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Trap your Tract

Posted by Brad Nolen on March 22, 2023

“Trap Your Tract”
By: Brooks Milling
Have you ever wondered if your property has not reached its full potential for its carrying capacity? By this, I mean do you think that you should be seeing more deer, or turkeys on your property. I know that I have felt this way in the past, but through trapping (and easing off the trigger) I have been able to see substantial results. What kind of trapping? I tend to use dog-proof traps and live box traps for smaller animals such as raccoons and opossums. For coyotes, I use leg-holds. Specifically I like using Duke #2 Dogless traps. These traps are easy to set and have lasted well over the years. For bait, I use marshmallows, or canned meat to trap raccoons. To explain how to trap coyotes, it would be best for me to look at the tract and teach in person. There is prep work that needs to be done to the traps before going in the ground and scent control is important. After many seasons of focusing on setting traps on a particular piece of property, I have noticed that game numbers that I have observed have increased. Turkeys have appeared in places that I have not seen before. On an afternoon deer sit, instead of seeing 1-2 deer maybe, I see 6-10. Now keep in mind that this trapping has been done in conjunction with planting certain foods and other management tactics. But, I firmly believe that trapping has helped. A coyote can easily take 10 fawns by itself every fawning season and all it takes is one raccoon to destroy a turkey or wood duck nest. There are plenty of how-to videos out there that shows you how to get started doing this. From there, it is just having the discipline to put them out and run them. It is something you can do on a Friday night when you get to the camp, and check them Saturday and Sunday for just a weekend trip. Even just two days a week or one weekend a month. You will be surprised at the difference you notice after having success and reducing the populations of these predators. You might be thinking, “What about wild hogs?”. I do think that you should eliminate them immediately when you see them, but I have reason to believe that trapping them is almost futile. One summer from May-September a group I was in focused on reducing hog numbers. We were successful at taking several hundred on approximately 2,000 acres. No difference was noticed. Also, if you try to trap hogs, I think open top traps are the way to go to allow deer to escape if they get caught. I’ve seen deer get caught in the box hog traps and really tear themselves apart trying to escape. If you can’t figure out what to do to increase your fawn recruitment or poult recruitment and haven’t tried trapping, I encourage you to get a few traps and set them. You might be surprised at the positive impact you could have on your property.

Coyote trapped by author/
agent in Monroe County, AL

Hen and poults on author/agent’s stomping grounds. Benefits of trapping

Name: Brooks Milling
Phone: 251-656-2253

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