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Thread: Incidental catch

  1. #1
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Default Incidental catch

    As many of you figured out I am brand new to trapping and so far I have been having a ball with it despite nothing in the traps. That changed last night! I started with a very short line not far from my house in a spot where I figured I had a chance at muskrat and the larger fur barrers. Really more of a practice area while I am waiting for deeper snow and thicker pelts. My third set was on the blind side of a switchback leading up a rather steep hill and can only be seen as you crest the hill and make the turn through the switchback.

    I headed out with a smile on my face and optomisim in my heart ready to see if my game of wits with Alaskas fuzzier criters had paid off. First and secound trap nota rounded the switchback and "holycow I got...........a bald eagle!" Then he went for my leg "and he still has a ton of fight left in him!" Feeling incredibly disapointed and giulty I let my pack fall to the ground and sat on it. My capture and I studied each other for several minutes. I traced the snares course with my eyes "yup got him solid around the neck, wings look good, I'll bet he hasn't been caught long." The eagle just sized me up. I then began the process of evaluating any damage a close encounter between we two souls would cause us. Didn't take long to realise those tallons and that very impressive beak could do some real damage and my clumsy ass could easily brake a wing bone if I was not careful. I clamly reached over with a snare and clamped ith thghtly around a log and ried several theods of loosening it, "I'm going to have to release this with my hand! No choice about it this bird and I are going to have to get CLOSER!" What followed seemed like an hour of slow motion wresteling punctuated with blinding speed as I got an arm, leg or hand out of reach of beak and claw. I finnaly managed to get my fingers on the lock........."dang I can't do this with gloves on. OK now thats got it". But his head wouldnt come out of the snare, I had opened it up as far as I could but he had so much pressure against it it couldn't slip over his head. We did a slow motion tugawar to a near by stick that I used to move the loop over his head. He was stuned! He took a hop and stared at me for a secound before heading down the hill to a small clearing. A few minutes later he was at the top of a tree. I moved on to check the rest of my set, very mixed feelings and a great deal of relief that all so far was going well with the eagle. My last sight of him was his flight twords the glacier, strong and steady.

    I got into this to get some cool fur gear for my famlily and have some fun. Following the trappers code of ethics and making as humane a kill as possible while limitting incidental catch are paromount to me! I imediately pulled all my sets and moved away from open water. I plan on running my line up the mountain out my back door and focusing on bigger predaters, screw muskrats I am not doing that again!
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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    PS Tracy had money on a squirel for my first fur barrer.
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    The 3 fold way: Every step we take as we walk through life effects, our family, our comunity and ourselves. One should walk thoughtfuly.

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    That is quite a tale. I can only imagine the struggle that must have been. Those are very powerful birds. Congrats to you sir on your efforts of freeing the eagle. I am new to this myself or I might be able to offer advice of some sort. But since I am not I can only offer my words of encouragement. I am sure you will get what your after. Especially with such a good mindset.

    Carry on sir!

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    Wow Rick, that is freaky to catch an eagle in a snare, glad you were able to release it okay.

    Figure about six or seven squirrels for a squirrel hat <grin>. Hi to Tracy.

  5. #5

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    Thanks for sharing, it is a neat story.

    I've been told by other trappers that you can throw a blanket or coat over a bird and the animal will relax long enough to release it. It'd be worth a try in a situation like that.

    Also watch out for owls, there are more of those things in the woods than you will believe. They tend to fly low and hot in shoots that have heavy rabbit activity. They tend to rob baited cubbies too. Both are typical spots for snares or footholds while trapping K9's or cats.

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Funny you should mention that Gremlin. One of the things that occured to me after the fact was that you can put a chicken asleep by covering it's head with its wing and rocking it a bit. About then I flashed on memories of hooded falcons used for hunting rabbits. Would have worked great I am sure, however when your staring down a critter wose family ties to valaciraptor are blatantly obvious you tend to be stuck in the moment.

    Mark glad its freaky to catch an eagle in a snare! Like I said not something I ever want to do again............I am sure Tracy will look great in her shrew hat, I am not betting on anything and shrews seem to be my forte' so far.
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    Great job...releasing him, brought back memories for me while trapping in Kansas years ago...caught two myself. I use to carry a small blanket they give you on the airplanes..or use too. they are light and work great for releasing any game you dont want to catch. I even was successful on many bobcats..yeah..I actually was scared and pretty puckered up when I tried it the first time...that cat was pissed as I threw the blanket over its head..he calmed down. But what I didnít realize was what he was going to do when I released his foot from the trap...needless to say. I was surprised to see he just laid there till I took a long-12ft limb and moved it off of his head..he bolted and in the direction away from me...the next one I tried that two..scratched the hell out of my hand with the other paw. Great experiences running traplines..but it does work great on birds
    For muskrats...try water sets..or if you can find where they are breaking through the ice and leaving their little mound.. I take a machete and remove this..place a #1 with a little scent..they will pop back through and attempt to get up and eat on that little tepee of a mound on the inside...works pretty good.
    Post some pics Rick and enjoy.. I need to get out there and set a line or two myself.
    Thanks
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Great story Rick. Your tale had me rolling! I am sure glad that it all worked out though and you were able to release it with no major injuries to either of you.

