Archive for the 'Catching Animals' Category

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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Jan 08 2007

Checking the Traps

Published by under Catching Animals

I haven’t written anything about it yet, but I have been checking my traps every day since I set them. Until now there has been no disturbance. I believe the lack of snow may spoil the squirrels foodwise, making my almonds uninteresting. Below: The collapsed trap.

What I found today however, was that the stone deadfall had fallen down and the baitstick with the bait gone. There was no sign of any squirrels, but it seems like strangely enough, that a roe deer has taken my bait. This trap is lying straight by a well used roe deer path and there were some fresh, but weak tracks. Below: The path.

I also prepared some elm bark and cut a beaver felled elm to a shaft for a stone axe. Both of these processes will be decribed in posts coming up quite soon (within weeks).

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Jan 04 2007

Deadfall Traps

Published by under Catching Animals

Deadfalls deal crushing damage to the victim and are very effective when used properly. But animals aren’t stupid, first you have to lure them into trap and secondly you have to have a trigger so sensitive that the animal will be able to run away with your bait without collapsing it.

There are two emotions an animal is run by when finding a bait (food). The counteracting forces of fear and greed. As a trapper your task is to, as well as presenting it where the animal will find it, to reduce the fear enough to let the greed take over.

Scent is usually the mammals’ primary means of identifying enemies, so leaving as little human scent as possible is important to success. The smell will wear off in time, but usually you will want success as soon as possible and then you will have to know how to reduce the scent. Some species are extremely suspecious, squirrels are generally not, so I just gently rubbed the sticks with spruce branches. If I were more serious I would hang them in smoke from spruce branches, rub them with dirt and use gloves, but hopefully this will be enough this time.

I have experimented with a lot of trigger types, but I am most pleased with the common figure 4 type. For the first time I have also set the paiute deadfall. I am pleasantly surprised with how simple it is to make with primitive tools and it’s extreme sensitivity. Below is a rather poor photo of the paiute deadfall mechanism.

One was made as a traditional squirrel trap, where I know I have seen squirrels before. The logs were rotted birch, flattened with an antler axe on one side and elevated into a tree, where the squirrel feels safer.

The next one was placed directly on rocky ground under a overhanging rock. This is the experimental one. I haven’t seen tracks just there, but it is right by some hazel and a big spruce so even if the trap is on the ground I hope it will be tempted to come down.

I have formerly had success with using walnuts for bait, but lacking that I used some almonds this time. So how do you get a round nut to sit onto a stick then? You drill a hole in it of course. That should also break up the inner shell of the nut and release some pleasant smells. Below: The deadfall under the overhanging rock.

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