Years back when I used to trap, I trapped a long line of ten or more miles — running a river line from Marseilles to just below Morris. I used up a six-gallon tank of outboard gas every trip. Not to worry though the fur take more than made up for the cost of fuel.
Back then my primary target was mink. Mink are still plentiful. Rarely seen in the open, I used to make note of where they are spotted. I fondly remember catching one large buck mink that brought me about $35 when that was big money. Most men only made about twice that amount weekly working at a factory.
Like I said earlier, I used to make notes where and when I seen one. Many times I spotted them while sitting in a deer stand. They were fun to watch, but they also gave me some good insight about their behavior and where I might set some traps for them.
Mink are curious animals. They explore every hole, crevice or small tree they come across. They love to explore near a creek or small stream. I have caught them in a dirt hole set for fox or coyote. One of the best baits for them is a road killed rabbit.
Their tracks are similar to a small cat. Their long thick fur was very valuable back when I was a kid. Males are almost twice as large as a female so the larger male will bring more money from the fur buyer. Recently though mink have not been bringing much money. Large fur farms have cut into the trapper’s fur pocket. Lately though the fur farms are being fazed out. The fashion for fine furs are not coveted like they used to be. Well this may be good for the trapper it still is not good for the industry. Fur sales globally do not hold the value that they used to. Even the very rich have not taken an interest like they used to.
The only fur that has went up in price is coyote. This fur is being used in the trim trade. That is, fur collars, lining and on the end of sleeves. Some western trappers have fetched $100 for one good coyote. Most of our Illinois Coyotes can bring at least $50 from a good buyer. So they are well worth going after.
Waterfowl hunters continue to do well near farm ponds and lakes. Most river hunting has become somewhat poor as the birds; especially geese have become very cautious. That is why they are really expanding. They didn’t get their population explosion by being dumb.
The mourning dove hunting season ends on November 26 it resumes on December 2019 – January 2019. Dove hunters are still taking a few birds near waterway sand bars. Squirrel hunting remain very good if you can stay dry.
Angling has really slowed down. The recent cold snap have put many species in very deep holes in lakes and ponds. River fishing has been bad due to high, stained water.