Wednesday, October 31, 2012
I well remember the first badger I ever caught in one of my coyote traps. The trap site was at the top of a sandy hillside and even when I was 50 yards away I knew something strange had occurred.
Most trapped raccoons and coyotes spend some of the time from when they are caught until you get to them digging. A particularly industrious digger in light, sandy soil may shuffle around a half bushel of dirt that is fairly easy to level out once you remove the animal from the trap.
At the top of the hill was more than a bushel or even two bushels of dug up dirt. It looked like a back hoe had been in operation. Or a bomb. When I got to the trap site, or should I say, excavation, it looked more like a bomb. The hole was easily 4 feet deep, the rim of dirt encircling the hole was about 2 feet high. The bomber was a badger.
Though badgers aren’t uncommon in Indiana, they are protected. A few miles west of where I trap, in Illinois, they would be fair game. In most places badgers are considered to be pests because of the holes they dig when they prey upon gophers and ground squirrels.
I carry a snare pole with me at all times to assist in releasing captured animals. Loop the snare around the animal’s neck like a collar on a dog. Except badgers have necks like linebackers. So there’s always an element of uncertainty!
The one I caught yesterday was no exception. Bomb crater, snarls, teeth and claws. Eventually we parted company, both unscathed. Then the work. The dirt has to go back into the hole. And I don’t carry a backhoe with me on the trapline.