Since 2009, we’ve witnessed several impactful changes in the trapping industry. We saw the coon and muskrat markets explode in 2012-13, which ushered in the dogproof coon trap craze. At it’s height, we were selling 1000s of dozens to trappers hoping that their $30-40 averages would hold up. New trappers were coming out of the treestands to become dogproof slingers. Guys were pooling their fur checks together to take advantage of 10 dozen, even 20 dozen trap price breaks. The dogproofs were flying out of the warehouse. States with legal road trapping were loaded with dogproof trapper traffic. And then, it all came down.
Kyle mentions several times during this DVD that he was hoping that his coon would even sell, that his rats might top at 3 bucks, and he’d paid around $2.50 per gallon for gas. During this slump, it was a prime opportunity to slim down the road line by about 50% and focus on producing this DVD. As the fur market jumped (and gas prices soared to over $4/gallon briefly), muskrat prices skyrocketed to $10-12 averages. Coming into this season, the fur market seems to be a bit more stable, although definitely down. Lower coon prices have put many of the dollar-chaser dogproof slingers back into the treestand, away from the creeks and ditches. Many of those dogproof traps are now available used at a fraction of the cost too.
As you’ll notice in this DVD, Kyle mentions dogproof traps exactly ONCE in the entire 2-disc feature. At the time, the dogproof trap was virtually not on the radar of most high-volume coon/mink trappers. His system of 99% foothold traps (1 1/2 coils/#11s) targeted both mink and coon, and took advantage of any muskrat opportunities along the way. It’s a versatile ‘trifecta’ approach.
We all need to be versatile as trappers. It’s great to standardize our gear (more on this soon), but we need to rely on versatile sets, attractors, and locations. Becoming too focused with only 220's, or snares, or dogproofs, is very limiting. When trappers were able to average $20 on a carcass coon a few seasons later, taken so easily in dogproofs, they couldn’t care less about missing the ‘elusive’ mink or even $10 muskrats. We experienced a similar trend a few decades ago with the PVC pipe set. It rose to popularity quickly, and has since tapered off. As Kyle demonstrates in this DVD, his pockets take coon, mink, and muskrats literally while surrounded with pipe sets. The pipes just don’t stack up with a hole in the bank for mink or rats.
On Kyle’s Iowa road line, (or anywhere there’s a strong mink, muskrat, and coon population) the dogproof trap would benefit the overall catch as a supplemental tool. Where the location dictates, a dogproof or two will actually help to ‘guard’ hot mink sets by taking the approaching coon up on the bank. Essentially, dogproof coon traps, when implemented into Kyle’s system, increase the mink and muskrat catch. You’ll have more mink/coon doubles, with a drowned buck at the pocket, and a big coon balled up in the grass.
In states where public road trapping is legal, certain bridge locations have limited space. Depending on sign, and the actual space available, there might simply not be the room for the additional dogproof traps, or your competition might already have them set. This happens. When trapping on private land, then you can rely on this mixed system, with dogproofs and standard pockets/stick sets.
If you’re in a non-road legal trapping state, and you have a poor mink or non-existent muskrat population, then you would benefit greatly from moving away from pocket sets, and focusing on dogproofs. By copying the principles seen in the Roadlining DVD, such as speed, simplicity, gang-setting, and setting right on sign, you will be able to efficiently rack up coon.
You’ll notice that Kyle uses a few different varieties of foothold traps: stock and modified 11s or 1 1/2s. Each trap is rigged with a similar chain setup: 24-32 inches in length, with at least 3-4 swivels. This allows the majority of mink and muskrats, and some coon, to get to deeper water and succumb. Many coon will crawl up under an overhang out-of-sight from passerby’s. A longer chain also seems to focus the coon’s attention more away from the trap, much like we see in longer chained predator traps. Additional dogproof traps should be rigged similarly, with a lengthened chain, more swiveling, and attached to the long disposable stake to handle softer banks.
You will notice Kyle using primarily only Black Label, and fish oil at pocket sets. Since 2009, we’ve released Kellen’s Smokin’ Aces, which has replaced fish oil as our go-to trailing scent choice. With it’s additional sweetness, Smokin’ Aces is great on muskrats at pockets, as well as coon and mink to a higher level. Smokin’ Aces paired with Black Label is next-level at pocket sets, dogproofs, and Kyle’s Black Label stick set, which is pretty much a flat set for coon, mink, and rats.
Whether you’re looking to catch 500 coon long-lining, or simply catch 50 from a handful of farms, implementing the system shown in Roadlining will get you there. Keep it simple: adjust your traps properly (with enough swiveling and solid staking), make effective sets with the trap bedded firmly right on sign, and gang-set to take the bulk of the animals as quickly as possible. You’ll be on your way to become a better water trapper, and have a lot of fun doin’ it!