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#96574 - 02/18/07 12:28 AM Otter thread/archive
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
ok been waiting for this till I remembered to take some pictures while out on the line . Here we have what is my standard set a 220 on an old beaver house that the otter use to get in under the ice or come out onto the tundra and run around and what not the top of this house is one great big toilet



And here is the results

I walked over the house to see what the other trap had caught and found this
MAN I HATE IT WHEN I DO THAT!!! THis house has missed twice now once due to the thaw and once due to this

The next set is a beaver dam cross over under the ice

And the results otter number 8 or 9 from here in 3 yrs 3 this year



Here is one more of some holes on another beaver house I set up and doubled on mink


Quite often I just lay the trap on top of the hole wedge it in to give it a little support or make it so the otter just needs to pop his head up thru the hole or dive down into it. 75% or better of these sets catch as the otter are comning out from under the ice. All my current otter sets are 220s the one trap that had the safety left on was a 330 I swapped it out for a 220 today Who Says 220s dont stop otter!!!

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#96584 - 02/18/07 12:36 AM Re: Otter thread [Re: otterman]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
Nice... Great to see how you do it. Awesome pics. I am going to have to go through some of my pics and see if I can add something to this.

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#96595 - 02/18/07 12:46 AM Re: Otter thread [Re: trapperjoeAK]
fishermann222 Offline

"OX"

Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: Bethel, Alaska
awesome before and after photos otter.
_________________________
I survived the Tman crash of '06

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#96621 - 02/18/07 03:23 AM Re: Otter thread [Re: fishermann222]
SEwaterboy Offline
trapper

Registered: 02/08/07
Loc: SE Alaska
Those are cool photos. I can't believe I didn't find this place sooner. I learn something new here almost everyday. My TV watchin has dropped to almost zero and where there was once dust on my computer there is bits of Doritos from snackin and scrollin' baby!

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#96677 - 02/18/07 06:48 AM Re: Otter thread [Re: otterman]
Ducktriggerman Offline
trapper

Registered: 02/07/07
Loc: Big Village, Alaska
Dad, is that right across the Wood by that first slough? Man, I got the itch real bad. I'm almost tempted to buy some 0's and set Potter Marsh for weasels. If anyone has room for someone to go check their line, I would be most greatful. I live in the
"big village" Anchorage, and I am getting homesick more and more every day. I don't know near as much as my dad could have tought me, but I know some basic sets and I would like to get out of town. I would be willing to drive or pay for gas, I just need to get out of here for a while!

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#97009 - 02/18/07 11:20 AM Re: Otter thread [Re: Ducktriggerman]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
Ben the cross over is that first one I set the other side of little Muklung I think thats the one your thinking off most years it is just a hole to set but this last thaw the cross over opened up for me to set. The other is behinde 1st place
_________________________

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#97313 - 02/18/07 02:11 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: otterman]
piperniner Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Alaska
Big village - I like that. Looks like this forum saves on long distance calls too. I hope you can get out. Weather and daylight getting better.

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#100190 - 02/19/07 11:23 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: piperniner]
poutpro Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/10/07
Loc: MN
looks like that snowmobile goes through a workout with all that snow.

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#101133 - 02/20/07 06:00 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: poutpro]
wilsonjr Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/10/07
Loc: Kenny Lake, Alaska
Now this is my kind of thread. I don't know what it is about otter trapping but its addictive to me. I only get a handful every year too but I still can't wait to check those otter sets every week. I seem to be constantly scanning the river for good locations to set up. Here's a couple new sets I just got out the other day where they were surfacing and had a potty set up and I fenced in a couple 330s in a trail they were working. No post catch pics yet...and I guess, there might not be either. We'll see.






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#101173 - 02/20/07 06:16 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: wilsonjr]
rueben Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/07/07
Loc: clovis, nm
when the otter are coming up in areas that have no surrounding brush will they use the same trail if a coni is placed in it or will they just go around?
_________________________
trapped in alaska, newest adventure new mexico

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#101914 - 02/20/07 11:59 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: rueben]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
wilson I am interested to hear your sucess rate at setting like you show us this is probably the one way I bypass as the big holes just seem to have so many random spots they can haul out and go around the conis. I do set in the narrow creeks like this below

this set actually has 2 traps I forgot to take a picture of the second on a hole 10 ft away as it was full of this

the two holes where once one big long one the otter like these spots as the blackfish they feed on are attracted to the light of the holes. this otter actually had a blackfish tail hanging out of its mouth but dumb me tugged at it thinking it was a piece of ice and it fell out before I could take a picture.
It seems if the otter come out to a toilet or seem to be feeding on the blackfish they will return to the spot otherwise some of the holes are very random in nature they come out once and the next time thru they come out 20 yrds away these are little creeks that dont freeze up till the extreem cold and at the first warming the open up the otter love them
_________________________

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#101959 - 02/21/07 03:47 AM Re: Otter thread [Re: otterman]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
It is pretty cool seeing all these pics. I have seen all the same sort of things, but my setups are usually a bit different. Essentially, I have all the same situations as in the previous pics with them coming out of the creeks and such, but what with the extreme snowfall I had this year, I avoided those sets and tried to set back underneath the trees where I had a chance to keep sets working. The neat thing is just how it becomes so apparent, that the critters are the same regardless of what sort of country they are in.

I don't have as many of the before and after pics as I would like, lots of afters, short on befores; but here are a few...




This is from a few years back. A nice slide. 280 under the spruce branch, and an otter caught in it.







Another one not from this year. (Notice no snow. Ha!) 280 on a crossover trail. Trap was set right about where its at. Between the bushes and the tree.






Another toilet. Caught a few otter here. 280 was on the sticks and camouflaged with dead grass. You can see that I cut the sticks down because I decided that they were a bit much...








Nice standard hole through spruce roots to access the water. Pic is of reset after pulling that otter out of it. Snowed in the next week though and it never really returned to operable condition.






Here is the all-time greatest crossover. 9 otter this season. First pic is one of a double took on the first check. 280 was camouflaged in the bushes there. Then there is a pretty cool, but poor quality video that I took early in the season. All the snow put one end (first pic) out of commission for good, but back under the trees I just kept shoveling and kicking out the trail and picked up a few more.











Classic otter hole. When we first found this spot, we were drooling over all the places to set traps when an otter stuck his head out of this hole and looked at us. Played peek-a-boo for quite a while. This was just a couple weekends ago, and this place had a ton of sign. Set it up hard, and picked up 4 on the first check. Unfortunately no stills. I took complete video of the whole thing, set-up and check and hence forgot the stillcam in my pocket.





Here is a foothold otter though at that same place, part of the quadruple. The otter were going back up underneath that stump. Bedded a #3, put down a few guide sticks and the #3 Montana did the job from there.






And here is a pic to show that on a few occasions, the effort I put into shoveling out sets paid off this year. This guy managed to get caught before everything drifted back in. That is the back of an otter there.





So yeah, hopefully someone can get something from those. Although they weren't necessarily taken to be instructional so don't show everything the best. I'll stop now before I really get carried away... Ha! I took a lot of pictures this year...

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#102031 - 02/21/07 07:04 AM Re: Otter thread [Re: trapperjoeAK]
wilsonjr Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/10/07
Loc: Kenny Lake, Alaska
Rueben and Otterman, not being the expert otter trapper by any means, but I came up on that set just because I was out of options on several similar situations. I noticed they were using one or two trails to get to under a tree where they had a potty or something else going, so I fenced in a 330 on their existing trails even though they can easily get around them and I can't say I get them all but I've got some with that set. I've caught them without fencing in at all and it would be real easy for them to go around that trap but they, at times, just wanted to stay on their trail I guess. We'll see next check.

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#112216 - 02/27/07 12:59 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: wilsonjr]
Kusko Offline
"Mr. Mayor"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Bethel, AK
Otterman, how are you setting up your mink sets. I found a slough with some mink in it and want to try and catch them.
_________________________
"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin." Linus Van Pelt

www.alaskafinandfur.com

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#113107 - 02/27/07 07:43 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: Kusko]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
Kusko I actually dont target mink much but got just over a dozen this year almost all in otter sets but a 110 or 120 on the holes they use like otter holes only mink sized did the trick for a couple and what i use to do when I really went aftter them that and pocket sets befor ice up but instead of the standard 1.5 in front of the hole I used a 110 and put the bait deep in the pocket this way if the ice froze the pocket I made dry still held mink when they ran the shelf ice
_________________________

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#116930 - 03/01/07 08:33 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: otterman]
Mark M. Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/25/06
Loc: Custer, MI
Could anyone give me some advice on otter trapping. I have an area where I saw otter signs all over about 3 weeks ago on a lake with some old beaver lodges on it. i havent seen any activity on it until a day ago but it was just where an otter popped up through the ice and walked only 20 ft on the ice then went back into the water. The weather here has been between 0-40 degrees since then and the ice is getting to thin to walk on. I did have an encounter with an otter at a beaver lodge about 3 weeks ago. I know there is more than one because the landowner told me he saw 3 this summer and i have caught some there in the past so it is good area. I have checked out the two other lakes in the area and i didnt see any sign of them at either place and i also checked the creeks and ditches nearby and there is no sign of them there either so I am curious what they might have done or are doing, the food supply there is plentiful and there is no other trapping pressure in my area. Could they be living under ice this whole time and in the abandoned beaver lodges and decide they arent coming on the ice and if so how do I trap them? Thanks
-Mark
_________________________
06-07 Season so far
34 rats
2 coon
2 red fox
1 beaver

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#122310 - 03/05/07 12:14 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: Mark M.]
Anonymous
Unregistered

well, I got my first otter.

