Conservation and Trapping Science

Ohio trappers convention next weekend in Bucyrus
Sep 6, 2021 08:03 ET

[Reprinted from original]

Beginning at 8 a.m. on September 10 and 11, the Crawford County Fairgrounds in Bucyrus will be the site of the Ohio State Trappers Association’s (OSTA) annual convention, with a daily admission of $5.

As usual, the convention is the best place to watch expert trappers demonstrate their techniques for all of Ohio’s furbearers and teach proper fur-handling tips to get the best prices. For the complete list of the scheduled seminars, see www.ohiostatetrapper.org.

For those wanting to start trapping, dealers and tailgaters will be selling new and used traps including live traps, colony traps, footholds, dog proof designs, body-grippers and snares.

Outdoor supply houses will also be there offering tools of the trade, which include traps, lures, baits, trap setting, cage making and other specialized tools; shovels, knives, pelt stretchers, instructional books, pack baskets, waterproof gloves and boots necessary to participate in this traditional activity.

Tanned pelts of all of Ohio’s furbearer species will be on display, as well as OSTA branded merchandise.

The annual general meeting at 6 p.m. Friday is used to update members of legislative activity, ongoing threats to the sport, new wildlife regulations, furbearer research and other news.

During the fundraiser at 6 p.m. Saturday, raffles and auctions are used to support the missions of the organization, including youth education workshops, providing information about the sport to legislators, consultations with the Ohio Division of Wildlife and informing the general citizenry that may not understand the ongoing need for trapping.

I have often asserted that successful trappers require higher levels of understanding of the animals that they are seeking than any other outdoorsmen.

They must be able to read the evidence animals leave behind. This means being able to recognize the unique footprints and feces of the species being sought to know if there are enough living in the area to consider trapping some of the surplus.

In the case of deer hunting, archers must only get their quarry to within about 40 yards, about the same distance where most waterfowlers or upland bird hunters feel most comfortable with attempting a shot. With a gun, deer hunters may only need to get within 100-200 yards.

However, in the case of a foothold style trap, trappers must make an animal step on roughly a 2-square-inch pan. Ohio’s traps are allowed a maximum jaw-spread when set on land to 6 inches (or 8 inches under water) to hold a coyote paw or a huge, rear beaver foot, respectively. Ohio does not allow traps with teeth.

For body-gripper traps, they need to place them so animals will swim through an opening from the diameter of a softball to the size of a bucket. Target animals for these are muskrats/mink or beaver/river otter.

Though trapping season may seem long, Mother Nature always has the trump card and can complicate harvests by providing too much rain, snow or freezing temperatures that make some sets inoperable or lead to animals remaining in their winter dens.

Pelt prices are always impossible to predict, but anticipation is running high after the OSTA fur auction in Kidron in March 2021.

The most valued fur available in Ohio is still coyote, which can grow to 60 pounds here, but the latest average prices of $25-$35 won’t climb as high as January 2019's $48.65.

Wild mink pelts are being bought at less than $10 as ranch mink continue to flood the market. Demand for raccoon fluctuated between $6 and $10 at the OSTA auctions but drew no interest at the July 2021 Fur Harvesters Auction event. Only larger raccoons with dark pelts are worthwhile to process.

While beaver pelts from this region are not highly sought, their dried castor glands are now bringing $100 per pound.

Those who can find muskrats may receive good prices, although the Kidron sale in March averaged $7.04, but only $5.07 at the July Fur Harvesters Auction sale.