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15 Replies | Page 1 of 11 | Top of Page | Bottom of Page

What Happened to all the Muskrats???

by , Posted to on 01/09/2006 9:11 PM | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 10/29/2002
Location: ND
Anybody know what happened to all the muskrats? It used to be great fun for me and my Uncle and now I have a 11 year old son that would just love to trap muskrats, but there are none. Anybody know???
Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/09/2006 9:28 PM | Reply #1 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 01/04/2002
Location: ND
Luckily there are a lot fewer now. I am not sure if legalizing shooting them with a 22 for awhile has had the drastic impact or less water freezing out some of the smaller sloughs.
The rats have been devastating a lot of the roads across the state for a number of years so in that respect it is good to see the numbers down. When teaching a youngster to trap, it sure would be nice to have some numbers. I have found the best numbers on sloughs that are slightly deeper than I used to trap. Look for ones with a lot of small breather huts to indicate numbers rather than a lot of big houses.
Where are you located? I might be able to point you in a direction.

You can't aim a duck to death.

Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/09/2006 9:50 PM | Reply #2 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 09/14/2005
Location: ND
I noticed that too because I used to trap a little when i was younger.

Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/09/2006 9:52 PM | Reply #3 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/16/2001
Location: ND
Don't know where you are located, but it's been pretty dry in the Bismarck area and a lot of the muskrat holes around here have dried up. My normally 15 foot deep 1/3 mile long pond filled with fish has been completely dry for 2 years now.
Even so, I think you are right. The sloughs that still contain water don't seem to have the houses on them they once did. I doubt hunting had anything to reduce them, more likely weather. How about the areas that have had so much rain, all the "disaster" rain?
Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/09/2006 10:08 PM | Reply #4 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 01/04/2002
Location: ND
bobcat, I agree the weather and drought had the most to do with the reduced numbers. But I know of a few bigger sloughs bordering roads where the rats have really created problems. Some of these have had a lot of pressure from hunting and trying to eliminate the rats from the area. I have seen some areas where they were pretty successful in reducing the numbers.

What area are you from buckscrape?

You can't aim a duck to death.

Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/09/2006 10:09 PM | Reply #5 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/27/2005
Location: ND
No Sloughs no Muskrats. We used to have thousands of em but most sloughs are dry so no more rats.
Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/09/2006 11:50 PM | Reply #6 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 09/10/2002
Location: ND
This may sound funny but our fur buyer said they had a kidney disease in our area.
Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/10/2006 00:39 AM | Reply #7 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 02/28/2002
Location: ND
I was always told as a kid that a good way to judge how harsh the winter was going to be is to look for muskrat huts. Large thick huts was a sign of a long cold winter. No huts was a sign of a very mild winter because the rats would mostly just dig into the banks and not build many huts. Not sure if this is really true or not, but this is my first winter back in south central ND (muskrat central) and I have not seen many huts at all - coincidence?
.
Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/10/2006 07:57 AM | Reply #8 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/08/2005
Location: ND
Farmer burn sloughs for more $, slough can't hold snow, slough
dry up and get plowed under. Slough can't hold grouse, pheasant, deer, coon, muskrat, or any other animal!
Stevepike, I don't understand what you mean by muskrats causing problems near roads. Beaver I can see causing a problem, because of dams, and flooding the roads, but muskrats use cattails and reeds for work, food, homes, and such. Never heard of a muskrat tearing up a road or flooding it.
2014 Bow Buck
Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/10/2006 08:29 AM | Reply #9 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/08/2005
Location: ND
I can believe that, when I trapped when I was younger, if the sloughs had little vegetation or were down that year, you could see the runs where they were burrowing into the bank. We would set conabears (I don't know if I spelled that right) in those runs, it was very effective.
2014 Bow Buck
Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/10/2006 09:09 AM | Reply #10 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 10/27/2004
Location: ND
well, I know of one slough where the skrats died off due to "lead" poisoning
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Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/10/2006 09:40 AM | Reply #11 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 11/12/2004
Location: ND
A few years back, my son and I sat at the river's edge by the property and and plinked over 60 rats and 2 beavers in one sitting in about an hours time. They needed to be thinned out obviously, but have only seen 2-3 before the ice this year. Guess we did good?????
Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/10/2006 10:47 AM | Reply #12 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/16/2001
Location: ND
In a couple of the national publications i read on furbearers they say the same thing. Muskrat populations are way down across the nation, so this is not just a local thing. Similar to the decline in the frog population nation wide, no, make that worldwide now. They are not sure why the big dropoff in the muskrat population, the other furbearers seem to be holding their own. Could be environmental issues, combined with predation and just the encroachment of civilization and agriculture into breeding habitat. Whatever it is, it seems to be alarming enough to foster some research into the problem. Hopefully they can discover the cause, and offer some possible remedies to the situation. Few things can compare with the enjoyment and recreation running a successful muskrat line in the fall and winter months. I know I miss it dearly.
b..
Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/10/2006 12:26 PM | Reply #13 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/16/2001
Location: ND
Interesting Ben. Maybe the post about the kidney thing (or some other disease) has merit???
Someone told me to eradicate the muskrats living in my pond or they would sooner or later burrow through it, and once that happened, they said, you can NEVER get it to stop leaking. Maybe have to do that if/when it fills up again and the rats appear.
A lady down in Sioux county once told me the same thing about prairie dogs in a dam on her place. Maybe both these rodents turn "regular cheese into Swiss Cheese!"
Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/10/2006 1:57 PM | Reply #14 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 11/26/2002
Location: ND
Muskrats were thick down here in the SE part of ND in the early to mid 90s. Then they disappeared over night and the sloughs were still around. Biologists told us they got a liver disease, and I believe it. There is no way they could have been eliminated by hunters and trappers. Now the muskrat is coming back down here. Have seen more huts this fall. I think they will boom over the next couple of years. As for the road damage and property damage, it is true. Muskrats tunnel under the roads and then the tunnels collapes. We see this near the sloughs in the fields as well. I have been stuck with machinery many times in muskrat runways on the side hills, next to sloughs.
Re: What Happened to all the Muskrats???
by on 01/10/2006 3:00 PM | Reply #15 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/09/2005
Location: MN
I use to trap as a kid in central mn. There use to be rats all over the place. Now you are lucky to find any. We trapped on a small lake with one other guy. For about 8 years we trapped and the population was always strong. Then everyone quit trapping the lake. Not because of time or lack of enjoyment for it but I think because of the cost of fur. The next year the number of rats soared. It got over populated and diseases spread like wild fire. Its been dead now for the past 10 years. And the water levels haven't changed since I was a kid. That is why trapping and hunting is so important. I believe the population would of continued to be strong if we would of continued to trap the lake.
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Posted On: 01/09/2006 9:11 PM
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Tags: muskrats, happened, anybody, uncle, used, year, fun, love, trap, son
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