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#642207 - 03/20/08 09:31 PM Anthill dirt for trap bedding?
Drakej Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/24/07
Posts: 685
Loc: Kanabec Cty, MN
When I was a young trapper a very successful old trapper that I should use the dirt from active anthills because they soil is coated with a substance by the ants to make water repellent protecting the colony openings. Anyone know if this might be true? Or use it. They do seem to stand up to wet conditions without getting muddy and they don't seem to freeze as hard as the ground. Coul be a natural substitute for waxed dirt.
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#642217 - 03/20/08 09:35 PM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: Drakej]
Drakej Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/24/07
Posts: 685
Loc: Kanabec Cty, MN
Sorry, I'm off on my typing tonight. Should be the old trapper "said" and "the" soil -
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#642224 - 03/20/08 09:38 PM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: Drakej]
deerhunter243 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/30/06
Posts: 252
Loc: Carrolltown PA
i use anthill dirt and it only freezes when it is below 10 degrees and it works well cause it has no human/fertilizer smell like it would if you got it out of a garden
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#642264 - 03/20/08 10:12 PM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: deerhunter243]
Jonathan Offline
"Wilson"

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 7698
Loc: Northwestern New York(Elder)
I prepared this essay on anthill dirt for the T-man forum quite awhile ago, but could not find here. Here is the link for it from another forum:

http://jayme220.proboards53.com/index.cgi?board=archives&action=display&thread=1187500994

This should give you some background information on its application for your conditions. I use it under severe weather conditions in a 50:50 ratio with peat moss. As you will note, there are several variations of this theme.

Jonathan
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#642470 - 03/21/08 05:29 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: Jonathan]
Brian Perlis Offline
trapper

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 154
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
JC Conner shows it in his videos. Says it is one of his favorite types of bedding/dry dirt for freezing temperatures. Any time he passes by an ant colony he scoops up the anthill dirt and saves it for later.
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#642512 - 03/21/08 07:22 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: Brian Perlis]
Bob Jameson Online   content


Registered: 12/25/06
Posts: 2326
Loc: SW Pa
Anthill dirt is most likely my first choice for use for bedding. However the key is getting it before the ants are active if not it is a challenge removeing or killing all the ants. They will colonize in your containers if they are still active.It is easy to work with and better than plain sifted dirt but it still needs to be antifreezed or it will freeze also.
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#642536 - 03/21/08 08:10 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: Bob Jameson]
kmuellertrapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 11/15/07
Posts: 346
Loc: Northern Ohio
just one little question, wouldn't it be VERY time consuming to get enough dirt from anthills to cover a trap? The anthills around here are about the size of a silver dollar and about a half inch tall.
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#642547 - 03/21/08 08:27 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: kmuellertrapper]
Bob Jameson Online   content


Registered: 12/25/06
Posts: 2326
Loc: SW Pa
Actually some areas I have seen ant hills 1-2 feet in height and 3 ft in diameter. I see them along the freeways and main highways as I drive along.I have stopped many a time to shovel a couple of buckets full when needed.
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#642592 - 03/21/08 08:59 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: Bob Jameson]
bobCATching
Unregistered


We have western red ants all over the pace. Their "hill" dirt, although pre-sifted by the ants and easy to get once the ants retire for the winter, is anything but great for bedding traps in. It freezes just as solid as "normal" dirt.

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#642622 - 03/21/08 09:23 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: kmuellertrapper]
Missouri Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/03/07
Posts: 298
Loc: Missouri
 Originally Posted By: kmuellertrapper
just one little question, wouldn't it be VERY time consuming to get enough dirt from anthills to cover a trap? The anthills around here are about the size of a silver dollar and about a half inch tall.


It would take a long time to collect enough dirt from those piles lol

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#642629 - 03/21/08 09:30 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: Missouri Trapper]
Mark June Offline
trapper

Registered: 05/17/07
Posts: 614
Loc: La Vernia, TX
Steve, I agree with you on the ant hill dirt freezing. It gets wet just like any other dirt and freezes hard as a steel plate! I am always fascinated by the folks that says it works and have been for a long time. I wonder what they consider "working"?? If you mean it's better than dry dirt, I may say OK> If you say that it "sort of" gets frozen and wet in some conditions than I say I don't use it because my traps have got to work in ALL, and I mean all conditions. No matter what Ma Nature hits with and waxed dirt is good the moment you put it out until spring if you leave it that long....
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#642647 - 03/21/08 09:46 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: Mark June]
bobCATching
Unregistered


Whew, I really went out on a limb with that post Mark \:\)
When I first started trapping I also read how good it was. Not so. I went so far as too make a screen out of window screen to fit inside my regular sifter. The idea being to remove all the very fine particles of dust and dirt and only use the larger granules thinking the moisture would drain out faster. It worked a little better because it dried faster. .but well enough of a degree that I continued using it.

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#642679 - 03/21/08 10:12 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: ]
Mark June Offline
trapper

Registered: 05/17/07
Posts: 614
Loc: La Vernia, TX
No, you didn't go to far out on the tree limb as facts are facts and mud is mud and frozen is frozen and everytime I tried to use ant hill dirt... well it didn't work. Now that was in MI primarily and maybe, just maybe those ants are not properly coating their grains.
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#642693 - 03/21/08 10:35 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: Mark June]
BigBob Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 8175
Loc: St. Louis Co, Mo
IMO the anthill dirt is water "RESISTANT" because it comes from below the surface where the clay dirt is. I use Spagnum Moss. Huge bag of compressed Moss can be had from Lawn & Garden stores in the fall for bargain prices, and will last years.
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#644129 - 03/22/08 08:05 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: BigBob]
Mark June Offline
trapper

Registered: 05/17/07
Posts: 614
Loc: La Vernia, TX
Lots of great ideas and trappers are an inovative breed but often we are penny rich and dollar poor. I don't do so much personal instruction anymore but when I did I raised more eyebrows at more guys as they showed me their secret winterizing method. They would NOT spend money on anything to fight back at winter thus their catch was minimized every year, year after year. I'm not saying they didn't catch fur... stress here the word MINIMIZED! My humble opinion when I trap wet or freeezing conditions is I burn my precious time, spend countless greenbacks on gas, lose lb after lb due to working your tail off and I may save several bucks on freezeproofing my sets by cutting corners??? Huh? Mother Nature smiles a big sneer :)Guys, spend $40 on 20 lbs of wax... coat 70 lbs of dirt so now you have close to 100 lbs of dirt and you can bed 120 traps which on ratio you'll use the equivelent of 10 times less than dry dirt (or 900-1000 lbs) cause the waxed dirt doesn't need to be redone. I use the smallest trap I can to minimize the amount of dirt needed also. When I used dry dirt years ago I put up 10 barrels per year and with waxed I needed one.

I don't want to spend $40 Mark!!! Okie, dokie but the $75 of gas you just put on your truck doesn't care if there's fur in the back at the end of the line or not. Spend a dime to make a buck guys... whatever way you go NOT the other way around.

IMHO Mark
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#644160 - 03/22/08 08:45 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: Mark June]
j lord Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 6807
Loc: Flatland TN
i tried it and didnt' like it. i read on here that it was great! lol

tried it out on my line and hated it. once it gets wets it as useless as any other dirt.

i use a mixutre of dry dirt and peat (75/25), or just straight peat.
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#645586 - 03/23/08 08:20 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: j lord]
Hap cross Offline
trapper

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 90
Loc: Pitt County, NC
Why not glycol?

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#645597 - 03/23/08 08:29 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: Hap cross]
M. Howard Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/24/06
Posts: 4784
Loc: Louisiana
Down here in Louisiana we can not use ant hill dirt as most of the time the ants are still at home. We don't have P ants either, we have fire ants. They will sting and whelp you up like you have never seen. That is why I use goffer dirt here. Andy S tried this while down and found that 10 out of 10 mounds he dug in still had ants in them. It dose not get cold enough here to make these fire ant go deep enough into the ground. I know this has nothing to do with what yall are talking about, just thought some may find it interesting the difference a 800 miles south makes.
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#645634 - 03/23/08 08:45 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: Hap cross]
Bob Jameson Online   content


Registered: 12/25/06
Posts: 2326
Loc: SW Pa
Most all methods have draw backs or limitations to their effectiveness. Mother nature is harsh at times and when moisture and cold temps are involved she wins many battles. Winter trapping is certainly challenging and requires considerable maintenance and know how to stay ahead of the game. I have used waxed dirt also for many years and had some issues with it at times also but far fewer then other methods.

I use granulated coarse feed salt and put up dirt,anthill dirt if available or hulls mixed 50/50 now. I can keep my sets working a very high percentage of the time with my bed lamination system.

Moisture/cold/wind conditions are what are the issues. When you can minimize these effects at the minimum of cost and time is the key. Dry anthill dirt, salt and peat/or hull mixture will hold up against the majority of what mother nature gives out most of the time. Wax dirt is very good material but there are alternatives that work just about as well.

Waxed dirt/or anthill dirt/hulls is the best combo I have found and provides good blending color and bedding density.

If one laminates his trap bed and trap and finishes off the set with a wax dirt type blend that is probably the best system and yet economizes the use of the waxed dirt.When I dont do this I use the basic lamination system I described and it does the job for the most part.
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#645687 - 03/23/08 09:08 AM Re: Anthill dirt for trap bedding? [Re: Bob Jameson]
Mark June Offline
trapper

Registered: 05/17/07
Posts: 614
Loc: La Vernia, TX
Bob, Excellent point and I too have used this type of combo with very good results in areas without heavy wind. Out here for the western prairie folks, hulls in any situation are one thing... gone. Here in wind country I actually wax a heavier clay composition soil type trying to get more weight as anything sandy doesn't take waxing easily and uniformly PLUS it blows outta the trap beds pretty routinely. Michigan was different as all I wanted was something to last through multiple freeze/thaw cycles but here the wind and icy cold of western NE, different needs need to be addressed. So trappers need to consider their situation on a case by case basis. Good Post Bob.
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