On this week's episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman, Mitch is joined by Taylor Fleisher. Taylor is a well rounded outdoorsman; between trapping and bowhunting whitetails he spends a lot of time in the woods! Taylor has been known to knock down some good buck with the bow, but this week we are talking about his other passion - furbearers. Taylor has run a trapline since he was very young with his father. Now he takes time each year to catch ol' Wile E Coyote.
Taylor breaks down a number of things to better understand land trapping predators. As with anything, scouting is key, which he discusses how via e-maps, from the truck, and on the ground. He brings up his preferred method of trap preparation, then a breakdown of making his sets. He discusses when he prefers food over call lures and other curiosity scents. There is a ton of information in this episode, whether you're a beginning trapper or have been around the block a time or two, there is something to learn from Taylor!
Taylor Fleisher: You're listening to the Pennsylvania Woodsman powered by Sportsman's Empire Podcast Network. This show is driven to provide relatable hunting and outdoor content in the Keystone State and surrounding Northeast. On this show you'll hear an array of perspectives from biologists and industry professionals to average joes with a lifetime of knowledge.
All centered around values aiming to be better outdoorsmen and women both in the field as well as home and daily life. No cliques, no self interest, just the light in the pursuit of creation.
Mitchell Shirk: And now, your host,
Taylor Fleisher: the pride of Pennsylvania, the man who shoots straight and won't steer you wrong, Johnny Appleseed himself, Mitchell Shirk.
Mitchell Shirk. Mitchell Shirk. Mitchell Shirk.
Mitchell Shirk: Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode. It's good to catch up with you. It feels like it's been a while since I've done this mainly because it has. We banked up a bunch of episodes, got them all prepped up for what everybody calls go [00:01:00] time, and that's that. First few weeks in November and got a bunch of episodes sent out early so we could Not spend so much time focusing on getting podcasts ready and they were ready for you guys to listen.
And now I'm getting back into the swing of things and finally catching up to speed after a few weeks here. I was successful and I harvested a great buck. I think it was October 27th. So here I was, dreading the rut and probably making my claims of who knows what's going to happen in November.
And I was fortunate enough to connect on a buck. I shot it on a new property, a property I talked a little bit about in some episodes this off season. And it was a great hunt. It was a, it was great buck. And I'll just let you guys with that because coming up this Friday is going to be. The whole story, the whole kit and kabam doing a fun episode, recapping that hunt on our deer [00:02:00] season special.
Looking forward to bringing that to you guys. And you know what, if you're listening to this I wouldn't mind knowing what you guys think of the deer season special episodes. We wanted to, I wanted to bring an additional deer hunting conversation related. each week to you all through hunting season from October through December.
And, I've gotten some feedback, but I'd really like to hear what your thoughts are. I'd love if you'd reach out to me on social media or through email, email would be P a. woodsmanpodcastatgmail. com and you can reach out to me at Pennsylvania woodsman Instagram. If you guys are enjoying these conversations, they're a little bit different.
We've got some, strategies and things like that, but it's mostly a stories and, guests that you may have heard from in the past on other shows, and some people you may have never heard from. And I've had a lot of fun recording them and bringing them to you guys, and I do hope you're enjoying them.
I hope you're [00:03:00] finding success this year. This is this is the last week of the main archery season. And I was talking about this the other day with Aaron Hepler and I said, I said, there's so many more things in life that are important than deer hunting. And I would put them before deer hunting.
However, I can't lie from about October. 20th to November 5th, November 10th. I wish that we could pause time cause it always goes by so fast. And here we are, as you were listening to this, we've got today, tomorrow, and Friday. For the rest of archery season and Saturday opens bear season So I feel for you guys if you're still trying to grind it out and find a buck But just keep in mind you got plenty of time.
There's plenty of things you can do to be getting on it So keep hunting hard. Don't give up stay positive And for those of you that connected, congratulations. And, I'm looking forward to bear season. I always do. It's [00:04:00] one of those things that I look forward to every year and some years, it seems like more than others this year.
I'm excited because I've been saying it a bunch, the places that I frequent for bear season. There's a good mass crop and that's got me hopeful and optimistic that we're at least going to have some opportunity I've been talking a lot about with my buddy, you know setting drives up and getting stuff Organized and well prepared and you know executing the best drives we can in these areas that we hunt and hey Hoping it all comes together.
But regardless, it'll be good to be back at camp back in the mountains Camp camaraderie is always a fun part And I'm just real happy. It's that time of year, and again, I'm not going to try to wish it away, because the next next few weeks are fun times, and they go by so quick. Hope you guys are enjoying them.
This week, this episode is going to be a little bit different than we've been doing in the past. It's not that it's nothing we haven't done, but we don't, we haven't Done as near as [00:05:00] many episodes of this topic as I would like to. And I'm going to try to do a better job of that in the future. First of all, great guests this week.
I've got a podcast listener and a local PA boy, Taylor Fleischer. Taylor, if you've probably heard of Taylor, if you follow him on Instagram, or you've heard any of the other podcasts, I know he's been on the Antler Up podcast, I know he's been on the Backwoods PA podcast, and talking things deer hunting, because he is a diehard deer hunter, he's a good deer hunter, but this week with him on our show, it's going to be a little bit of a different conversation.
We are going to be talking all things trapping, specifically coyotes and fox, the things that he would consider the the pinnacle as far as difficulty in trapping. We're going to talk about anything from scouting and e scouting to trap preparation sets lures, you name it. Just going through the whole works of his opinion, what he's experienced [00:06:00] and relaying that back and forth between hunting too.
Great conversation with Taylor. Whether you are a beginner trapper, you're just interested in trapping, or maybe you're maybe you've been doing it for a while. You're still going to probably pick up on some things because Taylor's been trapping his whole life. And he always does really well bringing in the fur.
So let's get to this episode with Taylor real quick before we do just want to give a shout out to our partners, Radix hunting guys, I have been talking. this year and I'm still going to talk them up. I've been really thankful to work with a company that has great products and at affordable costs.
The M Corsell cameras, I can't say enough good things about their cameras in general for picture quality, longevity. Simplicity of use, especially the cell camera. I really like the Scout Tech app and the features that it has. Really simple to set up, great reception, and great customer service. I've been really thrilled to use them.
Also using my Radix tree stands, [00:07:00] solid. Quiet, comfortable, all the Rad X gear, stick and pick camera accessories, from the tree mounts to the ground mounts, I've got a couple ground mounts and some food plots, fantastic really love Rad X hunting, I think you guys should check them out, and also Huntworth, guys right now, they have the Black Friday sale going on, I think you can get yourself up to I believe it's 30 percent off, and Orders over 300 you get free shipping right now I'm gonna be back and forth with this weather between the Saskatoon heat boost heavyweight clothing and The Elkins mid weight clothing the Elkins stuff if I run a base layer, you know If I run something like their just their mid weight or their lightweight base layer and the Elkins that really It cuts back on the amount of bulk in my system, but it has that windbreaker layer that really keeps me warm.
