Tuesday, December 30, 2008

They call it trapping for a reason....

Wait, that doesn't make as much sense as "They call it hunting for a reason..." or "They call it fishing for a reason..."

Maybe it should be called "Setting" rather than trapping because I sure have set a lot of traps compared to the number of animals that I've caught in them.

I was really hoping to catch a bobcat over the christmas holidays but it is not looking very promising so far. I set 3 traps out specifically for bobcats and 3 traps out specifically for coyotes and they've been out for 9 nights now and I haven't caught a bobcat or a coyote yet. I did catch 2 possums, a porcupine and a piglet in the traps I set for bobcats, but I haven't caught anything in the traps I set for coyotes. I set 12 traps out for raccoons and I have caught 3 raccoons and 1 skunk in those traps but that is still a pretty poor success rate. I have made a serious dent in the raccoon population on my land though, those 3 bring my total to 19 raccoons trapped on 160 acres within a 12 month period! Trapping the possums should be really good for the ground nesting birds as well, I really have noticed an increase in the quail population from last year, I'm thinking that trapping all those raccoons last spring really did some good.

Here's a picture of the possum that I trapped playing possum. I'd always heard that expression but it really is true. I thought that it had somehow died in the trap until I got right up next to it and it opened it's eyes and looked at me! I'm glad I hadn't reached down and tried to get it out of the trap because they have some pretty sharp looking teeth!

One of the traps that I set for coyotes is right in front of one of my trail cameras where I had gotten videos of coyotes and bobcats in the past. Here's a picture of the trap set. It is called a dirt hole set where you dig a hole and set the trap in front of the hole and the animal is supposed to go look or dig in the hole to get the bait or lure that you place in it and step in the trap.

Here's a vidoe clip of me adding some lure to the hole behind the trap to give you a good idea of the trap location.

And then here is the video that made me sick to my stomach. A bobcat came within about a foot of stepping in the trap but then changed it's mind and walked away!

I had a clip of a coyote checking it out as well but that didn't bother me as much as missing the bobcat. I've been reading on a trapping bulletin board but I guess I still have some learning to do on getting them to commit that one extra step!

That's about it for now. I still have the traps out and plan on pulling them over the new years holiday. The last couple times I've checked them they have all been empty so I'm not too optimistic about the next few days but who knows?

That's about it for now.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Well, Eli still isn't sure about Santa.

The other day we went to go to a free Santa that they had gone to last year but there was a mix up and Santa wasn't there. So on Tuesday we headed to the Mall and stood in line to get a picture taken with Santa. Everything seemed fine until the kid in front of us cried really hard and Eli just wasn't sure about the whole thing. Cathy ended up sitting beside Santa and held Eli and we were able to crop Cathy out of the picture and it almost looks like Eli was enjoying himself!

But if you look at the true sequence of pictures you get the true story of Christmas!

Eli got a John Deere pedal tractor for his big present and he seems to like it quite a bit although it is a little too big for him to actually make it go with the pedals right now.

I've been out and checked on my traps twice and caught 2 possums, a skunk, a raccoon and about a 15lb piglet but no bobcats or coyotes. Maybe Santa left me a bobcat in a trap for Christmas last night!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Eli is growing up!

I'm a little late posting pictures of Eli's 2nd birthday party, but they are better late than never!

He had 2 parties, one on his birthday Sunday at Fazzolis (he likes spaghetti) and one the next day at CiCi's so he got plenty of cake and cupcakes.

Here he is digging into his birthday cupcake on Sunday:

And the next day showing off his excellent table manners!

It really is amazing how fast they grow up. It really sneaks up on you until you look back at some of the older pictures.

Here is a picture of him from last year:

Last year he wasn't too happy when he sat on Santa's lap so Cathy has been working with him this year and we are hoping for a good experience for him tomorrow when we take him to see Santa. He has been wearing a Santa hat quite a bit lately and if you ask him what Santa says he replies "Ho, Ho, Ho!" If you read lips you can tell exactly what he is saying when he is pointing to Santa while reading a book tonight.

And I just thought this picture of him was too cute:

I might update the blog tomorrow with pictures from his visit to Santa but I wouldn't hold my breath on it. I've been pretty busy at work but it looks like I'm going to get to go down to the land some next week and try my hand at trapping some more. I'm really hoping to trap one of the bobcats that I've been getting trail camera pictures of but so far the only thing I've been able to catch has been raccoons and skunks so we'll see how it turns out.