Before, I set at the toilet



After


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#123327 - 03/05/07 10:09 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: ]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
Mark M the otter are most likley staying under the ice and travelling there. After teh ice freezes the water will drop and leave hollow spots along the bank between the bank and creek otter will run these for miles punch a hole in the ice and look for the trail you find a trail stick a coni in move a bit 10 feet or so and put another in do this 3 or 4 times and a family comes along you may get most of them. Dont forget to cover the hole with a chunk of ice and cover with snow so the otter dont climb up over your coni in an attempt to exit your hole. the set should look similar to the crossover set I posted above only tight to the bank with any beach or ground left between the coninand water blocked off so they are forced into your coni
_________________________

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#145069 - 03/20/07 10:38 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: otterman]
Top Jimmy Offline
"Assistant Speling Zcar"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Alaska, USA
We picked this otter up this weekend. Wish I had some pictures of the before and after. We had the trap on this otter hole for over two months before it connected. He weighed in at a bit over 20 lbs. He is the biggest we have gotten this year, and also the darkest.





I will try and get some before and after picks the next trip out.

Sorry, the beer wasn't the bait that got him. Just for reference for size....... \:\)

-TJ
_________________________
Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.


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#145213 - 03/21/07 12:53 AM Re: Otter thread [Re: Top Jimmy]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
nice otter Top jimmy love them big dark males. Man I told you not to give my secret bait away you know cheap beer works just as good as that Canadian stuff on otter they arent fussy


Edited by otterman (03/21/07 12:55 AM)
_________________________

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#145469 - 03/21/07 09:29 AM Re: Otter thread [Re: otterman]
Top Jimmy Offline
"Assistant Speling Zcar"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Alaska, USA
Thought I would tease Fish as he can't have any....... \:\)

-TJ
_________________________
Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.


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#145511 - 03/21/07 10:09 AM Re: Otter thread [Re: Top Jimmy]
fishermann222 Offline

"OX"

Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: Bethel, Alaska
LOL thanks Jimmy, I appreciate that. Good thing I am headed to the big town thursday night \:\)
_________________________
I survived the Tman crash of '06

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#145542 - 03/21/07 10:26 AM Re: Otter thread [Re: fishermann222]
snowman Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Michigan
You injured yourself just so you could go drink didn't you.

For some reason I can see you sitting in front of a computer monitor, staring picture of a bottle of beer, leg outstretched, hammer in hand.

WHACK!

"Um...yah...my knee is swollen and it hurts like the dickens...I think I should fly in to town to get dru...err...get it checked out"

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#145796 - 03/21/07 01:20 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: snowman]
Kusko Offline
"Mr. Mayor"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Bethel, AK
That's the secret bait to getting a 12 pack....otter. If you have an otter and place it just right in your specified location, a 12 pack will come. Now, the quality of the otter will determine the quality of your 12 pack. The otter I used this year has been only effective on Milwaukee's Best and Schmidt. Had that otter been a little bit longer, it might have drawn in the elusive Rainer or maybe even a Blatz. Now if I could just catch a bigger otter.....I might.....

Sorry Len, didn't mean to put this in the otter thread, just being funny.
_________________________
"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin." Linus Van Pelt

www.alaskafinandfur.com

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#145830 - 03/21/07 01:44 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: Kusko]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
Man I wish I ahd the otter population Joe has I would be going nuts heck with beaver it would be all otter mittens \:\) My best yr ever was 34 out this way and I was hitting every location I found all season long
_________________________

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#145919 - 03/21/07 02:45 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: otterman]
Top Jimmy Offline
"Assistant Speling Zcar"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Alaska, USA
Kusko,

It was supposed to be a new thread. You know, the "Beer Sets and Techniques" thread.

-TJ
_________________________
Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.


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#145981 - 03/21/07 03:24 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: Top Jimmy]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
Yeah, you can't catch what is not there. I am lucky to be in awesome otter country. Horrible weather though. We really went at it the last three days and ended up running out of traps. This was new country and we had to find the spots, and it was better than expected. Decent chance that a majority of them are out of comission now though as it was snowing pretty good as we left. I wish I could post real videos on here, as I have taken about 7 hours of footage this season so far. Last trip got some real cool video of two otter. I allways like seeing them on dry land. It's cool. One of them had a pretty big fish also. I had real big dreams for those sets till it started snowing. We'll see.


Oh, and here is that picture of one of the four caught on the backcheck yesterday if I am supposed to put it here. I haven't quite figured out exactly what the new idea is... \:\)


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#146667 - 03/21/07 08:13 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: trapperjoeAK]
fishermann222 Offline

"OX"

Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: Bethel, Alaska
From TrapperjoeAK
Great job on the otter. As far as on the holes, they usually will use the same path into and out of the holes and I set in that. Skinning and fleshing is just a bit of work, but I don't think there is much special too it. Great job on the mink also. Here is a picture of the otter snares that I use when I use them. I like conibears better, and I mostly used snares back when I only had 1 dozen 280's and would run out. They work pretty good though. It is just like the wolf snares that I think Dusty posted but smaller. 5/64 cable. About a 6 inch loop. The height off the ground varies a lot depending on circumstances. I always try for a neck snare, so I miss a few but brushing by a snare doesn't spook them so it is no big deal to me. Usually I have multiple sets on a trail anyways. About 4 inches or so off the ground is pretty good. Sometimes a bit higher. Fencing with dead grass or something really helps.








_________________________
I survived the Tman crash of '06

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#146674 - 03/21/07 08:16 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: fishermann222]
fishermann222 Offline

"OX"

Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: Bethel, Alaska
From TrapperjoeAK
When I set footholds for otter. I use #3's, but a good strong number two should be fine I would guess. Not a ton of experience on this as we have caught maybe 8 otters total in footholds over the years. The one thing I would say is do not wire your footholds off. Use cable or extensioin chain or something, but wire is a very bad idea in my opinion. I have never had the slightest bit of trouble with otter in 5/64 cable. But I am a big believer in smaller cable. This is 1x19. Here are some pics of snares afterwards. The first pic is a snare that made a catch last year, and the second pic is a snare catch from this year.






The second one is only as twisted as it is, because the otter got wrapped up around a stick and the swivel incapacitated, but as he was held almost completely off the ground he went down pretty fast anyways.
_________________________
I survived the Tman crash of '06

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#146678 - 03/21/07 08:17 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: fishermann222]
fishermann222 Offline

"OX"

Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: Bethel, Alaska
From TrapperjoeAK
I usually just put a bit of dead grass over it. Same as I do for mink. They fight pretty good usually. Here is a pic of one in a foothold. (I love all these excuses to trot out all my otter pictures :)) Once I got one in a foothold that was on a lift and even with the whole thing off the gound it was still trying to get at me when I was trying to dispatch it. \:\)



_________________________
I survived the Tman crash of '06

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#146681 - 03/21/07 08:20 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: fishermann222]
fishermann222 Offline

"OX"

Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: Bethel, Alaska
From TrapperjoeAK
We have never lost an otter out of a snare, but they have all been neck snared. I use conibears 95% of the time. I rarely use snares now that I have more traps. I used to use them primarily when I ran out of 280's. I have dispatched a bunch of otter, and I haven't found the need to shoot them, but they are pretty vicious. I used to just give them a knock on the head to put them down and then stand on their chests. The only problem is that it takes a LONG time for them to succumb this way. This season I tried something a little different just for the heck of it. I had a spare 220 with me for replacing traps, and I just popped it over the otters head. I know it sounds really weird, but it actually worked really good. It wasn't instant, took a few minutes; but one of the huge benefits was that I could work at remaking the sets, while it succumbed instead of having to keep my foot on it. Shooting is definitely an option... Just not one that I can comment on myself.
_________________________
I survived the Tman crash of '06

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#146770 - 03/21/07 08:54 PM Re: Otter thread [Re: fishermann222]
fishermann222 Offline

"OX"

Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: Bethel, Alaska
Question from TOp Jimmy

OK otter guys, I have another question. What size boards do you use to strech on? I am looking at getting a half dozen and need to decide between 7 or 8 inch boards. I was thinking of getting three of each so I had some varitety, kind of like Mink boards. What do you all think? Anything I should look for?


Response from Otterman
Jimmy around here most of my otter fit on an 8 inch board but otter do vary in size around the state. I do have a 7 inch board too just dont use it as much as the 8 inch ones.

