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Cold Weather Blues for This 'Coon Trapper

I gotta admit I'm a little bit of a fair-weather trapper.  I still get out and give it my best when the weather goes bad, but my favorite time to trap is late November.  Running a coon line using footholds is what I love to do most and in late November the coons have just reached prime, the temperature is still up, and the ground is not frozen.  This is when I trap my hardest.  Come January when the ground is frozen solid and the coons won't budge from their dens I switch my attention to fox, but the tough conditions kind of make my efforts halfhearted. Here in Southwestern PA the temp has been consistently in the teens at night for about 4 weeks, which is fairly unusual for my neck of the woods.  I've been fighting the freeze and found it to be lots of work trying to keep my sets operational.  I use buckwheat hulls, peat moss, dry dirt, salt and propylene glycol.  Some methods work better than others, but nothing is 100% foolproof.  At the moment, my trapping has pretty much come to a grinding halt.  I'm looking forward to a February thaw when the boar coons are out looking for love, and hoping the late season pelts are not too rubbed.

In the meantime, however, I've decided that I'm going to just see the weather as a challenge to try new things.  I'm pretty new to using cable restraints, as they've only been legal for a few years now in PA.  I've incorporated a few on my line at select locations since late December but haven't had much success with them yet.  I'm still getting the hang of these things, and definitely need to do more scouting for good locations, but I've decided I'm going to run a short line exclusively with cables restraints this week.  Hopefully I'll have a little success to report.

If anyone has some good tips, tricks or stories using cable restraints I'd love to hear from you!

My last 4-H trapping class is this week, and I'm going to demonstrate skinning and fleshing a raccoon.  Should be fun!   


  1. Did you do any good with the CR's? We are limited to setting ours here in MO no lower than 10" from the ground which makes it nearly impossible to catch any raccoons.

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  3. Hi Heath. I've found that louder smelling lures work better in the cold weather. I remember reading that a long time ago. Seems to work in my experience. I've had a few CR's out but the sign I'm set on isn't really great. For some reason it seems like the trails have dried up the past few weeks...not sure what's going on. I need to establish a bait station and see if I have better luck. Anyway, thanks for the comments!