for  reading and good luck on all your hunting activities.   

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Making a trappers dirthole punch

Been busy with alot of things lately and my latest project is making 30 dirthole punches for a Youth Trappers Camp here in WI. It teaches trapping and each kid gets his own equipment to get started, from lures to traps. My job the last 2 years is donating my time making a dirthole punch and trap stakes. So I decided to do a little video on how to make one. To use one you just pound it in the ground, twist and pull out and you have a hole to put bait or lure down for your intended target animal.Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Foremost Coyote Hunting: Basic Coyote Trapping Equipment

Foremost Coyote Hunting: Basic Coyote Trapping Equipment: "(getting started) By Duane Fronek Well to get started trapping coyotes I guess is to know what equipment to use and how to use them. Con..."

Foremost Coyote Hunting: So, you want to trap coyotes?

Foremost Coyote Hunting: So, you want to trap coyotes?: "With the ever growing coyote population, predator calling has become a popular sport and useful tool in coyote control in some areas. But is..."

Monday, May 16, 2011

“Trap Modification from the bottom up”

                             



By Duane Fronek

Trap modifications have been around for some time. But they have gained  trapper awareness or acceptance in the last decade or so. With change comes questions. Some frequently asked are “What do they really do? Or  “how do you do modify this or that?” And probably the most common, “are they worth it and will this work?”.

 Well, I'm here to tell you they do work and are worth it, they help prolong your trap’s life just by the fact your basically reinforcing it's components, base plates keep trap bases from bowing from hard fight animals or just plain use over time or even utilizing four-coiling systems. Laminating the trap jaws strengthens them and helps keeping hard fighting critters like coyotes from popping the jaws out, they also provide a wider jaw surface or face which prevents paw damage. They’re easier on the animals that are trapped and can withstand the extreme abuse the animals can dish out; and stubborn trappers for that matter. This article is going to address the basics of modifying your traps from the bottom up to better understand the basic techniques to properly modify traps..

  First, it’s critical to start with a clean trap. New traps don’t need much cleaning just basically a good washing with a power washer at a local carwash. Used traps on the other hand, are a different story. Steels enemy…rust can be removed easily by soaking in vinegar a couple days then hosed off with a garden hose. Traps with wax or speed dips need to be cleaned up as well. Wax can be taken off by boiling in Sani-flush or Dawn dish soap then hosed down. The speed dipped ones can be done according to the manufacturers suggestions. Usually, an over night soak in a bucket of lantern fuel sometimes called “white gas” does the trick. A wire brush might be needed to further clean off the dip. Then hose down.

  After your traps are cleaned up you need to break the trap down by removing chain and the springs. To remove the factory chain you can either open up the j- hook with a screw driver or just cut it off with a bolt cutter; I prefer the bolt cutter. I won‘t be re-using the j- hook anyway I feel it just weakens them. Removing the springs helps you work on the trap easily and prevents you from accidentally striking an arc on the springs while welding. This can weaken or completely ruin your springs. It also helps for when welding close to the D-ring because the bottom of the lever ear won’t be in the way.

  To remove the springs, I just take a screw driver and get behind spring arm that sits behind the lever and pry it out by sliding your screw driver behind the spring arm. Next, by prying away from the lever the arm will be released. Keep your fingers out of the inside of the jaws when doing this or you’ll get smacked by the spring when it snaps out of the lever.




With this done it should look like this. Now you can easily pull the spring pin out. To keep things organized, I’ll put the spring pins and springs into separate containers like coffee cans. Spring pins go into one, the left springs into another and the right springs into yet another. This helps keep things organized and aids in putting your trap back together when your finished. At this point, you can also remove the pan if you wish especially if you chose to beef the pan up as well. Keep the bolts and pans in there own containers as well for reasons already mentioned.

  Now that you have the trap broken down, your ready to start modifying. For welding, I use a 110v wire feed welder with gas, you can use flux core but it spatters a bit more but does the job none the less just not as pretty. First, we’ll start with the base plate and D- ring. You can get baseplates from most any reputable trap supply like J.C. Conners or Minnesota Trapline products. Or you can make your own but that’s a whole different subject.  Base plates come with their own D- ring some may have a ring already attached to the baseplate, It all depends on what you would prefer.