If I don't make a post before then I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Vegas Vacation!

Well, kind of...

I had an accounting conference out in Las Vegas and I have a companion pass for Cathy on Southwest Airlines, and Eli is under 2, so they were both able to fly out with me for free. Work was paying for most of the hotel bill, so we decided to make a mini vacation out of it.

Most people think of Las Vegas only as the gambling, lights, etc. but one of our favorite things to do when we are there is go out to Red Rock canyon. It is less than a 30 minute drive from the strip and it is very pretty and a lot of fun. Eli loved running around and climbing on things and throwing rocks. There is something about the smooth rock formations that just screams out "CLIMB ME"! I carryed Eli up a few spots but Cathy kept me in check on taking him on anything too difficult.

Here are a few pictures from our visit to Red Rock:

Believe it or not, the conference was pretty good and I got a lot out of it. I did play poker a few times and I felt pretty good about my skill level compared to many of the players. I did lose a little money but most of the time I did get my money in when I was ahead, luck just didn't go my way the first night. I played a total of about 12 hours over 2 nights and ended up down a little over $100. That's cheaper than most of the shows out there and I got quite a bit of entertainment value over the 12 hours I played.

Cathy and Eli had a good time shopping and went out to Red Rock canyon a couple times. Eli liked the fountains at Bellagio and the Volcano at the Mirage is working again so we saw that. Cathy took him to the free Circus at CircusCircus and they enjoyed that also although there wasn't an Elephant so I'm not sure it counts as a true circus!

Nothing else terribly exciting on this end.


Monday, December 1, 2008

They call it hunting for a reason...

Well, 2nd time out to the land without bringing anything home. My brother-in-law and 2 of their boys met me out there and we hunted Friday night and Saturday morning but didn't connect on anything. We saw about a dozen pigs on Friday night but they were nearly 1/2 mile away and it was only 10 minutes before dark so we didn't go after them. Saturday morning we saw a nice 2 1/2 year old 8 pointer but I asked him to pass on him so he could grow another year.

We set out some raccoon traps Friday night and didn't do very well on that either. With 9 traps out in 3 sets of 3 we only connected in one location and ended up with 1 raccoon and 1 skunk there.

I got some more trail camera pictures of a bobcat and I think this one is different due to it's coloration.

Talked with the neighbors who were there hunting and they showed me a nice buck that they had shot earlier in the week and once I checked my trail camera pictures I realized that I had gotten a picture of the same buck last week on one of my trail camera pictures.

At one of my corn feeders I have it setup where I can run a light on the feeder and it is legal in Texas to shot pigs even after dark. Several weeks ago some pigs came in after dark and I shot at a large dark pig in the background of the feeder, but after investigation there was no dead pig and could not even find any blood on the ground. The pig was quartering to me but I was shooting my 7mm Rem Mag with 175gr soft points and didn't figure that the angle would matter much. I checked again the next day and couldn't see any signs that I had hit anything. When I was looking for the blood at night I noticed that I cast a very distinct shadow in the light and thinking it through, I thought must have shot at a shadow, now I'm not so sure.

I recently got some interesting pictures of a large pig that has a broken right shoulder. I had some pictures of this pig last time I was there and didn't realize that the right shoulder was broken at the time, but this time I had several pictures of him and there is no doubt that he is not putting any weight on that right leg. He is hanging out with a very similar group of pigs to the ones that I saw at the feeder the night that I thought I shot at the largest of them which he would have been. I had shot 3 coyotes as far as 256 yards away that weekend as well as a nice deer so I was pretty confident in my shooting skills at the time and was having a hard time thinking that I could have missed. Now I'm thinking that I very well could have shot this pig and not killed him as he started showing up with the injured leg on camera just a few days after I thought I had shot the shadow. I doubt I will be able to prove anything conclusively unless I ground check him and recover the bullet. Not sure one way or the other, but he seems like he must be getting along reasonably well on 3 legs. I have several pictures of him over the last two weeks and he is hanging out with the same group of pigs each time.

Here's a picture of him the very next night:

Not sure when the next time I'll get back down there to do any hunting or trapping. I really want to give it a try at trapping one of those bobcats, and even though I shot 3 coyotes a few weeks ago from the sounds of them howling and yipping at night there are still a dozen or more of them in the area. I would like to trap a few of them as well.

Well, that's about it for now. Nathan