But when we get into these colder temperatures that are coming up here, switching over to [00:08:00] stuff with heat boost really looking forward to using that. I'm using the disruption pattern. I love that digital camouflage. I did notice that when I compare it to other camos and people walk into woods or you compare it from a distance, I think it blends in a lot better than some camos.
Just make sure you check out Huntworth Gear. And with that guys, let's get to this week's episode.
Cutting going back in between deer hunting and some some time off in between in the evening hours. I'm sitting here with Taylor Fleischer heard him on a couple other podcasts before talking mostly deer hunting, but just got out of tree stand tonight, man. How's it going?
Taylor Fleisher: Good, man. Good. How are you?
Phil Bucktag, you gotta be
Mitchell Shirk: great. I'm sittin on cloud nine. I've, I got four critters dead with my bow this year. And my I had I was just trick or treating with the with the kids. And I went to my grandparents house. And my grandfather, was a big time hunter all his life. But he was the kind where you took [00:09:00] your time off in deer season, you shot a deer, and you were done.
And the idea of shooting multiple deer or, multiple things and just continuing to hunt for weeks and weeks was foreign to him. And so he says to me, cause he knows that I'll keep hunting. He's are you done now? Or are you going to keep punting? And I said I said, believe it or not.
I said I'm pretty satisfied. Two buck, a bear, a doe. I said, I'm pretty satisfied. I'll go to the group hunts at camp and stuff like that. But as far as, hunting for myself to shoot stuff, yeah, I'll go, but it's not going to be a big push. I'm going to get into busy time for work.
So now it's going to be time to, enjoy it while it lasts. And now it's time to buckle down and get some work done.
Taylor Fleisher: iT's easy to enjoy those, that time of camp when there's no pressure, right? You feel like you're done, so you can, take your time and enjoy everybody else enjoying camp.
Mitchell Shirk: It's a different, for me, it's way different when you have your buck tag filled and then you go to camp, because again, it's, I'm [00:10:00] way more relaxed. The idea of hunting with the group, bumping stuff around or setting stuff up, or helping people out, there's no, it's no pressure on me.
I had one year recently that I didn't have a buck tag filled. It was way different than the years I do, and I tell you what, I would much rather have it filled in October.
Taylor Fleisher: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I'm with you there. I always enjoy drinking an extra cup of coffee on the first day of rifle season, that's for sure.
Mitchell Shirk: I have to ask the question, what weighs higher for you? Whitetails or trapping? Because I know trapping's up there pretty good for you. But I'm curious, which one kind of has the most skin in the game for you?
Taylor Fleisher: At this point in my life, I would probably say archery season for whitetails has the edge on trapping.
But I gotta say, for most of my life trapping was more important than deer hunting. I've enjoyed archery hunting a lot, and I think my trapping background has helped me to become a better hunter.[00:11:00] So they're hand in hand, but when they're both in season, I prefer to archery hunt over trap.
Mitchell Shirk: So when you started out, getting into the outdoors was trapping one of the gateways for you?
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah, for sure. I started trapping in elementary school with my dad. So that was, I'm 32 now, so we had to wait till we were 12 to start. Hunting so I trapped for quite a few years before I could actually hold a
Mitchell Shirk: rifle, okay?
Yeah, that's one of those things if dad had a trap line It was easy for the kids to take part in it. I never grew up trapping So it was one of those things where it was a little bit later on set in life and I do it But now it's just a matter of the time aspect But you seem to make sure you find time or make time for each and every fall
Taylor Fleisher: Oh yeah, on, on Sundays throughout archery season and all summer long, I'm prepping traps and getting ready to go for when that comes in and fur gets prime.
Yeah, they're, they're, to me, they're not separated. It, that's what the [00:12:00] fall is. You archery hunt and you trap. That's just, that's my fall every year. Rifle season has been put on the back burner. I don't put a whole lot of effort into that anymore. But those two items there, those two hobbies are, that's what occupies 99 percent of my time in the fall and late
Mitchell Shirk: summer.
And both of those to do it at a high level are pretty labor intensive and gear intensive. I wouldn't mind... Diving in a little bit more, tell me a little bit about some of those early fondest memories of trapping, like the, what were you specifically trapping when you were younger that really ingrained in you?
Because I'm sure, maybe that's changed a little bit now but tell me a little bit about that and your, some of your learning experiences.
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah, trapping, when I first started I've always said that muskrats are the squirrels of the trapping world. Most kids get started squirrel hunting, and if you get started trapping muskrats, it's typically what you got started on when I was growing up.
Now, muskrats, that population has [00:13:00] declined incredibly, so I'm sure there's not a lot of kids trapping muskrats anymore. Raccoons is probably the gateway animal now to trapping. But yeah, so we, with muskrats, it was always creek banks and ponds. So I spent a lot of time walking through chest high grass with my dad and checking holes in the bank.
And we did a lot of muskrat trapping. My dad was a a big time trapper and muskrat trapper. So he had quite an extensive line and that I just. Was on his line for as long as I can remember and then when I got old enough to do my own We did canines and raccoons and growing up there wasn't Kias.
So so Red Fox was your canine you were after yeah, it was just I don't know, there was a lot to learn there, and I just pretty much did what my dad told me to do, and tried not to get wet.
Mitchell Shirk: You talk about the gateway trapping, and I know a lot of people who [00:14:00] really enjoy, trapping raccoons.
I know people who talk about trapping mink and muskrat and that's, but it just seems like now in 2023, it seems if it's anything water related for trapping, you're talking about what I think is at the top when it comes to Pennsylvania, that's, river otter and beaver. And, when it comes to land trapping coyotes.
Or the big talk or red fox in a lot of the places in the southeastern part of the state, southern half of Pennsylvania, you still have good red fox populations, but man, that's what everybody talks about. But in my mind that, that seems like not the gateway in a lot of cases, but that's what everybody wants to trap, right?
That is, is that in your mind? Like the pinnacle or the hardest when it comes to trap in Pennsylvania?
Taylor Fleisher: I would say at the very top is coyotes even more so than the water critters. The, I've never caught a river otter. I just don't trap anywhere where there, there is any or there's a [00:15:00] season for them.
But I know guys that have caught them and they say if they're there, they're easy to catch. The same way, or the same thing can be said for bobcat. If they're there, they're easy to catch. They don't have the nose like a coyote. There is absolutely no forgiveness when it comes to coyote trapping as far as making mistakes paying placement, leaving too much scent there.
Putting too much lore to too little lore. It's incredible how in tune with their environment, they are beaver and some of the big, the bigger water animals. Once again, sometimes access can be extremely difficult to get to those animals. This past winter we were biking five miles in on public land to find beaver.
And that can be tough to do especially down south here. I know up towards Erie and and some of the other, in the other corner of the state there, there's a lot of beaver. And it's no problem to catch 30, 40 like you're allowed up there. But down it, Where I'm at in Cumberland County, you're allowed to [00:16:00] catch five a year, and I can't say I've ever caught five in Cumberland County.
When I was a student at Penn State in Center County yeah, I could get my five there pretty easy. That was a five beaver limit as well. But once again, if they're there, easy to catch. When I say easy to catch,
Mitchell Shirk: though... Relatively speaking, right?
