Are You Ready?
Wolf trapping provides the best opportunity to harvest a wolf in Montana. Why? Because trapping is the most efficient way to harvest a wolf. Traps can be set in several locations at a time and are ready to work 24/7 when the wolves arrive. But don’t think for a moment that it’s easy. Once traps are set trappers must visually check the traps every 48 hours. If this sounds easy then remember that traps must be 150 feet from any road or trail and the miles you’ll need to drive to get there can really add up in a hurry. Last year I spent $1000.oo on gasoline alone and there isn’t generally much of a market for wolf hides so all expenses are just that, expenses.
Many solidly built traps cost around $100.00 each while MB 750 wolf traps cost around $35.00. With off-set laminated jaws, a beefed up base plate, heavy duty coil springs and the affordability, the MB 750 is my trap of choice. I can buy three MB 750 for the price of one like the Bridger number 9 which seems tough and comes ready with all the features of a well-built trap and offset padded jaws but at over $90.00 each there’s a limit as to how many can be purchased by the budgets of most trappers – including mine.
The rigging can vary but 10 feet of #5 straight link chain with heavy duty swivels welded shut every three feet is a great place to start. Here’s the basic set up that you should consider when getting started:
- A 75 pound inline shock spring fastened at 2 feet from the trap with enough extra chain to allow the spring to stretch completely open without the chain interfering.
- Drags constructed of 5/8 inch rebar fastened with links and welded shut.
- Heavy duty cable stakes fastened to the chain with quick links three feet below the trap.
- A few weld beads on the inside jaws to prevent the wolves feet from sliding back and forth in the trap complete the set up.
- Boil traps for 30 minutes and add log wood dye crystals to the mix to prevent rusting and to cover up the shiny steel in case the trap becomes exposed.
- Wax or dip traps in a protective coating to keep traps working all winter long.
It will feel more like getting ready to haul logs out with a skidder than preparing traps but wolves can weigh well over 100 pounds and it takes a tough trap to hold them. One trap and chain set up can weigh over 25 pounds.
I know several trappers who have caught wolves in number 4 sized traps and one trapper who swears by MB 650 traps because they are big enough to hold most wolves but small enough to hold coyotes without injury. Regardless of which trap you choose remember that pan tensions must be set on wolf traps to 10 pounds. This will turning away the smaller canines like coyote and fox.
Wolf trapping is one of the most extreme outdoor experiences you can have. The days are long and grueling. The season runs from Dec 15. 2015 – February 29, 2016 but most trappers can only handle three or for weeks running a line alone. Get three or four trappers together and take turns checking traps. This will be a tremendous cost savings of both time and money and much more effective than trapping alone.
Get rigged up and try the most effective wolf harvest method ever invented. And if you find success this season send a pic to the Montana Outdoor Radio Show!