Men and women in the outdoor world have 1 thing in common–they like to venture away from society where no cellphone service exists! This adventurous lifestyle can become dangerous when unexpected weather arises, leaving you stuck in a lightning storm or flash flood.
Know how far away that storm is so you can react correctly!
To judge how far away a storm is you will need to watch for lightning. When you start to see lightning, time how long it takes (in seconds) until you hear thunder. For every 5 seconds you count, add 1 mile distance from the storm. For example, if you count to 10 seconds, the storm is 2 miles away from you.
Justin J. Lind
White Buffalo Outdoors
Are you an outdoorsman looking to change your routine during hunting and trapping season? Try your hand at snares. This primitive and cheap way of trapping is guaranteed to put furs on your wall and teach you more about the fur bearing animals lurking around you.
I started snare trapping 9 years ago and to be honest I had no idea what I was doing. Hunting, fishing, and trapping my whole life, I started looking for alternative options to harvest fur bearing animals. Sitting in my tree stand bow hunting, I would observe foxes and coyotes moving through the woods like ghosts, making little to no noise. Overtime, I became fixated on harvesting these elusive creatures in the most primitive way possible.
Gathering a few friends, we decided to trap using snares on local farm ground. On our first day, we set only 15 snares. Checking them the following day, we were overjoyed to find 2 coyotes awaiting our arrival.
Here are a few things I learned through my experience snaring:
1. Buy Online
A simple Google search can save you a lot of time, money, and energy.
My trapping group and I contemplated making our own snares or buying them online. After extensive research we concluded buying online would meet all our needs. It costs less than $1 to buy each snare online. It would cost you much more to purchase the materials and make them ourselves. The traps were put together by professionals who made the snares legal to meet state regulations. Not to mention, being built by professionals means they are built to last.
Important! Ensure the snares you are buying have deer stops on them. Deer stops do not allow your snares to tighten completely, allowing deer hooves to pass through. It is also a violation of the law in most states to not have deer stops.
Another tip, buy your identification tags online. Tags, by law, must be on each trap you own displaying your name and address. Simply Google search “trap tags copper” and pick your business of choice to purchase from.
With our snares and identification tags in hand, we now had to decide which kind of stakes we wanted to use that hold our snares to the ground. My trapping group and I decided to build the stakes ourselves. To do this, simply weld a large washer on top of a 26″ piece of rebar. Once the washer is welded, wrap a 23″ piece of 9 gage wire at the base of the washer and weld that on the rebar.
If you do not know how to weld, you can buy the stakes online or have a local welding shop do the work at a low price.
Trapping with snares does not require stakes. Snares can be nailed to solid objects including fence posts, trees, and deadwood laying on the ground.
3. Find Your Game Trails
If you have time, setup a trail camera and see what kind of fur bearing animals are utilizing your trapping area. When trapping coyotes and foxes, set snares on obvious and heavily used game trails in grasslands and woodlands. Like us humans, fur bearing animals will take the path of least resistance when headed out to their favorite hunting spot.
If you have no game trails and are trapping on private land, simply create your own by pushing down grass with your feet or vehicle tires.
4. Don’t Give Up and Don’t Be Intimidated
You will NOT harvest an animal everyday you trap. This is a reality for even the most experienced trappers in the world. Continue what you are doing and do not give up! The size of a coyote’s home range depends on the food and cover available, but it generally averages between 8 and 12 square miles. The home range of a coyote is a great example of the distance one fur bearing animal will travel looking for food and catching it in a small 8″ snare takes patience and luck!
Overtime, trapping with snares will teach you wildlife management, identification of animal prints, and other skills that will transition into your other outdoor sports like hunting.
Broaden your outdoor knowledge and try trapping using snares.
Justin J. Lind
White Buffalo Outdoors
Both commercial and recreational turtle trappers will soon have new regulations to follow in Iowa. House File 2357 (2016) gives the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (I.D.N.R.) permission to implement new regulations on the trappers. Regulations include strict daily catch limits and closing the year round season from May 14th to July 16th.
The new regulations on turtle trappers were fueled by the following organizations:
- Center for Biological Diversity
- Center for Food Safety
- Center for North American Herpetology
- Center for Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Management
- Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club
- Tallgrass Prairie Audubon Society
These 6 organizations sent in a petition to the I.D.N.R. to immediately ban all turtle trapping in Iowa. The petition was denied, but forced the I.D.N.R. to create a committee that eventually set the new regulations.
