Although trapping requires a very calculated approach in order to get an animal to work your set, Alan says he doesn't want to give people the impression that trapping is hard to do. Yes, you are trying to get an animal to put their foot in a 2-square inch spot, but the odds of success are quite good if you can create an interesting and effective set and use enticing baits and lures. The truth is, like anything else, a trapper is going to get out of it what they put in, Alan says. The more work you put in and the more traps you put out the more animals you'll walk away with.
Raccoons can be found all across the lower 48 continental states and are notorious nest raiders. They are predators of turkey, quail, grouse, pheasant, ducks and their eggs and if left unchecked on any given property they can have a significant impact on the populations of ground nesting birds, among other wildlife. Alan points to a study that was done on ground nesting birds that concluded raccoons were responsible for 91% of the predation of those studied nests. Trapping and removing these predators is key to good management and can help take a lot of pressure off of the wildlife in the area. When trapping raccoons, Alan says he uses the Duke Dog Proof Raccoon Trap baited with the North American Trapper Coonbuster bait. The great thing about this particular trap is the dog proof element of it, Alan says. Because of its pull style trigger system, cats and dogs aren't going to find themselves caught in this trap and that makes it more versatile for trappers who want to use it near their homes, buildings, on their farms, ranches and more. While raccoons can have a devastating impact on wildlife, Alan also talks about the negative impact that the growing population of feral cats have on birds and small game as well.
Alan discusses another common predator, the coyote, that inhabits almost every state in the country. When it comes to trapping canines, Alan says there are a lot of different set variations that can be effective like trench sets, dirt hole sets and step down sets. Regardless of the set he is working on, Alan says he wants to be sure that the set encourages the momentum of the animal into it, really forcing them to commit. On coyote sets, Alan uses North American Trapper Mountainman bait made of ground angus, rendered prairie dog, fresh ground prairie dog and ground poultry to entice coyotes to come in and work a set. How concerned does a trapper need to be about leaving their own scent behind and deterring animals from coming in? Alan says he is not one to get very worried about leaving his scent signature behind, and mostly because it's nearly impossible not to leave behind a certain amount of scent no matter how hard you try. In addition, most coyotes across the country are going to be fairly accustomed to human scent. Instead, he encourages trappers to be patient, give yourself several days in an area and allow animals to start working the set, with time your scent will dissipate.
Alan says his goal with the North American Trapper brand and show has always been to show the very best environmental and ecological trapping methods. It's his hope that he cannot only educate, but also inspire others to get into trapping. It's what the West was really founded on, he says. The beaver trappers were the people that explored the West during the 1800's, they were out trapping, mapping river systems, travel routes and more. Trapping has a storied history and it's still a relevant practice today and the reality is that at some point in a person's life, having some trapping knowledge can be very beneficial. The great thing is that trapping doesn't have to be very expensive, Alan says. You don't need to have hundreds of traps to be a trapper, just start with 2 or 3. People need just a little equipment to get started and Alan says North American Trapper offers a lot of different all-inclusive packages to help people target specific species.
Be sure to watch Alan Probst on "North American Trapper", airing on Sportsman Channel, every Thursday at 9:30 p.m. ET.