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Salamander hunt!

Every year there are a handful of days in Ohio this time of year where it seems the last of winter has faded. Balmy temperatures warm your bones and the welcomed sunshine pushes the last of the winter doldrums away. There are a just a few of those days in Ohio this time of year where it is simply a pleasure to be outside just for the sake of being outside.

This was not one of those days.

I got an invitation to go check some salamander traps that had been set out a couple of days prior on a central Ohio property not far from where I live. Not knowing quite what to expect, I thought it would be interesting to check out along with some salamander aficionados, including the fine folks from MAD Scientist Associates, LLC, a full-service ecological and wetland-consulting firm based in Westerville.

Thus, I found myself clad in mud-covered boots slogging through the fields and forests of central Ohio after steady rains saturated the landscape.

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Trapping Santa seems ill advised

The holiday sprit has settled in at the Reese house. Cookies are in the oven, the Christmas tree is decorated and Christmas music fills the air. Everyone celebrates Christmas in their own special way, though, and our son has taken a somewhat unusual tactic to commemorate the season of giving.

Upon walking into our son’s room the other night, I ran into a series of trip wires, a strategically placed stuffed animal and a fair stick precariously positioned over the doorknob and below the light switch. Before I could even guess what was going on, the five-year-old asked, “Daddy can we get a net?”

With further explanation, I figured out what was going on. The fair stick (which needed some further tweaking to be effective) was supposed to trip the switch to turn on the ceiling fan when the door is opened, which then spins to pull a series of jump ropes, pieces of baler twine and bungee cords that disengage a strategically placed net on the ceiling.

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The allure and lures of canine trapping

Predatory canine numbers are on the upswing in the Ohio heartland and these varmints are the bane of many barnyards. But, as winter sets in and the coats of these critters grow full and thick, trapping season opens.

Trapping is the art of enticing targeted animal species into foot hold, body gripping, or snare traps through the use of gland lure or meat baits. Once a popular and wide spread rural practice, the trapping of wild dogs has diminished, and the increase in their populations is testament to this fact. Sly and cunning, intelligent and resourceful, these animals can nonetheless be captured by educated and dedicated trappers.

Trapping requires an intimate knowledge of one’s quarry and a set of skills that take much experience to hone. A consistently successful trapper is a master of his environment, having spent countless hours in the field patterning his prey and analyzing the movements and habits of both individual animals and the targeted species as a whole.

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