Are Turtle Trappers in Iowa the people to blame?
According the Joint Committee on Turtle Harvest (2013), other threats to Iowa turtles include:
- Row crop production
- Rural and urban development
- Channelization of rivers and streams
- Erosion of banks on rivers
- Construction of highways and roads
- Mammalian predation
- Collection of turtles for pets
- The destruction of wetlands
- Car vs. turtle collisions
- Surrounding states not allowing turtle trapping (p.9).
The Negative Impacts to the Trappers
According to the Natural Resources Commission and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (2016), between 2012-2015 the commercial turtle industry in Iowa consisted of an average of 145 harvesters out of the 3.1 million people who live in Iowa. The commission and I.D.N.R. found income derived by most commercial harvesters is used to supplement other income sources including farming, social security and fur harvesting. With the new regulations, many of these trappers feel they cannot make ends meet. The new regulations would not only directly impact the trappers but also the economy and others in the state (p.7).
Administrative Rules Turtles
The Iowa Trappers Association also conducted their own study and found that 10 Iowa small businesses would close and 15 Iowans would be put out of work.
What’s Next for Turtle Trappers in Iowa
Under House File 2357 it is required the I.D.N.R. put together a commission that will conduct a 5-year study on the sustainability of Iowa’s turtle populations. The commission is to report their findings to the General Assembly by January 1, 2021 to see if the restrictions on commercial and recreational turtle trappers should be revised.
Your Opinion Matters
Please let White Buffalo Outdoors know what you think about the new regulations being put on turtle trappers in Iowa in the comments section below.
If you live in Iowa, let your voice be heard and contact your local legislator at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
Justin J. Lind
White Buffalo Outdoors
Gritters, S., Osterkamp, K., Weiss, D., Dolan, C., Mason, M., Kinkead, K., & Steuck, M. (n.d.). Iowa’s Commercial Turtle Harvest (United States, Iowa Department of Natural Resources)
United States, Iowa Department of Natural Resources. (n.d.). Administrative Rules GOVERNOR’S OFFICE PRECLEARANCE FORM (pp. 1-13).
Picture Provided By: Bernell MacDonald https://pixabay.com/en/users/Bernell-2855442/
Outdoorsmen are flocking to Facebook groups in search of a community full of like-minded individuals who love the outdoors as much as they do. However, they soon find out some of these groups are full of negativity, judgmental comments, and inappropriate posts which do not represent the outdoor culture they grew up in. After a few short days, these outdoorsmen click the “Leave Group” button and continue their never-ending hunt for the right group.
The hunt is finally over.
White Buffalo Outdoors scanned Facebook page after Facebook page and found 5 outdoor groups full of positivity, entertainment, and knowledge guaranteed to make you feel at home. The administrators along with the members are welcoming and so encouraging, you will not have any hesitation on posting pictures or asking for advice.
Here are your top 5.
If you like to laugh, you will love the Midwest Fishing Group! The members of this group are always posting funny videos, memes, and pictures that will have you coming back for more.
Midwest Fishing Group does a weekly photo contest with a sponsor. You post a picture under the post for a chance to win free fishing gear! What makes these giveaways unique is the person with the gigantic fish does not always win. This week Midwest Fishing Group asked members to post a picture of the most interesting thing they caught while fishing. Again, you want to laugh? Look at what was posted!
The members of Midwest Fishing Group clearly support one another, which shows in their timeline. Members who have questions about anything fishing always receive a positive answer.
The people of the Midwest are known for their joking personalities, politeness, and willingness to help others. These traits are guaranteed to be found in the Midwest Fishing Group.
Fishing Community is full of fishermen from all over the world who catch amazing fish you probably have never seen in your life! The members posting these pictures and videos are glad to answer any questions about what kind of fish they caught and where. If you join this group and decide to post a picture of your catch, expect a lot of positive feedback!
What makes Fishing Community unique is their willingness to help veterans. Throughout their timeline you will see posts networking veterans to fishing opportunities they may have never found without the support of the members.
