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Trap More Fur This Season: Furbearer Trapping Data Sheet

My mind was spinning as I approached my last set of the season. I hit the trapline no harder than any year before but the numbers kept bouncing in my head. I would do the math when I got home and got myself showered, but I roughly estimated my total harvest to be up over fifty percent on my prior best year!

I knew it wasn’t luck, and it wasn’t new traps or scent. I had one thing to owe this big season to and it was advice I received years before. I just wish I had listened to it sooner.

Trap More Fur Guaranteed

A number of years ago an old timer who consistently out trapped me, at an age most men retire to the rocking chair, told me the secret to his success.

While drinking a cup of coffee he pulled out a beat up old notebook and tossed it in front of me. As I leafed through it I could barely read the chicken scratch on the pages. He told me “that right there is the reason I can still trap with the best of them”.

That got my attention. I sat there and listened as he explained what he meant.

He had kept a detailed trapping log for decades and said there was more information and wisdom found in the numbers written in that notebook than he could ever tell me himself.

How To Keep A Trapper’s Data Sheet

I took that wisdom and started using it myself. Over the years I’ve refined it to my own particular personality but the system is the same. And each year since using it I have out harvested my best years from when I trapped without one.

If you are looking to take your fur trapping to a whole new level then take the time to follow that old timers advice and keep a trapping log. Make changes where you think best or keep it the same, but either way you will get better results. I haven’t met a trapper yet who didn’t.

The key to a successful trapper log is consistently recording the correct information and using that info to improve your trapline.

I’ll show you what my trap log looks like below but what yours looks like is not as important as just doing it. I use an old fashion notebook that fits in my pocket. I like writing and recording my info in the field. But you can use your phone or any other thing you want. The point is to just do it.

I record the following information for every single set I make and you should too.

Record the date you set your trap, the type of set, the configuration of the set, the trap used, if lure was used and what type, the set presentation, the first catch species, the second catch species, how the target behaved at the set, and the final result.

I use the same number system to record all this info that my friend did for years and you can too.

example of data sheet
It isn’t pretty but it’s deadly

My Log Book Number System

Date

Enter date trap was checked

Set Type

0 = Blind set/trail set

1 = Dirt hole set

2 = Scent post set

3 = Cubby set

4 = Flat set

5 = Gang set

6 = Carcass set

7 = Tree set

8 = Snare set

9 = Other

Configuration

0 = One trap 90 degrees from lure

1 = One offset trap

2 = Two straight line traps

3 = Two traps at 45 degrees

4 = Trap in cubby opening

5 = Trap buried with bait

6 = Trap below bait

7 = Trap on tree limb

8 = Snare in opening

9 = Other

Trap Type

0 = Trap ring

1 = Coilspring 1 or 1 1/2

2 = Coilspring 1.75 or 2

3 = Coilspring 3

4 = Longspring 1 or 1.5

5 = Longspring 2

6 = Longspring 3

7 = Conibear 220 230

8 = Snare

9 = Other

Lure

0 = No lure used

1 – 9 = Lure type used (assign yourself as there are too many options to list)

Presentation

0 = Blind set, snare, or none

1 = Dirt hole

2 = Urine on scent post

3 = Natural placement

4 = Skin, feathers, fur

5 = Bone or antler

6 = Buried bait

7 = Hanging bait

8 = Exposed carcass

9 = Other

1st Catch

0 = No catch

1 = Coyote

2 = Bobcat

3 = Badger

4 = Raccoon

5 = Fox

6 = Deer, antelope, elk

7 = Marten

8 = Mink

9 = Domestic or other

2nd Catch

Same as 1st catch

Behavior

0 = No activity at trap set

1 = Came into set

2 = Disturbed/moved lure

3 = Scratching and digging near set

4 = Urinated on set

5 = Defecated on set

6 = Tracks on trap set (note species)

7 = Avoided snare (note tracks or digging near set)

8 = Other activity (note type)

9 = Other notes

Disposition

0 = No activity at trap set

1 = Tracks in trap ring

2 = Caught and held

3 = Caught but escaped trap

4 = Trap triggered but no catch

5 = Track on trap, trap frozen open

6 = Tracks within three yards

7 = Snare disturbed no catch

8 = Activity unrecognizable

9 = Other

Conclusion

You can also (and should) use this in the offseason. The only modification needed is that you will set dummy rings in place of your sets. Then simply add finely sifted dirt over the trap and around the set so signs and tracks can be seen.

Record using the same system and take that info to help plan your next seasons trapline. Over time the info you gather from your log will make you incredibly efficient on the trapline. My seasons have never been the same since I started using this system and that old timer is owed all the thanks for my big harvests.

Oh by the way, that last trap I walked up on was a hit. I took one more mink that day and when I got home and cracked a beer I crunched my season numbers. My harvest was almost double my previous best. Blew my mind, but now those are the numbers I’m used to. Funny how the human mind works isn’t it?

For more trapping tips check out these articles

Written by Fred

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