Taylor Fleisher: thEy're still very smart. And a beaver that is in a swamp, and you stomp up and down the banks of that swamp, and you make a lot of noise, and you're playing a radio or whatever, they pretty much figure out what's going on pretty quick.
They're not coyote smart, but they know when something's up. A coyote, man, they're, that is the top. If you can consistently catch coyotes, I'd say you've done as good as you could possibly do in this state now out West, they got wolves. That's. Coyotes on steroids. Fortunately we don't have to, we don't have to deal with wolves here yet for other reasons, but yeah, so coyotes are definitely the
Mitchell Shirk: top.
So [00:17:00] knowing your interest in bow hunting and bow hunting is like the, in my mind, and I think we'd probably agree on this, that's the top end game when it comes to big game hunting. At least in the state of Pennsylvania, bow hunting I guess you could break that down even finer and say that.
Real, the true pinnacle is, stick bow, but bow hunting just generally speaking. And I know you gravitate towards that. So does that mean that coyotes are where it's at for you for the ultimate challenge and trapping now?
Taylor Fleisher: Yes. Yeah, that's coyotes are what I'm after. I've had a lot of people talk to me about trapping coyotes and I always recommend that they start with, start with something.
That you feel like you can consistently catch. That, that doesn't mean that, that I'm better than you or anything. But, if you consistently, I mean if nothing, you're, the only thing you're targeting is coyotes, right off the bat, you're gonna get frustrated very fast. You almost need to build up your confidence.
Build up your understanding of pawl placement and trap offset and stuff like that. That stuff needs [00:18:00] to be developed on a on a lesser animal, so to speak. Coons and foxes, reds and greys, they both do different things that you need to be aware of. Because that helps you with the coyote.
Mitchell Shirk: With anything, we start off scouting, right?
I think about scouting whitetails, and I know you do the same thing from the coyote's perspective, and there's little bit, tidbits of information you're looking for, in order to make your set and make your catch. And, somebody, like you said, you can go through a lot of headaches.
Starting to try to figure out the hardest thing and it's like somebody trying to start bow hunting, you start out and you're 12 years old and somebody says, I want to start bow hunting. I want to figure out how to bow hunt whitetails and you're going to have some hard hurdles to go through and unless you've got somebody as a mentor to walk you through and give you that jump in your game quicker it's tough.
So talk a little bit about, I guess from your perspective and your learning experiences growing up and everything else, talk about where [00:19:00] that was for you. I knew you had your dad as a mentor, but, talk about learning. Pieces of the puzzle when it came to reading sign, looking for areas and making game plans for your trap line, specifically related to coyotes.
I'm going to say that.
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah. So like I said, when, what I learned from my father was strictly related to red Fox. We didn't have a lot of graze. There were more of a, there were more of a mountain canine at that time. And they still are, they still prefer the power lines and the thickets, but red Fox were the valley canine and.
So everything he taught me was about Red Fox. The jump between Red Fox and Coyotes, how that learning curve starts, is first of all, you need to understand that a coyote has a much bigger paw, and they stand back further from a scent. So you need to learn that if I put my trap tight to that hole, or tight to my bait, A coyote's foot may never get there.
He'd be stepping on the [00:20:00] bait. Whereas a red fox, they're right on top of your bait. And a coyote typically we shoot for nine inches back from where that bait, the hole the pee post or whatever, where that is. So the learning curve and where you learn a lot is trapping in the snow. When you're trapping in the snow and you've got a fox set in and a coyote comes into your set, take note to where he stood because that's where the trap needs to be.
Not where it was if he didn't get caught. So you learn a lot from reading sign in the snow. You learn a lot from just finding sign in general. So if you find poop on the farm lane going in, put a set off that farm lane, if it doesn't bother the farmer, if you do that oftentimes a big curve in a road or a ditch intersection that comes up to the road, it's all pinch points, the same thing you look for deer.
Anywhere where it might restrict travel or make them go around something, that's all areas where you'll find sign. And when you find that sign, [00:21:00] you need to either write it down in a logbook or take note of wind direction and everything, because that all matters too when you're placing your set.
So if the wind's coming across the road, don't put your set on the downwind side of the road. You need to make sure that if that coyote's running that road, that, that he smells it. If
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Find out more about this system and get your seed at vitalizedseed. com and be sure to check them out on Instagram and Facebook. [00:22:00] Let's back up a little bit too when we're getting into talking about making sets. Talk a little bit more about, you said earlier about in the off season you're busy with prepping and I know that was equipment related too, prepping also means scouting and I know you've probably got places that you've done the backlog, you've done the homework, where you want to make sets on a fairly regular basis based on what predators are doing there.
But walk us through how you got to that step from, whether that's map scouting or, driving around in the truck or what does that look like for you?
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah. The biggest thing that I do, I have, I've pretty much been trapping the same properties for a few years in a row, which is very beneficial.
But The biggest thing is knowing what that what crop that farmer plants that year. Like a bean field is terrible for trapping, because once those beans are off, there is nothing there. And there's no cover for mice. Yeah, there's just nothing there. There's not really any reason for a coyote to run through the middle of a cut bean field.
[00:23:00] cuT corn is a whole different story. Cut corn is loaded with fodder, loaded with mouse holes. You can find a lot of prey in a cut cornfield. Same can be said for as far as there being nothing is a hayfield. There's not much in a shortcut green hayfield. So you have to figure out how they're using that.
So as far as off season scouting, when you look at a bean field or a hayfield where there's not a lot of cover, The best thing to do is find the intersections in that field. If there's a finger of woods that goes out into that field, or if there's a wet area that they don't want to run through, and they may run around that wet area.
Those are the things you need to find. If you have historical, obviously if you have historical plan there, typically that's the same every year. The only thing that changes is the crop sometimes. But I've been trapping hay farms that have been hay farms for as long as I've trapped them [00:24:00] and I've got it figured out.
Mitchell Shirk: How does terrain come into play when you're talking about scouting or does it at all?
Taylor Fleisher: It does. They run ditches a lot. They're a lot like deer in the sense that they don't like to be skylined. They'd much prefer to be down off that edge a little bit, so you rarely find poop on the top of a hill. I know some guys say that they'll go to the top of a hill to howl, to be able to howl down into the valley, so to speak.
That may be, but they're not up there to look for prey, and most of trapping is mimicking something for them to eat. There's, you have baited sets, and then you have territorial sets. You have sets that are a potential meal, and then sets that are like a scrape to a deer. Hey, somebody else is in my territory.
I need to figure out what's going on here.
Mitchell Shirk: Walk me through a little bit what that looks like, too, because you're talking about terrain, how they move with terrain. You're talking about when you're talking about fields and [00:25:00] cut, crop rotation and where they're cut and how they're cut, too. What you're talking about is diversity of edge.
And, I talk about this with whitetails all the time, right? The more you stagger the canopy, the more you change the habitat mix up and you create one after another and create that edge. You create diversity and you create lines of movement, right? Thank you. But when you start breaking down nitty gritty of saying Hey, this is this is an area that this is going to be a great place for putting a food set versus some of the other sets you talked about.
What does that mean? Like I can understand that from a whitetail hunting perspective when I'm hunting food. Betting, transition, stuff like that. So what's the language when it comes to trapping coyotes in that sense?
Taylor Fleisher: So it's pretty much how an area would set up, meaning when you approach an area where you know that they're traveling or there's been coyote sign or Fox sign or whatever, they run the same.
routes. Coyote, if you find fox sign, a coyote's gonna run the same path. But when you're standing there, and you say, I know I [00:26:00] want to put a trap here, if in your mind, a mouse, or a rabbit, or something could live right there, then that's a great opportunity for a food set. And oftentimes, the rule of thumb with trapping is, if it's good enough for one set, it's good enough for two.
If I put one there, because we know that coyotes often will run in pairs, especially later in the season when they're breeding. If you put one set in, that would be your food set, and then it would make sense to put a territorial set. Five feet from it, four feet from it, however it lays out. If that coyote's not hungry, but he wants to mark his territory, one may appeal to him and the other may not.
So you want diversity in your sets as well. You don't want to put... I know guys do, but you don't want to typically put the same set over and over because if they have a bad experience or figure one out, they can remember that smell, they remember your smell, and they say, No, I'm not. That's not a, that's not a mouse.
That's a, that's the guy in [00:27:00] the white truck, when
Mitchell Shirk: you you talked about earlier you mentioned snow, that snow tells all, and that's, I can attest to that from hunting. Do you find yourself doing anything else as far as, reading, whether it's the game you're after or maybe the prey they're after for learning to make sense?
Whether that's, dirt roads. I've even heard of people doing stuff where they might have an area with a sandy bottom and they'll purposely, clean it out and make it fresh. So that way they can see fresh footprints. What about trail cameras? Does any of that come into play for you in scouting?
Or has it in the past?
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah, trail cameras are beneficial, but I would never recommend putting So let me preface this by saying a lot of people have not caught coyotes by putting a trail camera on a set. A no glow camera will work. The better cameras that have absolutely zero flash, black flash will work, but if you put a trail camera on that has a red flash, [00:28:00] forget it.
The coyote will see it every time. I'm sure everybody that runs cameras has seen a coyote look at the camera as it goes off. Coyotes pick up that flash. a whole lot more than deer do. So coyotes are beneficial, or excuse me, trail cameras are beneficial in just finding out where they're running, but I would never put one on a set because it's a bad experience at that smell and they remember it.
So I shy away from cameras on sets. I do have some of the Tacticams that have the low glow that I like to put on sets if I feel it's going to be a good one because you can learn a lot that way too, but you just have to make sure it's the right camera. As far as scouting the prey, Yeah, that's, you can see mouse tracks in the snow and you can know that, that mice and rabbits are going under this old round bale in the weeds and you can use that to your use that to your benefit a lot.
If you know where the prey is, you know where they're going to be looking.
Mitchell Shirk: I like the trail camera thing just because I think trail [00:29:00] cameras are a hot topic. I love using them for all the big game hunting I do. Do you have any experiences using trail cameras on sets or in and around sets?
I know you said you don't do it a lot, but like you talk about that learning piece, like putting, maybe having it on video and seeing it, like picking stuff up. Has there ever been stuff that you've had an aha moment watching something approach it or? Whether it was a successful catch or not what do you take away from that?
Because I've never done that.
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah, I think the biggest thing that I've taken away from that type of data is how they approach a set based on wind. You want to make your set approachable by prevailing wind. You want to make it the most appealing, obviously, in that direction. Say the wind shifts one night, as we know it does, they will come in from the side or come in from behind it.
Where you're not expecting them to come, and that type of data is very useful, but you can't put traps all around your set, so what you need to do is, [00:30:00] in order, on those off wind nights, you want to make it so that they can't come in from the back, or they can't come in from the side, be it, A small piece of limb or a rock the size of your fist that they don't want to have to move to get in there.
There's small things you can do to convince them there's only one way to get in here. Sometimes it doesn't matter. Sometimes they'll roll that rock away and they'll dig it out from the back, take your bait, and your trap's just sitting there. They're that smart. They know. Something's not right on this side.
So it's every coyote's a challenge and you think after you catch one, you'll have it figured out and it does get easier, but now they're very intelligent.
Mitchell Shirk: So when you talk about getting into making sets and this is where you can get into a lot of weeds and I want to dive into everything you would like to experience and discuss with it when it comes to approaching sets, but.
Do you have anything that you look at as the most valuable or the most important part when you're coming to, to trapping [00:31:00] or making your sets? Is the presentation the most part? Is the backing? The most part is the trap placement to certain things. Like where's the most value, from that part of making your sets.
Taylor Fleisher: The most important thing with trapping is making sure that your bed, or your trap, is bedded absolutely solid. Meaning, when you get that trap in there, if you take your thumb or your finger and press anywhere on that trap, it should not move a quarter inch. It shouldn't move an eighth of an inch. It should be super solid.
Because chances are their first step isn't gonna be exactly on the pan. It may be on the lever. It may be on the jaw. And if something moves under their feet, they're gone. thEy're gone. A red fox will dig you up, and sometimes they can dig that trap out of that bed. flip it over and never set it off.
And then sometimes just for good measure they'll poop right on top of the trap. [00:32:00] So they can figure out a loose trap quicker than anything. That's one thing that you will not get away with is a poorly bedded trap. That's by far the most important thing.
Mitchell Shirk: Can we stick on that just a little bit longer?
I want to go on to number two, but I want to stick on bedded traps a little bit longer because where I cut my teeth trapping was actually mountain ground where there was not a lot of topsoil. You start I would set the trap, right? And I would Position it where I thought I wanted it.
And I would I would always want to make my bed, just slightly bigger than my trap. So then I'd start, trial or whatever I'd be doing to get it out. And I'd find a rock and you pull that rock out and I've already been making sets and till it was said and done, I'm like.
I don't know where in the world to put this stinking trap. Cause I've literally uprooted a million rocks and there's no top soil. And then I had it going through my head that I don't want to use too much of the, the dirt that we had, cause that's different. Or maybe we [00:33:00] use peat moss hole or holes or something along those lines.
And I want to keep it as natural as possible. And I'd start overthinking and I would just give up on it. When it comes to that, I know you talk about. Doing farm country stuff, but I'm sure you've run into times where you have you find a set This is where I want to put my set I get everything situated And then you run into that can you talk a little bit about how you handle something like
Taylor Fleisher: that?
Yeah, so when you get in real rocky ground we do, a mountain trip every year. We go to the mountains and we'll trap prvobcats and fissure and coon. That's far from valley ground. That's more what you're talking about. And often times what we find ourselves doing in real rocky situations, is instead of trying to actually bed the trap into that clay bottom or whatever I can get in the valley you almost have to wedge it so you almost have to get down and then your loose jaw which is the jaw away from the dog Take a rock or a stick and literally hammer it between [00:34:00] that jaw and push it against something in the back.
