Pennsylvania Trappers Association, editors. 2008. Canine Trapping: Sets and Techniques by Top PA Trappers. PA Trappers Association. 120 pp.
The trapping of canines, be they coyotes, red fox or gray fox, is considered by most fur takers to be the ultimate expression of trapping expertise. Capturing an occasional canine is commendable and worthy of praise. But if you want to be a consistent canine trapper then you would do well to read the pages of this book.
Like their other book, Trapping Techniques, this volume is a collection of articles from various Pennsylvania trappers who have substantial experience catching canines. The first article, Trapping Ethics, sets the tone for the remaining articles. Essentially, Ed Price argues that trappers have a responsibility to treat the resource with respect and to not just follow the law but to think about how your actions will affect fellow trappers.
Later articles discuss fundamental skills for catching canines in general, such as set locations and dirt hole trapping. While much of the information is fairly standard, readers should be fascinated by the various and potentially conflicting opinions regarding specific techniques. For example, “Are canines spooked by large backings at a set or is it really much to do about nothing?” Another question is, “Does urine work by increasing territorial aggression or curiosity?” I’m sure you can find others. My point is that the book illustrates that trapping is as much art as it is science. Ultimately, you have to decide what works for you in your situation.
The book also contains articles reviews general principles for catching individual species (i.e. red fox, gray fox, and coyotes), while others delve into specific sets for footholds and cable-restraints. I was pleasantly surprised by the attention paid to trapping gray fox. Grays are one of the least understood canines as when compared to the red fox, very little academic research has centered on grays. Trappers in mixed habitats should find the information useful in adding gray fox to their lines.
Two articles by master bait makers, Russ Carmen and Bob Jameson, should help trappers make the most of their lure and urine use. Finally, the article on time management contains tips to shave minutes and possibly hours on your trapline each day. I am sure readers will find at least one tip to implement on their lines.
The book is 5 x8.5 inches in size, saddle-stitched and paperback. It is illustrated with line-drawings and black and white photos. Several articles could have benefited from additional illustrations. In addition, greater attention to editorial issues would have reduced the number of typos, layout changes, and improved clarity. Nevertheless, the information is invaluable and well worth the price. Whether you are a beginner to intermediate trapper, this book will help you improve the efficiency of your canine trapping. Regardless of your skill level, purchase of a book helps support your fellow Pennsylvania trappers.
Copies can be purchased for $12.00 plus shipping online at http://www. patrappers.com. Payment is made through PayPal. Both of their books are available for only $20.00 plus shipping.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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