Response from TrapperjoeAK
Maybe get 1 7 inch board. lol. I use 8 inch board 99.5% of the time. Like once every 3 years I catch some dinky little runt of an otter that I put on my one 7.
_________________________
I survived the Tman crash of '06

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#146790 - 03/21/07 09:05 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: otterman]
Family Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Homer, Alaska
I could I could have added a lot more to this thread a couple of years ago. I don't have the pictures with me right now but when I get to Homer I will find some.
Here is a couple I had on line.
I prefer to set underwater in narrow channels that we have a lot of in the Lower Yukon Delta. Perfect
In trying to figure out a set for the 12-15 foot wide and wider streams I have used this set. I prefer to use a conibear but this is a snare set up.
I have a small stream that branchs off a larger one. About 10 ft wide the otter never seem to miss going in to have a look around. I set an outside bend. Fence it off with brush and sticks getting them close to the bank. It is a little deeper than normal so I set up three snares on this set. The location picks up 3-4 otter per year in the three years I set there.
Snares on pole with otter in the background. Snares are secured with a box nail that goes through an 1/8 inch ferule. Quick to place on the pole.
Fencing them into the bank will work on any size stream. Better to build fence early due to ice. But it keeps working all season. Just leave a narrow channel next to the bank that can be secured with a conibear or two. Or snare


On the top snare you can see my experimental attempt to hook up wires to use my continuity meter for checking. Using the snare cable as an electric current path- upon triggering the connection was pulled from the bullet breaking the current. If the bottom ones caught they would pull the first one down in there struggles. It worked. Just hook the continuity meter to the wire on one end and the snare on the other above the ice. Use on the conibear is easier to set up. No continuity Trap is set off. Using the bullet connectors is a good idea as it prevents a false reading when the wire ends acidentally touch the trap. Had beaver stay in a set for some extra time once when I had the elec wire hooked to a spring I forgot to take the safty trigger off of.

The meter is standard on my conibear otter sets. My otter sets don't get a lot of ice build up due to their locations in the small blackfish streams but it does build up. I keep it to a minimum with use of cardboard or plastic bags and snow on top of the hole. This is easier to remove than a foot of ice. Checking an under water set coverd with cardboard and snow in 30 seconds with a meter however makes for a lot of sets that can be checked in a day. Certain sets that do buld ice should be opened up every other 2 or 3 checks regardless. I would run my traps once per week. Otters can be left under the ice for up to two weeks without a problem. No more.
The cardboard works wonders on beaver sets as well. Even in the 30 below temps we had this winter my beaver sets never got more than a couple of inches of ice in 5 days.
With a good snow covering it works wonders. Cover with a good amount of snow.



Ice after a week of cold.




One of my favorite photos. Seemed we were always ending the line in the dark that year. The moon made for a great photo.


Fruits of our labor. Fully lined otter parka I made for my son.
Before otter prices came up.
Parka is inside out here to show the fur



There was a guy on the other forum, I believe from Kotz. He talked about putting a rapalla lure minus the hooks on a conibear trigger and catching otter. Anyone ever have any success with anything similar.




Edited by Family Trapper (12/28/07 06:43 PM)
_________________________
Passion- There are some people who live in a dream world, and their are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

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#146905 - 03/21/07 10:19 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Family Trapper]
piperniner Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Alaska
FT : I put herring on the trigger and catch otter in 330 conibears on poles. Set them in toilet haul outs, under ice, etc. I think artificial lures, white pvc, tin foil, etc would probably work to attract, but have not tried those yet. I plan to experiment with some of that next season. Never know till you try.

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#146956 - 03/21/07 11:05 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: piperniner]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
From Trapperjoe
Ok Loel. No otter that I put up. They are all sold, but I grabbed one of my Dad's and took a pic. This is exactly the way that I do it, except that I use pins on the tail not staples. I think that with pins it is possible to do a much better job on the tail. You have more control. I would of done it this same way, but stretched wider (it is hard to stretch with staples) and with straighter lines. So, for what its worth here are some pics, but I don't think much of this tail. lol.




_________________________

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#155140 - 03/27/07 02:29 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: otterman]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
Hey! Get rid of that nasty picture. lol. I put up a much nicer one later in the thread I think. Here they are again. Prety good evidence I think of why the staple experiment was deemed a failure. \:\)











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#155294 - 03/27/07 04:18 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: trapperjoeAK]
Top Jimmy Offline
"Assistant Speling Zcar"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Alaska, USA
OK Joe. We need to see a picture of the entire animal on the board from the belly side to round out the pictures. For me, I am a bit curious on the front legs. How short do you keep them. Kind of like Mink?

-TJ
_________________________
Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.


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#155504 - 03/27/07 06:28 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Top Jimmy]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
I chop them off right above the paw before I start skinning. That is the fastest, easiest way for me, and then I do not do anything at all to them. They are pretty short all by themselves. If you cut them off too short, it leaves to much of a hole and I do not like how it looks when it dries.

Here is the belly picture of that otter, I do not know if you can see anything very well though. I took all these pictures earlier in the season.


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#155519 - 03/27/07 06:34 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: trapperjoeAK]
Top Jimmy Offline
"Assistant Speling Zcar"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Alaska, USA
Looks good. Thanks!

-TJ
_________________________
Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.


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#155865 - 03/27/07 09:19 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Top Jimmy]
fishermann222 Offline

"OX"

Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: Bethel, Alaska
Posted by TrapperjoeAK

In the warm weather last check I succumbed to temptation and set a foothold in the water for otter. #3 Montana underneath and behind the root. Pullout up above, and looked like just the kind of spot for the otter to decide to squeeze underneath the root. They have a definite preference to going under stuff instead of hopping over in my observations. I love setting footholds in water, as it is about the easiest way to cover a trap and the otter are definitely conibear shy in that area by now, but you know what happens to water up here...




Sure enough, it got cold and I just knew that spot was going to be frozen hard and I would have a job getting that trap out. It was... But, not only did I pick up an otter before it froze, it obligingly got up out of the water before it tangled up and expired. Very cool... \:\)





A double at another spot. You can just see the tail of an otter in a foothold on the far right of the pic.





The rest of the critter on the other side of the stump.
_________________________
I survived the Tman crash of '06

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#155884 - 03/27/07 09:27 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: fishermann222]
fishermann222 Offline

"OX"

Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: Bethel, Alaska
Posted by trapperjoeAK

I snare a few otters, mostly in places that I think are too exposed for a bodygrip. Or once they start getting spooky. I set less than a dozen this year I think. Lost an otter for the first time ever though out of a snare a few weeks ago. I caught it bad somehow, and it fought around for awhile and then pulled out. No problem with the cable, just pulled out of the loop. I must of had him on either a foot or the tail somehow. Which is wierd, as all others I have caught were neck snared perfect.
_________________________
I survived the Tman crash of '06

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#155886 - 03/27/07 09:27 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: fishermann222]
fishermann222 Offline

"OX"

Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: Bethel, Alaska
Question from Rueben
trapperjoeAK,
What do you use for otter snares?

Reply from trapperjoeAK
5/64 1x19. 5-6 inch loop.
_________________________
I survived the Tman crash of '06

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#165750 - 04/05/07 12:18 AM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: fishermann222]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
A few otter pics from the pull. If you have any questions just ask. Dates are all wrong.





















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#165758 - 04/05/07 12:40 AM To catch an otter...
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
Edited to remove duplicate pictures from merge.

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#165762 - 04/05/07 01:03 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: trapperjoeAK]
TrapperMatt Online   happy
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Shippensburg, PA..28 years old
wow nice otter pics!
_________________________
PTA Life Member #689

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#165764 - 04/05/07 01:11 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: TrapperMatt]
blindhog Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: southwest Arkansas
Great pictures of great catches! Lots of good memories there. Otters are my favorite furbearer to trap, and I have caught a few over the years using 220, 280, 330, snares, and foot traps.

Thanks for the pics.

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#165765 - 04/05/07 01:16 AM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: trapperjoeAK]
SEwaterboy Offline
trapper

Registered: 02/08/07
Loc: SE Alaska
TJ-You have to be the Otter KING! I wish we could unleash you on our ever increasing (CRAB EATING! ) sea otters down here. Furry water locusts. Decimating the crab,urchin,and abolone stocks. But that's a topic for another day. Nice job. Impressive production.

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#165775 - 04/05/07 02:09 AM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: SEwaterboy]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
I hear you on that one. The sound is crawling with the dang suckers also. They need to do at least a drawing hunt on them. The current system is pretty ridiculous.

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#165861 - 04/05/07 07:28 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: blindhog]
BrandonH Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: The 'Dacks, NY
Excellent pictures!!

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#165870 - 04/05/07 07:36 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: BrandonH]
Earl8656 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Central VA, Eastern foot of Bl...
Nice pics and great catches!!
_________________________

Old enough to know better, but still young enough not to care.much. "Earl"

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#165871 - 04/05/07 07:37 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: BrandonH]
Bottomline Offline
"Mr. President"

Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: Johnston County, NC
Great pics!! Looks like you have been hanging them high!! Good job.
_________________________
cool


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#166043 - 04/05/07 09:06 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: Bottomline]
hunter82 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Minnesota
Very nice pics,thanks for sharing.
_________________________


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#166058 - 04/05/07 09:14 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: hunter82]
VikesBull Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/01/07
Loc: Central Iowa
Trapperjoe, you obviously know what you are doing with the otter. Looks like not all of your sets are blind, what are you using for bait/lure to get them to come in?
_________________________
5. Oppose unscientific and inappropriate legislation pertaining to the management of furbearing animals.

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#166220 - 04/05/07 10:36 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: VikesBull]
blindhog Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: southwest Arkansas
Would sure like to know some of your methods....

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#166648 - 04/05/07 04:03 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: blindhog]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
Ok... Wierd. I put this on the main forum because I figured there might be a few people there who would like to see the pics, but don't visit this board. So, was there a problem with that or something? Are Alaskan Trappers only allowed to post on this board now?

Most of these pictures are allready here in this board.

While I doubt anyone who asked questions while it was on the main board will actually find it over here, I'll answer them anyways.

