The season is over, my fur shed is a mess, and I have a long list of things to get to that I neglected during trapping season. It'd be very easy to just wait until Fall to start thinking about trapping again, but for some reason I just can't. Well, you know the reason. Trapping may take place for only a few months a year, but being a trapper you're always a trapper. There's always something to do and some way to keep up the addiction.
I try to build into my schedule some dedicated scouting time each Spring. It's right on the heels of the season so potential trapping spots that I didn't get to this year are still fresh in my mind.
The biggest reason to get out and scout now is that everything hasn't bloomed yet. Once Spring comes in full force the woods will hide its secrets again, but now when the ground is barren it is so much easier to spot scat, tracks and trails. Sure, the animal patterns may well change quite a bit between now and Fall, but scouting now still yields a lot of information that will be useful when next season starts.
I'm mainly out looking for 'coon trails. With barren ground they are much more visible than they will be come Spring. Raccoon trails tend to stay active, and many trails I find in the Spring yield catches in the Fall.
Once I find a trail I just follow it as far as I can, and very often it leads to a den. Out comes my notebook, and I jot down the location. Many dens I know of remain active year after year, so once I find a good den I know the spot will be worth scouting again the next year. If I go into a new piece of woods I often start at the highest point or ridge-line, look for a trail, and follow it as far as it will take me. I'm always on the lookout for rocky overhangs and old piles of debris (concrete, railroad ties, etc) as these tend to be great den areas. When scouting for trails I often scan hillsides with thick grapevines, and look for high ridges with big hardwoods.
With the ground still barren 'coon sign is not hard to find. If it's there, you'll find it, but the best time is right now. When late April and May roll around the woods will hide its secrets again.
If you have any pics to share from last season I'd love to see 'em and post them here. Just click "contact me" in the sidebar and send me an email.
Thanks for visiting Trapping Supplies Review. This is a place for trappers to share their insights on all things related to trapping. If you would like to contribute a trapping article, equipment review or stories and pictures from your trapline, please click "contact me" in the sidebar and I'll be happy to include your post. Meantime, please feel free to post comments on any topic if you have additional insights. Together we can make this website a valuable resource for trappers.