Last Chance for Beaver Fur Washed Out

I made a last ditch effort to collect some last beaver pelts for this season.

If any of y'all have been keeping up with what I've been doing, then you'll know that this has really not been a good season for me all around.

Well, this weekend was no different.

I had planned this trip for weeks. I had it all lined up with my cousin Ernest, who lives down there and when I got to Pender county, it was just supposed to be as simple as "just do it!". I had the area lined up, permission was signed and I would even have help. We were going to go all out and pile up the beaver.

I loaded my truck and readied my equipment. I had all the traps I would need, baits, lures, snares, portable fleshing beam, stretcher boards, fleshing knives, apron, gloves, all the tools a good trapper and fur handler might need as well as my Jon boat if it was needed. I threw my bag in the truck and headed out.

First thing that went wrong. I got there and was all alone. Ernest had forgotten about the whole thing and planned the weekend full of work. This is bad because he is the one who's done all the scouting and knows where we're going. But after trying to reach him unsuccessfully on the cell phone for two hours I gave up on him and went to find the land owner myself. I didn't have his number and didn't know where on this farm I'd have to look to find him. I didn't even know which house over there was his.

But, after about a half hour looking for him, he found me.

He was good enough to load me up on his Gator and take me to where he wanted the beaver removed and showed me all he knew, gave me a key to the gate and wished me "Good luck".

I started making sets. I made a couple of great sets between two small irrigation ponds and a good set on the end of the smaller of the two. Then on the creek there were several fantastic sets made on slides, travel ways and a few pinch points right in the bottom of the creek. Heavily used trails leading from the creek to a food plot showed fresh beaver tracks. I covered these with snares on the high ground and 330's in the water. When I finally drove out of there just before dark, I was feelling really good about it all. "I'm gonna have some beaver to tote out in the morning!"

Ernest had gotten back to the house and was eager to hear of the days sets. After super we talked until I started falling asleep at the table and was forced to turn in for the night.

I was awakened in the middle of the night for the bathroom trip. I could hear rain falling outside hard and steady. I thought, maybe it won't be too much. When I was awakened a second time by the noise of it raining even harder, I then realized that this trip had just turned to ***!

Still raining when the sun came up. We went and got us a Hardies biscuit and contemplated the day. It didn't look good.

Well, back at the house, Ernest had to go to work and I donned my waders. I drove across the filed, through the woods and down the power lines to get to my first sets. With rain still falling I stepped out in water, walked across water standing in the food plot and found two of my snares completely submerged. Out of all the 330's I had set the day before, I could only check three of them. The rest were under the swollen creek that was now raging out of it's banks and threatening to take over the entire area. The two small irrigation ponds were now lakes. I remade one of my sets there, the only one I could get to, to match the new water level and left disgusted and utterly peed off.

"Yes! There is a GOD and he hates me!" was just the way I felt at the moment.

I spent the rest of the day working around my hunting camp just down the road and cutting and splitting firewood. Anger Management, you might call it.

Slept late Sunday morning. Dern near 8?0 am before I got up. Ernest was just cranking the truck to go to work. I poured some coffee down my throat, made the morning trip to the bathroom and pulled on my waders. Todays trap check would just be more of a salvage operation.

After seeing how mushy the fields and all were yesterday, I opted to borrow the mans Gator rather than have my truck cut ruts across his stuff. I started collecting traps. Or at least TRIED to collect some traps. The water had receded some but there were still some traps I wasn't going to see for a while.

In one of my sets that I've not seen for two days on the irrigation ponds, I fond a snapping turtle. As I walked up to it I could see his tail sticking straight up under water. "Well, ***!" I told myself. "I've killed a turtle!". I was disappointed with that as I like turtles and have, in times past, kept them as pets. I grabbed the trap and pulled. 'Oh! I've killed a BIG turtle!"

The 330 had snapped right across the poor things neck. No way he could have survived that.... Ya think?


As I toted it to dry ground I noticed one of his eyes looking at me. Sure enough it was still alive! VERY alive! His head was the size of a soft ball. His shell more than 14 inches long and his legs looked like tree limbs with claws. I dropped him on the ground and contemplated the situation for a minute. "Now how in the Sam Hill am I supposed to get him out of there and keep my fingers?"


It took some doing and I'll admit I was a bit nervous the whole time but I got him out. The first thing he did when I got him free was to take a deep breath. No telling how long it had been since he had taken his last breath.


Anyway.... I collected what traps I could and left. I had managed to get all but 4 out. I'll give it a few hours and see how much more the creek drops.

Ernest had finished his work and went back in there with me along about 3 in the after noon. I felt a little more confident since he was with me in case something bad were to happen and the creek had gone down another foot. I was able to collect 3 more sets 2 of which I had to excavate from the creek bottom where they had been buried with creek wash. But there is still one set in there I'll not see for a while. Had to leave it. When the water goes back down Ernest will go back and pull it for me..... "IF" he can find it.

One trap down and no beaver.... Well... It could have been worse.

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I feel the same way...This forum is better than most of the outdoors magazines you can subscribe to...Some of you guys are very good writers (might have missed your ) And the pictures are awesome... Especially in the saltwater fishing section...I really appreciate the friends i have made here...And look forward to reading about your next outdoor adventures, and pictures... ?
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Starting to think you were born under a bad sign Muddawg.
At least the story had a happy ending - at least from the turtle perspective ?