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People have hunted muskrat ever since there have been people to do the hunting and muskrat to be caught. Three major reasons you might want to catch muskrat are (1) you're hungry (see Recipes), (2) you want some muskrat fur (see Products), or (3) you don't want them where they are (see Control/Conservation).
Articles about Trapping
Muskrat tells a little about the muskrat's value as fur and food and talks a little about trapping them; from Wildlife Neighbors of the Williamsburg (Virginia) Area with illustration by Wildlife Artist Jerry Ellis.
Trapping contains PRIMITIVE-SKILLS-GROUP ListServe discussions about trapping muskrat that took place in January 1997; from Primitive-Skills-Group Archives, Primitive Skills Group, off the home page of Dr. André-François Bourbeau.
Sabine National Wildlife Refuge is on land that was previously used for trapping and hunting. The web page contains a brief discussion of using trapping to control the muskrat population. From GORP.com Great Outdoor Recreation Pages.
"Thank You Mr. Sevin, Sir: Memories of a Bayou trapper and otter conservationist" by Tom Krause mentions muskrats quite a few times. From Louisiana Fur and Alligator Advisory Council.
Muskrat has a discussion of trapping muskrats. From Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey.
Trapping Muskrats gives quite a bit of information about trapping muskrat. From Trapping Tips and Tales by Buckshot at Captain Dave's Survival Center. The same information appears to be available on Trapping Muskrats from Buckshot's Camp at Frugal Squirrel's Homepage for Patriots, Survivalists, and Gun Owners.
Trapping in Oregon mentions muskrat quite a few times. From Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.
The Jesuit Relations: Volume 8 Contains a short description of native Americans hunting muskrat in the 1630s. From The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents 1610 to 1791 at Le Moyne College Jesuit Connection.
In William Wood's "Of the Beasts That Live on the Land" from New England's Prospect, 1634, Wood includes "the civet-scented musquash" among creatures "affording not only meat for the belly but clothing for the back." From ENGL/ENVS 385: American Nature Writing, Spring 2000 by Ann M Woodlief at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.
|From American Memory from the Library of Congress, you can search for "muskrat" and find several interviews from the late 1930's mentioning muskrat. In particular,|
|•||70-year-old Louis Schmacher, Portland, Oregon, was an expert furrier;|
|•||farmer and storekeeper George Dunn of DeWitt, Nebraska, mentions Indians selling hides of muskrat in 1871;|
|•||Thomas J. Hartnett of Jackson, Nebraska, mentions Indians trapping muskrat;|
|•||Mr. Richards and his son Lee talk about trapping muskrat and using muskrat meat for bait on a fishing trip to Greene County, Georgia;|
|•||retired seaman Ed Smith of New Bern, North Carolina, talks a little about his frustration with county laws that won't let him trap muskrat anymore; and|
|•||William Hall of East Otis, Massachusetts, talks a little about trapping muskrat.|
"The Trapline" is the first chapter of The Adirondacks: A History of America's First Wilderness by Paul Schneider from The Washington Post.
Annual Muskrat trapping figures for 1848-1911 are given on Ecology from Time Series Data Library maintained by Rob J. Hyndman.
Traditional Eskimo Life in the Latter Twentieth Century provides reminiscences depicting life along the Kobuk River in the late 1800s and the early 1900s. Among them, Lucy Foster recounts hunting muskrat. From Alaska Native Studies Curriculum and Teacher Development.
Numbers of muskrat pelts traded at Flathead Post in 1824-1825 are given on Journal of Alexander Ross - Snake Country Expedition, 1824, from Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, December 1913. From Library of Fur Trade Historical Source Documents, Dean's Home Page.
The importance of muskrat furs in the early 1800's in Michigan is mentioned in "Fur central to Monroe's history" by Dean Cousino from the March 1, 2000, issue of The Detroit News.
I find it interesting that there are models of knives with "muskrat" in the name. The reasons I can think of to do this are (1) some one thought it was a nice name, (2) someone named Muskrat designed it, or (3) they were for use on muskrats. I don't know which.
The Old Timer Series of knives from Schrade Cutlery includes "Small Game Muskrat"; from The Knife Center of the Internet.
C.R.Specialties offers 714Y 2-Blade "Muskrat" Knife.
BestKnives offers CAMILLUS 20 Muskrat and CAMILLUS 714Y Muskrat.
Muskrat, Model 313, (shown on Buck Knives) is offered by The Knife Company.
S-77-OT Small Game Muskrat and Case 3555 Muskrat Knife with Black Bone handles are knives available from Hard Hat USA.
Pelts - Prices and Services
Custom Price List gives prices for making muskrat hats or just tanning hides, from Fortman's Taxidermy.
Life Size Mounts gives prices for life-size mounts and Custom Tanning Prices gives prices for custom tanning; from Hawkins Taxidermists, Ltd..
Regulations, United States
You should be able to find various federal regulations somewhere within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Division of Congressional and Legislative Affairs site.
To save space, I'm not going to list each of these pages' title and home page. Most of these pages can be found off its state's web site, usually http://www.state.xx.us/, where xx is the state's two-letter postal abbreviation. If you don't know a state's abbreviation, you can get to the states via Yahoo! at http://www.yahoo.com/Regional/U_S__States/ (or through most any other search engine). Be aware that I may have links to old information (for example, last year's seasons and regulations).
Most of these pages can be found off its province's (or territory's) government web site, usually http://www.gov.xx.ca/, where xx is the province's (or territory's) two-letter postal abbreviation. (In keeping with their French-speaking tradition, Québec's is http://www.gouv.qc.ca/.) If you don't know the abbreviation, you can get to it via Yahoo! Canada at http://www.yahoo.ca/Regional/Countries/Canada/Provinces_and_Territories/ (or through most any other search engine). Be aware that I may have links to old information (for example, last year's seasons and regulations).
Wood Buffalo National Park Game Regulations (and in French at Règlement sur le gibier du parc de Wood-Buffalo). (This park covers land in both northern Alberta and southern Northwest Territories.) From Parks Canada - Parcs Canada.
Traps and Bait
Adirondack Outdoor Company offers the Folding Muskrat Box Trap on their Folding Muskrat Box Trap page. They also offer three muskrat lures on their Steve Koop's Quality Adirondack Lures page. In addition, they offer several books dealing with trapping muskrat at Books & Videos; follow the alphabetical-by-author links under "Trapping Books by Author". They also have Tom Miranda's video Pro Muskrat Trapping. (See Hunting, Trapping Videos, VHS Movies.)
Muskrat traps are included in the humane traps manufactured by Sauvageau in St-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada. Pictures and descriptions are included.
Connie Bear Gripper trap lists muskrat as a target animal and Muskrat Products lists a number of items for nuisance muskrat control. From U-Spray, Inc.
Tuti Fruit/Persimmon and Apple Paste baits attract muskrat according to Specialty Paste Baits from Wildlife Control Technology Magazine.
Muskrat talks a little about trapping muskrats and has links to trapping supply dealers and trap sets. From Winchester Trapping.
Otter Creek: Our Quarry recommends a lure for trapping muskrat. Home page: Otter Creek Lures and Baits.
The Snare Shop offers a multiple muskrat colony trap.