There is no shortage of information (on this site and elsewhere) on trapping fox. But there is very little info on how to layout your fox line in an effective and efficient way. Today I will fill that gap and help you set your fox trapline up to maximize your harvest.
Two Methods For Laying Your Fox Trapline
There are two methods for going about running a fox trapline. Territory and longline trapping. There are a number of techniques involved in doing either successfully, so read on so you know what way you will attack your trapline.
Running a territory trapline means working one area at a time. Many trappers will have a few farms they trap that are in close proximity. Once done trapping this area they move on to another similar setup.
When doing a territory trapline the area is thoroughly covered and traps are easy to monitor as they are generally placed relatively close together.
This is an extremely efficient way of harvesting fox because the trapper can cover every fox location in their area. This efficiency means the location can be trapped quickly and the trapper can move on to another location in the same season.
When working a territory trapline you will want to set timelines so you can maximize your harvest. Give yourself no more than a week to cover the entire first territory. This is plenty of time to harvest all available fox before moving on.
Another great benefit of this technique is it allows you to split line and target multiple species. The best way to do this is on the first day set your fox traps. On day two when you check your fox sets, place traps for mink, muskrat, or raccoon depending on what your area offers.
This is a powerful way to dramatically increase your harvest. Now just work all your sets for that week, resetting every trap that you get a hit on and you will get a ton more fur this way.
I like to set up my initial traps on Saturday, work all my traps for the week and move on to my next location the following Saturday. Then repeat until the season is over.
If you have permission for a lot of land that connects then longlining is another excellent method for trapping fox.
The philosophy behind longlining is taking part of the fox population from a large area of land and moving your traps when necessary to keep up with the population.
Longline trapping costs a lot more money, and time, but can produce a tremendous amount of fur when done right.
It’s not uncommon for a longliner to have permissions from up to a hundred farms. You have to cover a lot of ground to do it right but the payoff can be huge.
There are a number of systems you can use for running a longline (read the linked article above for a detailed explanation) but the primary thing to keep in mind is that you must have your permissions in place before you begin.
Your area must be connected, or with very little distance between, to efficiently run a successful trapline.
In basic terms, each area within your longline should hold around eight sets. This is based on population density and terrain. If a high population you can go up to ten or twelve sets per section.
With a longline your goal is to take your fox quick and move to new populations efficiently which requires working your line consistently. Use quick sets to maximize your time.
If you are just starting out then be prepared for taking the time necessary for forming a successful longline. It will take multiple seasons for your to accumulate the permissions you need.
You will want to trap with the territory technique as you are building your area, but once you have enough permissions you can transition to a longline.
Bothe territory and longlines can produce a tremendous amount of furs when you run them the right way. Many trappers will go their entire career running a territory but even if that is your goal you should have a goal of increasing your permissions.