  Now that you have your base plates, take your trap and secure it in a vise upside down. I usually clamp onto the frame end or jaw post. I position it so the jaw post is clamped in the middle of the vise and the rest of the frame rests on the jaws of the vise. Before I add the baseplate on some traps like Northwoods or Bridgers I’ll grind off the rivets that stick out on the bottom of the base at the cross frame. Completing this process helps prevent the D-ring from binding once the base plate is welded on giving it more clearance to move like it should. Once the trap is clamped securely to the vise it’s time to reinforce the cross frame. Make sure you ground your welder to the vise somewhere, you can even ground right on the trap but clamping it to the vise saves time.  Once your grounded you can weld a bead where the cross frame meets, weld a bead along both sides. At this time, you can run a bead of weld along the pan post. This helps secure it from abuse and possibly loosening down the road. Note this in the picture below..






Now you’re ready for the base plate. With your D- ring slipped over the base plate, lay the base plate on the base of the trap. Make sure it’s square along the sides, this is important because if it sits over the side one way or another you won’t be able to get your levers back on. The ends should be square with end of the trap as well. Once the base plate is in position you need to clamp it to keep it in place while welding. For this I recommend using two sets of small vise grips. Clamp just a little more than an inch from each end of the trap base. Each vise grip is clamped on opposite sides of each other to keep the base plate flat. Clamping along the same side raises the base plate slightly on the other side and often leaves a gap between the trap’s base and base plate. It should look similar to the picture below.




Once your base plate is secure you can run a weld bead along the ends of the base plate and base. Next, put a good spot weld on both sides of the hump in the base plate where the D- ring is located. You’ll have four spot welds here. So right now you have basically modified the bottom of the trap. After letting the trap cool for awhile you can proceed to modify the jaws. One word about cooling the trap after welding, just leave it cool at room temperature. Never dip the hot trap into water after welding; this will crystallize the weld and it will usually break.

   Now let’s bring our attention to the trap jaws. Lamination strips for most brands of traps and sizes can be  purchased through trap suppliers that were already mentioned or you can make your  own. Again that‘s another subject. You can use flat bar stock, #9 wire or 3/16” or ¼” cold roll rod. I prefer the cold roll rod it’s just my personal preference but the method to add them to your trap jaws is basically the same.

   Once the lamination strips have been obtained it’s time to get started. First clamp the trap in the vise by the base of the trap. Once the trap is secure, you can proceed to set up the jaws for welding. You’ll need a flat piece of steel or sheet metal to clamp between the jaws, I usually use a 1/8” piece of flat bar stock for square jawed traps and a ¼” piece if they are offset. For round jaws I use a piece of sheet metal or if their offset a piece of flat stock either 1/8” or ¼” in the offset. The thing with the round jaws is you need a piece between the jaws that’s just thick enough to keep them separated if the piece is too thick the top of the jaws wont be flush against the flat steel between the jaws and not allowing you to get the lamination strips even along the jaws. Now with the piece of steel between the jaws, I clamp everything together by using  needle nose vise grips around the jaws. These are positioned just off center, being off center will allow room for welding at the center of the lamination strip. Also when your jaws are clamped like described it will hold your jaws up.  Once this is accomplished it’s time to secure your lamination strips. Lay a lamination strip on top of the jaw and tight up against the flat piece of steel between the jaws. Now taking a small vise grip, clamp one end of the strip to the jaw. Be sure to keep the vice grip about an inch from the end of the strip to allow for welding. Now proceed and clamp the opposite end the same way. It’s very important to clamp this way instead of just using one vise grip in the middle somewhere because the heat from welding will make the lamination strip move causing you not to have your lamination strip flush with the jaw face. Now that you have your strip clamped securely your ready to weld. What I do is just hit a spot weld on each end to secure the strip even more. Then weld a bead on each end of the strip utilizing a ¼” bead to ½” bead is recommended.  Once the ends are welded, run a weld at the center about an inch long. Now after that’s done your ready to go to the other side and repeat the process. This illustration shows how it’s set up for the jaw laminations as described.  The springs were left on just for a demonstration..








Also at this time if you want to inside laminate your trap jaws as well, leave the flat bar stock clamped between the jaws and remove the trap from the vise. Then, flip the trap over and clamp the trap in the vise by the flat bar stock. Now clamp your lamination strips on the inside of the jaw as you did to the outside laminations. Be sure to keep them tight and flush up against the flat stock. Then weld as you did the outside laminations.