All sets are blind sets. Once in a while I might put a little bit of lure here or there, but I personally doubt that does much. The vast majority of the sets are made right on sign where it is apparent otter are traveling. Often I have to fence it down a fair amount. Occasionally I make a set in an "ottery" looking spt where there is no tracks or evidence at a the specific location, but I can tell they are in the area.

I thought the snare pictures were pretty cool myself...

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#166658 - 04/05/07 04:11 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: trapperjoeAK]
TrapperMatt Online   happy
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Shippensburg, PA..28 years old
I liked the pics thought it was cool for you to share!
_________________________
PTA Life Member #689

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#166664 - 04/05/07 04:14 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: trapperjoeAK]
fishermann222 Offline

"OX"

Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: Bethel, Alaska
hmmmmm that is odd, email them and ask why it was moved.
_________________________
I survived the Tman crash of '06

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#166676 - 04/05/07 04:23 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: fishermann222]
Top Jimmy Offline
"Assistant Speling Zcar"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Alaska, USA
That is very odd. I would ask. Maybe they didn't know that you had posted info for us here too.

-TJ
_________________________
Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.


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#167079 - 04/05/07 07:57 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: Top Jimmy]
Uncle Fester Offline
"Mongoose Master"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Colorado
Very nice pics!! Good job!

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#167192 - 04/05/07 08:43 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: Uncle Fester]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
I think it was moved because some complained the pictures were too graphic I guess. Whatever.

Anyways, I'll let it sit for a few days, and then once it drops down I'll delete it to get rid of the duplication.

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#167774 - 04/06/07 09:40 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: trapperjoeAK]
Anonymous
Unregistered

to graphic????
trapperjoeAK-I liked em!!! just wish we were able to catch them here...(none around) need to go more north
I cant believe that somebody got bummed out by your pics \:\(

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#167999 - 04/06/07 11:55 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: trapperjoeAK]
Catman Offline
trapper

Registered: 04/04/07
Loc: NW Alaska
I am a new comer to the site but have been reading for a week now ....non stop actually and I must say, very impressive. I am a third year trapper in Northwest AK and have become completely obsessed. Lynx are my main target with wolverine being a delightful extra. I diversified this season and attempted some mink trapping which turned out ok. However, there are a fair amount of otter in my area and would like to give em a shot next year.

I noticed many of the otter pics were during the open water season. Up here that is not the case. I have had a difficult time setting traps in the snow and ice. There are many many toilets along the river I live on but each one seems like a difficult place to hide a trap. Any ideas? Also, what do you do when there is nothing to attach your trap to near your set, do you use stakes in the ice?

Sure do appreciate this site, have learned a lot!

thanks

Catman


Edited by Catman (04/06/07 12:09 PM)

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#168000 - 04/06/07 11:58 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: Catman]
fishermann222 Offline

"OX"

Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: Bethel, Alaska
Welcome to the site Catman.
_________________________
I survived the Tman crash of '06

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#168004 - 04/06/07 12:00 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: Catman]
Anonymous
Unregistered

Catman,
I set the opening of the toilet, there are pictures in the otter thread, they come out of the hole andare committed and then it is to late. I used chain, with a swivel, and nailed it to a 6'*3ft log, and threw it off to the side. It worked great. The only thing I am going to different, is to either paint or dye my traps white, to conceal them better. You can not find a mroe perfect set then the toilet.

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#168042 - 04/06/07 12:20 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: ]
Catman Offline
trapper

Registered: 04/04/07
Loc: NW Alaska
Thanks for the quick reply. I tell you what, this site is going to give me some serious trouble. I am already having trapping withdrawls as is, but now.......its really gonna get ugly.

Are the toilets used during the summer and fall months as well? There is a short section of the season for me to access open water with my jetboat. I am thinking of trying to get em at the same places. Others have told me that I should just find the beaver and set for otter where ever they are at. Any truth to that?

I inspect every beaver house I come across during the winter and have never seen such heavily used holes as in the pics on this site. Are the otter here denning some place else or am I just finding those lodges that still have beaver in em?

appreciate the knowledge guys, thanks!

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#168097 - 04/06/07 01:00 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: Catman]
Top Jimmy Offline
"Assistant Speling Zcar"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Alaska, USA
Welcome Catman,

This was my first year on otters in the interior and there is no open water to speak of. Find the holes where they are going in and out, sometimes by just following their tracks in the snow, slap a 330 on there (I have some painted white, and some black and the white ones seem to work better, but have gotten them on both) and wait for them to come. May take a while, but they will come if there is a hole that they can get in and out of. I think they will even try to go into a hole just out of curiosity sometimes, as long as you can keep the snow out of it and make it look inviting. Plus, I think they are a lot like cats and wolverine, in that the trap doesn't seem to be of conern to most of them.

I have found holes mostly on old huts that are not active any more, but did catch two on huts that were active. One had a hole at the base, and the other just behind the hut. If they get the chance, they will eat a beaver, as we have had them get into underice beaver sets and eat them from the inside out and leave a bag of bones.

Good luck and welcome!

-TJ
_________________________
Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.


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#168124 - 04/06/07 01:19 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: Top Jimmy]
Catman Offline
trapper

Registered: 04/04/07
Loc: NW Alaska
Great info! How do you prop the traps upright? I am assuming you must place logs or willows near the opening to force them into your trap. The holes in the ice around here tend to be swaths and not distinct slides.

How long do you leave your sets out if there is no action? Do you have a lot of problems with the ice closing in on the holes. What about thin ice, most places that I see a ton of otter tracks, its just looks a little too thin for me to be traipsing around on to set a coni.

Hope I am not firing too many questions

Sure do love them otter pelts....

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#168140 - 04/06/07 01:28 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: Catman]
Anonymous
Unregistered

Catman,
they do have toilets in the "open" water, they are on banks of the river and they constantly use them also. I leave the traps set, once I find an open hole, or a route, as they will be back, be it the next day or 2 weeks. I missed a few because I pulled them do to in activity, and then the next week they came back.
the ice at the pullout seemd thin at the spots I found, but it was fine. You have to use dead branches or spruce so that a beaver will not find a free snack if they are around.
I usually will put a few small sticks under the jaws, so that they won't freeze in. Mostly they lay on the opening, and may need some blocking in.
when a hole does freeze, i bust it back open, and reset it.
they will also, go back to spots where there were previous holes and look around, or dig and try to get back in them.
I also found where they will visit most every hole along the bank, much like a mink, but I have not had luck with getting one in these sets. And I only have a dozen 220's, so they stay set at the holes, and in the travel paths.

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#168144 - 04/06/07 01:32 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


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#168286 - 04/06/07 02:39 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: Catman]
Top Jimmy Offline
"Assistant Speling Zcar"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Alaska, USA
 Originally Posted By: Catman
Great info! How do you prop the traps upright? I am assuming you must place logs or willows near the opening to force them into your trap. The holes in the ice around here tend to be swaths and not distinct slides.

How long do you leave your sets out if there is no action? Do you have a lot of problems with the ice closing in on the holes. What about thin ice, most places that I see a ton of otter tracks, its just looks a little too thin for me to be traipsing around on to set a coni.

Hope I am not firing too many questions

Sure do love them otter pelts....


I try and leave them until the hole is really frozen up, or snowed in/drifted so bad that they won't go in it any more. I have had them be gone for six weeks, then reappear all the sudden. They cover a ton of territory, so as long as the hole is there, and they can get in it, then eventually they will try and get nailed. Also, you never know if they may come from the back side. Where I am at, sometimes they can go underwater/ice from one spot to another, and you will get them coming from the back side of the hole coming out instead of going in.

I try and use a stick on each side through the compressed springs and then driven into the snow to hold the coni in place, but that is about it. We have tried the 220's, but have only gotten Mink in them. The 330's are big enough that the mink can get through the triggers without tripping it.

-TJ
_________________________
Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.


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#168490 - 04/06/07 04:22 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: Top Jimmy]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
It is funny how the grand plans for species specific threads go awry. \:\) It wasn't my fault. I promise. I didn't even post this here! lol.

Those pictures are coastal. Not interior, hence the open water in the one pic. Those only are the nice pictures though. \:\) Not the pictures from the awful months of December and January this year.

Good answers to the questions so I won't repeat them. That is how I have done it in the past as well when in that sort of country, although honestly I don't really like setting directly on holes. I prefer to set routes. The one thing that I will maybe disagree on, is that I do not set 330's for otter on dry land. I don't think they are a good trap for the job. But that is my personal opinion, I use 280's and 220's. I think stabilizing traps is very important. I allways make sure they are completely stable. Now, that is easier to do when you have bushes to wire the springs too, or ground to pound spikes into. I use a LOT of 60 penny nails and short pieces of wire. In open areas I use stabilizers that I build. As far as anchoring, I run cable from all my conibears. If necessary I will run extensions out to about 20 feet to reach an anchor. If that is not possible, I use a large "drag" that I intend to be unmovable.

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#168524 - 04/06/07 04:44 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: trapperjoeAK]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
Thanks Otterman. We now have one "otter thread" again. \:\)

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#168528 - 04/06/07 04:50 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: trapperjoeAK]
Anonymous
Unregistered

THe problem I had with setting the routes to or from the toilet is that it is in the middle of the lake, and they come and go different everytime. But, i did set thier route along the edge of the woods, and used satbilizersalso, and also found a natural funnel/pinch point in thier trail, rather than just setting it down in the middle of no where. I use 220's and am getting some 280's based on Joes experiences, but a 330 will work in "certain" instances.

