Outdoors: It’s cold out there, so little critters want to come into your house

Many years ago when I was still working at Caterpillar, I got a call from my wife.

As she was watching TV, something streaked across the living room floor. She continued to watch, and sure enough the little critter moved again.

“We have got a problem,” she said. “A mouse has taken up residence in our house.”

I told her where the mousetraps were and how to bait them. And then waited for another call later.

This time of year when food is scarce, small rodents will enter a house. It is a matter of survival. However, mice and rats can cause serious health problems. They also can cause fires.

For disease, they carry such illnesses as salmonella, hantavirus and lymphocytic choriomeningitis. Many can cause kidney and neurological problems. Although these health issues are rare, you don’t want rodents in your house. The fire problem occurs when they chew wires. The rodent gets electrocuted, dies and then dries up. Eventually it catches fire and sets the home on fire.

They usually are easy to catch. Trap placement is important. They need to be placed perpendicular to the floor baseboards. Mice usually do not travel more than 20 feet from food sources and nesting areas. This is where you should set the traps. For bait, let cheese harden up a bit, outside of the fridge. That way it will make the critter work at the bait longer and get caught.

Most Victor snap traps work well. I don’t recommend poisons, as the mouse or rat crawls off and dies. Where it dies may be hard to find until an odor occurs. In other words, trapping is best.

Once they are caught, I handle them with plastic gloves while placing in the garbage can. Don’t rule out having a cat, either. Even though cartoons show them chasing mice, they do it in real life, as well.

Bedford Sales and Outdoors

This facility will host its annual Open House on Friday through Sunday. It is located on Route 6 just when entering Morris. There will be discounts on tackle and marine accessories. Refreshments will be provided. There is usually a special guest. This is one event I never miss. Hope to see everyone there.

Hunting report

Many hunters still are taking Canada geese. One is limited to field hunting, as most waterways are frozen. Still, the birds have to eat and will land in old cornfields during mid-morning.

Fishing report

Most fishing is being done through the ice right now. The Illinois River was frozen, then opened back up and is freezing again. Stick to small lakes and ponds. Find the deepest part of whatever waterway you are planning to fish. Check the ice thickness with a spud first before venturing out. A small locater is a handy tool for checking depth after a hole is drilled. There are a lot of bluegills, and they are good eating out of that cold water. Dress warm for ice fishing and use a tent to break the wind if you have one.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a fisherman when he had time. Hope you had a nice holiday.

• 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.