KUIU
Muskrats - It's What's For Dinner
Small Game
Contributors to this thread:
Big Fin 01-Apr-19
midwest 01-Apr-19
Diesel 01-Apr-19
JTV 01-Apr-19
PAbowhunter1064 01-Apr-19
Mark Watkins 01-Apr-19
spike78 01-Apr-19
Missouribreaks 01-Apr-19
spike78 01-Apr-19
No Mercy 01-Apr-19
APauls 01-Apr-19
TreeWalker 01-Apr-19
Big Fin 02-Apr-19
SteveB 02-Apr-19
No Mercy 02-Apr-19
Z Barebow 02-Apr-19
Whocares 02-Apr-19
relliK reeD 02-Apr-19
Big Fin 02-Apr-19
spike78 02-Apr-19
Big Fin 02-Apr-19
Stoneman 02-Apr-19
Junior 02-Apr-19
ahunter76 02-Apr-19
Big Fin 03-Apr-19
TrapperKayak 03-Apr-19
Woods Walker 03-Apr-19
No Mercy 04-Apr-19
Empty Freezer 04-Apr-19
TrapperKayak 04-Apr-19
Big Fin 04-Apr-19
GotBowAz 04-Apr-19
Brotsky 04-Apr-19
Big Fin 04-Apr-19
Joey Ward 04-Apr-19
Big Fin 04-Apr-19
Joey Ward 04-Apr-19
Nimrod90 04-Apr-19
midwest 04-Apr-19
Big Fin 05-Apr-19
JTV 05-Apr-19
GotBowAz 05-Apr-19
marktm250 18-Apr-19
leftee 18-Apr-19
Woods Walker 18-Apr-19
LINK 18-Apr-19
JL 18-Apr-19
Woods Walker 18-Apr-19
leftee 18-Apr-19
leftee 18-Apr-19
From: Big Fin
01-Apr-19

Big Fin's embedded Photo
Frosty mornings, Day One morning was 3F, on a spring creek are hard to beat. Photo credit Tony Peterson.
Big Fin's embedded Photo
Frosty mornings, Day One morning was 3F, on a spring creek are hard to beat. Photo credit Tony Peterson.

Big Fin's Link
We took a few days earlier in March to address the muskrat population on a creek I often get invited to for late season duck hunts. The idea was to show another trapping series and then prepare them for a meal differently than we prepped them last time.

Our YouTube channel audience is mostly hunters and I am often surprised by how many misunderstand trapping; something I grew up doing to fund my hunting/fishing. So, I try to mix in some trapping content whenever opportunity allows.

At the link is the video for Day One; setting a few traps and explaining the damage muskrats do to spring creeks. Wish I had time to get after the seriously like a I did a few years back.

From: midwest
01-Apr-19
Thank you for helping to educate the trapping ignorant. Some of the very best hunters got their start trapping fur.

From: Diesel
01-Apr-19
A lot of good memories from my childhood traplines. Learned a ton about animals and the outdoors, responsibility and gave me spending money right up through high school. Shame the fur market has been in such bad shape in recent years. I hope to run a small line now that I am semi retired and have a bit more time. Looking forward to your future links.

From: JTV
01-Apr-19

JTV's embedded Photo
JTV's embedded Photo
I grew up Trapping and was a skinner for a local fur buyer thru Jr. High and part of High School, made some good money back then too ..as for the 'rats and even beaver, they are delicious ...I miss trapping, I dont have the time nor the available land right now ... this big guy was several years back as I was helping the landowner where I deer hunted remove some that was causing flooding into some of his fields .. I took 7 out of a 1/2 mile of ditch/creek ...

01-Apr-19
Very cool, Randy! Thank you for portraying hunting and trapping in such a positive light. My wife and I have been binge watching all the seasons and episodes of Fresh Tracks on Amazon Prime. It’s quickly become our favorite hunting show, and now we subscribed to your YouTube channel. Keep up the good work!

From: Mark Watkins
01-Apr-19
Looks great Randy.....look forward to checking it out!

Mark

From: spike78
01-Apr-19
Started trapping at 12 here in MA for muskrat that was until they banned traps gotta love it!

01-Apr-19
I would encourage landowners to invite good trappers in for predator control, great way to improve the habitat for other game animals.

From: spike78
01-Apr-19
I wish I knew that method when I started I used to trap them in creeks using a bank pocket set with an apple and lure tucked under the bank. Caught a bunch that way.