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#168543 - 04/06/07 05:04 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: ]
Top Jimmy Offline
"Assistant Speling Zcar"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Alaska, USA
Sorry guys, but I am a fan of the 330. It seems to go around the hole, not frame it up and tighten the hole a bit. I think it is more inviting for them. Plus, sometimes a few of our holes ar actually pretty big and you have to fence them a bit as it is. And the 330's don't get tripped by any mink like the 220 seems to do. Not sure why. But I would rather get the mink in a 120 on one of their trails to the hole, and then have the Otter eat the mink and then get wacked by the 330 instead of the Mink getting it on the 220 and then the Otter eating it and leaving (I did have the first one happen twice this year). Plus, as you can see in my last pictures, I forgot to take one safety off and it still killed the Otter instantly. They just don't move or struggle much in the 330.

I have all my 330's swiveled, just in case, and then I have 6' extensions of 1/8 wire that I can use if I can't get to a good anchor, and I can add more if I need more lenght, but that usually gets me where I need to go.

I guess the upside to the 220, is that you can get more of those for the same price as a 330.

-TJ
_________________________
Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.


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#168573 - 04/06/07 05:28 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: Top Jimmy]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
Iv'e killed 99% of the otter Ive taken in my life in 220s if I had to make a good guess I would say that is no less then 350 in 25 yrs. I hate setting 330s for otter on the holes they seem to catch to far back when you lay them over the holes something I do most the time I move my triggers off to the side on the 220s and it helps avoid the mink all together untill this year the things were everywhere and I couldn't avoid them even got one in a 330
_________________________

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#168581 - 04/06/07 05:36 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: otterman]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
I agree completely. I would estimate that at least 5-10% of otter caught in dry land 330's end up being flank caught. Probably more. And a flank caught otter kicks a big fuss. I have personally lost flank caught otter in 330's that fought and fought until they pulled out. Hence I no longer use 330's on dry land. Submerged water sets are a completely different issue. Also the 330's being used make a big difference.

While 95% of otter in 220's will be perfect catches in my experience, I do agree that a 220 is a bit small for many locations. Another difference for me is that I am allways happy to see a mink in an otter set. (I allways thought that was sort of a plus of 220's actually.) BUT, I have never had problems with them being eaten. I can see how in that case it would be a drawback.

Personally, I think the 280 is the king of dry land otter traps. Big enough to cover most openings well, and I have never lost an otter out of one. Haven't been doing it as long as otterman, but have over 100 otters out of 280s with no escapes. 2 live ones that I had to dispatch. In actuality, almost 10% of 280 catches are a bit far back on the neck, right in front of the shoulders, and are not fast dispatches. They fight a bit. I just got there to quick on the ones that were alive. Otters are tough little suckers and there will always be some that do not want to succumb.

Again this is all just my opinion, and am not trying to be argumentative, just foster good discussion. \:\)

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#169017 - 04/06/07 10:43 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: trapperjoeAK]
Beaverhunter2 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Metro-Detroit, Michigan
I don't have a ton of otter experience but I'll pitch in what I've seen. Had an otter get caught in a 330 suitcased back on the ribs and across the abdomen. It braced its front paws on the jaws and pushed the trap down its body until it got it's back legs through the first set of jaws and was now only held at the waist. At that point, I "intervened". I'd seen enough. I'm a 280 man, now. Strong 280s with a striker bar added.

John
_________________________
President
Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association

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#175850 - 04/12/07 11:27 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: Beaverhunter2]
Catman Offline
trapper

Registered: 04/04/07
Loc: NW Alaska
Wow, a lot of food for thought gentlemen. I think I am going to go with the 280s for next season and try them out. I have a few 330s so I will try them as well.

Once again, thanks for all the great info!

Catman

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#225139 - 06/09/07 12:39 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: Catman]
smalltimetrapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/09/07
Loc: Interior Alaska
I'm getting ready to get a few more otter traps, I think after doing a little reading I will get some 280s. The 220s seem a tad on the small side, although I see that otterman has great success with them.

Does anyone have experience with the duke 280s, or should I go a more expensive route? I can't get any locally, does anyone know if someone in Fairbanks sells 280s?
_________________________
Obamunism: change has come to America

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#225165 - 06/09/07 01:37 AM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: smalltimetrapper]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
smalltime it depends on what types of set you are planning on using as to the size of the trap if you are setting the holes they use to exit the ice chances are a 280 wont fit them as well as the 220. now on dam cross overs and trails 330s work well I have not used 280s but the 220 is often too small for the holes I set
As for Dukes I cant say I don't own any and don't plan on buying any. I figure as much controversy as the name Duke seems to produce I will stick with BMI's they are a tad more $$$ but a super strong trap and I am talking the regular not magnums


Edited by otterman (06/09/07 01:40 AM)
_________________________

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#225590 - 06/09/07 04:18 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: otterman]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
I have no problem with Duke bodygrips. I like the BMI's a little better, and that was what I had and used for a long time; but I bought 5 dozen more Duke 280's and 220's before last season and caught over 50 otter in them with no trap problems or malfunctions. It remains to be seen if they will hold up and maintain there strength as long as the BMI's have.

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#225606 - 06/09/07 04:45 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: otterman]
smalltimetrapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/09/07
Loc: Interior Alaska
I've noticed that with Duke traps also, they always seem to generate discussion both positive and negative. I've got a couple duke 110s, the loop that connects spring to jaws is open enough to come off the jaws, I had to tighten it up. Some guys like them, even the bigger ones for wolverine, as posted earlier on another thread.

I will look into the BMI 280s.
_________________________
Obamunism: change has come to America

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#225650 - 06/09/07 05:48 PM Re: To catch an otter... [Re: smalltimetrapper]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
I don't think anyone will deny that the only thing the Dukes have going for them is the price. But that certainly is a factor for most of us. For me, they work satisfactorily (so far) hence they do the same job for less. Besides the bigger ones, I have 10 dozen Duke 120s and yes occasionally a spring comes off and such things. But I will happily put up with that for $52 a dozen. Also, on the 120's the only other trap even remotely competetive pricewise is the Bridger, and I DON'T like them.

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#227976 - 06/12/07 08:01 AM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: fishermann222]
Hornhunter Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/29/06
Loc: Maine
I'm no otter trapper, but did manage to catch one in a beaver snare this past winter. Not many otter in this area, but it's not uncommon for beaver trappers the come up with a half dozen otter in their snare sets.

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#228036 - 06/12/07 09:16 AM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Hornhunter]
white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Loc: McGrath, AK
Yep, thats the way a lot of them are caought here too. A nice bonus.
_________________________
Mean As Nails

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#228088 - 06/12/07 10:21 AM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: white17]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
I read once about a Canadian trapper who set for otter using a typical snare set up for beaver but used both beaver belly meat tied to the dry pole and tinfoil shaped fish as bait anybody else read this seems like it was in the Trapper several years ago? As I remmeber the guy claimed to get quite a few otter this way
_________________________

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#228094 - 06/12/07 10:37 AM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: otterman]
white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Loc: McGrath, AK
I seem to recall reading about a guy that wound beaver guts onto the trigger of a 330 and put it under the ice. Seems like it might be hard to keep the stuff on the trigger.
_________________________
Mean As Nails

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#228143 - 06/12/07 11:57 AM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: white17]
Kusko Offline
"Mr. Mayor"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Bethel, AK
I have one of those old YK Delta Trapping manuals and in it, they describe using a pole set with snares and fish wired to the pole for otter. They also used fish on the trigger of a 330.
_________________________
"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin." Linus Van Pelt

www.alaskafinandfur.com

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#228156 - 06/12/07 12:14 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Kusko]
Family Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Homer, Alaska
A guy from the Alaska Trapping Forum claims to use the rapalla fish lure minus the hooks on his trigger and takes a few otter. I bought the lures but never did try them.
I always wanted to try in an area that was hard to fence due to deep water. Someday.
_________________________
Passion- There are some people who live in a dream world, and their are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

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#228365 - 06/12/07 04:51 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Family Trapper]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
I have used the foil wrapped around a conibear trigger submerged in a pool. Also the foil wrapped rock in the bottom of a bucket guarded with a 220 and sunk so that the opening of the bucket is up. In my experience, those kind of sets work occasionally if there is nothing better you can come up with, but I think that good blind sets are MUCH better.

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#228387 - 06/12/07 05:21 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: trapperjoeAK]
Family Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Homer, Alaska
I have to agree with you Joe the blind sets in the right location is the best bet. Just hate it when you see a huge toilet or sign and are in an areal that just can't be set up well for a variety of reasons. Man I missed otter trapping last year. I have to work on the skin sewing market etc and find an outlet. Just too many of those things out here not to be getting after them. But for $40 -$50 each it just seems too low. If I could get $80-$100. I think I could I could come up with 50-75 if I went after them. I got 30 last time just fooling around on weekends.
The country out here is just a pile of natural narrow leads from pond to pond etc that just beg for an otter set. No one targets them and especially now with the price coming down.
The other thing about otter is they are much easier to tan than beaver. They turn out consistently good. I would even consider tanning and selling them to sewers.
$30 tanning on top.
I wonder if a guy took a few samples of tanned otters to the craft fairs etc to show the skin sewers what you can produce if a guy could get some orders.
I think I will start to carry one with me just for advertizement.

