Montana’s top wolf trappers were asked what they attribute their success to and we’ve compiled a list of three simple things you can do to maximize your success in the field this season.
1. Brush in regular travel routes especially along ridges with timber to funnel wolves. Often times wolves will follow the same ridgelines and natural or man made funnels. Examples would be fence lines with a break in them or open ridges with a small patch of timber on top that wolves will use for cover.
Good wolf trappers will find these locations and cut paths through thick areas while blocking alternate travel routes. The “blockades” are very subtle. A few branches or a log laid next to an open trailway will guide the wolves through the area without alerting them too much. A trap placed in the open paths do not require bait or lure although some trappers will place small amounts of gland lure about four feet above the trap to get the wolf to pause momentarily.
2. Find natural scent-posts and set traps with no added lure. Wolves will return to a particular tree, bush or rock and urinate on it everytime they come through an area. Top trappers find these locations and simply set a trap where the wolves tracks are and do not add any urine or lure to the set. Too many trappers are placing stong lures, urines or musks near traps and the result is a reduction in trapper success. If a wolf lures the set for you, he will be back.
3. Approach traps from the sides of travel routes and don’t cross the trail. So many times I have had wolves follow my tracks to marten sets or simply along my travel routes. Wolves don’t seem to mind human scent where it is regularly found. But top trappers who are trying to trap wolves without making their presence known take measures to avoid crossing the travel routes of wolves. Knowing where wolves will come through an area and approaching from the side will reduce the chances of the wolves avoiding a set, especially one made with lure or bait.
Wolves are a relatively new animal on the list of species we can trap in Montana. Many methods of the top trappers in Alaska and Canada won’t work here because we have different conditions. Being adaptable and using the things we know to build upon will help Montana wolf trappers be successful.
Like any outdoor pursuit trapping requires a great deal of scouting and strategic planning to be successful. Try these tips to improve your success.