After you’re done with all your modifications go over your trap with a file or wire wheel. Smooth any rough edges that might have occurred while welding. Pieces of wire sticking out from welds are common..

Now it’s time to reassemble the trap. Put the springs and pin back in there places making sure your spring pin is through the trap levers as well. To get the spring arms back into the slotted groove behind the levers take something like a piece of bent over brake line or a 3/16” or ¼” socket driver that looks like a screw driver. Now slide it over the spring arm and while holding the levers up with one hand pull the spring arm back. Use your other hand to get it behind the lever and slip the brake line or driver off and your spring arm will snap in. This picture illustrates how to do it.




After installing the springs you can replace your pan and do your pan adjustments. Add your swivels and chain to the D- ring, dye and wax and you’re ready to go. You’ll have a trap that looks similar to these depending on what type of trap you modify.








You’ll have a trap that will last you probably a lifetime and will take any abuse a critter can dish out. Also it will treat your catch gently by decreasing    paw damage even on incidental catches. In this day and age improving the equipment we use is a responsibility we as trappers need to take on  not just for treating our catch humanely, but to also show we as trappers are a viable and efficient wildlife management tool. But also show we are not some caveman using medieval equipment that maim like the Anti’s would like the public to believe.

  This is how a modified trap treats the animal.


No chewing feet here. Just like a pair of hand-cuffs.

I hope this article answers questions to modifying your own traps. Good luck trapping.







Monday, April 25, 2011

Busy Spring so far

Spring is finally here, I think. Been cold, snowy, rainy. But it hasn't slowed the predators down. Still working on a coyote job where a family of coyotes setup camp in the middle of a game farm waiting for the annual fawn crop to drop. Unfortunately, they won't be there for the special occasion, for they had reservations made for them by yours truly and now are chasin' deer and bunnies in the great beyond. Still have the steel set for any intruders that may find there way there being that there is a vacancy open now. Young males tend to travel now seeking a suitable home that will tide them over till they find a mate of their own.

  It's been interesting, I managed to catch a red fox twice in one week. First time he got caught by a front foot, the second time a week later he submitted a back foot to the set. Both times he was released unharmed. If I keep catching him I might just have to name him. I like red fox, well I like most animals, but the red fox is cool. These days their numbers are low around me. I use to trap a lot of them up until 1996 when mange ran through the fox population here. They never recovered their numbers as the coyotes moved in and took over. Now when I catch a red fox I usually turn him loose in hopes that maybe they'll come back like they once were.Skinning a red fox is a lot easier than a coyote any day.

  Doing this kind of control work takes some skill and woods savvy.During fur trapping your basically taking the cream off the top and it really isn't that hard. But when you target 1 animal or a certain few, you need to read sign, and be able to detect even the subtle stuff. Sometimes these critters will quit using woods roads altogether where finding tracks is the easiest. You may walk deer trails looking for scat or tracks on top of deer tracks or a small mud spot. Ttrapping techniques are a little different, relying on more territorial lures or just plain coyote pee as compared to food type lures and baits. Coyotes are very defensive of their territory during this time of year, intruders are quickly persuaded to leave. The area they will usually defend is usually only 2-3 square miles. So trapping these problem critters requires getting in close to the denning site or at least inside their territorial boundary this time of year. Trapping techniques are subtle, usually a trap buried in front of a clump of grass and a shot of urine as if another came through marking territory. Sets like these tend to end the resident coyotes killing days. As with this couple, they were a veteran pair, being chased by a few trappers the past few years, but to no avail. So they were educated to the trapping world and highly pressured. When I came in, I set heavy but stayed away from the traditional stuff and went subtle and simple, no big flashy dirt hole sets which do attract coyotes, but these two seen it all. So I'd find where they were traveling and plant a trap just off to the side of tracks they left behind and give a shot of pee or just a small drop of gland lure from that of mink. Ole wiley comes trottin down the trail, he see's nothing out of the ordinary, then all of a sudden a faint whiff of a mink hits nose, he stops and immediately his nose is honing in on the smell with his feet in toe, and as he turns on the trail to get a better whiff of this new odor, his next foot fall lands on the pan of the trap and he's bagged, his mate fell for the same trick, but her nose picked up the scent of another coyote that left his calling card along the trail. Their nanny a 1 year old pup from last year fell for the same trick momma did on the same day. A pair of adult coyotes usually will have a female pup from the previous year hang around to help with puppy care duties.