Between 300 marten sets and a 200 otter sets it could keep a guy busy.

I been tossing around the idea of making a skinning machine that would work while out on the line. a bipod or tripod affair that you could carry in a basket sled that would use a little 12 volt winch to strip an otter off the carcass in the field before they started to freeze up. If I could stay out and camp on the otter line and skin while I went I would be much farther ahead. I would like to speed up the time it takes to peel one off so I could get it done in less time while out in the cold on the trail. If a g;uy was picking up 5-8 otter at a wak it would be worth it. Not too mention lightening the load.

Ideas anyone. A horizontal skinning machine that could run off a 12 volt or boat wind up winch. Couldn't be that hard to come up with something. Something that works well might take some trial and error.


Edited by Family Trapper (06/12/07 05:32 PM)
_________________________
Passion- There are some people who live in a dream world, and their are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

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#229209 - 06/13/07 12:16 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Family Trapper]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
Len you keep up and your going to need a 20 foot sled to haul all the gadgets :)Why not just use a piece of wire and hang it from a tree wack the tail bone off and leave it inside to deal with at fleshing time. Then rough skin the rest since your not a clean skinner anyway now you have saved time and weight and dont have to stop and set up a skinning machine. It seems like I always did my trapping in the regular work hours and skining was done at the camp at night. 200 otter sets would be an insane amount if you are chopping or diggin them out to check. Add 300 marten sets to that and you will need a week to check the line but I know all you got is time (I'm Jealous). If I was trapping your country I would set up the main line for marten much like I use to for beaver then once it was up I would take a few days to add sets for everything else along that line why pass up a $20 fox or a $100 cat if your in the area. I mean it is about the fun but making $$ where you can sure would seem to help keep the family convinced you should keep going every winter \:\)
_________________________

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#229324 - 06/13/07 01:37 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: otterman]
Kusko Offline
"Mr. Mayor"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Bethel, AK
I would agree with Todd. I'd get your main line going (which I'm sure is still out there) for marten and then fill in with whatever else as you go. This is what I do with fox. I have my main line for them and then if time allows, I'll trap muskrats or beaver along the way. Marten are so easy to skin and flesh compared to a fatty fox or otter. Won't a lot of your critters be frozen anyway? It would be nice if you find a really good spot up there and build a small cabin and then put your tent on the other end and you'll have nice set up with a ready made spot to get warm, do your skinning, get some sleep.
_________________________
"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin." Linus Van Pelt

www.alaskafinandfur.com

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#229443 - 06/13/07 02:26 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: otterman]
Family Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Homer, Alaska
Otterman It all has to go into my 10 foot Hickory.


I know I am always trying to think too hard. But I have thought about this one some. Remember I don't have a house or a skinning shed to come home to.

A lot of my otter country has no trees for one. At below zero temps the otter freezing up by the end of the day would mean I most likey couldn't skin that night in the tent without some thawing of feet and head-YUK. Peeling them on site would be great. But even rough skinning a cased animal is nothing like rough skinning a beaver. Their tough. Especially otter. If I could strip them off the carcass on site it would be worth a little extra weight. I think even if you could anchor them to a willow or something and have a wind up winch on the back of the machine to pull with might work.
Finding and taking the time to rough skin from a tree would really add time away from my day.
I have done that and it still takes a while.


The tail seems to be the fastest part for me to rough out. They pull off pretty easy once you get going. All the fat is left on the tail however.

200 otter sets. I ran around 50 on my weekend line. I think 200 would be doable on a long line over a couple three days. I would check every two weeks. With otter as you know making two or three sets at a location is the way to go. 200 individual sets would also be a number of snares as I can't afford a lot more conibears. No shortage of places to set out here if I get out in Nov to find them prior to a big dump of snow and blow.

A lot of my water doesn't freeze too thick. The blackfish and current in a lot of my areas keep the ice at bay. For some reason we have quite a few warm water areas that only get to maybe a foot or less all winter. Less if you insulate for sure. I also use the contiunity meter. If it is not set off I don't bother to check. I can run a lot more sets that way. With them insulated I get little ice build up in a lot of my spots.

As far as other fur on my marten line I didn't have a lot of other animals . A few lynx showed up during breeding season but I saw nothing early. I know where they come through now and will be ready for them next year. Almost zero fox too. Very few. Most of the fox and lynx are along the Yukon. I would have great lynx trapping on an otter line. But then I have to deal with regular checks. At least weekly and I can't manage that and do marten too. The areas are in opposite directions. The marten and otter really go well with an extended check and that is what I will most likely focus on.
Both can go two weeks with out problems.

I can get on the lynx around St. Mary's and check at night when I am working my tech job. Plenty of them around.
What ever I do will be a concentrated effort of about a two month period of time this year. Fast and furious. The wife says no more 4 months without coming home this year. It was too long I agree. I just kept trying to play catch up. Even though a lot of that time was spent on my tech job.
I learned a lot this last season about managing things here in St. Mary's I think this year could be pretty good.
But putting together something to strip an otter on the line is still on my mind!!

Kusko I posted after your reply. The thing is my otter, beaver, fox area is really separate from my marten line. There is a few otter and beaver but nothing to compare to the delta area if a guy wants to get fur. It is really two separate lines to run.
My time out here is all to uncertain to be building cabins. But it would be nice. I found the kifaru to be plenty comfy however.

As far as my main marten line still being out there yes and know. My traps are stashed out there but not at sets. I am going to really rework my line into sets I can leave hanging in place like Takotna does and others. With the great snow conditions I had last year I set a lot of my sets in places I could never get to in Dec. So most all of my sets will be new and somewhat permanent this year.


Edited by Family Trapper (06/13/07 04:22 PM)
_________________________
Passion- There are some people who live in a dream world, and their are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

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#230236 - 06/14/07 10:32 AM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Family Trapper]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
Len all I can say is two weeks is too long even up here with our conditions. If you have one bad week of weather you are then 3 weeks off the line it will cost you fur. Most people check once a week simply because of logistics. I personally check every 3- 4 days and sometimes more 70 miles on snowmachine after work. If I ever go more then 7 days I am pulling my hair out doing weather dances. I am sorry but I can not agree with a planned 2 week check even for under the ice otter
_________________________

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#230286 - 06/14/07 11:33 AM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: otterman]
Kusko Offline
"Mr. Mayor"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Bethel, AK
I think Len is blessed with pretty stable weather up there unlike you and I Todd. My fox and marten line can be done w/o decent snow, but it is tough. Last year in January when we had NO snow, Len was up there grinning like a gopher in soft dirt, riding around in GREAT conditions while I was down here scrambling trying to pull all of my stuff.
_________________________
"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin." Linus Van Pelt

www.alaskafinandfur.com

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#230323 - 06/14/07 12:24 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Kusko]
Family Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Homer, Alaska
Otterman
I always planned a week check on my otter and marten as well. It was through just what you said happening, snow storms, something coming up etc when I was working that a few times lead me to leave them out two. I then started to do that on alternating parts of my line that were out of the way. I have never had a problem. I will have a flexible enough schedule that I will be able to get out when needed however. That is the big key. If I think the check will be needed I will go. I know that I can let things go two weeks if I need to but will shoot for more like 10 days most likely.

A week is my prefered check for sure but I have never lost an otter in a two week check under ice. They will come out of rigor in that time and be a limp noodle but that doesn't seem to be a problem. A guy just can't go longer. Trying to balance two animail specific lines, that are in opposite directions out here, if I do it, would take some logistics and long check would play into that I am sure. What ever seems to be working the best would be what I will shoot for.
My concentration will be on getting sets out. From what I saw last year it was first runs that made the difference on my marten. I plan to have a lot of first runs this year. Marten hang fine in the freezer and with the tip up poles I use now they hang well away from harm for the most part. Had a wolverine pull one down. My concentration will be on getting traps out and checking them when I can within that two week window. It just didn't pay to keep working the same line last year. Maybe I will see changes this year since I will be on them earlier as Takotna suggested but I am still going to concentrate my efforts on getting sets out.

We will get a shot of warm weather for about a week seems in Jan or Feb the last two years. Usually improves the conditions but as Kusko stated it it pretty stable weather other than that. Last year we had awesome cold and snow until April. Even in our week of warm monsoon it only improved the travel condions of our deep snow. The beauty of my schedule is flexible and I have time to do what I need to to make it work unlike balancing things on weekends.
_________________________
Passion- There are some people who live in a dream world, and their are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

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#230343 - 06/14/07 12:42 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Family Trapper]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
Ok as I understood it you planned on leaving the line 2 weeks and planning that IMO no matter where you are is too long. If you plan 7 days or so then you get bad weather like a thaw or extreem cold sitting tight wont hurt but 2 weeks and then having to sit tight for another week would.
Len how long does it take you to run all your sets? When I trapped like you in the past I ran all day skinned the next ran a second line the 3rd day and skinned the 4th 5th day back to line 1 it worked kept the fur numbers manageable but I didn't have more then 15 marten on my best year as we had so few along my line I had to multispeiceis trap to make it profitable. Is that or something similar an option with a base camp in the middle of the two lines if you get my train of thought?
_________________________

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#230528 - 06/14/07 03:37 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: otterman]
Family Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Homer, Alaska
The two week window is the outside end for sure and a guy will have to work within that. But I throw that out there because it gives me the most options as long as I stay within it. Certainly a shorter check early on will be prudent. But after the cream is taken off 2 -4 week returns on an otter before they return seems to be the normal.