So if you can get yourself a depression to where the trap is either flush or slightly below, then you can just wedge it against something. If you're lucky enough to have, a mud backing you can wedge it against that mud. If you're not, you almost have to wedge rocks the whole way around it.
And just suspended in the air, so to speak, and it's still solid, but it's not truly bedded. So you're just making it tight, but you're not really pushing it down into the subsoil.
Mitchell Shirk: Yeah. Natural appearance is important, but the fact that if they step on a jaw or a tongue or something like that they're not going to feel anything shift,
Taylor Fleisher: right?
Absolutely, yeah. And sometimes if you can't get it bedded, like, perfect, sometimes what you'll do is, I refer to it as protect the jaw, meaning you'll put something just outside that jaw, so that they have to step over it and won't step on that loose [00:35:00] jaw, and expose that rocky trap. If that bed, or if that trap isn't perfect, you can make it so that it's...
They don't want to step on any other part of the trap, too.
Mitchell Shirk: Man, I bet it's been six or seven years since I've, I trapped, but I'm, a million things are going through my mind as I think back to, when I would make a set and how I would approach it. And, I've talked to so many different trappers and, everybody's got their own, little own style and this and that and let's talk about this time of year when we're trapping, we're not dealing with freeze thaw and frozen ground and stuff like that.
We will at a later point. That's a lot of time when I would do a lot of my trapping was after archery season. That's when I had time, right? First of all do you use... Dirt from the farm that you get out earlier in the year. Do you like to use substitutes like peat moss or buckwheat holes? Or do you have an approach?
Do you have an array of approaches for different situations? What does that look like when it comes to bedding traps? And let's do it two parts. Let's just do like from this time of year when you're not worried about frozen ground [00:36:00] versus when you get into the later part of the trapping season.
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah, so early season, if it's super early, like beginning of the season, mid October you're pretty much safe on using the native soil and just back, backfill in that whole trap with native soil. So the only thing you have to be careful of in using strictly soil is you don't want too much soil to get underneath the pan of the trap.
Or it doesn't have enough room to go down and fire the trap. Some guys will, take a handful of crumbled leaves and shove it under that pan. Or they'll use pan covers, which is like window screen cut to fit the inside of the jaws. So that, that soil doesn't get under that pan. So you're safe that way in the early season.
However, if you get one freeze, you're done. You're screwed at that point because your trap is froze tight, he could dance on that trap and it's not gonna fire. Even from the very beginning, I always like to have some type of antifreeze [00:37:00] available. In the early season, typically what I'll do is backfill with native soil and then surround the springs, I shouldn't say surround, I should say sprinkle around the jaws and the springs with table salt, just enough That if you get a freeze, like we're gonna get here next week, it's gonna get down to 26, 27, that's a, just enough to freeze the top of the ground.
You wanna make sure, if he steps on that pan and it goes down, that those jaws aren't froze tight to that soil. Salt is a great antifreeze in the early season. I've used it throughout the season. It's really tough on metal, on traps. I don't like to use it a lot. Buckwheat hulls you mentioned are great in the woods.
It's a great cover in the woods because it looks a lot like the leaf litter. Stands out like a sore thumb in the middle of a hay field. It blends in better in the woods. I've used it. I'm not a huge fan of buckwheat hulls. I just feel like there's better options. [00:38:00] The cream of the crop now as it pertains to late season trapping is waxed dirt.
And wax dirt is dirt that's put in a cement mixer, that's bone dry, and you put pelletized wax with it, and you heat that drum as you rotate it, and it pretty much coats all that soil with wax, and all it does is keeps water from getting down in. And if the soil is dry, and water can't get in, it can't freeze.
That's the absolute best. It takes time and money to make it. But if you have the time and you can buy, 20 pounds of flake wax. You will not regret going that route. It's pretty much foolproof and it works perfectly.
Mitchell Shirk: One thing, a lot of good trappers I've talked to have said is, they live and die by the feel under the foot, and feeling what feels natural. So if they're going up and down and the time of year, whether it's frozen or not frozen, there's a consistency, right? You had talked about bedding the trap solid, not making a big [00:39:00] imprint as far as, the trap bed that you make. But when you get into frozen ground you're talking about keeping the ground thawed.
So how do you approach that? Are you trying to keep that footprint as small as possible? That way you're basically hoping that they touch that, inch and a half circle of a pan. Or will you get to a situation where, maybe the whole entire area you want to try to keep thawed so that way.
It's monotony around the set or is that too much, risk? What are your thoughts there?
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah. So in order to blend that frozen ground and thawed ground, typical of what I like to do is bed it all in, in wax dirt. And then I'll take, if there's snow on the ground, I love it because you can just take a little bit of snow in your sifter and just sprinkle it over the top of everything.
So it gives the appearance of frozen ground. It's not underneath that light layer of snow. But they don't know that until it's too late. The other thing is if it's a baited set or a dirt hole set where it looks like [00:40:00] something is digging I don't think it's quite as important that it appears to be frozen because it could have been dug 20 minutes before they got there.
They don't know that. So if it's just loose soil, they don't necessarily think, this isn't frozen, why isn't it frozen? So you can get away with it there too. Taking some of that native frozen ground and just sprinkling, I'm not talking even about a 16th of an inch of a layer, but just enough to break up.
Fall dirt looks different than frozen dirt. But if you can put a little bit of that icy frozen dirt on top of it, not enough that it would, jam your jaws with a piece of ice or whatever, but just enough to break up That little circle outline of fall dirt that's your best bet.
Mitchell Shirk: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. we've been talking about trap beds and that's, like you said, one of the most important things, circling back, I'd said, what were some of the more important things? And you were going on to say, number two and let's revisit that.
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah. [00:41:00] Bedding a trap solid is definitely number one.
And then number two is setting on sign. So setting a trap where the, where you know, they run. You can put in a perfect set that's vetted solid, but if it's in the middle of a of nowhere, you're not gonna, a ki of knows is very great, but it's not gonna, you're not gonna pull 'em a hundred yards off the path they wanna be on in order to go visit your set.
Anywhere where you have intersections, one of my favorite places to set is the transition between cut corn and cut beans. Cause everything runs that line. Though, they don't want to run through corn stubble if they don't have to, but they want to be close to that corn stubble because that's where all the food is.
They run that line a lot. If you don't find sign along that line, maybe you shouldn't set it. So it's all about finding sign and setting on sign. If you see a track in the snow, put a trap directly under that track. It sounds [00:42:00] ridiculous to say, but that's exactly where he stepped and that's exactly where he'll probably step again next time he comes through there.
Mitchell Shirk: Okay. I've heard that a lot, and I've seen it too. Like when bear use trails, I've seen it where you can see the imprint of them using similar spots where they're sticking their foot. Our. I, maybe they are. I don't know.
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah. Yeah. But it's all a matter. A lot of this stuff is trial by error.
You really do have to screw up a lot and make a lot of mistakes and you're going to educate some guys and some Fox, but that's all part of learning. It's the same way in any outdoor sport, you're going to screw up and those mistakes will help you to hone in on the proper technique.
