Last Updated: September 3, by Nina Walk. He describes why traplines are good for wildlife management and how he sets up his every year. Whether I am predator calling local farm fields or trapping muskrats in swamps, it is always a good time. Fur prices today are at an all-time low, and so it is not a profitable hobby by any means. Although my motivation is not for money, I trap simply because I enjoy it and other the perks that go along with running a trapline. The sport of furtaking has a long history in the Americas dating back to colonial times.
Today it is sometimes viewed as cruel and barbaric, but with modern traps and regulations, it is without question a humane sport. For example around the end of December, fox and coyote are prime, muskrat and mink season are in the process of drawing to a close, and cable restraint season opens. So logically my target species for that point in the season are fox and coyote. Once I decide that I am going to set some traps in this case canine traps , I retrieve my prepared traps, tools, and lures, then head out to make sets.
My destination is generally a scouted location where I suspect they are traveling, such as an intersection between fields. Once I arrive at a location, I chose between several different types of sets. When trapping canines I always place two sets at each location, which increases my chances of connecting on a target animal.
Then I will travel to many different locations, set them, and it creates a trapline. Trappers must accept, just like the animals they pursue, that their will be lean years and abundant years. Some winters the landscape seems eerily empty — as though it has been entirely abandoned. Other years, signs of winter life is etched into the snow with myriad footprints. Trappers can help temper these cycles of overpopulation and collapse. Even to this day, trapping regulations usually stipulate no limit on the number of animals one can harvest in a season.
It is up to the trapper to understand these cycles and not exploit the land. If an area is over-trapped, the breeding population of furbearers can no longer maintain itself and the animals will disappear. The landscape is out of balance, and will remain out of balance for some time. Likewise, areas that remain untrapped suffer the worst of the boom and bust cycle. Without trappers to temper the number of predators, they can decimate the population of prey animals making the recovery of prey populations harder.
Trapping, in some way, is stewardship of the land. As I continue to walk, I come across fox tracks. A line of deep, straight dimples stretch across the snow in either direction from me. As I follow the tracks, I once again see the world from eyes other than my own. Where was he headed? Was he simply strolling through his territory, enjoying the silence as I do now?
Perhaps he was hungry, cocking his head to one side to catch the impossibly faint sound of a shrew beneath the snow. I do not know, but I play all these scenarios through my mind, trying to enter his. In a world where we think of all knowledge as coldly scientific, a trapper, hunter, or fisherman holds knowledge that is deeply personal. The favorite tree of the resident grouse.
The small creek that never seems to freeze. The unpicked harvest of cranberries still on the bush.
Protein Trap Lines
A trapper find a small piece of earth and lets it teach him. In this way, those lonely souls walking the woods at night carry a knowledge that is deeply personal and utterly unique. Many people think of trapping as an activity that is somehow exploitative and wasteful.
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The idea of harvesting an animal for its fur, in the era of Gore-tex and nylon, seems unnecessary. They visualize scared-looking animals in traps, their dignity stripped from them. The reality of trapping is far more complex. When I come upon my catch, there is a mix of emotions. Video surveys could not be conducted randomly because the extent of each fishing area was unknown. A sample size of 20 frames was selected to maintain independence between frames and because it was on the asymptote of the rarefaction curve.
To obtain a baseline for habitat condition, sea whips were selected as a potential indicator species because gorgonians have a wide geographic range. Within the MAB, sea whips alone provide additional height to substrate and damage can be easily quantified. To assess their reliability as an indicator species, we analysed abundance and community composition data for the three fishing sites.
Sea whip images were analysed in ImageJ version 1.
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To calculate the extent of damage or overgrowth, regions of interest were created around each sea whip in the selected images and the total area, and area of damage or epifaunal colonization was measured for each sea whip. Table 1. Note: For individual sea whips, damage is defined as any visible tissue damage and fouling of epifauna. Commercial traps 1.
Buoys are attached to the block anchors with floating line. The majority of the trap line consists of sinking line, except for the first and last nine m, which consists of floating line, to avoid abrasion. All rope lines are 9. Diagram illustrating a common commercial trap line used off the coast of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.
Marker buoys are tied to a rectangular concrete block anchor, which connects to a m trap line containing 20 traps. Traps are connected to the trap line via a 2. The hauling process begins with the retrieval of the buoy lines, which are led over a hydraulic pinch block that pulls the trap up at a variable rate. Simultaneously, the captain drives the boat, at various speeds, along the trap line moving toward the traps. When a trap is pulled on deck, the boat is temporarily idle while the trap contents are emptied.
Running a Pennsylvania Trapline – Wildlife Leadership Academy
After the trap is emptied, the captain continues to haul the next trap in the same fashion while the deckhand prepares the empty trap for redeployment. When traps are deployed, the buoy is deployed followed by the anchor block. Traps are set on the transom and are pulled into the water by the trap line, causing the trap line to become taut between traps. After the last trap is deployed, the second anchor block is dropped followed by the second buoy. One commercial trap was customized within a string of five traps to assess trap—habitat interactions.
This trap line was similar to commercial rigs consisting of a trap line, with an anchor block and buoy at each end. Stabilizing weight 2. This allowed us to remove lights, weights, and floats as well, resulting in a less encumbered trap.
White arrows indicate placement of cameras. Preliminary sampling was conducted from June to September to determine how traps functioned during the retrieval process, and to experiment with camera setup. Video analysis of the retrieval process showed traps dragging along the ocean floor for varying durations.
To determine if there was a relationship between trap position on the rig and drag duration, subsequent experiments utilized a trap string identical to that used by commercial fishermen. Customized traps were assigned a number based on their position on the trap line during deployment. Camera traps were rotated throughout the trap line to obtain recording from six positions along the trap line: P1, P5, P9, P13, P17, and P Position P1 was the first trap deployed whereas P20 was the last 20th trap deployed; the remaining traps were the 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th in the line.
However, commercial fishermen deploy and retrieve trap lines in reverse order such that P1 was the last trap to be retrieved and P20 was the first. The trap line was deployed and hauled three times before rotating our camera traps to the next positions. Starting positions for the two camera traps were randomly assigned each day. All positions were recorded during a sampling day. Traps were hauled and deployed by commercial fishermen to ensure no changes were made to the standard fishing process. To determine if there was a difference between drag durations between the first-generation camera traps i.
Sampling took place in two series.
The standard m trap line was deployed within Series 1 from June to September This was done to determine if increasing the distance between traps would reduce drag time. Within Series 1, drops of customized traps were completed, all of which were analysed for interactions with habitat and epifauna.
Due to video complications or deployment problems e. During Series 2, drops were completed successfully. Table 2. Summary of trap drops and mean drag time, by position and trap-line length. Trap impacts and dragging were assessed from the video recordings of the six positions.