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Thread: recent mushing trip pics

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default recent mushing trip pics

    My son and I went down to a trapping cabin for the night. First chance to hook up our four pups, who are just about six months old. They did great in my team when he was in front skijoring with three dogs. The two red dogs in front of wheel dog are two of the pups with the Inuit color; they have some Inuit blood from a couple generations back. Just wanted to liven the mushing forum up a bit. Happy trails,

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default pic of trapping cabin

    Shot of the 10x10 trapping cabin:
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    Member wolverineldy's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks, I enjoy your pictures. And all that snow to boot.
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    Beautiful colorings. So what is the purpose of staggering the dogs instead of running them side by side?
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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default running single file

    So what is the purpose of staggering the dogs instead of running them side by side?

    We run a toboggan here, 18inches wide, and all the overland trails are narrow, so we can't run dogs side by side. You'll still see this kind of setup in the eastern interior of Alaska and the western territories of Canada. A toboggan also leaves a hard trail to walk on, and snakes through the woods easier than a sled. Downside of course is that there is more surface area on the ground and it drags harder.

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    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Ok that makes sense. We were on some really narrow trails last year. They were s.c.a.r.y! They probably weren't as narrow as the ones you have, but with my limited experience, it did get the adrenaline pumping.
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    Cool pics Mark!Gives me flashbacks from a kid sitting in my dad's basket heading up the Susitna.He used to train with Susan Butcher in the late Seventies.How long of a trip to your trapping cabin?

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Steve, that trapping cabin is only ten miles away. More of an intermediate stop to branch out from. I'll bet all my kids have a lot of memories riding in the basket! Pretty cool you got to do that. My son and I got stopped by a major wave of overflow today...had to turn around. Dogs weren't happy about being mired down in it. My rig is in the sauna now thawing out, and had to bring all the dogs in too to get them clear of iced-up fur.

    So...sometimes a trapping cabin that is ten miles away is only an hour and a half mush, and other times it takes two days to get there, or more, depending on recent snows, overflow, all that <grin>.
    Best,

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    What is the background of the inuit bloodline? Dogs with that blood have a certain color?
    Looks like you run a single gangline and the typical harnesses most of us see. You never use the double line for single file dogs?
    Are the overflow spots predictable, i. e. about the same places every year?
    How's the marten sign? Your area must be recovering from the fires a couple years ago?
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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Mike,

    The Inuit bloodline came out of NWT, I believe, friend in Eagle picked up a couple to breed with his bush dogs. As I recall, they were both rust-red, and many of the Inuit dogs are that color, but not sure why. It comes out in many of the breedings.

    The double-tug setup is just one more tug line and neckline on the gangline, as you know, but no need for me to run double as I'd just end up having to go single-file again when I hit the flats trails. And once the deeper snows come, the toboggan leaves an 18" wide trail that is a canyon and two dogs don't fit side by side.

    I'll paste in a pic of how bad the tussocks are here still, with little snow...just too painful still to go overland much and waiting on more snow to get all the lines in. Beats me up and also tends to really bust up my rig. This river is known for it's overflow tendencies. Some oldtimers called it "overflow crick," and that's why we don't hardly get any snowmachine visitors, as the gorge below us becomes one big overflow area and no place to go around. Yeah, the overflow is predictable, and all the trails try to stay off the river where they can and use the flats, but we're in hilly country and often the short flats cutoffs are 300' hills, and it's all tussocks like in the pic. Most of my trapping is up the side creeks and not on the main river. Part of the reason I never switched to snowgo is I'd only be able to use it on the river for the most part, which often overflows.

    Yeah, marten sign is good after the fires. Lots of voles now in the burned areas, just like the oldtimers talked about when they'd get fires. Having a hard time, actually, keeping the pups (and lead dog) from stopping to hunt voles in the grassy areas along the river, and on some of riparian areas where you enter the flats trails. But I haven't been able to get out much yet and set all the lines. A foot of snow would be nice. Wave of overflow hit the house today, big wave, shin deep, going by right now. Little snow, deep cold, river froze thick and pressure built up and now the water is geysering out in places. It also comes out of the side creeks quite a bit; water flows all winter up in the mtns and just eventually makes it out the mouth of the cricks.
    Best, (ps, can't attach any more pics, new forum rule I guess says I've exceeded my quota by 300K. I'll have to start hosting somewhere I guess, was hoping to avoid it.)

