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The Muskrat looks like a very large rat which is very well adapted to aquatic life, similar to the beaver it can hold its breath up to fifteen minutes while under water. There size varies between 18 and 25 inches once fully grown and is sexually mature at about 1 year.

The muskrat is considered to be one the most widely distributed furbearing animal in North-America and their fur makes them very popular with trappers.  In my illustration the muskrat is sitting on a log to feed, there is also cattail nearby which it uses to build its lodge which is one of three types of shelter that it uses. The Floating Set trap is one of the best methods to trapping muskrat, the water needs to be deep enough for the trap and a #120 Conibear works very well.

My painting of a muskrat

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My rubber boots were slowly sinking into the dampened sand as I stood by the creek, my hands now resting in the warmth of my pockets while I checked over my channel set.

It was a beautiful morning with a slight breeze blowing in a north-westerly direction; the temperature was sitting at around six degrees Celsius. And I had just finished placing my log with my three nail channel set using a 330 Conibear trap across the creek. Now I could rest and carefully inspect my setup ensuring that it had all the fine details like the guide branches and that the forks were in their rightful upward positions.

I was surrounded by lush forest on both sides of the creek almost at the mouth of the culvert. Once satisfied, I took a moment and stared into the bottom of the creek bed and could see the glittering minerals that resembled gold dust and I could hear the poetic flowing sound of the creek current splashing along the rocks. It was perfect.
 
A very curious Whiskey Jack kept me company as he leapt and flew from branch to branch; circling me. The Grey Jay’s company was very special indeed especially for trappers particularly when trapping marten or fisher. To me there is nothing rawer and more Canadian at its metaphysical level, all the while culturally nutritious, being surrounded by this wilderness engaged in an activity that you appreciate so much.

I sure hope that in time I can do my part in managing wildlife, so that future generations can benefit of rich moments like these, which can not be acquired through our material world.

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