YEah, but what I was going to say with number two, in addition to that vetted trap, is a scent free trap. That scent free trap, I'm not a huge, I'm not a huge scent control freak when it comes to trapping, because you can mask your scent as much as you want, but they know that you are still there.
But the bigger [00:43:00] thing is, say you get a little bit of lure... Or even exhaust fumes or a drop of gas on a trap and then bury that trap. He'll dig that trap up every time. A foreign smell under dirt, he's digging up. So you can't have any foreign smell on that trap. That's the absolute biggest mistake in addition to betting the trap improperly.
Mitchell Shirk: So dive into that a little bit more because I've been around trappers where they wore hip boots and rubber gloves and this and that and I've also been with some trappers that were in their blue jeans and their Stinky boot the leather boots and wore nothing more than jersey gloves and both of them catch coyotes.
So in my mind Neither one is right or wrong. I just find the styles are interesting. So is the, is it not specifically your human scent? That's as important as other scents or other things that are just going to basically put a neon sign [00:44:00] that right here, there's something different.
Taylor Fleisher: Human scent, anywhere that I travel. Coyotes smell humans all the time. A human scent to a coyote, and I would say in 90 percent of the state, is not foreign to a coyote. They've smelled people, they know that smell. The bigger thing is that what I'm talking about with getting the scent on a trap isn't so much a human scent, it's just a scent that they are super interested in.
They're not going to dig up human scent, they're going to shy away from human scent before they dig it up. It's more that I don't know how a coyote thinks. They're probably, in my mind, they're thinking, how in the world did a coyote pee underneath this dirt if you got urine on the track? Or how did this...
speck of Coyote poop get under the ground. So they're trying to figure out what the heck's going on here. It's not so much that they're trying to solve what the human was doing there. They're trying to figure out why that scent Is under is on the trap as opposed to down that hole or on that peephose set that you've made So [00:45:00] it's just a foreign scent and they're very curious
Mitchell Shirk: Well, speaking of feel and trial and error and such, you were talking earlier mentioning about types of sets, whether it's a food set, a dirt hole set or a territorial set or something along those lines.
Is that something that you just see after doing it a long time and feel like this is what I need here? Do you have any kind of like general rule of thumb of how you like to approach a property as far as, the number of sets or the number of types of sets or, things like that?
Taylor Fleisher: Okay. Thank you. Yeah, early season you focus on food. As you get into breeding season you focus more on territorial sets. Dirt hole sets have been the king in trapping for as long as I can remember. A hole that looks like a mouse hole, you put your bait or lure or whatever down in the bottom of that hole so they got to dig at that hole and while they're standing there trying to figure out how to get that out they step on your trap.
That's the most common used set among trappers. Anytime you feel like you need to [00:46:00] deviate from that means you probably have a coyote that has been to a dirt hole set before, and he's not going to go back to a dirt hole set because he had a bad experience there. So you can use other types of food sets.
One of my favorite on an educated coyote is nothing more than a flat rock with the bait underneath that flat rock. There's no exposed dirt. It doesn't look like anything was digging. But there's bait under that rock, so they gotta try to figure out how to move that rock to get that bait or whatever out from underneath it.
They don't know what it is, or it's the same deal if it was on your trap. They just want to get it and eat it. A trap shy coyote can be extremely difficult. So that's when you go into your bag of trips, bag of tricks with those flat rock sets and blind sets. Just setting on their trails with no bait, no lure at all.
That's another way to get them, make them step over a log onto a trap where they're not even slowing down to smell anything. [00:47:00]
Mitchell Shirk: So when you start talking about making sets like that's when you start if you're, will you consistently trap a property throughout the season and then change your sets according to the season and how you're seeing coyotes behave, whether that's at the set themselves, or if you are having trail cameras in the area, something like that.
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah, those blind sets are great in areas where you know exact travel. You know they go through this cut piece of fence, and you can see the coyote hair as they duck under that fence. You can put a trap right at that fence crossing, or... Sometimes I'll trap a property that has creeks that have a log that goes over the creek.
At the end of that log you can put a set where you know when they hop off that log they'll hop right onto that trap. So that type of woodsmanship with trapping is what makes you a better woodsman in general for hunting. Anything for understanding how animals move if you can blind set and catch something You've [00:48:00] got animal movement pretty much figured out.
Mitchell Shirk: Yeah, that's a good point there. That's a good point Yeah, trapping is one of those things that it is a finite detail because i've heard people say What's the sport and walking up to something you caught? I mean you're trying to get an animal to put its foot in the exact location in order for you if you're using, number two or less, you're talking about a very small percent placement of where you need that foot to be, and there's an art to that, and it's an interesting art, it's an interesting process you were talking about, before we get on to a couple other things I like to talk, one last thing you were talking about, bait versus call lore and stuff, I've heard so many different theories on how you use call lores or, You should never use, lore at this type of set, or that type of set, or this type of location.
And I just get confused in the logic behind that, and I'm assuming it's experiences and stuff, but can you just shed light from your perspective on, um, how to use lore's [00:49:00] insets, or, You talked about bait sets are most common, right? But, the rabbit holes of what works from a lore standpoint, when to use it, when not to.
Presentation is another thing. Is is the flashing ness of a set too much? Or do you want it to be discreet that it looks like nothing's there, there's just an odor? I get really lost in that world.
Taylor Fleisher: wHen it comes to, when it comes to baiting a coyote, you have actual bait and then you have lure.
Bait is typically a meat based something. It's preserved ground up rabbit or ground up red fox meat or fish. And then you have lures, which are more liquid and or liquid in general. But you have, when it comes to lure, you have gland lure, You have a curiosity lure, you have call lures, and then you have food lures.
What that breaks down to is, a gland lure is a territorial scent. You would use that in an area where you want to try to challenge [00:50:00] a dominant coyote. Or it's typically, you typically catch male coyotes on a gland lure and a urine scent. An example of that type of scent would be if you take a chunk of a limb, a two foot piece, and you pound it into the ground, and then you spray that stick with urine, and then you put a little bit of gland lore, as that dog's, that coyote.
His individual smell at the base of that stick. Coyotes are a dog. They want to top other dogs. He would walk up to that stick and pee on that stick to say no, this is my spot, not yours. And your job is to put your trap where he's going to put his front foot. when he steps to pee on that. So you have to offset it a little bit more than you would at a baited set.
Gland lure, that's where that shines, especially during breeding season. Then you have your food lures, which are used the same way a bait would be. They're just not as bulky and [00:51:00] oftentimes the reason people use lures over bait is because you can't get robbed of a lure. Lure will soak into the soil and they can never really It's just in there and they just keep digging and digging because there's still remnants of it down there.
It's not a chunk they can grab. And then your curiosity lures are typically, I use it as a secondary scent. So it's like beaver caster or fish oil, something not common to the area. It just makes them stick around because they're trying to figure out what the heck's going on here. It's a secondary scent that I usually use with a food lure or a gland lure, and it's just sometimes it can be just the extra smell to get them to commit.
