A Depressing Question for all ..... ???

Discussion in 'Trapping & Fur Taking' started by RetiredToFish, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. RetiredToFish

    RetiredToFish New Member

    Messages:
    1,186
    State:
    Newark, Ohio
    I recently posted this question on another site and got mixed answers and whole lot of speculation. So let's see what I get here. This isn't a joke, but a serious problem for rat trappers .......

    Has anyone other than myself noticed what appears to be a decline in muskrat populations? This afternoon ... I got permission to trap 4 ponds ... 2 of them on the same property, 1 about 1/2 mile away and the other probably 10 miles away. The last pond (5 acres)had 3 years ago 12 to 15 active runs and dens ... today I counted 4; the other single pond 3 years ago (about 2 acres) had 6 to 8 active dens .... today I saw 1 active den, the other 2 ponds (2 acres and 1 acre) had bewteen them 3 years ago, 12 to 15 active dens ... today saw 2 dens in 2 ponds. This is in Central Ohio .... Is anyone else either in Ohio or elsewhere experiencing this?????Has anyone other than myself noticed what appears to be a decline in muskrat populations? This afternoon ... I got permission to trap 4 ponds ... 2 of them on the same property, 1 about 1/2 mile away and the other probably 10 miles away. The last pond (5 acres)had 3 years ago 12 to 15 active runs and dens ... today I counted 4; the othe single pond 3 years ago (about 2 acres) had 6 to 8 active dens .... today I saw 1 active den, the other 2 ponds (2 acres and 1 acre) had bewteen them 3 years ago, 12 to 15 active dens ... today saw 2 dens in 2 ponds. This is in Central Ohio .... Is anyone else either in Ohio or elsewhere experiencing this and how long has it been declining??

    I have tried to get in touch with the Ohio Div. Of Wildlife, but so far no one has bothered to return my call. I guess I will have to go over a few peoples head. ......... Garry-
     
  2. bnewsom71

    bnewsom71 New Member

    Messages:
    537
    State:
    Mathervill
    I have also noticed the same thing where I trap. In the last 5 years, I bet there is 10% of the rat population that there used to be. But unfortunetly I don't have an answer. It seems as tho there hasn't been any change in the condition of the water or vegetation or anything like that, that I have noticed any way. Maybe it is the weather somehow. Not sure. I will be watchin' this thread pretty close also. Thanks for posting the question Gary!
     

  3. Plowboy411

    Plowboy411 New Member

    Messages:
    918
    State:
    Georgia
    it's been real dry here for parts of the last three years.
    we didn't have a big population of rats or mink here.
    in fact the mink we had here were runaways from the mink farm in Coffee County.
    any how,
    when the creeks dried up,the otters moved in and killed the mink and the rats.
    I saw two otters killing a mink last summer in the old millpond behind my house.
    they didn't eat it,.just killed it.
    I don't know if this has any thing to do with what you have going on or not.
    just thought I'd tell what I saw.
     
  4. RetiredToFish

    RetiredToFish New Member

    Messages:
    1,186
    State:
    Newark, Ohio
    Thank You James .... that is exactly the sort of thing that I want to know ... I have just finished talking with the people at the State Wildlife Office and they will (hopefully) be getting back to me with some answers or more questions.

    There has diffinitely been an increase in the otter population here ... enough to allow them to be trapped. I guess I need to do some homework on otter to see if this could be a reasonable factor. ...... Thanks again ... Garry-
     
  5. bnewsom71

    bnewsom71 New Member

    Messages:
    537
    State:
    Mathervill
    Now that you mention that, the decrease in rats here also coincides with the first confirmed otter in this ditch that I trap. Sure makes sense to me.
     
  6. whisker maniac

    whisker maniac New Member

    Messages:
    2,712
    State:
    arkansas
    More than likely Otter will be a factor. Otter hate mink for some reason I don't know but they will kill any mink they come across.

    Don't know about the rats and how Otter react with them but I expect that they will do with them about the same as they do mink.

    Otter look cute and playful but are deadly to any pond or small creek. They will devistate it in no time. They can eat their own weight in fish each day and will have a pond cleaned out in a couple weeks. Otters usually only travel in pairs or in family groups. So when you see one most of the time there is at least one more in the area.

    When an otter makes a bathroom spot they will use that same spot anytime they pass thru that area.
     
  7. CountryHart

    CountryHart New Member

    Messages:
    10,914
    State:
    missouri
    I've always heard mink would kill rats too. I'm not certain about otter killin rats but they reak havok on the fish population.
     