  Now that the trio were taken out, the challenge remains to keep another pair from setting up camp. So far it's been quiet, with just a red fox who was a slow learner and a bobcat that was released unharmed.

  Tonight I get another call from a beef farmer with calves dropping right now and coyotes are starting to come in like flies. So will be checking that one out tomorrow. Seems to be a little bit of a surge in coyote numbers around here. The year before distemper or parvo had gone through here and killed most of the pups and the trapping season was slow with mostly older coyotes caught. But their making up for it. Most of the young of the year this past fall consisted of mostly females, if these females that made it through the season get bred, we could see another surge and fear we'll see mange to follow. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Got some beaver work coming up as well. So thought I'd get a blog in before I get busy with that the next few days as well.
 The Alpha female
 The helper female
 The red fox who still runs free
 The Alpha male
 A Kodak moment with my little friend
 She cheered up once I let her go.
A vulture that seems to be following me around for some reason.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fair Chase



By Duane Fronek
I see this little phrase come up from time to time. What I’m about to write might infuriate some and please others and leave others thinking about  where they stand on this little phrase. My thoughts on the phrase  “Fair Chase” in a nutshell is basically, has got to be the most dangerous word to outdoor men and women and our pursuits in the wild when it comes to hunting, trapping and fishing. The phrase in my opinion is probably the most responsible for hunting, trapping and fishing rights lost over the years, pitting one outdoorsmen and women against another. Simply put fair chase is basically not just a phrase but an attitude and a tool to justify ones way of doing things, while sacrificing those of another. We see it all the time when issues come up such as the use of cross bows, high fence, hunting with hounds, trapping and the list goes on. The animal rights groups love that little phrase, because they have it figured out, and know those two words are their meal ticket for pushing their agenda. Their agenda, banning all forms of hunting, trapping and fishing, period.

  I’ve heard it said many times before, don’t know who the originator of it is but it goes something like this; “in order for a hunt to be fair chase, we would have to hunt with what we came into this world with, naked and our two bare hands.”  And that would be true in my opinion. Animals survive with what they were born with, necessary to survive. Man on the other hand were born with a thinking brain, to solve problems to give us an edge. When it comes to hunting, we surely can’t run as fast as most animals, so man thought of ways to do the running for him, spears, bows, traps, guns etc.  If we were to take a step back in time with our modern hunting equipment, we most likely would be worshipped on what we had to make our hunting more successful, that edge so to speak. Man has always used his most important weapon, his brain, when it comes to hunting, trapping and fishing. Because that’s our biggest weapon in order to survive and to equal out our physical short comings to the game we pursue.

  I’ve heard so many arguments over the years on what was fair chase, things like running coons, cats or coyotes with hounds not being fair chase, or baiting is not a fair chase practice or high fence hunting isn’t real hunting, or trapping isn’t fair chase because the animal doesn’t have a running chance. To all that I say hogwash.  Hunting with dogs is more than just turning dogs loose, there’s training, breeding and basically one’s way of life or way of doing things, they have a passion for it and they’ve figured a way to use man’s best friend to aid him in hunting, using the dogs as a tool. Baiting is just another form of hunting, no different in my opinion than placing out doe in heat or sitting on a corn field, your using the animals needs and instincts against them in order to gain an edge, same as just sitting on a ridge where you can see several yards and perched on the ridge with your trusty 300 mag. To reach out and touch one. It wouldn’t make much sense to sit there with a pistol or slug gun, no, we utilize the tools we have, to give us that edge. Now a deer walks up to within 40yds and you have the 300 mag in your lap are you gonna pass up the deer because he’s not 300 yds out, I don’t think so. Same with high fence, some say it’s not sporting or fair chase. Well think about this, a lot of high fence are 100’s and  even 1000’s of acres, where the deer roam where ever they will in basically in the same settings as their wild counter parts, just better taken care of. there are quite a few hunters out there that don’t have the luxury of time on their side to enjoy the outdoors the way a lot of us do, their business men and women with busy schedules or locked in a city with no land they know of to hunt on or the time, but yet have a love and a passion to hunt just like the rest of us. I’ve heard it said trapping doesn’t give the animals a sporting chance, well most of that comes from those never doing it, just like I suspect with the other claims of why this or that isn’t fair chase. Trapping involves knowing your target well, well enough to put his foot on a pan or trigger no bigger than  say 3”x 3” in order to get caught, you need to know their habits, what makes them tick just like pursuing any other thing like hunting or fishing.

  So why condemn something or tactic another uses? Could be a number of reasons , jealousy, greed, or just plain stubbornness because that’s not how I do it. And each time we attack another’s legal way of doing things, we in essence are driving a nail in our own coffin for future use by the anti’s. Take for example your on the front lines in a war, and all the tall guys are getting killed. Everyone gets together and says, lets not use tall guys in this fight, it’ll eliminate anyone getting killed. So they do and go back into battle and now the medium height guys are getting waxed. So they have another meeting and decide, ok lets just use short guys, to prevent any further damage and fatalities. Now the enemy has the advantage of less troops in the  ranks and basically over runs the troops and wins the battle. And in essence that’s what we are doing to ourselves when we start acting under the guise of fair chase. We essentially are sacrificing another’s way of doing things in order to preserve our own, but in reality we are destroying ourselves and our numbers in the ranks that allows us to be over run by the opposition..

  We may not agree on everyone else’s way of hunting or pursuits, but know this, everyone of us that hunts, traps or fishes has a love and passion for what they do, just as much as the next guy or gal, even if his/her way is different than ours.. Ben Franklin once said; “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”  No truer words have been spoken when this country first began, and feel those words hold true for the outdoorsmen/women of today.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Modern Day Trapper



By Duane Fronek

  I hear it often, “people still trap?”. Believe it or not trapping is still alive and well since it’s beginning in this country. When most people hear the word trapper or trapping, they envision a leather and fur clad mountain man clutching a .54 cal Hawkin rifle, with traps slung over his shoulder with a mule or horse in tow. Boy, how I wish it was at times. But times change as the season’s and the years and decades roll along like a river carving it’s way through history. Unlike the river where it’s course has pretty much stayed the same, trapping has changed considerably, but yet the spirit in which it’s pursued still lives on in the trapper.

  There’s also other visions that come to peoples minds as well, animals chewing their feet to get free and animals maimed by traps. Most of what was and is out there today is from the animal rights campaigns back in the 70’s and it’s still spread today, the images are used over and over , the same pictures. Most of which were acquired by staging such photos or by getting pics from a non educated trapper back then, but most were staged by the AR groups, maybe stealing traps and setting them to catch and photograph something of what they desired. They spread a lot of untruths about trapping and use the shock and awe type angle to make believers out of non trappers and even other hunting groups that trapping is inhumane and causes needless suffering.

  Aside from the lies these AR groups spread, its what they don’t want you to know about trapping that is a threat to their cause and credibility. They try to mis-lead the uninformed and if they ever accomplish their goal of outlawing trapping, hunters will be next on the chopping block and in full assault mode, probably the dog hunters first, the hound guys then bird hunters, they are already going after dog breeders, then the bow hunters because of the crude weapons and the list goes on, They have a systematic plan to do away with all blood sports and anything to do with them. So what don’t these AR groups like the HSUS or PETA want you to know and  not telling you about trapping?

  Well where do I start. Well for one, trapped animals don’t chew off their leg to get out of a trap, that would take reasoning and to to have been caught before to come up with that reasoning. Animals just don’t have that mental capacity. It would be like “gee I’m caught in a trap, if I chew my leg off I can get away”, the second flaw in that is traps today are designed to hold the animal comfortable, meaning the blood flow is still going to that foot, which means the animal would feel the pain of chewing if it did that. Animals will not intentionally inflict pain on itself, the human is the only thing on this planet that will intentionally hurt its self. So, where do these images come from the anti’s tote about so much. Well most are old photos like I mentioned and anything new these days is pretty much photo shopped. Not saying things like this hasn’t happened but it was usually due to wrong trap size, trapper inexperience etc.

