Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Take a Kid or a Kid at Heart Fishing

My wife and I lease 100 acres from one of my uncles that borders our place.  Just about 11 months ago we stocked a pond on the place with Channel and Blue Catfish.  The fingerlings were only 4-6 inches long at the time we released them.  Through drought and flood we fed them almost daily.  At one time we thought the pond was going to dry up and just before we were going to have to seine all the fingerlings and take them somewhere else, it rained.  There were times in the last few months that the tank ran around the dam from all the rain and we lost a few fish to the raccoons and water birds.  Cormorants, Herons, Banded Water Snakes, Turtles, Raccoons and other predators have taken their share of the fish but quite a few survived and they grew bigger on the commercial catfish feed. They are now up around a pound with a few even bigger.

We decided to take our 3 1/2 year old grandsons to fish in the pond for their first fishing trip and it was quite an experience.  One loved it and other hated it but a good time was had by all involved.  The next week I took my 76 year old uncle who is an expert fisherman but does not really get to go anymore to the pond and let him fish.  It is really just harvesting the fish more than fishing because they hit almost instantly.  I can tell you that my uncle was all smiles and laughter the whole time. We kept a dozen of the fish he caught and filleted them out for a few catfish dinners.

If you can take a kid out or someone that doesn't get to go fishing anymore, do so, it will make their day and create a memory. I spent most of my time removing hooks, untangling line and putting on fresh bait and it was worth every moment.  By the way those home-raised corn-fed catfish fillets were wonderful.  Wild Ed

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Short Fence Snare

This is a "how to" on making and setting the most successful snare I have ever used.  It is great for predators and would work in a survival situation if one needed to snare deer or other animals for meat.  I will warn you not to set it where deer or any animal you do not want to catch goes under a fence or through a hole in a fence. It is not selective and will catch and kill anything that goes through it.  The fence snare is unforgiving.  It will hang ready to catch your prey twenty four seven for months at a time until something comes through the fence and then catch and dispatch it rapidly.  You do not have to go reset it every time it rains or snows and they can be checked from a distance with binoculars so you do not have to get your scent around them after setting.

I have seen this snare catch all sorts of predators, deer, wild goats, feral dogs, hogs and other prey.  This one snare is used all over Texas to protect sheep, goats and exotic game from coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions. It is easy to make and will last forever unless a catch twists or chews it beyond additional use.  However, you can then salvage the lock to use on another snare.  You can carry large numbers of snares compared to traps and they are inexpensive to make.  I keep a roll of them in my four wheel buggy and truck on the ranch ready to set when I find a coyote trail coming under the fence.

As a young trapper I read about snares and gave them a go when I was fur trapping and chasing predators on our family ranches but really did not have much success.  I was always looking for good trails to set them in and trying to camouflage them so they would not be seen.  In my later years I ran into a Texas professional predator trapper that showed me how to make and hang a short fence snare and what a difference it made in my success rate.

The reason the short fence snare works so well is the fact that you do not try to camouflage it in any way.  The animals are used to going through a hole in the fence or under a net wire fence and see the wire.  They have no problem going right through the snare and getting caught as it is part of the fence to them.  In fact I found that any effort to camouflage the snare will make the animals wary of it.  You can boil the snares in baking soda for a few seconds or just let them hang outside to dull the finish if you like.  I have found the darkening process really makes very little difference in my success with the fence snares. 

Snares are easy to make and very inexpensive if you use washers or electrical box knockouts for locks and cheap nuts for stops. You can buy snare parts or complete snares on eBay or from trapper supply houses ready to go.  I make most of my snares but buy my locks, cable and stops online these days and reuse the locks over and over.  There are all kinds of snare locks but I find the washer lock works about as good as any of the fancy ones.  The washer is simply bent and holes drilled in each side so the cable can slide through the holes freely.  I buy aluminum stops as they are easy to put on the cable and crimp with pliers or a hammer.  I have used cheap nuts and they work fine, they just don't look as nice and some are hard to crimp.  I cut cable lengths of 30-36 inches of 3/32 cable or 7/64 cable if I am going for hogs.  I make about a two inch loop on one end and crimp it.  Then run the cable through the holes in the lock and put a crimp on the end.  You may need to study a picture or buy one snare to look at to get the hang of it but it takes less time to make than it did to type how to do it.

I put the snares where animals are going under or through the fence and hang them right in the open.
You can often find hair on the fence or tracks in the trail going through the fence to identify what animal is using the trail. I attach the snare to the bottom wire of the fence with an S hook (crimped on) strong enough to hold predators but that would bend and come loose if a deer goes through and gets caught.  Then the loose snare should loosen and fall off of the deer.  If after hogs or big game the S hook I use is strong and will not break or come loose.  One can simply loop the snare around the bottom wire and through the loop at the end to attach it to the fence if there is no need for it to come loose.  I open the snare loop and hang it in the opening with two bobby pins (women's hair pins) so it will pull away when the animal goes through and chokes down.  When trapping hogs I often use a longer snare and attach the end to a fence post or a stake driven in the ground as a big hog can do a lot of damage tied to the bottom wire of a fence.

This is the most successful method of trapping predators I have ever found, but one must use it responsibly.  Check your State laws as some States require deer stops on snares and in others you can only use snares in a survival situation. Happy snaring, Wild Ed

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Call to Texans and All Americans in the World

On February 24, 1836 the commander of the mission in San Antonio wrote the following letter. He knew that the chances of leaving the walls of the Alamo alive were next to none. He chose to buy precious time for Texas. Travis and the men of the Alamo gave up their lives and dreams to fight for the future of Texas and freedom. The history of Texas is one of Strong independent peoples that cherished freedom. I hope that independent spirit is still alive today and that the people of Texas will always fight to be free. We must never forget that our freedom was bought with the blood of Patriots.  As for me I will stand or fall with Texas.  Remember the Alamo, Wild Ed

Commandancy of the The Alamo

Bejar, Feby. 24th. 1836

To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World

Fellow Citizens and compatriots—

     I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna — I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man — The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken — I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat.  Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch — The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days.  If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country — Victory or Death.
William Barrett Travis.
Lt.  Col. comdt.

P. S.  The Lord is on our side — When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn — We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.