Water Trapping Archive


Home ~ Mission Statement ~ Trap Talk ~ ADC Forum ~ Trap Shed ~ Trap Chat
Trapper Tips ~ Links ~ Gallery ~ Basic Sets ~ Convention Calendar ~ Trapper's Humor
Fur Buyers Directory ~ Trapper's Tales ~ Words From The Past ~ Legends ~ Archives~Lure Formulator Forum
~Catalog~

Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
Hop to:
#1608385 - 11/21/09 10:22 PM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Gage Drift]
Jonathan Offline
"Wilson"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Northwestern New York(Elder)
For those who have asked about my earlier intentions regarding a narrative about "Packbaskets And Totes," it is almost past outline and approaching rough draft stage. I was hoping to have had a post drafted before this trapping season. But, my ink has been delayed with fresh incoming additions.

It may take a bit of time to present this notion from an unquiet mind to drop it here as the best that I can.

Jonathan
_________________________
Jonathan
Basic Camera Gear: Canon EOS 50D with Canon EF 10-20mm, EF 28-135mm and EF 100-400mm lenses; Dutch Hill tripod with Wimberly Gimbal head.



Top
#1608442 - 11/21/09 11:11 PM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Jonathan]
Trapset Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/09/09
Loc: Nebraska
Not a problem Jonathan, just wanted to make sure I didn't miss it.
_________________________


Top
#1608595 - 11/22/09 05:54 AM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Gage Drift]
RogerDoger Offline
trapper

Registered: 07/16/08
Loc: Colchester, Connecticut
Thanks Jonathan. We don't have anything of the sort in the areas I trap. It's not like it used to be here.
_________________________
Member: CTA, NTA,FTA

Top
#1610419 - 11/23/09 12:16 AM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: RogerDoger]
Jonathan Offline
"Wilson"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Northwestern New York(Elder)
I spent the afternoon at the marsh yesterday to document this habitat in a little more detail for this discussion, and set up a trail camera near a feed bed actively under construction - shown in the last two photos above.

That feeder was added to since when I first found it Friday morning. Had to put the waders on to photograph it in more detail to show what they haul into and on one. Overnight it gained about 8" in height and almost a foot more in diameter. Here is that one showing the variety of vegetation in its makeup.

There is always a single leading edge to these that I am aware of. You can see the "landing pad" approach to this one in the lower left of this photo. A perfect location for a #1-1/2 long spring. Though the season doesn't open until Wednesday, I'll show you tomorrow how I would set the trap there.



Here are closer views of additional food resources deposited.







This one is completed and is about 50 yards north of the one above. Again, note the extended "landing" in the front and to the right on this one.



As mentioned before how they will often use grasses and their roots by digging on land, this sign was on land near this one. Note the trail coming from the water. These are not to be confused with old, caved in bank dens. There are no tunnels or borrows in these examples - just diggings for food items.



And examples of their signs of digging for material.







Here is another finished one in open water away from the shoreline unlike the previous two.



Not all muskrat droppings are like this most classic example of what they usually look like - almost separate individual pellets.



There size, shape, color and texture varies seasonally in different habitats, depending upon what they are eating at the time.

In open marsh environments their droppings tend to be more on the mushy side in comparison and look more like these samples that I photographed Saturday at a typical muskrat "toilet" area.







If you look closely at this blob you can see that the "pellets" are mushed together. There are 5 or 6 in this one.



The light colored object to the left of this feed bed is my trail camera in the water tucked among the cattail stems.



Closer views of how I mounted it in the crotch of my 4 foot long maple branch sling shot that I made at home before I poked it in the mud there. It is about 18" above the waterline and around 4 feet to the left of the feeder.







I have this set on a 60 second video mode. I am going to check it tomorrow. It will have been active for nearly three days and two full nights. If all goes well, the images should prove to be interesting, especially the time of day and their behavior during the construction process.

As Deerhunter mentioned, these expansive marshes are tough to trap.



[img]http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f2/Jonathan64/Muskrats/_MG_6997.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f2/Jonathan64/Muskrats/_MG_7000.jpg[/img]

Access to them is often difficult and arduous. I did it for many years, working out of a duck skiff loaded with #1-1/2 long springs, a few #110's, bundles of willow stakes, a long handled canoe type paddle and an 8 foot long push pole with a duck bill on the end of it. It is a young man's sport. I couldn't do it physically now at my age, but my mind can. So....on that note, I am happy to share the memory and experience by telling younger trappers what muskrats tell us about themselves who live in marshes.

I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully with a few more photos and videos in the share.

Nite all!

Jonathan










_________________________
Jonathan
Basic Camera Gear: Canon EOS 50D with Canon EF 10-20mm, EF 28-135mm and EF 100-400mm lenses; Dutch Hill tripod with Wimberly Gimbal head.



Top
#1610668 - 11/23/09 08:37 AM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Jonathan]
Fox Claw Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/05/07
Loc: backwoods N. Wi.
Originally Posted By: Jonathan
Closer views of how I mounted it in the crotch of my 4 foot long maple branch sling shot that I made at home before I poked it in the mud there. It is about 18" above the waterline and around 4 feet to the left of the feeder.


I'd like to see those pics, but I sincerely hope there is not an odd beaver or two swimming around that marsh. Next time consider using a metal post.

Top
#1610720 - 11/23/09 09:19 AM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Fox Claw]
Muskrat Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Southwestern Wisconsin
It is a young man's sport. I couldn't do it physically now at my age

Great pics, but . . . . young man's sport??? C'mon, pushing through those cattails, that's what builds character!!! grin

_________________________
Lifetime member NTA and WTA.

http://www.riverinefurtraders.com

Top
#1610731 - 11/23/09 09:28 AM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Fox Claw]
deerhunter65347 Offline
trapper

Registered: 02/15/07
Loc: Higginsville Missouri
Awesome shots Jonathan! I know you earned those shots!
_________________________

Coon Collector web site. http://www.cooncollector.com/

Top
#1610737 - 11/23/09 09:33 AM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Muskrat]
Okie Farmer Offline
trapper

Registered: 05/30/08
Loc: Oklahoma
Thanks for all the information Jonathan and deerhunter65347. I have been told where some are at. Want to try some water trapping on the river but will have to wait untill after deer season.

Top
#1610744 - 11/23/09 09:37 AM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Okie Farmer]
wynn hall Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/17/08
Loc: exeter nebraska
good post!
_________________________
Always looking for repairable stoploss traps and parts.

Home of Fillmore Stretchers Baits.

Top
#1613814 - 11/24/09 03:48 PM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: wynn hall]
Weasel_Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/28/06
Loc: New Brunswick, Canada
Any update on the trail cam video results?

Top
#1614906 - 11/25/09 01:24 AM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Weasel_Trapper]
Jonathan Offline
"Wilson"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Northwestern New York(Elder)
Weasel Trapper, Yes I do. It is on my list of things to do. Thank you for the reminder.

The best laid plans of mice and men do not always work out as intended. My attempt to capture this anticipated show and tell with that camera set up as shown for over two full nights and almost three days ended in total disappointment.

When I found that individual feed bed it was actively under construction, but with little that I know about how muskrats build these winter stashes, I assumed too much. However, I had a gut feeling I may have been a little late for this one. Others that I saw that were similar in size and composition next to the shoreline were completed already - no current, fresh deposit activity on them that I could detect.

I am not sure how these aquatic engineers decide how when enough is enough to quit making one of these where they decide to build one. I think it might be related to the amount of vegetation available within an immediate range of their swimming circle and time spent underwater needed to find and dig this stuff up.

At first I thought the camera may have been placed too close to the point of aim. That was not the reveal when I moved in front of it yesterday, on purpose, to set the camera off to show how I would set a #1-1/2 long spring trap on the approach platform. That was the only video that I got from there over that time.

When I came home and downloaded that SD card, I was bummed out. Nothing on the camera reveal except for my trap setting thingy. And, so it goes.

I spent almost two hours at that location yesterday looking for a fresh start-up feed bed to set the camera up at. Nothing to be found anywhere. Oh, poop!

Between the number of huts and feed beds observed at this location, I kinda concluded that there was probably not more than about 15 muskrats getting ready for winter there, and they were finished with the preparations to survive that spell in their life cycle until open water invited breeding for the next round of offspring to eventually take up space there to fill the void of family members who may have not been able to show up next time for various reasons - old age, disease and mink predation are in that formula. And, of course, otter, hawks and owls might have been on stage in the choreography of that life cycle's menu.

I'll be ahead of the game next year if I am still vertical and above ground myself. Ha!

Anyway, here is a still photo of how I would have set the #1-1/2 long spring at the landing on this feed bed during trapping season. Punch a dimple in it either with your boot or hand so the trap pan is about an inch underwater.

Look close at these two photos to see where the trap pan is. You'll have to go back to this feed bed's photos shown earlier above to extrapolate my trap placement orientation.

Jonathan



_________________________
Jonathan
Basic Camera Gear: Canon EOS 50D with Canon EF 10-20mm, EF 28-135mm and EF 100-400mm lenses; Dutch Hill tripod with Wimberly Gimbal head.