  Well that’s all changed over the years. Trappers them selves have experimented, discovered, put into use more humane traps. They were in the forefront in the Best Management Practices for trapping (the BMP’s) testing traps, equipment etc. to find what traps worked best. You can find the summary here

Trap showing the thicker jaws eliminates foot damage

Traps today are more animal friendly, using traps with thicker jaws to eliminate cutting that sometimes happened in the past, the thicker jaws ensure blood flow to the foot so it doesn’t go numb. A trapped animal will try to chew on the trap itself, but if the foot is numb below the jaw, they have in the past chewed on the numb foot because it was softer than the trap to chew, but with the way trappers are setting up the traps these days and techniques these issues are null, using better systems to stake traps down and using swivels in the chains to allow free movement for the animal.All this brought about not by the AR groups, but by trappers themselves looking to improve their equipment and their success, and their appearance in the public eye. Traps today can catch animals and those animals can be released unharmed with no foot damage, and this is important when trapping in areas where people don’t keep their dogs tied up like they should. Then the free roaming dog gets caught and they try to blame the trapper when he was legally set and had permission to trap the land their dog crossed over too. But the incident tends to go away, not always, but usually is forgotten because traps today don’t wreak the havoc and damage the AR’s claim. The dog usually limps off after being release and acts like nothing happened in just a short time.
Foot undamaged , just enough pressure to hold the animal

Coyote held comfortably in a foothold trap

 Another thing the AR groups don’t tell you is, even though we are a small group, we contribute the most when it comes to keeping furbearer populations in check.  Take coyotes for example. Most coyotes that are killed in this country are taken by trappers, coon, it’s a horse apiece between hound guys and trappers. For critters like skunks, possum etc. the majority are taken by trappers. And good that they do, all these animals mentioned can be hard on nesting birds, from song birds to ducks by eating the eggs every spring and some hunting clubs hire trappers to come in and clean out these nest robbers. Then theres the beaver that causes millions of dollars each year due to the habit of building dams and flooding, roads, property, timber etc. If trappers weren’t out there, the cost to the taxpayer to control all these animals would be astronomical. The reward for the trapper is the fur he sells and recent years hasn’t been that great. But yet because it’s in their blood, they forge on. Some, even hunters disagree with killing an animal for it’s pelt. But the reality is, by doing so the resource is being utilized and it’s renewable and green. I believe some animals were meant to be eaten and some were meant to be worn. And like mentioned before if trappers weren’t out there, the gov. would have to do it all, costing taxpayers and probably the fur being tossed if it were to be that way, wasting a resource. There are gov. agencies that trap, and when the fur is prime it’s sold to help fund the program, but fur that’s not worth anything that’s trapped in the summer by the gov. because it’s necessary are usually no good and a waste. So trappers do a huge service for the public. Yet there are others that claim trapping isn’t fair chase. Well I hate to break it to them, nothing is fair chase unless your out there naked hunting with a stick. Every tool man has developed, bows, guns, traps were developed to give man an edge over the animal kingdom, period. We cannot compete without these tools. Animals don’t even execute fair chase, to them it’s do or die, it’s that simple.

  What else do trappers do. Well they contribute both time and money and work with state agencies to further ensure healthy populations of wildlife, just like the many other outdoor user groups, like DU, Delta Waterfowl, White-Tails Unlimited, Trout Unlimited. Trappers have been instrumental in re-introducing the pine martin in WI, Fishers in eastern states and WI. Trappers play a vital role in animal studies, often being called upon by state agencies to submit animal samples to study, etc. Even being asked to keep an eye out for observations. Most trappers spend more time in the outdoors hours wise than most user groups and they observe a lot.

  Trappers have also taken it upon themselves to ensure trapping is here to stay, most states now have a trapper education program just like they have for hunter education. It’s usually a cooperative effort between trapping assoc. and state DNR agencies. They teach ethics, humane practices, wildlife management, fur handling, diseases etc. In WI. It’s mandatory for first time trappers. Which is a good thing, it gives new trappers the right tools and knowledge to go about it to prevent those problems we’ve had a few decades ago.

  In this day and age, you may not recognize the trapper in the outdoors, he won’t be clad in furs or leather. He’ll probably be wearing hip boots or waders, or wearing blue jeans and a ball cap, he’ll probably be driven a 4x4 and the bed loaded with fur, but you’ll get a hint of aroma in the air, it may be mink, or skunk or the sweet smell of beaver castor. At any rate, if you do happen to run into a trapper, you can know your talking to an individual who loves the outdoors as much as yourself and is putting his time and money into what he believes and the passion he holds for the outdoors.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cannibals and Useful Idiots

The following is from a friend of mine John Wasmuth and shows just how we loose hunting rights, whether it be the example below, or cross bows or hunting with dogs or trapping etc. the list can go on because it may not mesh with your own idea of what real hunting is. The Real Hunter mindset. Something to think about. We must all hang together or all hang separately. 