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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    Wow! I'm glad you were able to free it with no apparent injuries to either of you. I am planning to begin trapping next year myself, after getting some education this year. I hope the eagles stay away from my sets!

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    One thing positive to note, eagles are well known for their impressive eye sight so I guess your snare camo is working!!

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Rick, as a teen learning to trap in the Caswell area... on several occasions i was present when and eagle was caught in a foot hold trap.

    covering them was first and for most. luckily you got to yours soon enough and it was still able to recover quickly. I have seen them so cold and stressed from beating against the trap they are worn to the bone...

    in each case... after removing the eagle from the trap.. we would warm it inside a coat and keep it calm for a small time... after a few moments it was like the knew we were helping and they stopped fighting back... one issue was that they tired the wings and them selves out they could not fly off due to stiffness??? so it took a few attempts of picking them up and tossing them in the air to get flapping and flying again to loosen and warm those mussels.

    once one was injured in the foot area and it was handed over to a vet in the valley and released later...

    i don't know what it takes to keep them out of a bait when they find one... but have seen them in cubbies and martin pole sets ...

    good Job getting him out and going again...
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    When I nuisence wildlife trapped in Washington I picked up many birds of prey that were injured for a multitude of reasons, few from trapping. I took them to a rehibilitator where they were checked out and held if needed. Pretty freaky the first time you try to grab one! After a while it was no big deal and once you had a hold of one they calmed down quickly.

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    Rick,
    Having had to deal with similar situations in the past, I can tell you from personal experience, always carry a pair of cable cutters with you. After placing your coat over the bird, it is usually pretty easy to cut the cable loop that is holding it. I have found that cutting it is much quicker and less traumatic for the bird than trying to relax the lock so you can expand the loop for removal. Snares are cheap, so I figure it is a small price to pay for a quick and safe release.
    Having said all that, despite your best efforts you will occasionally catch a bird of prey and not all will end well for the birds. Should you ever find a dead eagle in your snare or trap, you can call USF&W Service and they will dispatch an officer to pick up the eagle from you so it can be sent to the federal repository in Colorado and provided for use by Native Americans. As long as you are being responsible in your trapping/snaring methods, you need have no fear in turning the bird in and you should not be cited for any wrong doing. I have had two instances in the past 15 years which resulted in eagle fatalities and turned both over to the authorities. As funny as it sounds, I was given a "hand receipt" for my "property" (the eagle) when I turned them over to the officers. Most of the USF&W enforcement types I have encountered are experienced and reasonable folks. The new "trainees" that often accompany the experienced officers can be rather arrogant and cocky, so deal with the senior folks whenever possible. Just my two cents worth!

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    I was laughing so hard, sorry Rick.

    I guess if anyone sees Rick out the with a bald eagle gently rocking it to sleep just leave him alone lol. Just joking

    Have you tried trapping marten? They are pretty darn easy if they are around where your trapping.

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    Member Huntress's Avatar
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    Rick P...Just remember when throwing that coat over the eagles head, that its a **** cold ride all the way back home if that eagle won't let go of your coat. Just ask my husband.
    "In the interest of protecting my privacy I will no longer be accepting Private Messages generated from this site and if you email me, it better be good!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntress View Post
    Rick P...Just remember when throwing that coat over the eagles head, that its a **** cold ride all the way back home if that eagle won't let go of your coat. Just ask my husband.
    I'm betting your husband now carries a small blanket while he checks his lines. LOL!

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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    Member Huntress's Avatar
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    Nope, we're Alaskans....we'd do the same thing again if we had to.....We got the coat back with some long, hard coaxing of this very angry Eagle....





    Besides he only "checks MY lines" when he's home
    "In the interest of protecting my privacy I will no longer be accepting Private Messages generated from this site and if you email me, it better be good!"

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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    LOL!!! correction noted. I bet YOU have something other than your coat along when you check YOUR lines.....I hope.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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    Member Huntress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKsoldier View Post
    LOL!!! correction noted. I bet YOU have something other than your coat along when you check YOUR lines.....I hope.
    ROFL!! Sorry AK, just being silly. He puts more grunt into it all...I just maintain it...(and catch all the critters)
    "In the interest of protecting my privacy I will no longer be accepting Private Messages generated from this site and if you email me, it better be good!"

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    Great stories! At least once in a while its nice to just get on here and laugh!
    If you live your whole life afraid to die... Then you can never truly live!

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