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#6377 - 02/20/06 08:37 AM Re: Are your muskrats dieing off?
Bogmaster Offline
Member

Registered: 07/31/00
Posts: 240
Loc: Lakeland,Mn.
born2trap---you are correct--there were few raptors back in the 80s.The Bald Eagle was almost extinct,owls and hawks were shot as predators.
Total protection the last 3 decades,has caused a tremendous boom in their populations.
And just the opposite for our little furry friends.
Tom Olson

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#6378 - 02/20/06 09:41 AM Re: Are your muskrats dieing off?
OldCoon Offline
Member

Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 204
Loc: Middletown, Pa
Good post, Tom. I was just ready to add that back in the 80s the raptor population was still on the low side here in my section of Pennsylvania. But in the last 10 years or so the population has taken quite an upsurge. Going about I see many hunting hawks sitting on utility poles or in trees while they wait and watch.
_________________________
Mink Trappers Do It Better

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#6379 - 02/20/06 10:13 PM Re: Are your muskrats dieing off?
bblwi Offline
Member

Registered: 07/31/00
Posts: 288
Loc: Kiel, WI
Tom good insights that do add value to many who have posted as to rat concerns on many forums for over 3 years now.
When we have several factors that are all increasing slightly simultaniously it does not take much tip of an additonal factor to cause a decline in an otherwise stable population.
Habitat, drought, gully washers, herbicides, otters, mink, coon, ferel cats, dogs, yotes and then the raptors day and night and a population that was in stability with a fur harvest can now drop to catistraphic levels or almost dissappear totally.
I need to prospect more and then review the localized spots of rat concentration to see what it is about that spot that holds the rats and keeps them from being over harvested.
Another thought if rats move less due to overhead fear (raptors) much like how deer change habits in the woods when wolves move in); does that make them more vulnerable to say mink, otter,coon and other preditors?
Also if males travel far more than females and the ratios are about equal would not more adult males find nesting females and may prey on the litters as another increased loss factor?
Pockets of rats when found can be really cleaned out fast by preditors, just as a small pond can be cleaned out by otter in short order.

Bryce

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#6380 - 02/21/06 07:58 AM Re: Are your muskrats dieing off?
born2trap Offline
Member

Registered: 09/04/05
Posts: 29
Loc: arkansas
The one thing I can't figure out from the birds of prey is that Bill Fields, (editor for the Arkansas Trappers Association News in the Trapper & Predator Caller Magazine), repeatedly writes of making impressive catches of muskrats in the same location and I was raised there. There are hawks everywhere and at night you can hear the owls. It is at the upper end of a river, a few miles from its start of a spring. Plenty of coon and several folks have spotted otter. You can't hardly float the river without seeing a muskrat. There is no crop farming up there. Mainly cattle. Where I moved to in the south is all farms, but very few if any muskrats. I never want to crowd a fellow trapper, but I may have moved to the wrong place.stupid me.

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#6381 - 02/21/06 07:59 PM Re: Are your muskrats dieing off?
skidway Offline
Member

Registered: 12/17/03
Posts: 27
Loc: Traverse City, Mi
Maybe between the predators and trappers they're being over harvested. Something to think about.

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#6382 - 02/22/06 07:30 AM Re: Are your muskrats dieing off?
born2trap Offline
Member

Registered: 09/04/05
Posts: 29
Loc: arkansas
Well, I respect your input skidway. The problem from what I understand is that the numbers of the young are deminishing and a very low catch rate is the result. In my own small opinion, if the problem were overharvesting, it would be mostly young caught and few adults. It seems as though there aren't as many young being produced/making it long enough to show numbers like in the past. If and I do say IF, it is environmental change or pollution, then if we (the trappers: natures first and true managers) reduced catching them they would most likely decline at an even faster rate.

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#6383 - 02/22/06 03:36 PM Re: Are your muskrats dieing off?
EARL 8656 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/22/06
Posts: 25
Loc: MADISON, VA
DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE OTTERS. WE HAD A GREAT HORNED OWL(OR OTHER BIG BIRD) TRY TO TAKE A 40# BEAVER OUT OF A 330 EARLIER THIS YEAR.

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#6384 - 02/22/06 03:47 PM Re: Are your muskrats dieing off?
Bogmaster Offline
Member

Registered: 07/31/00
Posts: 240
Loc: Lakeland,Mn.
Mike,a lot of the areas I have talked about,were trapped solely by me.They were good for a consistant number of rats every year.I have left them untouched for over a decade--still very few rats,but oh so many--raptors.
With diminished rat prices for almost 20 years,trappers and over harvest--at least in mn. has not been a problem---with the low prices,few were trapping them.
Earl,had a bald eagle try to take off with a yearling beaver--he didn't make off with it.lol
Tom Olson

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#6385 - 02/22/06 06:03 PM Re: Are your muskrats dieing off?
skidway Offline
Member

Registered: 12/17/03
Posts: 27
Loc: Traverse City, Mi
That's an interesting observation Tom.Being able to manage your own area blows my overharvest theory away. Hopefully most all trappers keep their yearly harvest in mind when running their lines. We have a large increase in bald eagles compared to years past. DDT from the orchards had them pretty much gone from the area.I've seen eagles and opsprey grab rats but never gave a thought to how many they might take.

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#6386 - 03/13/06 06:55 PM Re: Are your muskrats dieing off?
firman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/19/05
Posts: 1
Loc: phoenix,ny
when i started trapping about 30 yrs. ago, there were lots of rats in our pond. my first year trapping at age 13, i caught 40 rats with 6 conibears in one 5-6 acre basin. now i couldnt catch over 10 or so. it hasnt been trapped in years either. the only difference between now and then is we now have a good largemouth bass population. i think the bigger bass eat the little rats!

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