February 2013

Otters (and Bear)? II

As I promised last time I have a confession to make, so here goes. I did not go into great detail about trapping otter for one reason; I do not intentionally trap otter. Yup I get a stray once in a while beaver trapping but I do not intentionally set traps for them and here is why. Years ago I trapped them and had no problem with it. That all changed about six years ago.

It was early spring and I was in the town of Huntington. While traveling down the road something caught my eye on the edge of the stream on the side of the road. I backed up and witnessed something I had never seen in all of my time as a trapper. A pair of otter would run up the bank and roll around and then curl up their front legs and slide back down into the stream. After a dozen or more times doing this they would take a break and lay in the sun and then back at it again. I watched these two perform for close to a hour. I decided right there that any animal that enjoys life as much as these two otter did that they deserve to live life to the fullest.

The following spring I am turkey hunting on the east Shore of Arrowhead Lake in Milton and upon reaching the shore I heard the distinct bark of a male otter. As I walk closer to shore a otter splashes in the water and disappears. A few moments later a female otter with three pups swims right up to me. The male is off in the distance still barking at me to warn the female but she must have known I was no threat as she would roll on her back and let her pups climb on to feed and frolic. Again, an hour free show courtesy of Mother Nature. I usually catch a glimpse of them every time I hunt in the area.

Now I told my son Trevor about this and he wanted to know if I was ok? Getting enough sleep? He along with my hunting buddy Smitty took all of the home brew out of the fur shed and cabin and hid it on me. I assured them I was fine but with old age you start to appreciate nature differently. Call me weird but you will not see an otter in my shed in the near future regardless of the lack of home brew.

Bear Trapping?

A few years back I had the opportunity to go to the great state of Maine on a bear hunt. I stayed with the good folks who operate # 9 Lake Outfitters in Bridgewater, Maine. This is an outstanding outfit so if you get a chance visit them.

While there we met J.R one of the guides. This guy is a hoot and lives life to the fullest that is outdoors. He can locate and spot game like no one I know.

Two years ago I had the opportunity to trap bear. Now I have trapped about everything there is to trap, but BEAR? JR is a licensed nuisance bear trapper. While hunting JR could not wait to get the mail every day. On day five JR burst into the lodge with a smile broader than the state of Maine and announced the permit was here. I would bet if you had offered him a million bucks for the permit he would have declined.

 Knowing I was a trapper he asked” want to come along?” Well, my bear was already on the pole as well as my nephew Scotts so it was a mad dash to the truck and we were off.

 Now let me explain this TRAP. It is basically a have-a –heart trap , ten feet long, four feet tall with a trailer hitch and lights. Going down the road it looks like a road culvert chasing a truck.

We get to the site and JR goes to work. Down goes the support legs, up goes the door and in goes JR. At the far end of the trap hangs the bait hook which is quickly loaded with a bag of stale donuts and then smothered with a concoction of bacon grease and molasses. JR backs out and smiles and says “that will get them”!A requirement is to put a fence up around the site and when doing that the skies opened up. I got it all, the whole process on video right down to the pouring rain.

We checked the trap for a couple of days and then it was time for me to head home. No bear for me but enough memories to fill that trap ten times. Thanks JR and #9 Lakes Outfitters.

Keep your lures in the shed, your waders patched, and be sure to take a kid out with you.