American Raised Outdoors -Trapping 10 with George K/GK the Hunter•
Posted on December 18 2022
In this edition, we are humbled to be joined by George K, also known as GK the Hunter. Here, he shares some of his trapping knowledge he has gained over the years. We're hopeful GK's tips prompt you to explore a new adventure and enjoy all things trapping in the great outdoors…where memories are made.
1. Please share a bit about yourself, how you started trapping and what/who may have influenced your trapping/outdoor lifestyle?
I’m George K aka GKtheHunter and was born and raised in Manitoba. My dad was the biggest influence for me in the outdoor world as he constantly took me fishing and hunting over the years. He taught me how to respect the water and the animals we hunted together which planted a bug in me to appreciate the outdoor lifestyle. I didn’t start canine trapping until 2017 which was about 8 years after my dad’s passing. I was hoping to help my deer herd out by taking a few dogs out of the packs. My first year I failed miserably with only a couple opportunities and failed when attempting to ask some local, veteran trappers around home yet, sadly, no one was willing to help. Ultimately, I watched some YouTube videos and gained some information but I was still feeling helpless and struggling.
2. What animals have you trapped over the years and what is your preferred technique for each specie?
I’ve only been trapping for a handful of years and still feel as though I am a rookie ...lol! Every year, I am still learning animal behavior and paying attention to the small details which is everything. Snow and trail cameras have helped my learning curve tremendously. I like to take photos of tracks and keep track dates along with dropping pin locations of the animals I am pursuing. If you are able to track dates, time frames, temperatures & conditions, you will definitely find some consistent patterns. My main animal I like trapping is canines but I do put a couple sets for marten, fisher and lynx/bobcats occasionally. I'll pursue beavers when they are causing trouble my way. Snaring is definitely my favorite way of catching canines along with a couple of footholds in the mix as well. If you give snaring a try, it would be wise to check the local laws and guidelines to confirm it is legal in your area.
3. What animal provides the the toughest trapping challenge to you and why?
The coyotes give me the toughest time in the canine world. I do catch them although I know I miss about 60% of them. Wolves, on the other hand, are a rush to catch. If I have a pack of 6 run through my area two or three times in a 4 month span, I will catch 4 or 5! I caught my first wolf in 2018 at the end of the season. Fast forward to 2022/23 and I believe I have caught around 18 wolves along with quite a few coyotes.
4. What style/brand of trap do you use for each specie (coyote, bobcat) and why?
I like using Koro wolf traps for wolves as they are very beefy with good springs. I use MB 750s for coyotes and I find that they are ok for wolves as well yet they seem to lack good springs but my go to is snares sized at 5/64 1x19 cable 6ft long.
5. How important is trap prep to be successful? What do you do prep the traps for the field? ex. Do you boil, dye and/ or wax your traps?
Most people boil, dye and wax their traps as it helps protect the steel/springs from rusting and falling apart from corrosion. Some people use calcium chloride or salt to bed traps along with wax dirt so the traps don’t freeze. If you ask 100 different trappers, they will tell you 100 different things as every area is different from a temperature and terrain/feature standpoint. Truly, the best way to figure out what may work is simply trial and error. These efforts are where you learn the most and will realize that you continue to learn something new every year.
6. When positioning a foothold trap for coyote and bobcat in a set/scenario, what are the most important steps/land features and why?
Every animal has their own natural path way. Coyotes love and prefer smooth edges like a dirt road next to stubble field. Wind is another key feature that should be taken into account. Cats and canines are very curious when it comes to smells and objects. If they can smell, they will come in to investigate. If they can see, they will also come in to investigate. When setting up a trap, try to force the animal to commit to step on your foothold. I like to make a funnel with rocks or logs. From my experiences, I have noticed canines always tend to follow their own foot steps.
7. What scents/lures do you use for coyote and bobcat and why? How do you position the scents in relation to your trap?
I use a few different lures to attract felines & canines. I use Barnes & Forsyth lures. I like catnip and beaver castor for cats and wolves. For coyotes, I'll use urine along with glandular lures. I’m currently experimenting with some of my own lures and so far I have been successful with 1 wolf. Every trapper has their own formula when they set a foothold and where they add lure or attraction. Some prefer close, some will put on an angle or 18 inches away. I suggest experimenting with different scenarios as I’m always trying different things to increase my hook ups.
8. In addition to scents/lures, do you use any visuals to attract coyotes/bobcats?
Sometimes, I will use skulls or grouse wings for attraction or a rabbit hide on occasion.
9. Briefly, explain the process of caping and tanning your hides and what is important to preserve properly?
Canines and cats are bad for belly rot if they have full bellies so you need to skin them out as soon as you can to avoid rot and fur slippage. I tube skin the animals, flesh them out and board them. It’s best to take a course or watch videos on how to do it properly as it’s definitely a learning curve for sure.
10. When the season is over, what are best practices to care for your traps?
I hang my footholds and snares up in an open shed so they don’t rot in a pile or bake in the sun. Some guys will store in plastic tubs. My suggestion is to use what works best for you.
Bonus question - Please leave the readers with a non-hunting related fun fact about yourself that most may not be aware of? Also, If anyone has further trapping questions for GK the Hunter, where can they reach you?
I was a very athletic when I was a young man. I loved hockey and played Junior until I was 19. I found the love of my life when I was 17. We married shortly after and still love each other today like when we were 17. BTW, I’m close to 50 years of age...Ha ha. I'm a huge animal lover and love to cook and process wild game.
I can be reached on my Twitter handle (@GKtheHunter). DM if you want more details on how I do things but keep in mind that everyone is different regarding trapping styles so what might work for me may not work for you. Enjoy the chase! #gethookedup