This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
>> DANIEL: The Christmas season is here, and I believe it ‘cause it is cold and there’s snow on the ground here at The Proving Grounds. Now Christmas may look a little different for you and your family this year, but that’s okay because the reason we celebrate Christmas, well, it doesn’t change. It’s because the Creator gave us – the entire world – the greatest gift one could ever give and that was his Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
>> DANIEL: I hope you slow down this season and remember the reason for the season and the gift of Jesus Christ.
>> DANIEL: Missouri’s trapping season is underway. We’re running the trapline daily, checking those Duke traps, and we’ve already caught several critters.
>> DANIEL: Trapping is an important part of our wildlife management program here at The Proving Grounds.
>> DANIEL: Now we don’t want to get rid of all the predators, but we do want to balance the prey and predator numbers. We don’t want so many predators that our prey species can’t thrive and express their potential.
>> DANIEL: We’ve seen some great results from our trapping efforts. You know we continue to trap a lot of critters each year. Last year we trapped over a hundred predators. We’ve experienced great results from our trapping.
>> DANIEL: Our turkey numbers, well, they’re thriving. We have great hatches every year, and we experience many great hunts during the spring.
>> DANIEL: Our thriving turkey population, well, it’s the result of trapping combined with our improved habitat.
>> DANIEL: We’ve shared numbers in the past where turkey numbers are declining in many areas, and at the same time predator numbers are rising.
>> DANIEL: As wildlife managers, we don’t want to completely remove predators from the landscape. We want a healthy balance between prey and predators so both can thrive.
>> DANIEL: Fur prices have plummeted during the past few decades, and that’s resulted in fewer trappers. That means there’s more predators, and it’s up to us wildlife managers to trap to help balance those populations.
>> DANIEL: During this video, I’m going to share some very basic techniques that we use here at The Proving Grounds to select trap locations.
>> DANIEL: Let’s start with the basics. Maybe you’ve got 20 acres, maybe 500, and you’re thinking, “I don’t even know where to begin.” One of my favorite places to start looking when scouting for a trap location, well, it’s a quality map.
>> DANIEL: A quality map shares some great information. Just like we use a map during deer season to plan a hunt, you can use a map for trapping.
>> DANIEL: You can look at your property and find areas that have resources that predators are gonna be seeking – food, cover, and water. You can see the terrain features and see how critters may be moving through the area. You can identify areas that you need to put boots on the ground, go in, and scout.
>> DANIEL: Once you’ve identified an area to put boots on the ground and scout, start looking for those small game trails, tracks, scat, and other sign that those predators will be leaving.
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>> DANIEL: When I have boots on the ground and looking for these active travel corridors of critters, I’m looking for a lot of edge habitat; I’m looking for road systems, trails that are coming right along the edge of two different types of habitat. Maybe that’s a creek or hardwood timber meeting a food plot. There’s a lot of edge there that critters can easily go in between two different types of habitat. Those are hot areas to find some great sign.
>> DANIEL: Getting out finding fresh sign, well, that’s a great way to find some great trap locations, but don’t overlook the obvious. Most of us have our trail cameras out, and we’re monitoring those late season bucks.
>> DANIEL: There’s gonna be predators that run in front of that trail camera. Take note of where those predators are, even which direction they’re traveling, how they’re working the area. Those can be great trap locations.
>> DANIEL: Once you find an area that has a lot of predator sign – whether that’s tracks, trails, or maybe showing up on camera – there’s more than just setting a trap on the ground. You’ve got to remember predators live by their nose. They’re always looking for a meal. So you’re gonna appeal to their nose. If you just set a trap on the ground and you don’t think about that nose, you could completely miss those critters.
>> DANIEL: When you find an area that you want to put a trap at, consider how the wind and thermals will be carrying the scent in that area. You want your scent to be carried across the area that has the most traffic of predators.
>> DANIEL: Predators like raccoons, opossums, coyotes, they’re most active at night. They’re hunting; they’re living by their nose trying to find a meal.
>> DANIEL: During the night, thermals are very predictable. That’s when we’re making most of our catches on the trapline. So we need to consider the thermals in the area where we’re setting our trap.
>> DANIEL: When I say thermals, I’m talking about how the air rises and sinks based on temperature. Warm air is gonna rise. Cool air is gonna sink to the lowest point.
>> DANIEL: A great example of this is a video we took just a few days ago during a deer hunt.
>> DANIEL: It was extremely cold that morning, and air – that cold air – was falling off the mountain and being sucked down the creek to the south.
>> DANIEL: That cool air sucking down the creek, that’s what’s happening at night. But this video is a great example of what happens once that air starts to rise. You can see the air being sucked down the creek, but the air is also warming up, so it’s still kind of rising up as it’s being sucked to the south.
>> DANIEL: So when you go to set your trap at your location, place it on the high side of where you believe critters are gonna be traveling. Consider the predominant winds. Is it north, south, east, or west? And then pair that with thermals. At night, those thermals are gonna sink down the terrain, and that’s going to pull your scent across the trail that you believe those critters are crossing.
>> DANIEL: If you’re on the other side of the trail and your scent is going away and not crossing that trail, you may catch a critter or two, but you’re likely not gonna catch near as many because that scent is not crossing that trail.
>> DANIEL: Finding locations and intersections where there’s a lot of activity – you know, back behind me we’ve got a creek and two roads crossing – well that’s just a great intersection. There’s a water source, which is pulling that scent in one direction.
>> DANIEL: We’re gonna be on the high side and let that scent come down across this road where most critters like to travel.
>> DANIEL: As I’ve discussed, predators like to live by their nose. They’re gonna be searching for that scent, and they’re gonna catch that scent and work their way upwind to the trap site. And that’s how you have a great catch on the trapline.
>> DANIEL: In summary, when selecting a trap location, I like to look at a map – that 30,000-foot level.
>> DANIEL: Find those areas where habitat types maybe meet, where there’s travel corridors, terrain features that push critters one way or the other. Maybe there’s a creek, cover, food.
>> DANIEL: Put all that together and find those areas where there’s as many things as possible. The best trap sites will be those that have features that meet at a certain point.
>> DANIEL: Once you find that location where those features meet – there’s a lot of travel activity – placing your trap on the upwind side so thermals can pull the scent across the area where critters are traveling, well, that’s a great trap location.
>> DANIEL: Scent is obviously an important part of trapping, and you may be asking what type of bait or scent are we using at our trap sites. We’ll be sharing that information in an upcoming video.
>> DANIEL: If you’d like to learn some more advanced techniques on trapping, check out our trapping playlist.
>> DANIEL: Trapping is a great way to get out, enjoy Creation, and sharpen those outdoor skills. I hope you take time this week and sharpen your life skills, slow down, listen to what the Creator is saying to you and the purpose He has for your life.
>> DANIEL: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.