Cannibals and Useful Idiots

   The following is real, and it’s here now. Joe Hunter goes to a cocktail party, nothing fancy, just a holiday gathering in Anytown, USA. A conversation begins with Bob Peta, it goes something like this.
Bob Peta: Say Joe, didn’t you go deer hunting this year?
Joe Hunter: Sure did Bob.
Bob: Man, that’s great, did you get one?
Joe: Yep, I sure did, a nice six pointer.
Bob: Hey, that’s great. Say listen Joe, you’re a true hunter, a “real” hunter are you not?
Joe: I sure am.
Bob: Say, I hear tell of a kind of hunting where people can go kill animals in fenced areas. You’ve never done that, have you?
Joe: No, no I haven’t.
Bob: Well, I wouldn’t call that real hunting, would you Joe?
Joe: Well, that’s not the way I hunt.
Bob: I know Joe, but there are people who hunt in fenced areas. I don’t think that’s really hunting, do you Joe?
Joe: well, uh, I guess not.
Bob: Great. Say, listen Joe, a group of us concerned “real” hunters are trying to get that method of hunting done away with. We feel it is unethical, will you help us?
Joe: Sure, because that is not the way I hunt, and I’m a real hunter.
Bob: Thanks Joe. Here is what we need you to do. As a real hunter the big boys in Congress and the Senate will listen to you. They know that any “real” hunter only hunts the way you do, and that’s the only real hunting there is. What we need you to do is get out there and get petitions signed, people will sign them because you are a real hunter, and they know that only your way of hunting is the “real” way.
   So Joe diligently goes after the goal, to ban, and outlaw any kind of hunting that Bob suggest is not real hunting. He gathers up signatures, petitions courts, and makes meetings. He is really cleaning up this unethical way of hunting, he’s got a lot of support. He is gathering “real” hunters from all over, and finally, after much hard work, they get a legal way of hunting banned.

Bob: Joe, you did great and we sure appreciate your hard work, but let me tell you what I heard. There is another type of hunting that we think is not right. Could you help us again?
Joe: Well I guess so Bob. I don’t hunt like that, so it’s not real hunting anyway. How can I help?

   It’s the same old story. It’s odd how Bob Peta keeps adding to the list of what  “real”  hunting is. However, Joe goes at it hard and heavy, and in the end, he helps get that type of hunting banned. Bob and his friends are happy. Joe is a “real” hunter, and these other guy’s aren’t, because the way they hunt is different from Joe, and Joe does not like that way of hunting. So what’s the harm in getting rid of that type of hunting. Joe is a “real” hunter after all, not like those other guys. He even goes to sportsmen’s organizations and recruits from within, it’s easy because they are all “real” hunters too.
   Time passes, and more and more legal ways of hunting are banned. Bob and his friends are real happy with Joe, he’s been a real help. So after all the unethical ways of hunting are gone, Bob and his friends decide that it is time to get Joe’s way of hunting banned, the final chapter.

Joe: Bob, hey buddy, this is Joe. I know I helped you get rid of all those other forms of legal hunting, but now there is a move to get rid of the way I hunt.
Bob: Well Joe, I know. My friends and I are spearheading that movement.
Joe: But Bob, I thought you liked the way I hunt, and it was OK for me to do that type of hunting?
Bob: Well Joe, no, any and all types of hunting are bad, the poor defenseless animals never have a chance, and we dislike, actually we hate hunters.
Joe: But I thought the way I hunted was “real” hunting to you?
Bob: Joe, it was all real hunting, but we at PETA and HSUS hate you. Thanks for all your help, we greatly appreciate it.

   You see, what Joe became was a “Cannibal”, a“Useful Idiot” to the anti-hunters at HSUS and PETA . They don’t give a rats backside how you hunt, what you hunt, or where you hunt, they just want all hunting done away with. The sad thing is that they use hunters against hunters for their causes. If you do not support any and all forms of legal hunting, or voice any decent about the way someone else legally hunts, you my friend are a “Cannibal”, and a very “Useful Idiot” to the enemy. Think twice the next time you mouth off against another hunter’s methods, they could be coming after you next.

                                                                                  Written by: John Wasmuth