Archive for the 'Catching Animals' Category

Jan 31 2007

Traditional Squirrel Deadfall

Published by under Catching Animals

Due to my very limited success with my improvised deadfalls, I decided to add a strictly traditional Norwegian setup to my line. The advantages of this design should be:

  • The trap is put into the squirrel’s domain, the conifer trees.
  • The trap is set so high that it is harder for most predators to pick the squirrel out of the trap.

On the negative side, this trap involves quite a lot of extra work compared to the stone deadfalls. Use densly grained spruce or pine or preferably broken trees that has split naturally. That will save you a lot ow energy.

First chop the tree down. To give you as little chopping with the antler axe as possible, break it after only having chopped around slightly. Cut off where you find it to be a good length. Longer length makes for quicker action on collapsing.

Split it down the middle.

Wedge the bottom log between two trunks to make it sit securely. This will also make the upper log fall directly down. But you need to make sure you remove any twigs or cracked bark in the way, otherwise it will not fall freely.

I used a regular figure 4. I have found a way to make them more sensitive and more quickly producable with stone as tools and spruce twigs as materials.

The bait is walnuts, a bait I have had success with in previous years.

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Jan 28 2007

Hare Snare

Published by under Catching Animals

An update on the deadfalls. The trap that didn’t collapse last time had done so now, but there was no animal there. I don’t know whether the trap wasn’t heavy enough to kill it outright, if the squirrel managed to dodge the trap or whether a predator has taken my quarry. If it hadn’t snowed so heavily the last days I’d probably see it from the tracks, but they were all gone. I reset the trap a little higher up and with a paiute trigger instead of a figure 4.

This is staged, the noose is too small and too high up, but you get the idea. There seems to be virtually no hares in around this city. Probably due to everyone walking their dogs.

Over a hare trail, find a branch of decent thickness, break off the branches and the top.

Tie a forked stick to a standing tree, or break a suitable branch standing in a good position.

Tie the noose to the the bent down tree. Stretch it out with two small sticks.

When the hare struggles to get loose, the bent branch pops out and tightens the snare even more. If you have sufficient lenght on the bent over tree, the whole hare might become suspended. Below: The triggered snare.

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Jan 26 2007

Checking the Traps Again.

Published by under Catching Animals

Due to a lot of work at school, my traps have been down for quite a while. I have now changed trapping location as I have found a place teeming with squirrels. A few days ago I set two deadfalls, both of them had signs of disturbance today. One had collapsed, but still rested on the upright stick, because of improper setting. A true newbie mistake… Below: See what I mean?

Here the trap is ready for action again.

The other one was obviously not sensitive enough, and the squirrels had eaten off the bait without releasing the trap. Below: Tracks from one of the squirrels who have had a feast on my almonds.

I am starting to become a little annoyed by the lack of sensitivity of the figure four trigger. Because of that I set a new trap, this time with the paiute trigger. It seems likely that I will more or less start using this trigger type on the nible squirrels. The stability of the figure four will however still be useful when trapping fox and other large animals. Below: A deadfall set with the paiute trigger.

In addition to this, the prototype trap was set to carry out the field tests.

4 responses so far

Jan 23 2007

Ice Fishing

Published by under Catching Animals

Fishing with lines through the ice is not a particulary effective means of catching fish. But as with traps, they take little effort to set and they can fish for you while you are not present.

To achive a reasonably steady supply of trout throughout the winter, you are likely to need at least 20 lines out. Some days you will have many, but you will at least be almost certain to catch one every day. This of course depends on how numerous the fish is in the area in question. In some places you may get by very well on 20 hooks, other places that is way to little. If you have to set more than 20 hooks to get fish every day, I would seriously consider moving to a better fishing location. It takes time to check all of those hooks and if the return on them is poor, you may be better off spending more time on setting traps. But as a general rule: Fish is a more dependable food source than game.

One of the main advantages of fishing through the ice is that you need comparatively less line than when fishing from the bank. This being of the simple reason that the ice helps you drop the line straight down on the fish.

Setting a line and hook:

First, of course, make a hole through the ice. Make it bigger than you expect the fish in the lake to be. Scoop out the ice bits and snow out with your hands.

Bait the hook with something you know the fish like. Trout likes worms and other small creepy things. But these are hard to come by in winter, so they have to be stored. The Saami use reindeer fat. I have tried elk/moose fat and have yet to have any success with this. Other, more aggressive fish like pike, seems to like pieces or whole fish. Old bait doesn’t work very well. The bait should preferably be changed every day.

The fish usually stand just a little over the bottom of the lake. So that’s where your bait should be. Use a sinker to get the hook down. I often find that the best fishing locations to be where there is little water under the ice, maybe just a metre or two. Especially in the spring. In mid-winter they often stand deeper. Below: A line with a baited hook.

Tie it or wrap it securely around a stick at the desired depth. A few motions on the hook can often give you a fish right away.

Don’t try to lift big fish directly out of the hole. Everything weighs less in the water. Grab it by the gills and lift it up. I have saved a lot of fish unhooking in the hole, by grabbing the confused, but freed fish down in the hole.

Make sure the line doesn’t rest on one of the sides. Otherwise, when the hole freezes over you will have a lot more chopping on your hands, with the risk of cutting the string of course. Cover the hole with snow to reduce the freezing. Spruce boughs can be laid underneath, but I usually just showel a pile of snow over the whole thing. I have seen the Inuits make a small igloo over the hole, but I don’t find it to give any advantages over the previous methods. If anything, it has to be less snow in the hole.

About safety. Check the ice on intervals to avoid falling through. Especially where there is fast flowing water. Carry a long stick if you are insecure about the ice. Then you can use it to climb back up on if your luck turns sour.

4 responses so far

Jan 20 2007

Ice Fishing for Pike

Published by under Catching Animals

Me and a chap named √ėyvind was out ice fishing this morning for pike. I wanted to test my primitive ice fishing gear, but brought some modern stuff too. But even the modern stuff was very basic.

The ice was firm, but layered. Using the antler axe for chopping through was practically impossible. That is the main advantage of using a ice pick instead of an axe; you don’t have to worry about the ice not being solid all the way through.

We got one non primitive hook out first. While I was making a new hole, he was making motions with the stick to try to make the pike to take. Suddenly the pike took the bait and I rushed to help. The hole was too small however and before we managed to enlarge it, the pike was gone with the hook and all. I think that, if we had planned a little better, we should have made a little gaff of a split branch, hooked it through the gills and used it for pinning the pike’s head to the ice. That would have left us with more time to enlarge the hole.

After that we set one primitive set and one more modern. On the modern one, the pike left with the hook and bait, which was by the way herring. No contact yet on the primitive set, but they have all been left until tomorrow. Hopefully there will be something there then. I will also set another set of primitive hook and line to increase the chances of finally proving that these hooks are effective, even on hard mouthed fish like the pike.

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