To Set a Trap

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Published on: Jan. 2, 1998

Last revision: Oct. 28, 2010

with this information, I'd ordered everything needed to catch coyotes. Or so I thought. Unfortunately, I'd skimmed through only the chapter on trapping coyotes, not the chapter on trapping basics, or what every good trapper should know before launching a career.

Once Bert calmed down, I could see doubt welling up in his eyes. "What's wrong?" I demanded as my daughter Julie and I sprang traps simultaneously.

"I see chains on those traps," he said, "but what do you chain them to so the coyote can't drag them off?"

"Quick, The Book," I replied, and there it was: "Chain traps to metal stakes." There was more to this than I'd imagined.

"All right," I admitted. "I need some stakes and I need them fast." Coyote season ended on February 15, so time was running out. I consulted The Book once more. Might I need something else?

"Hmmm. It says here I also need a sifter."

"A sifter?" queried my better half. "Are you trapping or baking?"

"To sift dirt, dear. You just can't pile clods of dirt all over your traps. That wouldn't look like some little critter had just dug a hole in which to hide a yummy morsel."

"This is getting complicated," he whined.

Silently, I agreed, but I wouldn't concede the point. "I also need a large plastic tarp so I don't leave footprints and human scent when making my sets." The list grew. "A garden claw so I can rough up the grass when I'm through with the set. That way, my quarry won't notice any grass flattened by the tarp."

I returned to The Book. "Rubber boots are essential," I recited. "Odors don't adhere as readily to rubber as they do to leather. The higher the boots, the better."

Bert brightened. No money spent there. We already had rubber boots.

"Trappers must wear clean, odor-free gloves, preferably rubber or cotton. They need a hammer for driving the trap stakes and some covers for the trap pans."

"Good grief," cried Julie. "We'll need a wagon to haul it in."

I kept reading. "I also need some anti-freeze so the dirt won't freeze solid on the traps, preventing them from springing. And a good pair of pliers would really come in handy . . . " Two sets of hands clamped over my mouth.

The week passed quickly. By Saturday morning, I was sure I had everything I needed. What else could there possibly be?

On our way to the farm, eager to

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