The comradery in Fishing Community is strong and their drive to get more people fishing is incredible. This comradery along with the willingness to get more people in the outdoors makes Fishing Community one of the top Facebook leaders in conservation.
If you want advice from some of the best trappers in the world, you must join Trapping Talk. The amount of trapping knowledge found on this page will no doubt make you a better trapper and outdoorsmen.
In Trapping Talk, you will find a close-knit group of over 35,000 individuals who LIVE the trapping lifestyle. You will find pictures and videos of trapping sets that you have never seen or thought of before. If you have any questions about your own trapping sets or anything related to the outdoors, these men and women will be glad to help you. Between all the trapping knowledge and advice, you will find incredible outdoor photography, amazing taxidermy mounts, and outdoor articles relating to trapping and hunting.
Trappers are some of the best outdoorsmen in the woods and have knowledge you cannot find anywhere else. Without trappers, conservation simply does not exist. If you want to become a better outdoorsman, head to Trapping Talk and start reading!
In Hunting Community you can expect so much more than just hunting pictures! This community of over 15,000 members post great fishing pictures, hilarious GIF’s, and memes that will have you rolling on the ground.
The members of Hunting Community post lots of trail cam pictures that you will not find on any other outdoor website or Facebook page. Many of these trail cam pictures have in them huge deer that will make you wish it was hunting season again! Other trail cam pictures show bobcats, bear, elk, and so much more.
If you want to learn more about shooting hunting rifles and bow hunting, then Hunting Community is the right Facebook page for you. This group of top-notch hunters will gladly answer any questions you have in a respectful and encouraging way.
What makes Hunting Community a stand-out page is the members willingness to help one another. A member will post a question and soon follows several positive comments that are detailed and helpful. Members on this page are clearly humble individuals that keep an open-mind with every post.
Hunting Community is so much more than just hunting. Surround yourself with amazing men and women who love the outdoors and join Hunting Community!
If you are interested in expanding your outdoor knowledge to a whole new level, Habitat Managers is your page to follow.
The expertise found in Habitat Managers is unmatched. Simply put, you will always get the right answer to anything related to the outdoors. Members in this group are happy to answer any questions related to horticulture, invasive species, avian wildlife, and so much more. If you want to learn more about food plots, pesticide application, and timber stand improvements, you have found your favorite Facebook page.
Habitat Managers will not short change you in the world of hunting including deer, turkey, and upland game. Some members even post their outdoor artwork, which is some of the best in the country!
What made Habitat Manager number one on the list is not the abundance of information found, but the members willingness to give the right information. Members ensure others are correctly and safely doing this land management work, which proves they are always looking out for one another.
Always strive to be a better outdoorsman. Learn what is growing around you in the woods and learn more about the animals in it, not just the animal you are hunting. Join, Habitat Managers.
These 5 groups are the true representation of the American outdoors and our outdoor culture. Positive communities like Midwest Fishing Group, Fishing Community, Trapping Talk, Hunting Community, and Habitat Managers encourage more people to join our great outdoor sports. Without new members our rights as hunters, fishermen, and trappers will fade and the next generation will not have the opportunities we have today.
Thank you to all the members and administrators for your continued dedication to conservation and the American outdoors.
Justin J. Lind
White Buffalo Outdoors
1. How Do I Even Start?
First, determine what animal you want to trap and make sure it is legal to trap in your state. After you’ve determined this, it is time to become an expert on that specific animal. Research and understand the size, habitat, diet, predators, competitors, habitat range, and other unique information about that animal.
Second, learn the laws on trapping in your state, specifically the laws surrounding the animal you want to trap. All laws throughout the 50 states vary when it comes to trapping, so it is important you find information directly from your state. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact your local conservation officer.
Third, research the kind of trap(s) used for your specific animal and learn the trap inside and out. If you pursue coyotes or foxes, I recommend using snares. Snares are safe, easy to deploy in the field, and are low maintenance.
2. I Don’t Know Where to Trap
Finding a place to trap is one of the largest hurdles to get over because of the competition. Typically, trap lines have been passed down from generation to generation and when a new trapper encroaches on “claimed” territory, the new trapper is likely to lose traps.