  8. poisonpits

    poisonpits Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,689
    State:
    arkansas
    Name:
    johnnie
    get some 330 conobears and find where the otter are using the bath room and eating,it will be marked with a pile of fish scales,and trap the otter.more money less work.
     
  9. lance

    lance New Member

    Messages:
    2,658
    State:
    kentucky
    Yes mink will kill rats seen it in wv used to be lots of rats now very few on the river I grew up on . Havent neccesarily noticed it here in central KY
     
  10. bnewsom71

    bnewsom71 New Member

    Messages:
    537
    State:
    Mathervill
    I knew the mink eat the rats because that is what I use for baiting my mink sets, they love em. Can anyone help me find those bathroom spots for otter? Like types of areas they prefer or something like that. Could there be multiple areas in a section of the ditch? I would love to get rid of them because those rats are a bread and butter type of critter for me. Easy to catch and the prices seem to be coming back a bit.
     
  11. radish

    radish Member

    Messages:
    640
    State:
    ms
    Same around my home. I see otters are making a big comeback. You never saw one a few years ago now you can see two or three at once, I traped mink a few years ago and I still look for them when I am out . I don"t see any wher the otters are.
     
  12. Plowboy411

    Plowboy411 New Member

    Messages:
    918
    State:
    Georgia

    look for fish scales and crayfish remains in scat on pond dams.
    and spots above the high water mark on the wooded side of creeks and ditches.
     
  13. whisker maniac

    whisker maniac New Member

    Messages:
    2,712
    State:
    arkansas
    Also on the bank there will be an area where the otter climb up the bank to the bathroom spot and then a slide going back down. Two different places. An entrance to the bathroom and the Exit.
     
  14. CountryHart

    CountryHart New Member

    Messages:
    10,914
    State:
    missouri
    Usually if otter are using an area you'll see slides where they slide of the bank. They'll play on a slide like a lil' kid. I seen a group of young otter on the Marmaton river last year deer hunting and it was like they were playin chase using a slide.
     
  15. bigcatmaniac

    bigcatmaniac New Member

    Messages:
    459
    State:
    California Miss
    I have been with guys when they set for otters, and the main reason they set for them is because they had ran everything else out of the area. Like said before otters will clean out any little body of water in a short period of time. I watched one clean out a small goldfish pond a year ago in a matter of an hour, i couldnt do anything about it because it was in the city limits and you couldnt harm that "cute little critter" which is what all the locals would say.

    I would bet that otters are starting to move into the area that you are trapping and the effects are just starting to show.
     
  16. jodster

    jodster New Member

    Messages:
    69
    State:
    texas
    I trapped many years ago in Michigan. I was walking a trap line in a ditch, the first trap I come to with something in it was a rat that was ripped apart and devoured. The next couple rats I found had heads missing and as I went along I found a couple more were it looked like something found rat brains as a delicacy! My father informed me it was a mink!! I pulled my 110's and put out a couple 220's. I trapped a run on the bank side and come back to find a bank tore up and cat tail fuzz thrown about and my trap reset in a slightly different position. I think I might of got the mink and someone stole it!! I removed all my traps and moved to a different area!! Where I was trapping people would run your lines or steal your traps. I got so I had to hide them and possible even losing traps that I had hidden to well! Then there was even if you hid them a caught rat exposed your trap!! This post also reminded me of the time I was told the was a couple ponds with rat problems I could trap. I walked the ponds looking for signs. They were two well taken care of (grass mowed around them) square shaped ponds. I was was finding signs and noticed some trash float on the edges. It was the same sort of trash over and over. When it dawned on me!! Them were condoms and lady thing dispensers, I was Looking at a trailer park septic ponds.:eek:oooh:

    I would like to add; I never trapped them ponds and I haven't noticed a decline in rats but have noticed every where I go I see another racoon died from road rash!!
     
  17. Poppa

    Poppa New Member

    Messages:
    1,233
    State:
    Pinson, Al
    I never put it together until I read this thread. At my hunting club we are
    on the river and have 2 creeks running through the property. I see otter
    all the time but I have never seen a muskrat, I always wondered why we
    didn't have any muskrats. Now I know the otter killed them out.
     
  18. jodster

    jodster New Member

    Messages:
    69
    State:
    texas
    Not only otter and mink watch out for ferrets. Ferrets are not native, but people have them for pets and they escape or released because some don't want them anymore. In Michigan it used to be wolverines but I think I got them all trapped out !!:wink: