Oklahoma Fur Bearer Alliance March 2011 Report

President — Tom Peterson, phone: 918-241-2677

Vice President — Shannon Sheffert, 1301 Old Bumpy Rd., Stillwater, OK 74074; cell phone: 405-742-7884; e-mail: ssheffert@odot.org

Secretary — John Weygandt, 4720 S. 26th W. Ave., Tulsa, OK 74107; phone: 918-645-5667;
e-mail: j.weygandt@maccor.com

Treasurer — Vivian Scott, P.O. Box 179, Alderson, OK 74522; phone: 918-426-6918;
e-mail: littlerockmeme@msn.com

FTA Director — Terry Thornton, Rt. 2 Box 71, Hartshorne, OK 74547; phone: 918-297-2073

NTA Director — Leo Farmer, phone: 918-616-7662

Membership Options:

• 1-year membership including subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $20
• Family membership with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $25
• Lifetime (Over 70) with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $150
• Lifetime with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $300
• Youth membership — $10

Complete membership application on first page of association section and send dues to:

OFBA, Treasurer
Vivian Scott
P.O. Box 179, Alderson, OK 74522

918-426-6918; littlerockmeme@msn.com



As I write this news letter we are a couple of days away from our first fur sale of the year. We got a record setting blizzard of snow and wind across the Sooner State yesterday. Low wind chill readings of -36 degrees up in the Panhandle and over 20 inches of snow in NE Oklahoma. For those of you from Iowa, the Dakotas, New York and Minnesota, I realize this is common or normal for the winter, but this is Oklahoma. We just don’t have this kind of weather very often.

Any traps that we had out are now locked down. I will be chopping ice to check beaver sets this evening and hope to go coyote calling with a friend tomorrow in spite of the projected low of -5 degrees. Only a crazy trapper or hunter would attempt this and call it fun. I also had a recent run of good luck trapping for otters near Hugo and finally caught one where the beavers and coons tried their best to fill up the sets. I was also working on some nuisance beavers in Midwest City and while there, I made some coon and cat sets. Partly because of the good weather and high furbearer populations, I got behind on skinning.

Because of work and late night checking of the traps I really got behind. When I finally stopped and said enough, I laid out the week’s catch for a picture. Eleven coons, 10 beavers, an otter, a bobcat, 3 skunks and a couple possums; 29 things waiting to be skinned is kind of overwhelming. For good trappers this is just a good day, but for me this was more than my season catch for many years and this was from only two places in a week. Since then I have also caught 4 muskrats and even a mink that got caught in a 330 set for beavers. Quite a run on the furbearers coming up to the sale this weekend. Now my only problem is the cold temps (did I mention the -5 degree night tonight) and how am I going to thaw out the furs for the fur sale? Some stuff might just have to wait until the second sale on March 5th in Okmulgee.

We have had a good string of warm and dry weather recently. (It’s Oklahoma – if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute and it will change. Drought to 20+ inches of snow in a day.) I had the privilege of spending a couple days with Monte Dodson on his trap line in Cherokee County. He caught several critters, including gray foxes and bobcats, using several old standby sets and even some cage traps. We made some sets with cage traps which are kind of new to Monte. He noted that there are several places and reasons that cage traps work, but we also found some reasons that they are not usable.

The best reason is to allow the unharmed release of unwanted catches, which can usually be done with our foot hold traps. The cage traps can be kept operational even in freezing and thawing conditions like the snow storm that just hit, and they work well for some furbearers. Coons, skunks, opossums and bobcats can readily be caught in cage traps. Grey, and even red foxes, can sometimes be caught in cage traps. Coyotes are a different story. I have been using cage traps for trapping on my line for many years and have only caught one coyote; one who had mange and therefore no hair. It was starving to death and went in for the beaver meat bait. Otherwise, cage traps are worthless for coyotes. I have caught a couple beavers in cage traps but they are not the most efficient trap for the big furbearers. Anyway, Monte is having fun experimenting with the cage traps.

One other problem we experienced is using them on Public Hunting areas. Some areas are mandated for water sets and cage traps only, so in one place near his house, we set a couple traps just before dark. Then we went in at first light to pull them so the traps wouldn’t get stolen. At $50 to $75 apiece for the larger cage traps, you feel like you need to have an armed guard posted over the traps. These sets didn’t work for us on that short night, but it works if you have the patience to set and pull traps each day.

Just a note to pass on to the members in the Shawnee area. One of our directors, Cody Presley, has asked to step down from his position as he feels that he doesn’t have the time to dedicate to the association. He will still remain a member, but will not be able to serve on the Board for planning purposes. He and his better half, Tina, have done a great job setting up regional meetings and trying to help get the summer Rendezvous set up at Ft. Gibson Lake this year. We will now need someone to take it from here to get things set up and running for the June campout. I will be happy to help, but I need someone to continue to contact people for demos, food organization and just general planning. Cody – thanks again for all your work.

Hopefully you all will have a bunch of good cats and beavers to take to the March sale and I will have the February sale results in the next news letter. The March sale will be on Saturday, the 5th, at the Okmulgee County Fairgrounds which is about 1 mile west of the junction of SH-56 and US-75 in the north end of town. Please call John Weygandt (918) 645-5667 for lot number reservations, or you can pick them up at the door.

Wildlife department personnel will be on hand to tag bobcats and otters. Also, there will probably be trap supply dealers there to replenish your supplies. Hope to see you at the sale.

Till we meet again, Good luck and may God bless you, your families and our troops.

— Shannon Sheffert

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