Bunch of trapping & mushing pics from last month

bushrat

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Nothing but marten and a couple mink last month, which was fine as marten is what I'm mostly after.
Feb2011%20marten.jpg


Feb2011%20marten2.jpg


Feb2011marten3.jpg


Was pretty much crappy weather Jan. and February, either deep cold or snowing and blowing. Never had this much wind that I can recall, when it was blowing it was gusting 50 for more than 24hours and we haven't ran on hard trail once since mid January. So that sucked. Hard on any ground sets too as they just drift over big time. But the sun was coming back which made it nice up in the hills.

Feb2011%20getting%20into%20high%20country.jpg



 

alottabs

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When I, along with countless others, was growing up we would spend hours glued to Fur,Fish, and Game or some other like magazine dreaming about how it would be to do exactly what you actually do. You are the real deal and we all love hearing your stories and seeing your photos. THANKS!!!!!
 

bushrat

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After each snow and blow it would clear off and drop to the -40s, getting -50 at night. Midnight one night we are in bed and dogs start to howl and we hear wolves howling out the window too. Was clear with a good moon, -50, and I was trying to work up the motivation to get all dressed up and go sit outside on the cutbank with rifle to watch for wolves. Didn't do it but should have, a couple came within 50 yds of the cabin.

Went out the next morning to check it out.
Feb14%202011%20wolf%20trail.jpg


They got spooked, backtracked and went across the flat behind us and hit the river again a half mile down, went the next day downriver, have a wolf set a few miles down but they didn't want anything to do with it. Looked like a pack of six from the tracks.

Got it at dusk some days, home is right across from that creek valley in the distance.
Feb2011%20almost%20home%20at%20dusk.jpg


One line goes to the top of this hill right in front of us
Feb2011%20heading%20up%20rpt%20hill.jpg


That little black spruce there on the right is one that bull moose like to rub antlers on.

View from the top with river below
Feb2011%20top%20of%20rpt%20hill.jpg

 

snowcamoman

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Great photos Mark, thanks again for posting these. You're living the life many dream of yet never do.
 

bushrat

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Have to walk pretty much all the way behind the team getting up that hill. Very gnarly coming back down, usually unhook about half the team, always chain up the rig to slow us down. This is near the bottom, after chain has collected leaves and branches and what not.
Feb2011%20chain%20on%20toboggan.jpg


Still have maybe a dozen pole sets out. Before I switched over to the 120 conis used to just run these, mostly with 0s or 1s longsprings.
Feb2011%20marten%20in%20pole%20set.jpg


Feb2011%20marten%20in%20pole%20set2.jpg


FYI, got the rest of fur out on a charter this past weekend, daughter brought it in to Wivoda in Fbks, marten averaged $85 for males and $65 for females, better than I thought it would be from what I heard about auction prices.

Was nice to finally get resupplied, we were down to last of the dog food, and out of a lot of other things. Here is the team on the strip, gotta love what those Helios will do, pilot took off from where the load is sitting there on the river and got off in just a couple hundred feet it seemed.
March5%202011%20supplies%20finally%20flown%20in.jpg


Thanks for the comments guys. Well marten season is over, but still some wolverine and wolf season left. And good spring mushing to be had too for a bit yet.

Happy trails to all,
 

wolverineldy

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Your photos are breath taking!

Was clear with a good moon, -50, and I was trying to work up the motivation to get all dressed up and go sit outside on the cutbank with rifle to watch for wolves.
Makes me wonder who all would not give it a second thought and be outside when they read this.
 

markopolo50

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Great pics Mark, thanks for the insight into your trapline. Are those all martens in the traps? I can't imagine catching a wolf or a wolverine in a trap, that would be exciting. Thanks, Mark
 

bushrat

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Mark, yep those are all marten in the pics. And coming up on a live wolverine is more than exciting, it's downright scary at times <grin>.

I was telling a biologist recently about once when the whole dogteam got into a live wolverine that was caught under a marten set. 8 dogs, took me a bit to pull them all out of there and get them secured away from the wolverine. Every single one of them was bloody on the face, wolverine didn't have a scratch. Biologist said he had an even better wolverine story, was doing some wolf research tracking collared wolves from the air, and comes up on a pack of six wolves and they had come up on a wolverine and were fighting with it. They circled above to watch and at one point he said all the wolves had ahold of the wolverine and were pulling on it from different angles like they were doing a blanket toss. Eventually the wolverine gets loose and runs off and the wolves go in a different direction, and most all of the wolf trail now has blood in it from injured wolves, but no blood in the wolverine trail.

Gulo gulo is one tough animal!
 