And then you have what's the last one I'm missing there? Curiosity. So food,
Mitchell Shirk: curiosity, gland. Oh,
Taylor Fleisher: call. Call. Call lure is typically a skunky lure. It's a loud, it calls them to the area. That's how it gets its name. So if you use a [00:52:00] call lure at ground level. Once again, a coyote's a dog, they're going to want to roll in it.
And if you have it exposed, they're going to roll in it. Just like your dog rolls in a pile of rabbit poop in the backyard. So oftentimes how we use call lure is we'll put it in a tree above the set or on top of that stick I was talking about to where they can't really roll in it, but it brings them to the area.
And it's also a secondary scent, because then you have something down the hole, or under the rock, that, would make them commit to the scent. Once they're there, they've lost interest in that skunky smell, but now they're there, and there's a potential meal here.
Mitchell Shirk: We talked about sets and we talked about that stuff.
And we, in my opinion, I feel like we've been going for a long time. We barely scratched the surface on that. We could probably go down a ton of rabbit holes with that, but I do want to go back a little bit and I want to get your perspective on trap preparation, because I have been blown away [00:53:00] by. All the different types of trap preparation.
And it doesn't make any sense to me and I'm hoping you can shed light on it. So let's just talk about how do you like to prepare traps?
Taylor Fleisher: Oh, I prepare traps, brand new traps come with a little bit of oil on them. So you either have to boil them, put them in your dishwasher, if your wife will allow it or you put them in a cement mixer with some sand and just tumble it off after you get that oil off, you boil it.
To I don't know, it just neutralizes any residual odor on the trap. Boil it, take it out, either let them dry, or you boil them with a Like a logwood dye which just darkens up the trap. A brand new trap doesn't take a lot of color because there's no rust on it to absorb that, that that color.
Usually it's a dark brown or a black. And it really doesn't matter if your trap is black or brown or if it's steel colored, because it's going to be [00:54:00] buried. Bottom line is, We do it to make ourselves feel better, that it's more of an earth tone and if some of it becomes exposed due to wind blowing some of your dirt off or whatever, it still looks natural.
It's not shiny. After that, I like to wax traps. So you have a pot, you melt a bunch of Scent free Trapper's Wax, which is just candle wax with a little extra tack in it, so it sticks better. You get the wax hot to liquid, you dip your trap in until the trap gets up to the temperature of the wax. It goes from a cloudy white to a clear, and you pull it out, and you hang it in the woods until trapping season, and it smells like trees and leaves.
That's my prep method for canine traps. For Raccoon traps. You don't have to worry about any of that stuff. Just try to make sure they're functioning properly. They don't care about your smell. They don't care about anything. That's why coyotes or raccoons are super easy to get started with and trap.
thE big thing that's starting [00:55:00] now, I've tried it. I'm still not a fan. I'm old school at heart, is painting traps and putting a product called Full Metal Jacket, which is like a, it's like a high polish It's like a floor coating, it's like a floor polish, and it pretty much just protects it from the elements.
I feel that it gives off an odor that coyotes can pick up, especially an old wise coyote. If you've ever put a trap that's coated in that in a bucket of water, it gets cloudy and it smells chemical, like it has a chemical smell. And my thought is, if I'm trapping in real muddy dirt, what's to keep that from putting off a chemical smell?
So that's new school. Old school is dye and wax, and I'm still in the old school.
Mitchell Shirk: And this is one thing that's left me for a long time ago, but I can't remember what it is, but I've heard people... Doing some type of dip method that involves gasoline. Does that... What is
Taylor Fleisher: that? [00:56:00] Yeah there's a couple different brands of that.
Formula One is the big one. And it's... I don't exactly know what the main ingredient is, but it's a 50 50 mix of either like gasoline or acetone. And you mix it 50 50 with, I assume it's just some type of a oil based coating. But you, it's pretty much the same thing as painting a trap. I know a guy that lives up in northern PA that traps a lot of red fox, a lot of coyotes, and that's what he does.
he Has proven that... The biggest thing with that type of a trap prep is you have to give it ample time to air out. Because if you try to do it on Monday and set traps on Wednesday, It's still going to have some residual smell. It's like paint and trim or anything. It smells like paint for a little while, so you want to make sure it has ample time to air out.
Mitchell Shirk: So all [00:57:00] those prep methods were what I was most commonly used to. There's a guy in a, he's a member at a camp that I go to. I'm not, it's just a camp that I hunt at every now and then. Very well known, respected trapper in our area. Very, very good trapper. And what blew me away is when he told me that he traps for, bobcats, Coyotes, Fox, the whole nine yards of land trapping. His prep method, these are traps that, do have a, a coat. They're earth and tone and everything else, they're not brand new traps and such. His prep method is take him to the car wash and pressure wash him.
And that is his prep. Prep method. And I was so blown away by that, but he's a successful trapper and I couldn't understand that. So then it goes back to me thinking what's the most important thing? And I keep thinking that, whenever I was messing up with these perfectly waxed and all this stuff traps it, it had to be the set, right?
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah, so I know a lot of guys that, that will do [00:58:00] that, but that's the first step. Then they go on to wax or do something. At the end of the trapping season, you've got a bundle of muddy, disgusting traps that you've got to get clean somehow. Some guys pressure wash, do the car wash thing. My preferred method is to put them in a cement mixer and tumble them.
And all that dirt just goes away. And it gets rid of all the old wax. The abrasiveness of the sand and stone. It takes you back to bare metal. And then you start your process to prep for next season. But pressure washing traps is nothing new. But I think that may be the first guy I've heard of that doesn't do anything beyond that.
Because my concern would be rust. Absolutely. Because rust gives off an odor. Yeah. And that's the whole thing is to keep your traps from rusting and be an optimum function. You don't if your dog rusts to your pan, it's not going to spring as fast as it's
Mitchell Shirk: supposed to.
Yeah, exactly. And that's what I, that's why I was so confused and maybe I'm missing parts to it, but I'm almost positive that's, that was [00:59:00] like the majority of his prep and caught, took me trapping on the property that I trapped and showed me how it was done. Caught a lot of stuff and it was neat.
I was, it was pretty cool. Like I said, we could go on, A million tangents about trapping and stuff like that, but I have a couple other questions I'd like to ask you around that. What I want to know first thing is, tell me something that trapping has taught you that has made you a better bow hunter.
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah, there's a long list
Mitchell Shirk: there. Go on, start from point A.
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah. I would say the absolute first thing is understanding animal movement in regards to terrain. Knowing that, that stuff doesn't like to be seen. You'd rather work a ditch than a top. When you're, often times, the coyotes are working where the deer are.
They're working where they may potentially find a sick deer. The swampy areas, All that stuff comes back to the, it's all parallels. Coyote and deer, [01:00:00] they're all trying to survive. A coyote survives differently than a deer. iT's a deer is a prey animal to a coyote, and a coyote survives by knowing where its prey is.
Fortunately for us, deer is also our prey. We're also trying to find them. So if a coyote's in there, there's probably deer in there, and I probably ought to consider scouting that for deer while I'm in here. The biggest thing is deer, or is animal movement in general. That's what I've learned the most from trapping.
