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Blue Raider Bob
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Muskrat update!

 They are winning but I am fighting back. TnRiver46, I tried the colony trap for two weeks and tried a gravity door trap as well. Could not get the rats to enter. However, I did buy the 110 as you suggested and it works! Hate to use lethal force but the following pictures will explain why this was necessary. One down and Lord knows how many to go. I have dropped my pond level 2' and falling to expose all entrances and to allow me to access bank soil that was removed during rodent infestation. Decided against Tannerite 🤣. Now, somehow I need to expose liner, prop up, and reapply all the bank soil under the liner to re-create my banks. After that, I must somehow repair liner to again be waterproof before I can start pumping water back into pond. As you can see, I have had to disconnect bridge from shore to access ripped liner. There are a dozen holes bored in liner around the pond. The huge number of half barrel planters are supported by two and three stacks of 8" concrete blocks. Normal pool, these planters are submerged.  Also we are expecting the rains to start Sunday and I have to remove all rats! Not the end of the world but sure was a kick in the pants!

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Get em bob! That 110 has been killing muskrats since the sixties! You can stake them right over the burrow with sticks on the inside, just make sure the trap can snap shut clear of the sticks and mud

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2 hours ago, ol'crickety said:

Bob, that is SO MUCH WORK! You have such a good attitude, though. Fingers crossed you get all the rats.

Thanks Katie! After the several years long battle with my wife's cancers, this is just a stubbed toe! Life is good!

1 hour ago, TnRiver46 said:

Get em bob! That 110 has been killing muskrats since the sixties! You can stake them right over the burrow with sticks on the inside, just make sure the trap can snap shut clear of the sticks and mud

10-4!    The traps take some getting used to. My thumb and little finger are black and blue this morning! They snap shut with an attitude! Thought my finger was broken yesterday but I can move it today.😁 as you know, you cannot open the trap unless you first compress the spring. Well, after getting my thumb snapped, I couldn't compress the d**n spring so I just had to wrench my thumb out and curse muskrats! But I'm going to win this!

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Never place digits where they might get trapped!! (We’ve all done it tho ) 

 

do that with a 330 and you’ll need 911, I know a guy that got both hands trapped and dialed on a flip phone with an ink pen in his mouth. That’ll make ya coexist with aquatic rodents 

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8 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

@padlin always, ain’t worth the time unless you’re extremely experienced (fast) 

 

they do taste pretty good 

 

You've eaten muskrat? What do they taste like? Don't ya dare say chicken!

 

15 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

Never place digits where they might get trapped!! (We’ve all done it tho ) 

 

do that with a 330 and you’ll need 911, I know a guy that got both hands trapped and dialed on a flip phone with an ink pen in his mouth. That’ll make ya coexist with aquatic rodents 

 

That guy reminds me of the hiker who amputated his arm to free himself from the fallen boulder. Both tough, tough hombres. 

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Coming in late to this thread. My small lake is much like a pond in many aspects. The fishery here is good, but not great, like it used to be. The lake is still out of balance from the massive fish kill in 2011. The bass had recovered nicely. ( Got a 8 pounder in 2018), but since then the fishery has declined , due to otters. They cleaned out all my catfish and most , if not all , the big bass. The biggest bass caught in the last 2 years that I know of, was the 4.2 caught at my dock this year. That is so aggravating, since I so carefully managed the big fish , and released any i caught over 3 pounds for the last 15 years. The numbers are down to, which in the long run is probably a good thing. 2 years ago , I caught 35 in app. 5-6 hours. My best numbers day in the last year is just 16.

I tried trapping the otter to no avail. I would have used another method , but it never came close enough.

I resorted to prayer, just like I did with the one we had 14-15 years ago. I think this one(s) gone now just like the other time!

@Blue Raider Bob ,the amount of pond work you do shows a lot of dedication! Hoping it pays you good dividends in the future!

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1 hour ago, N Florida Mike said:

Coming in late to this thread. My small lake is much like a pond in many aspects. The fishery here is good, but not great, like it used to be. The lake is still out of balance from the massive fish kill in 2011. The bass had recovered nicely. ( Got a 8 pounder in 2018), but since then the fishery has declined , due to otters. They cleaned out all my catfish and most , if not all , the big bass. The biggest bass caught in the last 2 years that I know of, was the 4.2 caught at my dock this year. That is so aggravating, since I so carefully managed the big fish , and released any i caught over 3 pounds for the last 15 years. The numbers are down to, which in the long run is probably a good thing. 2 years ago , I caught 35 in app. 5-6 hours. My best numbers day in the last year is just 16.

I tried trapping the otter to no avail. I would have used another method , but it never came close enough.

I resorted to prayer, just like I did with the one we had 14-15 years ago. I think this one(s) gone now just like the other time!

@Blue Raider Bob ,the amount of pond work you do shows a lot of dedication! Hoping it pays you good dividends in the future!