One way to get your own area free of competition is to partner with local farmers. Many farmers are busy tending their fields and need help controlling their coyote and fox populations. A simple knock on the door and a short conversation could easily get you 400 + acres of trapping land to yourself. As you walk or drive the area, you may find small creeks, ponds, and timber that hold other species including muskrats, beavers, and raccoons. As you build a relationship with the farmer, you can request permission to trap these other species and maybe convince him to let you fish or hunt too.
3. Trapping is Expensive
Walking through the large outdoor stores you notice a small section in the corner that still holds some trapping supplies. Walking through, you notice many of the conibear traps and foot hold traps can easily cost you $20.00, just for one! Needing at least 50 traps to make the drive to set them, you may find the initial cost to trap high.
Trapping does not need to be expensive and there are creative ways to get around the prices. One, look for used traps online. Traps take up a lot of room and people who no longer trap are always looking to sell at low prices simply to make more room in their garage. Two, ask around. Pass the word to the farmer who is letting you trap his land or to your fellow outdoorsmen that you’re looking to buy used traps.
Additionally, there are cheap alternatives like snares that can be purchased online. Read more about snares with this article: Broaden Your Outdoor Knowledge: Trap Using Snares.
4. There’s No Money to be Made
As you start to consider trapping, you find yourself talking to local trappers in your area or reading forums on the Internet about fur prices. You find that most of the trappers say the same thing, “There’s no money to be made and it is not worth doing.” Don’t be fooled.
Again, trapping is competitive and some trappers will say anything to keep you out of the woods. If no money was to be made, why are they trapping? Why have they been trapping for 10+ years? Fur markets fluctuate like any other market and over time, years full of bad fur prices are made up with years of excellent prices. But, should you be trapping to make money?
No. You should be trapping to learn and have a good time. Trapping forces you to look at the entire landscape and learn what ALL animals are doing. Trapping forces you to look at the ground and decipher different tracks, the age of the tracks, and the direction the animals are traveling. Trapping makes you think and act like the animals you are pursuing, making you not only a better trapper, but a better outdoorsman. There is no such thing as failure in trapping because of the knowledge gained and the memories made.
Justin J. Lind
White Buffalo Outdoors
Iowa Outdoorsmen are their own breed, and that’s a fact.
Hunting season begins in early September and the Iowa hunters are hitting the fields calling in geese, harvesting doves, and preparing their deer stands for bow season. With one eye on their game, they have another on the Iowa football games. At this time, outdoor sports rival A.M. radio for attention.
As October arrives, they drive right into duck hunting, all-the-while anticipating the deer rut and shotgun season ahead. Meanwhile, trappers are at work in the woods helping farmers control their raccoon and coyote populations.
The Iowa winter comes with a force late December, blanketing the ground with snow and ice. The outdoorsmen take advantage of this, kicking up pheasants while fishermen sit on buckets praying for a few pan fish.
The wet spring arrives, bringing out the fishermen looking for northern pike, crappie, and walleye. The turtle trappers are soon to follow, hitting the backwaters and setting their nets.
Behind the turtle trappers come the mosquitos and summer heat. Now it is the disciplined catfishermen’s turn to venture out at night in hopes of catching the state record.
With the fast-pace outdoor way of life, the Iowa outdoorsmen have no time to realize the benefits of their actions:
1. Funding Fish and Wildlife Habitat
According to Zohrer (2006), “Fish and wildlife conservation programs in Iowa have been funded nearly entirely from license fees paid by hunters and anglers and by Federal excise taxes collected on hunting and fishing equipment” (p.1).
2. $30 Million to Be Exact
Yes, Iowa Outdoorsmen give $30 million ANNUALLY to fish and wildlife habitat, benefiting the entire ecosystem of Iowa and the entire United States.
3. Only 147 Species are Hunted, Fished or Trapped in Iowa…..
Yet, Iowa Outdoorsmen contribute funds to conserve over 999 Iowa species (Zohrer, 2006, p.1).
Thank you to all Iowa Outdoorsmen for your continued support and contributions to the fish and wildlife of Iowa.
Check out my other article – Iowa Blood Tracking Dogs Are Wagging Their Tails in Excitement
Justin J. Lind
White Buffalo Outdoors
Zohrer, J. J. (2006). Securing a Future For Fish and Wildlife A Conservation Legacy for Iowans.