Teacherman

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Glad you got a good price on your marten! How often do you put fresh bait in your sets? Using beaver or just chuncks of moose hide? How long do you stay out on the river?
 

bushrat

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Teacherman,

I mostly use fish for bait in the marten sets, don't typically replace it unless it's eaten, but I do squirt fresh scent every time I check traps. I live out here on the river full time, like it says in my profile, "remote bush" and satellite internet. Closest town is Eagle about 50 air miles south of us.
Best,
 

markopolo50

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Both great stories and the wolverine is on my list of animals to harvest one day. Probably told you about the one we saw south of Deadhorse on the tundra, wanting to cross the haul rd, last August. We only had bows but we were also a week early for wolverine season. Still was great to see my first. -- Can't imagine seeing one mad in a trap. The one we saw wanted to cross the rd and came close. If looks could kill I would have been a goner. Thanks, Mark
 

martentrapper

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What kind of fish do you use? Is there any sort of salmon run up the Kandik?
Those fires did a number on your country I bet. How would you estimate the change in your marten population pre and post fire?
 

bushrat

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Mike, I use whitefish for the most part. Salmon run this far off the Yukon is negligible, we get just enough to put up a couple cases if we're lucky. After the fires there was a noticeable and huge boon in voles and marten for a few years, then it started to taper off. Owls too, never saw so many owls. Raptors overall seemed to increase. Was all wrapped around the voles for the most part it seemed. Colonies of them just were everywhere after the fires, and I don't recall ever seeing the yellow-cheeked voles here before the fires, just the red-backed voles. Mother nature at work, gotta love it. Too bad the morels only came back the first couple of years!
 

kodiakrain

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Really, a Very Cool thread Mark,

Major Thanks, for taking the time to put all the pics in there and all your replies teaching us all of that.
+1 for passing on what you are experiencing,

Now, if we could actually feel the bite of -50F in the middle of the night, over the computer screen,....

"Hmm, work up motivation,... really should,.... go out, sit on cutbank tonight,....
watch for those wolves,....", or
, could roll back over, maybe toss a log on, sleep til it's light out ??:hmmmm:

and then what must be the thrill of hanging on, trying to keep it together on the downhill, behind those Dogs,....

Pics sure help tho, and you are taking good ones.

Here's a curiousity question for ya,
What percentage of the total time, do you figure,
you are standing on the sled, just along for the ride, versus,
amount of the time spent running along, kicking along, or wrestling the sled to stay on the trail while the Dogs are pulling away?

I imagine it is quite a workout in reality, right? Or once the trails are in, gets quite a bit easier ??
 

bushrat

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Kodiakrain, reply to your curiosity question

Kodiakrain, reply to your curiosity question

Al,

On the river it's all mostly standing on the back of rig and not doing much if the trail is good. If it's blown or snowed a bunch there is some kicking off. If it's real cold sometimes I'll run along for a bit here and there to keep the blood flowing and warm up.

On the overland trails it's a mixture of being able to ride, kicking off at times, running behind on the uphills, jerking the sled left and right. Guess the best way to describe it is that on the river I usually have to be fully dressed in my parka and overmitts beyond what the temp is, cuz there is the breeze created by the dogs moving along, and then you're just standing there in the breeze. But on the overland trails I don't usually have to be as dressed up, would get too sweaty.

Here's a pic from yesterday, was upriver breaking trail, ran into this wave of overflow. Spent a while breaking trail off to the right there, never could get around it, tried to come down on it farther up where it was frozen with some frosties on top but broke through knee deep seeing if I could get the dogs and rig on it. Thank God for bunny boots! Was only -5 though. Turned around, will have to wait for that to freeze more, but on the way back right here where the dogs are in this pic the water had already made it there...ugh. That time of year, expect to see more of it. Sure is pretty out with this wall to wall sunshine lately.
March13%202011%20overflow%20ahead.jpg

 

martentrapper

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My introduction to wilderness trapping with dogs had me with a partner on the Yukon R. above Ruby, for the month of Sept. catching (gill nets), salmon, cutting them to dry and hanging on racks to dry. Before freeze up we transported the dried fish 80 miles up the Yukon and Nowitna rivers to the winter trapping camp. Put up around 1000 salmon and whitefish, with a few pike and shees also. The salmon was dog food and marten bait. Did several more years like that as well as using the same camp (Kokrines) for fall fish and winter trapping camp.

With your dependency on dogs, I've often wondered why you didn't position yourself, Mark, to make use of the thousands of salmon and other species of free (more or less) dog food swimming up the Yukon.
 

bushrat

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Mike,

Being fifty long miles off the Yukon on a tributary that you can only freight on in high water changes everything. Also have to be here for moose season, which is the same time as the chum run. So it just isn't a working proposition.

I did try it once, had the fish flown in after caching them down there at a friends rack. When all was said and done may as well have bought and flown in dog food. Took ten days to line a canoe home from the mouth, river was freezing, loose dogteam, couldn't take a moose til I got real close to home, preferably above home etc.

Did you guys use a boat to transport fish to winter camp?
 

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