I can't answer how long it will take as the only experience with otter has been 50 or so sets on weekends while teaching. Trap Sat and Sunday for otter and beaver on the weekends and skin for the next few evenings after work.
What I would do now is to rough skin beaver and otter and back haul them to Anch for 28cents/lb, periodically and store in a freezer in Homer till I get home.

Last year I made over 200 marten sets and had probably 175 set at one time. Had they cooperated it would have been great. ;0(
I will shoot for over 300 sets out at any given time this year.
I don't seem to be too good at working mulit species at one time when I am concentrating on getting a lot of sets out. Wolverine yes on the marten line but too much gear to pack and think about to worry about otter, fox and lynx etc on my marten line. Too far for now and I can't set foot traps that need a 3-5 day check. I also can't afford to start filling up my sled or snowmachine with snared and frozen fox and lynx. Wolverine I will deal with for the money.
Now closer to St. Mary's I can cash in on fox, lynx, beaver more this year now that I have my longer line logistics worked out.
The first year for any big endeavor is always a a cross between a crap shoot and circus.
I am glad that I thought big and outside the box last year as I really learned a lot about what I could get away with and what was a waste of time. Had I not shot for the moon I would have been left far more disappointed than I was.
Not sure just what I will get away with this year but I will shoot for the moon for now and plan. If it all comes together so be it. But I know I will be way farther ahead than I was last year.
Doing all this out here where I don't have a home base anymore is a huge challenge in its self.
_________________________
Passion- There are some people who live in a dream world, and their are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

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#232070 - 06/16/07 07:22 AM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Family Trapper]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
Well, in my experience otter are pretty much invincible. I allways try for a one week or less check, but due to unavoidable acts of God like rivers going out or other bad weather I have had otter sit in freeze/thaw weather (not underice) for two weeks or more and come out fine. They are REALLY, REALLY tough. Belly gets green, but once you get it on the board and the hair sets it is in there. Does fine through tanning. Marten are WAYYYYY more finicky as far as spoiling goes.

I got really spoiled having mechanical advantage to skin otters. Used the chain hoist in the shop and it was NICE. Really speeds things up as you can just pull that thing straight down. An electric winch would be even faster (It's in the works). If you don't mind leaving the fat on the tail, you can rough skin that in 15 seconds. After you make your cut, go to the tip of the tail and just skin out that last inch. Then grab hold of the bone with vice grips, hold the hide with your other hand and you can pull the whole thing right out. Very fast. The vicegrips also are useful on the legs. After you make your cuts and have it hanging, you can just clamp the vicegrip on the corner where the leg cut meets the foot cut and then stip the leg down with a good hard pull. Once on the front, once on the back. Also takes only seconds. Little knifework to clear the plumbing and then hook to the machine and BAM all the way to the front legs, pop them out and then skin out the head. If you are setup, it is FAST! Even if you can't get the machine, I think the vicegrips are a very good trick. (I got that idea off of Clint Locklear's video by the way.)

Anyways, as marten are also pretty fast to skin, (I can roughskin an otter WAY faster then I can cleanskin a marten through the mouth though) it would seem that the only real timeconsuming task would be the otter fleshing. I know from experience that it is not much fun to get back to camp after dark and have to spend a few hours fleshing otter. And as far as that goes, if you have consistent cold temps you could allways just roll them up and let them freeze to flesh later. I did that a couple times this winter. With work and school and 15 otter looking at me, didn't have much choice but to skin, roll, bag, and freeze. Thaw them out two at a time to flesh. Since they are tougher, you have a little more grace with the thawing then you do with say beaver.


Edited by trapperjoeAK (06/16/07 07:24 AM)

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#232253 - 06/16/07 12:41 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: trapperjoeAK]
Top Jimmy Offline
"Assistant Speling Zcar"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Alaska, USA
Joe, that is interesting that you can pull the hide off like that with the vice grips. I got one of those fleshing machines that you bolt to the floor with the vice clamps that the guys down south use for coons and coyotes, and then an electric winch. I was just going to do it so that I could keep some good tension on the hide while skinning otters and beaver. My hands just get cramps after doing a bunch and pulling all the time. If I can actually pull the hide off with that, it would be much better and faster. I will have to try it when I get all set up.

Do you have any issues with the clamps ripping the fur, though?

-TJ
_________________________
Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.


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#232256 - 06/16/07 12:46 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Top Jimmy]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
No. Once you get it skinned down below the sex organs, you can stip it all the way to the front legs with the machine. No knifework needed. You just hook the vicegrip clamps (mine have flatbar welded on) to the hind legs. I have never had one rip. Ever. Otter are tough, I have torn a couple back legs when using a vicegrip to strip them rather than skin with a knife. The vicegrip that I am talking about for the tail and legs does not have flatbar, just a regular one.

I only use a knife for the initial cuts, a little around the sex organs, and the head.

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#232265 - 06/16/07 01:09 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: trapperjoeAK]
Family Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Homer, Alaska
Hey Joe thanks for the input.
On the otter you must be talking above water?
I did leave an otter set out once when I was in town on an extended trip waiting for our baby that was late. Took my window out to three weeks. I had an otter that started to slip while in a conibear under water. That is how I came up with the three weeks as a no no. But I think above water being frozen would be better. Even through a freeze thaw cycle. But being above water out here means voles and even a shorter window for checks. I set very few sets above water.

The marten seem to do fine if they are frozen. The lips and eyes start to dehydrate. We have a very dry cold here. I can see in your maritime environment where you could have problems. I had a set this winter that seemed to have gotten out of the way enough that it didn't make the cut for a couple of checks. I know I had one marten that was out at least a month. It came out fine. Had some dry lips and sunken eyeballs but over the hide was fine.

Thanks for the input on the otter skinning. That is what I was looking for. I hate pulling and skinning them by hand. I would way rather clean skin them like a beaver. That is the way I do all of them that I tan.
The tail is pretty cool the way it will strip down. I always start at the base end and strip. Funny how it peels off at the fat meat layer. I had not thought of doing it from the end of the tail.
From what you are saying looks like if I had a mechanical pulling system, boat winch, etc I could maybe make it work on the line. I wonder if I just tied off to a stable tree willow even and to the snowmachine if the weight of the snowmachine wold be enough weight to stay put while pulling an otter. Save having to make a frame of some kind. It would be horizontal which would be a little harder but better than the alternative of not skinning.
Fleshing would not be done until after I ship them out to my home base in Homer.
I am really tossing ideas around right now on how much to target beaver and otter vs marten.

I am blessed with a gazillion beaver and a lot of otter in relatively close range compared to marten.
It is just soo much work taking care of them for the return. I love to trap otter and beaver however and trapping a captive audience like beaver seems a breeze after dealing with finicky marten last season.

I wonder what a guy could average on Nov/Dec Beaver. My Nov/Dec beaver are so easy to trap compared to later.
Not under furred nearly as well however but I can't even begin to compare the ease of trapping compared to later in the season with deep snow and ice.

Anyone reading this sell any Nov/Dec beaver in Alaska, Nafa? Local?
Mine are still in the freezer. Deciding whether to tan and skin or just dry and sell. I have to make a decision when I get home and get started.
Nafa Jan Wonder where Alaskan beaver would fit?
Dec sale
Type Offering %Sold Section Average Top
Beaver 27,219 100 Eastern I $24.70 $57.00
100 Western I $23.73 $45.00
100 Section III $14.32

May sale.
Beaver 102,092 97% Eastern I $ 22.14 $120.00
92% Western I $ 23.49 $ 45.00
100% Section III $ 12.60


Sure wish otter would get moving on the market.


Edited by Family Trapper (06/16/07 01:13 PM)
_________________________
Passion- There are some people who live in a dream world, and their are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

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#232295 - 06/16/07 02:10 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Family Trapper]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
I am leary of beaver at NAFA. I would say fairly confidently that you can get $40 on the good ones locally pretty easy. I averaged just under that with early fall caught beaver. Got $40 or up for all the bigger ones. The bigger sewers around here use a LOT of beaver. If you can find the markets, most are willing to pay.

I would DEFINITELY put any beaver into the Fur Rondy auction before I would send them to NAFA. First off, you have control because you can set minimums on them. Also, good beaver allways sell well there because a couple of sewers usually show up and keep the competition for them. Just as soon pay commission to ATA as to NAFA as well. It isn't tough to average $40 before commissions there. This last year, Masek and a couple other guys sent down a bunch (maybe 60-80) of REALLY nice beaver and I think they averaged around $60. Just going off of memory there. Everyone wanted them.

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#232319 - 06/16/07 02:42 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: trapperjoeAK]
Family Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Homer, Alaska
Joe
Good points.
How does the ATA work. Do they sell in lots of a single buyer, by the pelt or graded lots?
Something I would like to do would be to precontact some sewers preseason and show them some samples of what my fur looks like. Color, and quality. Tanned or dryed
If I could establish a market for beaver that would give me a $40 dollar average on Dec beaver there would be about 200 less beaver on the delta by next Feb.
Are these private sewers or some of the furriers in Anchorage like David Green?

