Outdoors: Sun-cured trapping bait sure can draw in the critters

I have found over the years that critters are drawn to odors. Sometimes the stronger the better.

When I was doing nuisance trapping for raccoon, loud-smelling baits worked best. Some of the best raccoon trapping was done next to a landfill. I always set traps right after a weekend dump. That is, before the dozers could cover up the garbage. I needed to set the traps far enough away from the landfill so I didn’t get my traps buried.

During summer, I always made my trapping lures. I saved all the carp and sheepshead that I caught, ground them up and placed them in a container. These I placed in a loose-lid jar and placed in the sun. After a couple of days, the contents turned to liquid, and the odor was very bad. I then placed the contents in a freezer to keep until season.

During a warm fall, it didn’t take long for the bait to thaw out and start working. It not only brought in raccoons, but coyotes as well. They, like a dog, would roll in the vile substance before consuming it. I once had three raccoons and two coyotes in traps in one area using that type of bait. Many times I had to release feral cats that accidentally got caught, as they were drawn to the bait as well.

Back then, raccoon skins were purchased by the Russians, as they favored them for warm clothing. The coyote market was fair years ago, but not as profitable as today. Today there is a glut for coats with coyote fur used as trim. I don’t know how long this market will remain as profitable as it has been. Most other furs have lost value.

The muskrat has come up in value. The reason for that is many of the mink farms have gone broke. Muskrat make a very beautiful full-length coat. They indeed look like mink, but are more affordable. Lures for muskrat trapping include carrots, parsnips and apples. No vile smells are emitted using these vegetables, and they keep with very little care. Anise is a good raccoon bait, and it doesn’t tax your sense of smell either.

La Salle County Pheasants Forever

The 2022 Pheasants Forever banquet will be held on March 12, 2022, at Pitstick Pavillion on Route 23, Ottawa. Last year’s banquet was cancelled due to the pandemic to keep folks safe.

If you have questions on the banquet, call Chuck Eiben at 815-488-1390. Hope to see many of you there.

Hunting report

Canada goose season will end at the end of January. It has been a very good season, with many birds taken. Squirrel season will end on February 15, 2022. This has been a very good season as well, but few folks are hunting them.

Fishing report

Walleye and sauger are hitting on the Illinois River. The bite is a little slow, but conditions are very good. Clear water and very little current has made fishing very good. Most fish are coming on floating and lead head jigs. Work the floaters upstream, and the lead heads while slipping downstream.

• Fred Krause is a Shaw Media correspondent.

Fred Krause

Fred Krause

Fred is an avid outdoorsman who has been writing about his passion for decades.