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OUTDOORS: Trapping can be a really tough job

It’s really hard to give up on something that one has done for most of their life.

That was the case with trapping. During my younger days I ran mile after mile of trapping territory and spent the remainder of the day skinning and scraping hides.

As age crept up on me I found different ways to still trap and not end up exhausted. As I became more proficient I started to receive calls to remove nuisance critters. This became very profitable during low fur prices.

Many years ago I had a request from the late Bob Smetser. He had a small herd of Angus cattle that were fenced in, across a creek in a north pasture. Beaver had made a dam consisting of plugging up a very large metal tile in the creek. As the water rose it eventually started to wash out the road where he went back to feed the livestock. This was a job that had to be done, and it consisted of removing all of the beaver.

As I checked the upper portions of the creek there was one large lodge and many slides where the animals climbed out to cut small willows for food. They also would place green willows near the lodge pushing the cut ends into the mud. This would preserve the green wood well into the winter for them to feed on.

There were also mounds on the bank where the male beavers deposited castor. This was an invitation to mate with another beaver.

I set up the slides and castor mounds and the next day I had caught three beaver. The next few days only netted one animal, but I knew there had to be more.

I finally made a broken dam set. That is, you make two breaks in the dam so that water flows out and the pond starts to get shallow. Most beaver sensing that will immediately come out and repair the dam. The trap, which is a body grip device is located is between the breaks and under water. As soon as the beaver repairs one break he takes the shorter distance between two points to the other break and swims right through the trap is have waiting for him. I caught another two animals.

After a few days I caught no more beaver. I then punched a huge hole in the dam. The pond went down considerably but no repair was done. I figured the job was complete. Then it was the hard work unplugging the large tile so the water could resume its flow. The road dried up and Bob was very happy.

Fishing report

Both Braidwood and La Salle Lakes have produced very good catches of channel and blue catfish. Braidwood is very shallow if one puts the boat in on the north side. This lake encompasses an old strip mine area and it can be dangerous for obstacles. La Salle is wide open and has a steady depth of 15 feet. The most productive areas consist of levees with large boulders. There are some very nice bluegill at La Salle this year.

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