This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: January 4th. We’ve had a very interesting week here at The Proving Grounds. I staked the Trashman’s carcass’ down after I removed all the meat and something covered it all up with debris. Put a Reconyx camera out to see what was going on. And then, this morning, I had a first for the year in a trap.
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GRANT: (Whispering) Buddy, stop. You got him? He’s hit good. He’s hit good. He’s going down. Trashman is ours.
GRANT: After tagging the Trashman, I turned my efforts back to trapping as Adam and Brian took the camera and headed out to Kansas for a late season bow hunt.
ADAM: (Whispering) There goes another one. Hundred incher, hundred and ten inch. It’s the final night. Bottom of the ninth. Down to the wire. We’re hoping this afternoon it all works out perfect. Got a little snow flurry. Ought to be a good day and nice and overcast.
GRANT: Although Adam and Brian saw quite a few deer while they were in Kansas, they didn’t connect with a mature buck.
GRANT: Even though I didn’t have the video camera, I had my Reconyx units working really well and I noticed something had covered up the remains of the Trashman with a bunch of debris. I grabbed a Reconyx from a nearby food plot and positioned it about ten feet away over this carcass, hoping that predator would come back. There’s three animals kind of known to cover their kill, or their catch, if you will. Black bears, not as much. Sometimes they just drag it around. Mountain lions almost always cover and bobcats. So, I was eager to get some pictures or see what got in my traps placed nearby that carcass. When placing traps by a carcass, you’ve got to make sure they're far enough away that you don’t catch raptors that will come visit that carcass. Eagles, vultures and hawks will all come to a carcass on the ground, especially during the winter.
GRANT: Candidly, I didn’t take time to video because it was Christmas morning and I didn’t want to take much time away from my family. But as soon as I rounded the corner checking my traps, I came upon where the Trashman’s carcass was staked down, I saw a cat pulling on the end of a trap. It was a large tom or male bobcat on the end of my Duke trap. We've caught two coyotes and one bobcat at that location. Although that sounds great and you might want to be patting yourself on the back, like you're removing a lot predators from that corner of The Proving Grounds, but just a day or so later with the Reconyx still monitoring that carcass, a coyote and a bobcat were both visiting the same site. Almost everywhere I work throughout the whitetails range, there’s more predators out there than most hunters and even a lot of biologists recognize. That’s why trappings such a great renewable resource. It can remove those furs and pelts. Reduce that predator population and allow the prey species to build up and not worry about doing damage to the predator population. So, for species that are abundant in most places – raccoons, coyotes and even bobcats in a lot of areas, trap away guys, because there’s plenty more that will fill that niche.
GRANT: This is a 14 pound male. That thing can do a lot of damage to your turkey population.
GRANT: Everybody wave at the camera. Woods’ family going trapping.
GRANT: I had received permission from the Missouri Department of Conservation to stake a road kill down on another part of my property. And one day I had a coyote come in and work that set all around the trap, but didn’t quite step on one of the traps. As I checked the Reconyx, I realized that coyote wasn’t caught that day, but I had high hopes that the next morning, there’d be a coyote at the end of that Duke trap.
GRANT: January 1st and a great way to start off 2013 with coyote #6 this season here at The Proving Grounds. If they move just a mile a night, which I’m sure is very short and they smell 400 yards, you know, 200 yards each side or 400 yards upwind or whatever they’ve got, they could potentially cover every inch of this property. It doesn’t give newborn fawns or turkey poults much of a chance to survive. Now, there’s all kinds of research with bounties and poison and everything else. We can't get rid of coyotes, so you can trap all you want and you'll reduce that population, hopefully, and you may educate some or dispense, or disperse them from an area for a while, but you're not going to wipe out coyotes.
GRANT: I’m going to re-bait these traps and I've been saving the scraps off the deer I’ve been cleaning for my, that my kids harvested or I harvested. So, I’ve got my trap right here. Dirt hole right there. You poke a hole in the dirt; that’s why it’s called a dirt hole. Without putting any scent on the trap, I want it not; I don’t want to spill any right there at all. I’m just going work those venison right in the hole and I’ve got this hole about a foot deep; maybe a little deeper. So if the coyote gets one out and he tastes it, he’s gonna want more and he'll dig down in that hole. And while he’s digging, he’ll step on that pan; put a little more fur in the skinning shed. I take a pretty long; a long, stout stick and make sure that meat – look how far down that’s going. So, that coyote’s gotta work on that – focus on that hole, pick up another ole yoti right here. With another major predator removed from The Proving Grounds, I continue resetting and working my trap line.
GRANT: I was really excited this morning when Adam and I were checking traps that we had a first for the year in one of our Duke live traps.
GRANT: Great surprise this morning on the trap line here at The Proving Grounds is that we have a beautiful red fox in a Duke live trap. I've trapped here at The Proving Grounds for many years and this is only the third red fox I’ve caught. We’ve talked a lot that coyote numbers are on the rise in many parts of the whitetails range and coyotes love to eat foxes. Gray foxes can climb trees. Therefore, they have a much better chance of escaping coyotes than red foxes that can't climb trees. And in fact, red fox populations are declining significantly in many parts of their original range due to coyote predation. In fact, in Pennsylvania and Virginia's and up in the northeast, most trappers originally were red fox trappers. They were so thick and plentiful. And that’s before the coyote moved in that area. And now there are very few red fox trappers because the red fox is almost non-existent, except in urban areas where they’ve moved in to escape the coyotes.
GRANT: Red fox tend to eat a lot of mice and a lot of rats. And mice and rats are big nest predators for turkeys and quail. So I actually like red fox around because they're reducing predators that prey on the species I’m trying to favor: turkey and quail.
GRANT: And I know we have an abundance of coyotes here at The Proving Grounds and that’s going against the red fox. They don’t need me trapping them also. And that’s the beauty of these Duke live traps. I can simply release this animal totally unharmed should I choose to. And that’s exactly the option I’m going to take this morning. Now, this animal has a beautiful pelt, but you know, we’re always talking about balance. And there’s not many red fox in this part of Missouri anymore and, again, we’re going to favor this fox because there’s not many around. We’re going to release him. I've looked him over. There’s no blood. He’s not damaged at all and, uh, I hope you go eat a whole bunch of rats and mice and give us a few more turkey and enjoy a good life.
GRANT: All right. That ring’s down, so we just got to remove this ring and he’s gonna go. The other way, I hope. I don’t want to go get rabies shots. Easy buddy. Easy does it. Okay. There we go.
GRANT: Well, I gotta tell you. It just doesn’t get much better than that on the trap line.
GRANT: Well, I’ll tell you. This morning’s kind of an interesting morning on the trap line, because I’m getting ready to leave to go to the ATA show. The Archery Trade Association show and uh, so I’m shutting down all my traps this week. I won't be here this coming week to check the traps and it’s easy on these Duke live traps. I just simply close the door and I can leave it here. The scent and everythings around, but no animal can get in, obviously, and that’s how simple these traps are to use. We have caught bobcats, gray fox, red fox. Of course, raccoons and opossums in these traps. So if you’ve got a hunting camp or you live in a city and you want to catch those animals or introduce your children to trapping, this is the perfect trap. You can release the animals if you want; you can dispatch the animals if you want. Children are not going to be hurt using these so. I mean, if I had a hunting camp, I’d have two or three of these around because the great thing about these are: you can set them just for one night if you want, put the lid down; come back next weekend and do some more trapping.
GRANT: There’s always something to enjoy in Creation. Year round. Whether it’s trapping, hunting or shed hunting. And I hope you and your family take this winter time to get out and really enjoy Creation and most importantly, take time to talk to the Creator. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.