Fun and frustration on the trapline

The writer admires a coyote he trapped in the show. (Photo by Mike Schoonveld)

A fresh, light dusting of snow filtering out of the sky over the area I’m trapping for coyotes provides an extra measure of fun and frustration when I’m making my daily trap check.

The snow reveals the places coyotes traveled since the snowfall. My most productive set locations are along travel routes, and spotting tracks in the snow shows if the routes I’m trapping are being used and helps me find new or alternative travel routes.

The fresh snow also adds equal measures of excitement and frustration to a trapper’s daily travels. It’s exciting to turn into a field lane and spot a fresh set of paw prints heading the same way I’m going. Will they lead to a trap just ahead or around the bend?

Sometimes the story tells of how the coyote passed on the upwind side of the set, where it was unlikely to be attracted by the smells. That’s frustrating. Even more frustrating is when the tracks show the coyote passed close by on the downwind side where it should have sniffed out the bait or lure I was using, but instead paid absolutely no attention to the look or smells I’d strategically installed.

Most frustrating is when the track story reveals the look and smells did get the coyote’s attention and either shows that the animal paused, came closer, circled around to smell it from different angles but in the end just continued on its way or perhaps came close but missed stepping on the trap’s trigger by just a fraction of an inch.

Frustrating, yes – but frustration is as much a part of most hunting and fishing outings as success. A half-inch of snow is predicted late afternoon today. I wonder what sort of frustrating fun will be waiting for me in the morning?

Categories: Michigan – Mike Schoonveld

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