From: No Mercy
01-Apr-19
AWESOME! When does part two come out?

From: APauls
01-Apr-19

APauls's embedded Photo
APauls's embedded Photo
My daughter and I set traps together yesterday, she is 5 years old. She was super pumped when we went 2 for 2

...in the garage

From: TreeWalker
01-Apr-19
Made good money in the 1970s catching critters including muskrats. We ate a few. I think they were like a sweet-tinged squirrel. Lot of work for a little meat, though, compared to raccoon, for example. Muskrats were $5 to $8 most years skinned and turned. We had plywood forms to stretch but that was a lot of work as always seemed needed to cut a slightly different shape out of plywood for the next muskrat so we got smart and bought the wire frame stretchers. Could get closer to $10 stretched. Farmers would beg us to clean out the muskrats when would not allow us to go after most fur-bearing critters on the same property. The fur market crashed by the time I was out of college and something has since knocked the muskrat population way down the part of Missouri I used to trap. Otters moved in so maybe that has an impact.

From: Big Fin
02-Apr-19

Big Fin's embedded Photo
Prime winter fur 'skrats.
Big Fin's embedded Photo
Prime winter fur 'skrats.

Big Fin's Link
Day Two; first day of checking traps. Not a bad haul for 28 traps in tough conditions. Didn't even fall in the drink this day.

From: SteveB
02-Apr-19
Used to stop and check my easy pond traps as a teenager on the way to a date and sell them in town so i had money to go out. Good memories.

From: No Mercy
02-Apr-19
"Deader than Disco!" I love it! LMAO

From: Z Barebow
02-Apr-19
15 rats with 28 sets? I would say that is a good day! Watched Part 1 on big screen TV last night. I could clearly see the water splash as you took a drink! LOL!

From: Whocares
02-Apr-19
Good job! Fun videos Randy.

From: relliK reeD
02-Apr-19
great job. Just wondering why you wouldn'd use a kyak?

From: Big Fin
02-Apr-19
A kayak would be a hassle to load/unload and to carry all the traps and other gear, plus a camera guy. I can drive most corners of the creek, so a walk will get me to most any spot that I want to set.

From: spike78
02-Apr-19
Randy, just curious why your not setting for mink as well?

From: Big Fin
02-Apr-19
Mink here are worth almost nothing. Most are "cotton" mink and even in good years will bring in $8-10. When I get serious about 'rats, I usually end up with a mink per day. I still skin, stretch, and ship them to auction, though they are not worth the headache and hassle.

From: Stoneman
02-Apr-19
Big Fin, maybe a video on how you skin, flesh, and stretch your rats? Also, would you have any concerns using the old single spring #1 traps? Thanks for posting the videos.

From: Junior
02-Apr-19
Interesting! Thanks for sharing. I've never heard of baiting muskrats before. We den set or use a run way set with 120 Conibear. My favorite set is to make a funnel with sticks in the ground in a v shape on the edge. Setting the Conibear at point. This is especially productive on narrow streams or at slow/ fast water transition .

From: ahunter76
02-Apr-19

ahunter76's embedded Photo
ahunter76's embedded Photo
As a kid growing up I trapped many a rat & other critters along a canal & side creeks a mile from my home. b/4 school & right after & all on foot for about 6 years. Now I capture them with a lens. This was last week..

From: Big Fin
03-Apr-19

Big Fin's embedded Photo
The worst day of trapping beats sitting behind a desk at the CPA firm disinheriting the Federal Treasury.
Big Fin's embedded Photo
The worst day of trapping beats sitting behind a desk at the CPA firm disinheriting the Federal Treasury.

Big Fin's Link
Day 3: On this second day of checking the traps I can see we are already cleaning up the local 'rats. If it was not frozen, there would be a lot of traveling rats and the catch rates would stay the same.

From: TrapperKayak
03-Apr-19
I used to 'bait' rats using an eye dropper with 'Oil of Sweetflag" placing a few drops next to the set. It was oil from a swamp iris I think, or cattail root. Can't remember which. Its been decades since I trapped.

From: Woods Walker
03-Apr-19
I also started trapping when I was 12 and trapped through high school and college. I went to the University of Wyoming in the early 1970's, just about the time that long haired furs went way up in value. I made some pretty good money as well as learning a LOT about the woods. Another bonus was trapping beaver for the ranchers along the Little Laramie River. That opened the door for me to fish and hunt their land as well. I miss it!

