Up North Photo Dump

We made a trip up north to the cabin over the long Veteran’s Day weekend. We tried duck hunting with little success, did a little trapping, and sat for bow hunting. 

There were some amazing images on the trail cameras (thanks, rut!) that have given us a lot more hope for gun season. More bucks. It’s also given us hope that once we begin doing a little more intentional management of this land, we can attract and hold more deer there, generally making the hunting experience better.

The trapping we attempted was for muskrats and beaver. Cue inappropriate jokes and giggling all weekend. Matt also got his hand caught in a 330 Conibear (the largest bodygrip trap available). Still unsure how he didn’t break a finger.  Without further ado, some pictures.

We also got a lot of trail camera images. With the baiting + rut, there was tons of deer (and other animal) activity. Matt set traps for coyote and raccoon, but didn’t get anything. We sat for deer, but neither of us saw any. We had images of deer coming into the bait piles within 20 minutes of people leaving. We also got a really good image of one of the bears, as well as a rare badger.


8 thoughts on “Up North Photo Dump

  1. Those conibears are so dangerous, but so much fun. Of course, you know there’s a safety device to keep from breaking anything right?

    Yea, once you mention our favorite furred water creature, the sophomoric humor erupts. But they are fun to trap and do things with. Are yall selling the fur or just going to make cool stuff with it? The boys are excited to do some trapping this year as well.

    • After that trap snapped on his hand, he found the safety gripper. we plan to order one as soon as he gets his next paycheck (no place here carries them, and the shipping was twice the cost of it!). We plan to sell most of the furs- muskrats go for $10 apiece, if they’re well done. Beaver is only about $30. He wants to keep at least one coyote and one raccoon, but ‘yote is $50 these days. Every water body up here is lousy with rats, though, so they’re easy to find and catch.

        • Actually, it could best be described as very small-scale market trapping. I see where you’re going here and I’ll head you off at the pass. The number of trappers in Wisconsin is high relative to the population, but then we’re not an especially populous state. It’s also a constitutional right here, and a very respected privilege in many of the surrounding states.

          Beyond the benefit of selling the fur, which acts as a very important side (or main) income for many people in the northern part of the state (which is, depending on the locality, quite depressed, economically), there is also the benefit of reducing the populations of furbearers who now lack natural predators due to human interference. Beaver, for instance, carry giardia, and can spread disease even in rural places when their populations are too high. Muskrat and beaver both can kill large areas of young vegetation when overpopulated, and beavers radically alter the landscape to make their own habitat. That’s not a bad thing when they’re kept in check, but otherwise they can cause massive flooding. Then there’s the issue of coyote and raccoons who thrive even in cities.

          Then there’s also the fact that not only are you not getting a small fortune per fur anymore, but there are also strict regulations in place, as well as bag limits. There are specialized tags for otter and bobcat, and you only get one of each. There are daily bag limits for beaver (much like there are for the ducks we hunt, and the upland birds you chase after), and many places where you can’t trap at all. The $30 per beaver pelt is not the $100 trappers once got back in the 20s. Matt’s grandfather told us a story of the $150 he got for an otter hide back in the 40s. They’re now about $80, with a bag limit of one per year once your tag is punched. Then there’s also the fact that the DNR enlists volunteer trappers to help them trap animals the DNR biologists wish to track. They’re currently looking for people to capture bobcats to radio collar. Most traps are foothold traps and the animals can be humanely released.

          Then there’s the fact that all of this takes place in upper-Midwestern Winter. It’s typically cold and wet. And then there’s the work of cleaning and curing the hides. Both facts are a major deterrent. We are not trapping piles and piles of animals and just skinning them and getting rich. There are currently 8 muskrat hides in the garage drying as I type this. And it took us a month to catch them all. But then they also have 2-3 litters of up to 8 per year. I might not wear fur (I find fur garments outside of outerwear linings tacky, personally, and farm raising of mink etc questionable at best), but it is a renewable resource when well-managed, as Wisconsin is. It’s no different than hunting, and many people here do both. I had some pretty negative ideas about trapping at one point myself, but then I started the process of getting my permit- it is not the wild, murderous free for all that many people would have you think.

  2. Amber please forgive me for my overly flippant and obnoxious earlier comment. Commenting from a phone probably does not facilitate respectful conversation.

    Rather than responding with a point/counterpoint type discussion, in which neither of us is likely going to be “statisfied” (the state of being swayed by facts offered by an opposing view), I’ll tell you where I come from value wise.

    I’m a big believer in “fair chase” hunting. To me it is a way I can be morally accountable for taking another life (whether that life was created by God or evolution, to me it matters not a whit because either way it is wondrous).

    Fair chase principles include not hunting for money, and being present at the point of kill so the animal can be dispatched as quickly and humanely as possible.

    While trappers often take pains to align themselves with hunters, it is pretty clear that based on at least those two counts, trapping is definitely not hunting. Trappers are not present upon capture, which often leads to a good deal of suffering as the animal tries to free itself, and trappers sell parts of the animal for profit.

    There are other things I could offer (eg, if giardia is a real concern than you’d better focus on those big hooved animals that go moo), but I don’t want to delve into that because the comment sections of blogs and online conversation is a poor form of testimony and persuasion.

    I offer this more respectfully than I did before, and I’ll offer I love the photos!



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