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    Sounds all too familiar, Mark. Even tho I trapped lowlands mostly, years ago, there were still cricks that occaisionally pumped water onto the main river. Even along the Yukon itself, the smaller cricks would often put out water.
    I was asking about a double gangline, one that stretches along each side of the team when they run single file. Seen that in old pics. Thought maybe you used it with your toboggan.
    Is the inuit line different than the McKenzie husky line?
    Spent plenty of time in 10x10 cabins, most of 2 winters in fact. Not much room but good on wood.
    Long as the marten prices hold you should be in the money. Do you think your lines can support a larger harvest now that the habitat has been changed?
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    Mike,

    Sounds like you're talking about a fan hitch, in which multiple lines come off from the toboggan or sled (?).

    This has always been poor country and average about 1 marten per mile of line in "productive" areas. Meaning, you have to go through a lot of bad country to get to the good marten country. And I've always (from what others tell me) been a very low-key trapper in terms of amount of steel laid out. After a while of learning the country, there is really no sense anyway in setting where you've not caught anything <grin>. Inre supporting larger harvests, well there appears to be many more marten now density-wise in some areas, but I haven't changed where I set and am using the same sets and number of traps. And still running lines every other year, or every three years, letting them lie fallow. Catching mostly males, always a good sign. Still use skulls to determine age too, which is handy for figuring out percentages of juveniles caught.

    As to the McKenzie huskys, we started out with those big dogs, or derivatives thereof. One was 130lbs! The inuit dogs are shorter, squatter, overall more compact, not made for deeper snows it seems, but more of running on the arctic ice and windblown snow terrain. It's a neat mix of breeding, couple of the pups (the red ones) are exactly what I was hoping for. We went down in size and are now trying to get back up to 80lb dogs or so.

    Yep, the cabins are cozy and beat a tent all to you-know-what. Just have to replace the visquene windows every year, and hope the bears don't squash the stove, in this case an old tin airtight. Got some good bear-hair samples from the various cabins, where the bears go in windows and catch on a nail or something. We need our own dna lab up here to send this stuff to, make for interesting comparative study.

    Off today, hope your season is going well. I like what you're doing on the trapping forum. Really. Might consider showing the guys how to do taxidermy skinning like you do so well. Most guys don't know animals are skinned from the back for taxidermy stuff. Also might consider sending that stuff to FF&G or other mags as photo/how-to essays. Certainly as good as anything out there. Something that may interest you; one of our ABHA members wrote a piece for our journal on wildlife dioramas like you see in museums, and the importance of them in the big cities to show urbanites full-sized animals and backdrops that depict the habitat. Anyway, part of that involved taxidermists who are (as you know) really artists, and there is quite a lot of taxidermists of the higher quality who do the museum pieces. Kind of a neat thing I hadn't considered, and how some "scientists" went to areas to collect specimens and did their own taxidermy work, and then the artists that painted the backdrops too.

    So much for rambling,

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    Default That picture that wouldn't fit

    David got this working again, so here it is.
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    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    Great photos Mark! I am very envious that you are able to get out and make trips like that. Out here we have some great hiking and snowshoeing, but no big rivers to travel on. Maybe one of these days I'll get off of this island and get back to the interior! Looks like you could use a little more snow there.

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    Well I guess I'm having a hard time describing what I mean on the tow line. The answer to my original question would obviously be it's not what you use. Haven't I seen old photos where there was 2 towlines running up each side of a single file team? Seems like I have seen the old mountie photos from around the turn of the century where that style of 2 towlines was used.

    One marten per mile, boy, that's tough country. But you got the whole river all to yourself don't you? The new burns ought to help the catch.

    Glad you enjoy the trapping threads. Maybe if you get a bad cold spell you can show us some of your efforts?
    I'm only willing to go so far in helping other guys.......haha. I've shown a couple or 3 folks how to dorsal skin, but I'd hate for someone in better country than me to put me out of business. The taxidermy market has it's limits.
    Dioramas and the artists that do them are an interesting aspect of the taxidermy world. It is amazing to me just how much of an artist a taxidermist must be to really produce a lifelike mount. I suspect that without the legal sale of animal parts, it would be much harder for museums to collect the necessary parts for dioramas.
    Show us some more pics when you get time.
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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Mike, I understand now what you mean about the double gangline in single file. Some friends will be out this winter who run old-fashioned traditional like that, big dogs. Dogs go in between the lines on each side, and a bar is at back at tail end of harness (the "spreader"), big D rings in front on harness too where the next couple lines come out for the next dog, and so on. The nice thing about that style is the dog never has to jump the gangline, or go back and forth, under and over when going around turns. But it's more of a hassle too with the double lines, especially with no neck lines for training new dogs who like to turn around when stopped and get all tangled <Grin>.

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    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Wow that really is a tough going area. I can see how it would be hard on a rig (as well as a team and a driver!)
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