Thanks Mike! The otters cleaned me out as well. My heart broke when I found the bass skull of a 5-3 that I put in last year. I have nothing larger than 2 lbs. now. They also got my 7 lb. yellow cat and all my Channel Cats. Fortunately, when I realized that they were living under the deck boards of my dock, I was able to retaliate. They would enter between the joists where the joists would sit on the floatation panels. I had to pull up the dock boards and block the joists just like you would fire-block joists in a house. There were piles of scales, and skulls under the floor. They no longer have access and don't stay long any longer, and they only show up in the winter. Hopefully they are discouraged enough to stay away. My big problem now is muskrats. More on that later when I take pictures.

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I fished the closest bog to my house twice this year. The first time I fished it, I saw five to six otters. Last year I averaged about 35 bass at the bog. This year, I could only catch fewer than ten. 

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24 minutes ago, ol'crickety said:

I fished the closest bog to my house twice this year. The first time I fished it, I saw five to six otters. Last year I averaged about 35 bass at the bog. This year, I could only catch fewer than ten. 

One of the many things about Nature that amazes me is the ability of predators to catch prey. We know how fast a Bluegill can move, and we know that for a Bass to catch a Bluegill, it really has to strike at blinding speed. This makes me wonder how an Otter can catch Bluegill and Bass. Sure I've seen them move extremely quickly, but nowhere as fast as I've seen Bass move. How do they catch their prey? Do they mimic a benign creature until the distance is closed, (like the wooden warships flying a neutral flag). Do they hypnotize like the Cobra myth and my wife does? Or do they just have another gear?

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10 minutes ago, Blue Raider Bob said:

One of the many things about Nature that amazes me is the ability of predators to catch prey. We know how fast a Bluegill can move, and we know that for a Bass to catch a Bluegill, it really has to strike at blinding speed. This makes me wonder how an Otter can catch Bluegill and Bass. Sure I've seen them move extremely quickly, but nowhere as fast as I've seen Bass move. How do they catch their prey? Do they mimic a benign creature until the distance is closed, (like the wooden warships flying a neutral flag). Do they hypnotize like the Cobra myth and my wife does? Or do they just have another gear?

There’s not a whole lot of things on earth as quick and violent as an otter. They did a big reintroduction here in the 80s and 90s and my boss was working at the zoo when they received their first batch of them. He said they will bite you ten times before you can blink 

 

there’s a big difference between wild animals and grocery shoppers. A predator doesn’t really ponder on how to catch something, they catch it or starve . Now your otter friend also eats a ton of crawdads and they aren’t so quick 

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Bob, I saw a nature show about otters once and the narrator said that otters can play a lot because it's so easy for them to catch their prey, unlike most predators, which miss a lot of prey. They're super successful at predation because of their speed, suppleness, and intellect. They also work together. 

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What I’ve observed is that they eat the catfish first. If they stay after that, they start on the bass, especially the bigger ones. I haven’t seen much difference in the bluegill population. The golden shiner population hasn’t been great since before our fish kill. I attribute that to bass predation though… I’ve also heard they kill turtles. We don’t have very many, but there’s a big soft shell that’s been hanging around my dock for years. Seems like the otter would’ve got him too.

Dont want to ever see another one in the lake, but if one does come I wish they’d eat the muscovy ducks and geese while they’re here!!

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     I have pumped out over three feet of water and have removed the dirt from under and over damaged liner. The burrows were so extensive that the ground would sink when walked on. I have a tractor mount backhoe to facilitate work. Plans are to pressure wash liner at the new seam line and tape and staple and tape again to secure new liner to old. After I'm satisfied with that part, I will try to load dirt under liner to regain pond height, then cover top of liner. All this is in theory at the moment. Won't know until I start. After finishing grade, then the replacing of bank posts to re-attach the dock bridge.

There are several other voids around pond but hopefully, I can just patch without pulling off the bank. With lots of luck and adequate winter rains, I can begin pumping water back in from the adjacent wet weather creek. As far as the muskrats, three now live in muskrat heaven, and any others seem to have left for safer waters. I loath killing anything, but the more I dug, the less I loathed!

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20 hours ago, N Florida Mike said:

What I’ve observed is that they eat the catfish first. If they stay after that, they start on the bass, especially the bigger ones. I haven’t seen much difference in the bluegill population. The golden shiner population hasn’t been great since before our fish kill. I attribute that to bass predation though… I’ve also heard they kill turtles. We don’t have very many, but there’s a big soft shell that’s been hanging around my dock for years. Seems like the otter would’ve got him too.

Dont want to ever see another one in the lake, but if one does come I wish they’d eat the muscovy ducks and geese while they’re here!!

     Mike, I can back up your observation. When I first stocked my pond over five years ago, I entered 20 fingerling Channel Cats. After a couple years, they were a couple pounds and aggressively using the fish feed pellets. When I started seeing otters, I also started seeing less catfish until they were totally absent from the feeding station. I have placed a couple of 5 lb. Channels that I caught bass fishing along with a couple Yellow cats. They were removed as well. 

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1 minute ago, greentrout said:

Pray you never encounter CORMORANTS. They are TOTAL bad news. 

That’s what I was thinking, and you aren’t allowed to kill those 

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2 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

I wish I could hire Bob as a property manager for bout 6 months. I think he could get about 10 years of work done in that time frame 

If my memory serves, you live on the water. Hiring me to manage your water property would be like hiring The Hamburglar to manage the grill!   I'd be fired before the sun went down!

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