The value of knowing wind direction is the other one. Because... If you consistently set your traps on the wrong side of a path, or the wrong side of a ditch, you will see your rate jump expen or your catch rate jump exponentially if you jump to the other side, and the wind's helping you, not hurting you.
It's the same deal with deer hunting. It's, you have to know the wind, otherwise you're just pissin in the wind. It's a waste of time. That all matters. And you [01:01:00] can't base a hunt or a trap position On and off wind, just because the wind blows there sometimes, 90 percent of the time it's going the other way.
Yeah, wind and animal movement would probably be the two biggest things.
Mitchell Shirk: So I had a second question, I think it's probably just the same question asked differently, but I'll ask it again and see if you have anything else in your mind. Has bowhunting whitetails... Helped in any way for trapping.
Taylor Fleisher: I would say if you're dedicated to the craft of hunting whitetails and you put in a lot of time to scout whitetails. yeS, it would be beneficial. Because, once again, you're scouting the areas where the coyotes live. yOu can probably, you've probably found lots of coyote poop where deer bed.
They're going through there and blowing the deer out whenever they get a chance to, because there might [01:02:00] be a hurt one, or a young one, or a sick one in there that they could get. Coyotes know where the deer are, and if we know where the coyotes are and can follow the coyotes, It'll take us to the deer.
Mitchell Shirk: So one of the reasons that I've never been huge, hugely drawn to trapping or predator hunting is number one, this is just me. I have a hard time consistently. Killing something that I don't eat. And it's not that I have any problem with it cause it's a service that I really appreciate Travers do, And it's something that needs to be done, But for some reason, it just doesn't bother me to continue to do it, And that's probably why I don't have the drive to do it.
And I have no problem shooting a raccoon, It doesn't, that's not what I'm getting at, It's just the motivation to do it. And, I second that by saying, One of my least favorite things to do, is skin. I don't like skinning. I would [01:03:00] much rather, and when I tell people this, they laugh at me. I would much rather somebody give me a fully skinned deer on a meat pole ready for me to break down and debone.
I would rather do that than skin. And that, that equates to deer. Predators, whatever. If you're catching a pile of predators, is it just a labor of love for you at that
Taylor Fleisher: point? It is. I fully understand that because honestly, some days. If you're running a long line, about the last thing you feel like doing when you get home is skinning, half a dozen coons and four or five coyotes or whatever.
Skinning is absolutely a labor of love. That being said, the more you do of it it goes much quicker. When I first started catching raccoons, it'd take me 15 minutes to skin one raccoon. And now, I've built a skinning machine. Which is essentially a winch attached to a [01:04:00] frame that I'll skin a critter down to their hips.
And then I have two clamps that will clamp that fur, and then I run that winch, and it takes it to the front shoulders, and then I can pop those two front legs out, and then all I have is the head. So I can go from my old number of 15 minutes per raccoon down to about 3. And you can do... Five raccoons in essentially what it took you to do one the old school way.
Mitchell Shirk: That's just a game changer right there. One of the things that I've wanted to do, but I can't convince myself to do it for those reasons and just the busyness of life and not taking the time is I really, I've got nieces and nephews and my two sons and, what's one of the greatest things, just like you experienced when you're a young kid, get involved with is trapping, hands on, it's a great way to interact with the wildlife and stuff.
And the use of the fur, I love fur stuff, whether it's a fur blanket or, make a kid a coon skin cap or something like that. And I've [01:05:00] always wanted to incorporate that with my nieces and nephews and my kids and stuff. And that's a little bit more appealing. I might have to, I might have to pick your brain a little bit more now, because if that's something I would go into down the road, I would definitely want to do it right in that case.
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah, and there's a lot of people ask you, why do you still trap with fur the way it is? I can tell you it's super beneficial to certain critters, first of all. Namely, turkey. If you have somebody that's actively trapping your property, your turkeys are gonna love you.
But as far as the outlet of the fur, I think last year I might have caught close to 80 raccoons, and I didn't know what I was going to do with all that fur. Fortunately, I found a buyer in Kentucky. Who was in the craft industry, making hats and other assorted fur items. And she wanted all my raccoons, so I sold all my raccoons to her.
The big thing that I struggle with now is Red Fox. There's not a great outlet [01:06:00] for Red Fox, other than getting stuff made for yourself. Because it's not a super durable fur, it's actually a fairly... fragile fur in regards to what you can do with it. You wouldn't want to make a coat out of it because the fibers would break down after a while.
What I've done with a lot of red fox that I've kept, and I don't hardly keep any red fox anymore, I typically let them go if there's not a problem with red fox there because we've got enough coyotes that they keep the red fox numbers back. I'd get teddy bears made out of them. And I give those teddy bears to friends, family, who have newborn children, and it's my ongoing gift as a small teddy bear, a red fox teddy bear, that you have a baby, you're gonna get a red fox teddy bear.
There's ways like that are fun to use fur, but the days of 40, 50 fox, where you could actually make money on them. It's over, and I don't think it'll ever come back because the world is
Mitchell Shirk: different now. Oh, absolutely, and I don't know if the world will ever come back in any fur market case, will it?[01:07:00]
Taylor Fleisher: The only thing that's doing really right now is beaver, and that's because a lot of cowboy hats are lined with beaver fur, with sheared beaver. And Stetson buys a lot of beaver pelts.
Mitchell Shirk: Interesting, I had no idea.
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah, so there's certain kind of niche markets for fur, but the overwhelming big fur market isn't there.
Mitchell Shirk: Man, we we've been rolling for a while and I, there's not a doubt in my mind that I could just pick your brain for at least another hour in the world of trapping, but we'll cut this, I tell you what, we'll just cut this one off and we'll do another one sometime in the future. Man, anything anything you want to leave us with, whether it's trapping, deer hunting related, anything like that?
Taylor Fleisher: tHe only thing I would say is trapping is a great gateway to the outdoors, like you just mentioned, for kids. They can have their snacks in the truck, they can, you can listen to music, you can talk, you don't have to be quite, it's like groundhog hunting. You can just be out there, enjoying [01:08:00] nature.
Kids get to get away from the TV or the iPad and it's a great way to get kids interested in the outdoors as well as learning the value of life.
Mitchell Shirk: Good deal. I like that. I like leaving it on that, man. I know, I don't know how you post too much on the world of social media, but I know you do follow.
And I. I got to connect with you because you shot a giant buck last year. So that was my best thing. So do you want to, if people follow along, if you do anything, I don't know if you do any stories or anything like that, you want to let that there before, before we go?
Taylor Fleisher: Yeah. Yeah. My Instagram is steel parvo, which is related to, to trapping.
Steel is the trap and parvo is a disease that kills a lot of dogs. So that's my that's my handle and you can find me there and I'm happy to answer any questions and I'll be sharing a lot throughout the trapping season on there.
Mitchell Shirk: Good deal. If I get back into trapping, I'm gonna have to, I'm gonna have to bend your ear and ask you some more questions 'cause it definitely piqued my interest this week.
But thanks again for hobbing [01:09:00] on and hey. Absolutely. Good luck trapping and good luck to your hunting.
Taylor Fleisher: Thank you.