If you know of any of the buyers that I might contact regarding beaver let me know.
Where should I start looking? Furriers in the tourist shops in Anchorage, craft shows and state fair etc? I know you have your otter markets and I don't want to cause you any marketing problems. I think I will take some fur to Anchorage and see what I can find for markets. Any tips would be appreciated.
_________________________
Passion- There are some people who live in a dream world, and their are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

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#232338 - 06/16/07 03:16 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Family Trapper]
trapperjoeAK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Chugiak/Homer, AK
The people at craft shows all want tanned fur. But there is definitely interest there. That was our fall-back market for otter if we couldn't move them raw. And yeah, that is the sort of big sewer I am talking about. Talked to one of the Green's about otter and they were interested, but never actually sold any to them. They do buy raw fur though. The one thing is, that it seems to work much better to talk with these people in person rather than over the phone. Some medium sewers too, the people who have their own shops, but aren't a David Green. Even those guys, some of them use 300+ beaver a year. Beaver are actually one of the easier things to move to sewers around here. We stopped at a couple shops to make contact, and others we either met at the fur auction; or sometimes buyers come to the SCCATA meetings. The other cool thing, is that to some extent the sewers are independent of the fur market and pay you what they can afford to pay and still make a good profit. Not so much what the market is. Also, by cutting out a middle man they save a BUNCH of money. The costs involved from buying at some place like NAFA are pretty ridiculous. It is mostly a matter of doing the work and establishing the connections. (Which, to be honest, my dad did most of.) But you never really know how it will work out, I think the main guy we sold too last year originally sort of just told us that he would look at some otter because he wanted to get us in his shop so he could buy our beaver. Then he liked them a lot and ended up buying a bunch over the course of the season.

The Fur-Rondy auction is essntially run as a single item auction. Each pelt is tagged and bid on as a unique item. Although, often two well matched pelts are put up at the same time to be bid on at the same time. Just to speed things up.

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#232398 - 06/16/07 04:29 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: trapperjoeAK]
Family Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Homer, Alaska
 Quote:
The people at craft shows all want tanned fur. But there is definitely interest there

Hey if the money is there I can do that too. Tanning otter is pretty consistent. Beaver on the other hand are harder and don't turn out as consistently soft as beaver.
A lot more thinning of the leather is required as well.
I am going to be tanning up some otter and beaver this summer and will have to show crafters. By tanning I could make money while I am home as well.
_________________________
Passion- There are some people who live in a dream world, and their are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

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#232632 - 06/16/07 10:37 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Family Trapper]
otterman Offline



Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: SW Alaska
Len good idea and not to put a damper on it but think for a minute how much is your time for tanning worth? can you tan an otter in 2 hours? I figure my time for something like that is worth no less then $20-$25 an hour now I can send it out get it tanned and back to me for $25 pluss shipping so about 32-38 per pelt.
Now the distinct disadvantage you are trusting someone else with your fur and it takes 2 months minimum generally 3 or 4 to get your fur back. So it is a toss up I go with the money out of pocket vs my time and my free time is just too valuable so I am willing to wait on the tannery Of course I dont have the
advantage of being retired like you \:\)
But if you are selling beaver for $40 tanned you are cheating yourself $80-$100 is the going price around here for a tanned one but the market is very limited. Also some fo the sewers bigger ones are not going to want tanned hide they want them all tanned with the company of their choosing not random as there product is dependent on a certain quality of tan and they know where they can get that.
Selling raw to theses guys at $40 a beaver is a better way to go IMO but having some around tanned to sell to someone in need like myslef for instance were I to run short then you would be increaseing you options and overall income. I hope this all makes sense as I seem to have gotten on three or four thoughts here


Edited by otterman (06/16/07 10:43 PM)
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#232685 - 06/16/07 11:58 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: otterman]
Family Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Homer, Alaska
Otterman I hear you. I would not consider tanning beaver in any quantity right now. Otter maybe. The $40 price I was talking was dry. In the village I usually charged about $40 just to tan their large beaver and could have a hide back in less than 10 days. But I would only tan green beaver. Can't do dried hides.

Otter if I was tanning 20 at a time I would have less than 2 hours into tanning them. Less thinning compared to beaver and a lot more consistent tan. I love working with otter.

If I had a tumber to break hides, which I would consider making using Bruce Rittel's directions he sells, I would consider tanning on a larger scale. The tanning part is realatively easy. It is the breaking down that is a bummer when doing a bunch.
My initial thought is to sell beaver dried. Maybe salted and ears turned if I am marketing to Alaskan sewers that may use the head. When is the last time you saw a beaver for sale that had soft ears?

Otters a mix of tanned and dried depending on the market I find.
I will know more after a trip to Anchorage.

The biggest reason I got into tanning was my disapointment in commercially tanned furs. Hide was too thin and the leather was alum tanned.
I wanted a hide that would stand up to heavy use and getting wet repeatedly.
I've been very happy with the results.
But it sure is tempting to just ship beaver to Moyles or similar. My freezer could breathe a little easier if I did.

Retirement _ Only in the states eyes! But working at things you enjoy is a blessing.
Thanks for the input. As always it is appreciated. I am never tied of listening to others advice and comments.



Edited by Family Trapper (06/17/07 12:00 AM)
_________________________
Passion- There are some people who live in a dream world, and their are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

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#232710 - 06/17/07 02:08 AM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Family Trapper]
martentrapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Moved to Fbks, Ak.
Hey Len, if your into tanning you might check out the guy who owns Frontier Tanning. Couple years ago he was wanting to retire and sell out.

Last years weather/snow conditions was a fluke. Not the type of conditions one can rely on. I think, Len, that you were virtually travelling thru the marten country on a paved hiway. I assume that had something to do with the amount of line and traps you got out. Could be alot different next year. I don't think your weather is anymore stable than anywhere else. Your on the edge of interior cold, and coastal warm, plus far enough south to get the warm spells several times a winter. Shoot for the moon, but be ready to change course as conditions effect you.
From what you've discussed on this otter thread, you have 4 species with the potential to give you a decent return on your trapping investment. Marten, lynx, otter, and beaver. Of those 4, I would say marten and lynx are the easiest to set for and least work to handle. I'd say that a lynx line could be run faster than an otter, or lynx/otter line.
I sure envy your mixed bag country. Talked to Jeff Sutter quite a bit last winter. Really good lynx numbers about 20 miles south of Mountain.
mt

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#232713 - 06/17/07 04:46 AM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: martentrapper]
Family Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Homer, Alaska
Paved highway was right.
And it was a fluke. Would really have been the winter to keep lynx traps working.
As far as the weather being stable it can swing here for sure. But over the last 23 years I have seen where the kusko area usually looses its snow much easier.
I think due to the frozen Bearing sea up hear our coastal influence all but goes away in mid winter as compared to places like Dillingham. I like to those big thaws anyway. It can really improve things for trapping if you have a lot of snow. We are not imune to the storm track however and of course it can rain for a week in Feb.
It was slow going until we had the thaw last year. Lots of snow when it finally did come. But that was kind of a fluke too. Just have to take what comes along and be ready to capitalize on the situation. Become diversified. ;0)

I know the area well that Jeff talked to you about. The lynx numbers are high right now in all the river and flats around it on the delta. I just don't want to get tied into a species that will dictate a weekly or less trap check for an extended time like lynx.

If I choose to do beaver it will be a concentrated effort on a three-4 day rotation for a month or so. Taking time out to get a marten line working when conditions dictate. Trap beaver and once every 10 days or so run the marten line.

If I leave for an extended time for home or spend more time on a marten line I would have to set off my lynx sets. Insulated beaver sets would be fine. Not great but they would make it without loss of fur. Might have some extra chopping to do but that is all. I just don't see a real big effort for lynx happening.

I am fortunate to have the mixed bag here. I am just contemplating on how best to strategize on making it work and getting a good return for my time.
Bottom line I like to trap all 4 about equally well. I just have to weigh the taking care of them.
The marten have it hands down there but are a wild card on whether or not they will cooperate. I think if we have a somewhat usual winter I could do pretty good this year with what I learned last year. The investment is made.

Beaver is a given. No doubt that I can catch a lot of them. But do I want that much work. Only if I know I can get a decent price on them dried. It would take investing $ in more conibears however. Not a very rosy picture. Snares are an option but donít compare to conibears in success per set in my opinion.

Otter. If China hadn't pulled the plug and sent the returns on them to the toilet I would be all over them. I love trapping otter. I will look for an Alaskan Market like Joe. If it pans out I will make time for them.

Lynx. I hate to trap a lot of them for fur prices and I just don't seem to make the time to market them like I should to the taxidermy markets like I have in the past. I have some to tan up. I will see what they will do locally as well.

Decisions. Just like last year. Planning is half the fun for me however.
I really miss doing this with my kids. Takes a lot of the fun out of it for me not having them here to trap with. With the decision to put my son in public school this year there will be even less time for him to join me out here.

What ever I do I will be loving it as always! \:D
Thanks for the input Mike it is appreciated as always.
Guess I will quit straying on this otter thread. Started off on the topic and now seems to have gone all over.


Edited by Family Trapper (06/17/07 04:59 AM)
_________________________
Passion- There are some people who live in a dream world, and their are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

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#233365 - 06/17/07 11:45 PM Re: Otter thread/archive [Re: Family Trapper]
martentrapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Moved to Fbks, Ak.
Perhaps we need a trapline planning thread?
mt

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