From: No Mercy
04-Apr-19
Awesome series Randy-thoroughly enjoyed watching it so far. In my younger years I bought my first vehicle with money from furs, trapping muskrats, mink, beaver, coon, fox and whatever else strayed by. This was fun to watch and I REALLY wish we'd have thought of that method of setting traps way back then for rats! Looking forward to watching the next cooking show-I don't think I could bring myself to eat them. Too many of them had worms of some sort back then.

04-Apr-19
I trapped from 12 until I was 16 in Iowa. Muskrat were no 1 on the hit list. Always got a couple mink. Big buck would bring $18 in the 70's. Trapped racoon and fox, a few badger and an occasional skunk that always seemed to ruin our day????. Bought a car and motorcycle when i turned 16. Wish my boys could have done that.

From: TrapperKayak
04-Apr-19
I trapped from the time I was 6 all the way through high school, and ran the line with my Rupp Roadster and Ski-Doo, both bought mostly with money I made from trapping rats, mink, coons, etc. I also bought my first English bike, a 26" Armstrong 3 speed, for $44.00 when I was about 9, with rat money.

From: Big Fin
04-Apr-19

Big Fin's embedded Photo
Really, it's what's for dinner. Video coming tomorrow.
Big Fin's embedded Photo
Really, it's what's for dinner. Video coming tomorrow.

Big Fin's Link
Day 4: Due to a crazy calendar, it's time to pull these traps, finish with the skinning and butchering chores, then get these muskrat hams over to Marcus (camera guy and wild game cook) for tacos tomorrow.

Video at the link.

From: GotBowAz
04-Apr-19
Thanks for the video's Randy. I have never trapped before but I can sure see the appeal! Looks like a lot of fun. Looking forward to seeing the feast Marcus cooks up. What water proof gloves are you wearing?

From: Brotsky
04-Apr-19
GotBow, I think the gloves are Sitka Hudson Bay Lobster Mitts.

From: Big Fin
04-Apr-19
The gloves are Sitka Delta Deek Gloves. Amazing gloves for trapping and waterfowling.

From: Joey Ward
04-Apr-19
Good videos. Enjoyed them.

Looks to be pretty easy access and setup for those. Much easier than my experience for the swamps and ponds this far south.

You should do a “skinning” segment too along with the cooking one.

How much per pelt are you expecting to get for those now?

From: Big Fin
04-Apr-19

Big Fin's Link
A skinning video from two years ago is at the link. Prices are so low, I will just send them to get tanned and made into garments. In 2014, I got almost $12 per pelt. Last time, even with being awarded a Top Lot award for some of my skins, I only averaged $3.50.

From: Joey Ward
04-Apr-19
Very good video. Nicely done.

And thanks for the info.

From: Nimrod90
04-Apr-19
Man, ive skinned a lot of muskrats in my time and I really don't think I could eat one after skinning them, just that stinky sweet smell always got to me. I'll pass and take your word for it!

From: midwest
04-Apr-19
Yeah, my farts would smell like muskrat guts after a skinning session. Pretty sure I'd be gagging trying to eat one!

Really enjoying the videos. Sure brings back a lot of memories!

From: Big Fin
05-Apr-19

Big Fin's Link
Day 5: The catchin' is done. Now it's time for cleanin' and cookin'. Video link has "Muskrat Tacos" for everyone.

From: JTV
05-Apr-19
We would cook 'rats the same as rabbits, breaded and fried...also in a stew ... they are really good ... beaver would be either stew or cut into chunks, breaded and fried ....

From: GotBowAz
05-Apr-19
Thanks for the info on the gloves Randy. Great videos. Im pretty sure if anything happens to Casey Webb Man verses food you could fill his shoes no problem. I dont think I could eat Scrats without being pretty darn hungry. LOL

From: marktm250
18-Apr-19

marktm250's Link
I guess it's also a legit dinner for Detroit Catholics on Good Friday!

From: leftee
18-Apr-19
Good stuff,thanks.I also grew up trapping for spending $$.Some of my first dates with my wife were checking mink traps.I fear for the future of trapping.Just yesterday got this notice from NAFA:

" April 17, 2019

Dear Producer, Today is a difficult day at NAFA as we have had to let go members of NAFA staff who were our close friends and colleagues. I am informing you of this as these staff members include some of our North American solicitors.