Top
#1615213 - 11/25/09 08:33 AM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Jonathan]
2020 Offline
trapper

Registered: 11/06/09
Loc: Wis. up North!
Totally amazing description and Information all rolled into one - No commercials- Very Informative- For me-

this is my first year and am learning quite a lot here. My problem is much like the waiting for the video portion, is, I have all the right set ups but no clients showing up-I thought I was looking at a big House but it now seems to me that they are just feeder mounds,

I have an area that is full of sign but I seem to only get 1 Rat a day- not sure what to think- Anyway- Great Animal Planet series,

Just a quick question regarding the feed huts, I can't find any entrances going into them, so do the Rats wait for Freeze up and then chew in from under the Ice??

THX

Top
#1615271 - 11/25/09 09:21 AM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: 2020]
Muskrat Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Southwestern Wisconsin
Jonathan--Excellent pictorial essay. I prefer the stoploss over the longspring, but they both get the job done with sufficient drowning water.

2020--Just a quick question regarding the feed huts, I can't find any entrances going into them, so do the Rats wait for Freeze up and then chew in from under the Ice??

Quite often, from my experience, they will. Another thing to look for are "subways" to these feeder huts. If you've got shallow water, say two feet or less, the 'rats may be entering these feeder huts from underbottom tunnels, especially if the main 'rat hut is nearby.

I have all the right set ups but no clients showing up-I thought I was looking at a big House but it now seems to me that they are just feeder mounds,

It's easy to overestimate the number of 'rats in a marsh. Often feeder huts are confused with the main hut. Usually, from my experience here in Wisconsin, there's a ratio of 2-3 feeder huts per main hut.

You may even have bank denners with feeder huts out in the marsh.

Look for the active runs in the morning hours. They should show themselves with a slight cloudiness in the water due to recent activity. Also look for the fresh, green vegetation added to the sides, as Jonathan has so very well shown in the preceding pics.
_________________________
Lifetime member NTA and WTA.

http://www.riverinefurtraders.com

Top
#1615500 - 11/25/09 11:15 AM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Muskrat]
Maineman27
Unregistered

appreciative

Top
#1615545 - 11/25/09 11:28 AM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Gage Drift]
jsaxton Offline
trapper

Registered: 02/27/09
Loc: harpswell, maine
i think this should be put in the archives

Top
#1618537 - 11/26/09 08:42 PM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: jsaxton]
Jonathan Offline
"Wilson"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Northwestern New York(Elder)
Thank you for the kind words.

From my experience and observations the feeders are made for winter use, and after ice up, muskrats tunnel under and into them to access the stash.

I believe the severity of the winter, the muskrat population densities in the individual huts using this food resource and the availability of submergent vegetation within their underwater swimming range to harvest food on the bottom (how long they can hold their breath to graze and return to the lodge) besides using the reserve feed beds, all factor into the frequency and need as to when these stashes are used.

Some winters they tunnel under them all; during others they may access and use only half of them that way. There are a lot of unsolved mysteries associated with muskrat behavior during any given year of a population's life cycle and requirements for overwinter survival.

Jonathan
_________________________
Jonathan
Basic Camera Gear: Canon EOS 50D with Canon EF 10-20mm, EF 28-135mm and EF 100-400mm lenses; Dutch Hill tripod with Wimberly Gimbal head.



Top
#1618572 - 11/26/09 08:56 PM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Jonathan]
deerhunter65347 Offline
trapper

Registered: 02/15/07
Loc: Higginsville Missouri
Now i am trapping some lagoons which by missouri law cant have weeds trees or cattails. So these muskrats are using the grass roots as there main food source. No push ups just bank dens This is a slide where they are coming to feed. These little guys can survive just about any where.

_________________________

Coon Collector web site. http://www.cooncollector.com/

Top
#1618583 - 11/26/09 09:00 PM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: deerhunter65347]
Martin Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: SE Nebraska
Excellant information and pictures Jonathan.
_________________________

Top
#1618616 - 11/26/09 09:13 PM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Martin]
Jonathan Offline
"Wilson"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Northwestern New York(Elder)
Tony, Thank you for that valuable contribution illustrating the grass roots foraging that I referenced earlier. Your graphic is a far more dramatic and compelling example of this activity than mine revealed.

Neat!

Jonathan
_________________________
Jonathan
Basic Camera Gear: Canon EOS 50D with Canon EF 10-20mm, EF 28-135mm and EF 100-400mm lenses; Dutch Hill tripod with Wimberly Gimbal head.



Top
#1618776 - 11/26/09 10:59 PM Re: Muskrat Activity In Cattail Marsh Habitat [Re: Jonathan]
deerhunter65347 Offline
trapper

Registered: 02/15/07
Loc: Higginsville Missouri
People miss a lot of opportunities for catching them. Because they dont know they are in a area. Differnt areas differnt sign. Maybe your post will help the young trappers find and trap the best animal they can learn on.

Your the best Teacher!!! Hands down!
_________________________

Coon Collector web site. http://www.cooncollector.com/

Top
Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >

Moderator:  BlueRidgeTrapper, tmrschessie