Friday, August 28, 2009

Pine Marten trapping basics
Trapping Pine Marten in the high Rockies is one of the most challenging and rewarding trapping experiences. Pine Marten have beautiful fur that is always in demand and they are easy to catch if you follow a few simple principals.
As in business the three most important aspects of Marten trapping are location, location and location. Pine Marten like high conifer forests, and rarely will you find them elsewhere. Although they will eat any small prey species the marten's main food source is the pine squirrel. So when scouting possible trapping areas look for pine squirrels. You will want to look for areas deep with shredded pine cones; these areas will have cone refuse several inches deep where squirrels are abundant.

Another way to locate Pine Marten is to look for tracks in the winter. This is the technique I personally use most. I have found that Marten tend to use roughly the same routes when traveling their hunting area. When you come across a set of tracks that look like someone set two fifty cent pieces side by side in the snow you know there are Marten about. What I do then is go up trail and make a set and then go down trail and make a set maybe 50 yards apart.
If all else fails, look for steep cuts or ravines going into the north slope of a hill. I know a trapper that catches a lot of Marten who only sets these areas.
Pine Marten are far from trap shy, this is why they are so easily caught by those who are in their range.
The cubby set on the ground seems to be real popular with writers, and I have seen others use them. But they have a couple of disadvantages you should know about. First if it is set on the ground it is easily covered with snow and put out of commission. This is a real concern in Marten country as most of it gets very much snow. Second is if the Marten is on the ground when caught it is vulnerable to other animals like foxes who will kill it or even voles who will chew the fur if it is dead.
The best set for Marten is some form of the leaning pole set. This puts the Marten up off of the ground above the snow and keeps the fur safe from destruction. To make a leaning pole set all you need is find an old tree branch to lean against an evergreen tree. This makes a ramp for the Marten to run up. (This set is also called the running pole set) Put the bait on the tree just above where the pole touches it, and then add your trap. You can put many kinds of traps on this pole. I just drive a finish nail into the pole and hang the trap on that using the little hole in the trap frame. You can also wire a wooden cubby onto the pole with a 110 or 120 conibear in it, or just set a conibear at the top of the pole with some bait on the trigger. All of these will catch plenty of Marten.
-Bait and Lure
After finding and then setting a trap for them you need to get the Marten to step in it. This is where your choice of bait is important. Beaver meat has been the absolute hands down winner for me. I have tried others but nothing works near as well. Beaver meat has a lot fat in it, so it resists freezing. (Very important in Marten country) It also has a musky smell to it that adds to its mouth watering appeal. A chunk the size of your fist is about right. (A leg, tail, head or just a chunk of meat scraps) When it comes to lure something skunky is the best. Marten can smell it from a long ways off and they will drop by your set to investigate.
Trapping Pine Marten in the high country is trapping at its finest.

Or Read it here:

Still clinging to my God and my guns,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stihl MS 310 Product review

Stihl MS 310 Chainsaw

The Stihl MS 310 is a Mid-range chainsaw combining power, quality and state of the art design features that make it a truly powerful firewood saw.
The MS 310 sports a powerful 59cc (3.6 cu. In) engine that puts out a respectable 4.0 BHP. With the power head weighing in at 13.0 lbs. it has a good power to weight ratio. The manufacturer recommends a bar length of 16" to 20" but many people have put on larger bars with some success.
I have the 20" bar on the saw I purchased and can attest to the power it possesses. This past winter I had three 20' lengths of dried Ash logs. I used my Poulan Pro 20" saw to try to cut these. I was able to make three and one half cuts on a tank of gas. (These were very hard logs) I purchased the Stihl MS 310 and the first thing I did was cut up the remaining logs with less than half a tank of gas. This is a very powerful saw. Logs in the picture were the next load pulled up. The ash logs were much bigger.

Stihl is an industry leader in quality. They are ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified. "This means they meet rigid international manufacturing, environmental and quality standards". Stihl has been the number one selling brand of chainsaw for many years, and quality is the reason. The quality of service is also outstanding. Stihl sells its chainsaws through independent dealers, not big box retailers. This means you can rest assured you are buying a chainsaw from the people who will actually be servicing it. They also have hands on experience with their product and can guide you in deciding which chainsaw is right for you.

The Stihl Ms 310 has state of the art features that will increase your firewood cutting efficiency.
First are the toolless fuel and oil caps. They have a flip-up top that makes them easy to grasp to open and close. The caps are also bayonet type without having to screw then on and off, just a push and twist and you are done. The flip tops felt a little flimsy to me and I can envision myself breaking one off. It took me a few times of filling the saw to get used to the bayonet caps. Twice I thought I had the oil cap secured but it popped off dumping the oil.

The next feature is the side-adjust chain tensioner. This is a screw slot between the two chain nuts that gives a quick, easy way to adjust the chain. Some of the other models have a Quick chain adjuster that is even easier to use, but it is not offered on the MS310. (yes I lost one of the bar nuts right away LOL but they gave me a new one free)

The last feature is the Intellicarb compensating carburetor." Measures air on clean side of air filter and adjusts metering diaphragm in carburetor". What this does is changes your air mixture as your air filter begins to plug up and allows the saw to continue to run on the same air fuel mixture for even power output. The air intake also has a setting for warm and cold weather to keep it running in top shape no matter your conditions.
The power, quality and features available on the Stihl MS 310 make it a top choice for the firewood cutter who wants to get the most for his money.
All quotes are from Stihl power tools and accessories booklet.
Still clinging to my God and my guns,

Saturday, August 15, 2009

An easy quick target stand

I bought a new varmit rifle (more on that in the future) and needed to sight it in.
I have a great pistol range here at the homestead, but am lacking for a long range place to shoot.
I can use my pistol range once the soybeans are harvested, but for now I had to improvise.
I have a large patch of weeds 95 yards downrange from my car in the driveway.

So I took two scrap 2x6's and two nails and made a passable target stand.

One nail goes in the middle of the back.
It holds the prop in place.
The other nail goes near the top on the front and holds the target.
If you look real hard you can see the nails in the left board, one just above the paper on the left side and one at the bottom of the paper on the right.

Next stand the nailed board up and lay the prop on top of the back nail like the picture, and there you have it.
It takes 3 seconds to set it up.

Now just poke the nail through the target and fire away.
One drawback is the target tends to tear but it is still functional and you can't beat the price or convenience.
It's also not too good in the wind but hey what do you expect for free.
It got the job done and is still waiting for the next time.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,