We are well aware that the entire fur industry has been under considerable adverse pressure for the last couple of years. Mink consignment volumes are currently falling dramatically and market prices for our goods remain at unprofitable levels across all facets of the trade. NAFA has obviously not been immune to the business realities and hardships occurring all across our industry. Although we have done better than many of our competitors in recent times, it was time for us to take action in this regard. My first obligation must be to help the Company navigate through these difficult economic times and in doing so, protect nearly 350 years of NAFA heritage. It also means ensuring the ongoing economic viability of the Company, our corporate mission and our ability to continue to service our customers for years to come. Finally, I am trying to set the Company up for what I believe is the best possibility of future success. This is the only way that I know to return our business to the path of growth and profitability while protecting the jobs/financial health of all remaining NAFA employees and stakeholders. Your solicitor will reach out to you in the coming days. In the meantime, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you for your understanding.

Douglas Lawson President & CEO North American Fur Auctions"

Anyway thanks for this series Randy.

From: Woods Walker
18-Apr-19
There was a time when muskrats were called, "swamp rabbits". Actually, having spent a considerable amount of my youth trapping/skinning them, I learned a lot about what they eat, where/how they live (that's why trapping is an EXCELLENT way to learn woodsmanship, WITHOUT AN APP!!), and based on their diet, they're a hell of a lot better for you to eat than a chicken!!! Chickens literally will eat ANYTHING.....hence the term..."Tastes like chicken".... ;-)

From: LINK
18-Apr-19
I’m not worried about what a farm raised chicken eats near as much as I am what is fed to store bought chicken.

From: JL
18-Apr-19

JL's Link
I never trapped or know much about it but it's fun to watch. Someone sent me this yesterday.

2019 Fur Market Reports Showing Favorable Market for Prime Pelts

As the season for prime furs winds down the auction reports are beginning to show a favorable market, and the best report comes from North America Fur Auctions.

If you had a skinning shed full of coyote fur you’re grinning like a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day for sure. As the season for prime furs winds down the auction reports are beginning to show a favorable market, and the best report comes from North America Fur Auctions.

North America Fur Auctions ranks as the largest fur auction business in North America. It is respected across the globe when it comes to supplying furs to worldwide markets. NAFA has a history dating back to the original settlements in North America and roots to the Hudson Bay Company in 1670. That’s a reputation most businesses would love to be able to tout.

It appears as if the anti-fur crowd doesn’t have the leverage they try to advertise as NAFA reports that the fashion trade remains strong. Results from the February 2019 auction show that Hong Kong, China and Italy competed heavily for coyote furs with 100 percent of the 51,000 coyote offerings sold. The top lot, going to a company in Italy, sold for a $210 average. Western heavy coyotes sold for an average of $104 with the western semi lot averaging $60. Eastern coyotes averaged $54 during the sale, which is up significantly over previous years.

This bodes well for trappers, professional predator hunters and weekend warriors alike. Success on just one coyote per weekend when furs are prime can put fuel in a truck. If you happen to live in a high coyote density area you may even have been able to put a few extra Franklins in the bank.

An interesting note on fur demand is that besides coyote fur, the only other high-quantity fur species to sell at 98 percent of its offerings were muskrat. Bears and wolverines also sold at 100 percent of their offerings, but the amount of pelts available was negligible compared to coyote and muskrat.

Nearly 200,000 muskrat were on the latest auction sale averaging $3.59. It would take a lot of traps to make a living, but the supplemental income for wetland trapping definitely is something to keep in mind. China was the prime buyer for muskrat in 2019. Beavers averaged $11 with a top lot averaging $100. More than 33,000 beavers were in the most recent auction with a 72 percent sale.

If raccoons are your thing they averaged from $10 to a high of $17 depending on the section location. Seventy-five percent sold of the 254,218 offered at auction. A top lot went to a China buyer for a $92 average making for a good haul on masked bandits.

The fur market has always been up and down like a roller coaster, but the latest numbers, especially for coyotes, will not only keep you smiling, but give you some green return as well.

From: Woods Walker
18-Apr-19
When I was a kid a friend of mine raised chickens and pheasants as part of 4H. The pheasants he sold to a gun club. I used to help him with the care and feeding of the birds, and they literally WILL eat anything. Bugs, seeds, dirt, scabs/wounds on other birds, whatever. If a bird did get a wound we had to isolate it for a bit because the others would literally peck it to death. After that I though of them as dinosaurs with feathers!

From: leftee
18-Apr-19
JL,things not quite as rosy as Grandview states.Look at the NAFA letter in my post a couple above yours.

From: leftee
18-Apr-19

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