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Grant's Blog

Thoughts from the field

Balancing Nest Predators

Daniel’s trap line results were two raccoons, a coyote, and a fox.

Duke cage traps caught two raccoons and Duke #4’s caught a coyote and fox.

Over the past months, early mornings have been spent in the stand, but now we get to enjoy mornings through another activity, the trap line. As I have checked traps the past few mornings, my blood has raced, hearing the year’s first turkeys begin to gobble. These moments remind me that trapping is a great management tool for turkey and other wildlife.

Last week Adam shared how Duke #4 traps are reducing our larger predators, but we are also removing many smaller predators known as nest predators. Nest predators are animals that feed on the eggs of quail, pheasant, turkey and other species. These predators can do a lot of damage very quickly. Imagine a large raccoon waddling up to a turkey nest finding several delicious eggs sitting there. It’s an easy meal that instantly removes several eggs that may have hatched. As a wildlife manager, I want to do my part to help as many eggs hatch this year, and the trap line can do just that.

We began setting out Duke cage and dog proof traps last month. These traps are easy to set and are very effective for catching smaller predators. We have already removed 32 nest predators from The Proving Grounds. Once removed these predators will be replaced by others, so we trap every year, to continuously help balance nest predator/prey populations. That means each year we have reduced the number of raccoons and opossums from eating turkey eggs that spring.

If you are interested in learning how to begin trapping, to reduce your nest predators, check out GrowingDeer.tv episodes #265 and #266. I hope you get the opportunity to do some trapping or other management projects this week. It will be worth it in the end.

Managing whitetails with you,

Daniel Mallette

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Coyote Trapping And Predator Removal

Deer season officially closed for the GrowingDeer Team yesterday. Although we’re a little bummed, we’re dealing with our grief by preparing for next season. It’s never too early to prepare for future seasons, and one way we’re doing that is by removing predators!

Setting a trap for coyotes

Clint Cary makes a dirt hole set on the side of an interior road. These are great places to set traps for coyotes!

Predator control is a huge piece of our wildlife management program. Coyotes can be very tough on deer herds this time of year. With the whitetail breeding season over, a lot of deer are worn down and weak from the rut and are now dealing with the winter elements. The constant presence of coyotes can raise stress levels on the deer and even lead to death. Injured deer will be easy targets for coyotes to take down as well. All of these factors motivate us to set out our Duke #4 coyote traps!

We use two different styles when trapping coyotes, the dirt hole set and the flat set. These styles of coyote trapping have proven successful for us over the years and we’re hoping they help out our deer herd significantly again this year! To learn more about these techniques watch the upcoming episodes on GrowingDeer.tv!

Being a successful deer manager isn’t putting out a couple food plots every fall. It’s a year round task that includes predator removal! Get out this winter and do your part in balancing the predator/prey relationship!

Daydreaming of Whitetails,

Adam

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SCRAPES DURING THE RUT

Have you ever been excited to find an active scrape and plan to hunt it during the rut only to watch it fill with leaves during early November? Bucks and does tend to abandon most scrapes during the chase phase of the rut. It seems bucks don’t wish to spend energy checking and/or maintaining scrapes during the rut, when checking the wind often yields much better results of finding a receptive doe.  Read more at Winchester.com

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AGING BUCKS ON THE HOOF – A LATE SEASON EXAMPLE

Last week I shared a video of a 2.5-year-old whitetail buck and the characteristics I used to estimate his age. This week I’ll share another example. How old do you estimate the buck to be in the following video? Read more at Winchester.com.

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