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Getting Rid of Muskrats?
#525478 09/03/20 12:42 PM
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Hello everyone,

I have a 1 acre pond stocked with trout that also had largemouth bass. This year, a muskrat has been causing lots of trouble in the pond, and it needs to be removed. It has been here in previous years, but we've let it be. Finally, it's causing too much damage to be left. Firstly, it chewed and broke off our floating dock. Secondly, it chewed up all of the dock foam creating a huge mess around the pond. Thirdly, it chewed up the wood under the dock and made a nest or home under it. The dock required a major overhaul. The final thing it did was chew on the cord to our aerator, causing it to no longer function and require repairs to the cable.

There is at least one muskrat that we need to remove, possible more. I am wondering if anyone has advice as to what can be done to remove them. I would, preferably, like to not kill them, especially since I will have to follow local regulations. Is trapping with a raccoon one door trap a possibility? I've read up on it online and it seems apples can be used as bait. Is there anything else that can be done? Anyone's experience or advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks.


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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525481 09/03/20 03:22 PM
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There are trail traps made for rats, but they are made to drown them. They are made so more than 1 can get in the trap. Now if you find a trail in the water and set it so they have a small amount of room to get air it won't kill them. You could also call game warden and see if you could get a newsant permit. Muskrats are a pain but what you are telling us does not sound like a rat, more like a beaver.


61 acre water shed lake. bass, channel cat, black crappie, wiper, walleye, redear sunfish and bluegill. To many bullhead and common carp
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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525483 09/03/20 03:59 PM
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I set a HavAHart trap baited with apple slices after the muskrats invaded my pond this summer.

Caught nothing.

We shot five of them. The rest became extremely wary after that.

Conibear 110s are going in this weekend.

Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
nehunter #525493 09/03/20 07:33 PM
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Thanks for your reply. Are you only able to place trans underwater for them to be effective? I did get a good look at the rodent and it was a muskrat. We have beavers around here as well, but luckily haven't had one in a few years. Thanks.


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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Augie #525494 09/03/20 07:35 PM
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That was the plan, apples in a trap. I might give it a try and see if my muskrats will enter. The regulations are strict here so I'd like to keep them alive if at all possible, but of course your method sounds effective. Thanks for the reply.


Adam

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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525510 09/04/20 07:13 AM
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I doubt taking them out alive will be very effective.
When you give up on the kinder-gentler approach...

The Conibear 110 traps, as mentioned, will be what you are looking for to get the job done. I highly recommend using the Stabilizer brackets with them for proper placement and best results (see below).

https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Water-B...071V94QR4/ref=psdc_3413451_t2_B071KX7FB5

This time of year, the water level should be low enough to expose the runways and entryways into the banks. Just place the Trap/bracket directly in their way.

Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525511 09/04/20 07:32 AM
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I used a live cage trap baited with a whole apple staked to the ground with a metal rod to keep them from stealing the bait. Was after damaging beaver, but caught 10 muskrats. Still had plenty left though.

Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525516 09/04/20 10:11 AM
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Depending on the water and bank conditions in your pond, you should be able to see where the bank den is located. If you take a walk around the pond looking out in the water, there will be a small hole going into the bank with a "run" or small depression leading into it. Active runs will usually have a cloud in front of them from the muskrats stirring up debris/silt when entering and exiting. A 110 conibear or a colony trap (the trail trap as described above) placed in front of that opening is almost a guarantee. If you can't find that opening, there will usually be spots along the bank where they are entering and exiting the water either at a toilet or going up for food. An active trail will commonly have the appearance of slicked down mud, although if its only a small number of muskrats using it there may still be some vegetation there. A small foothold placed down in the water at the base of the trail, or a 110 conibear placed at any point in the trail with vegetation on both sides as a natural pinch point is best there. If you can't find either situation, you can create a "trail" set with your hand and place an apple or other bait at the top of it with a foothold in the water. Note that muskrats will often roll when caught and can actually break off the caught foot and get free so access to deep water is important so they can drown. If deeper water (6-12" is usually all it takes) isn't available, place a stick n the mud 6-12" behind the foothold to tangle them.

Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525518 09/04/20 10:36 AM
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They are a lot easier to relocate effectively when you catch them in a conibear trap,, they don't migrate back to your pond as quickly or destroy somebody else's pond that they were relocated to. jmo


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525530 09/04/20 03:07 PM
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I just used a live catch trap because I already had one.

Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525557 09/04/20 10:31 PM
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I would call the local game warden or whatever they are called up there and explain all the property damage that it's done, have a dollar figure as to what it cost to fix the damage. You might be able to get permission to kill them because of the $$ in damage that they did, as live trapping them is extremely difficult.

I doubt it's only one, the young ones are kicked out of the "nest" in the Spring when momma is getting ready to have another litter. You will probably find 3-7 living in one underground den.


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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525563 09/05/20 05:35 AM
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Yup - they breed like rats:)

Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525568 09/05/20 08:40 AM
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The are a pain in the butt. They have to dig on the side that its closest to the border. The other side they could dig for ever. One thing no more cattails. Keep putting more rocks in the holes.

Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Journeyman #525575 09/05/20 11:55 AM
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I will definitely look into those traps. A call to the ministry of natural resources (Canada) will help me find out what's legal, as I'm not a big hunter or trapper myself.


Adam

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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
RAH #525576 09/05/20 11:55 AM
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This is great advice. I'm going to attempt this method just to see if it works, and I hope it will.


Adam

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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
lmoore #525577 09/05/20 11:58 AM
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Thanks for the advice. If I go the conibear route, I'll definitely do that. I actually know where they live, or at least the rough area, as I saw them swimming to one corner and never popping up multiple times. They used to live under our floating dock, but we ripped out their nest and vegetation and they have moved.


Adam

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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
esshup #525578 09/05/20 11:59 AM
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I didn't realize how many there might be. I will call the local ministry of natural resources and ask them what can be done. The damage has definitely been in the thousands of dollars, as half the dock needed to be overhauled, plus getting people in to fix the aerator.


Adam

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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525579 09/05/20 12:00 PM
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I also should have mentioned, the pond is across the road from a swamp/marsh, so it's hard to keep any mammals from not coming in. I wonder if a more long term solution is possible.


Adam

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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525592 09/05/20 04:32 PM
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Find a trapper.

Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525613 09/07/20 08:04 AM
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sad thing is muskrat fur prices are pretty darn low but they are easily trapped


Mat Peirce
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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525617 09/07/20 10:02 AM
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"marsh rabbit" is good eating. So there's that.

Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525652 09/08/20 12:14 PM
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So, yesterday, we added a thick metal grate over a half sunken drainage culvert we believe they are living in. It is connected to a marsh across the road which the muskrats must be coming from. It's easy for them to simply swim through the pipe and get to the pond. This should help, but I'm guessing they can just cross the road as well. We are looking into bringing in a professional to take care of the muskrats. Regulations are very strict here. Thanks again for all the help.


Adam

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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525666 09/08/20 05:48 PM
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They won't "live" in a half sunken drainage culvert. They need a dry area to sleep in, and that typically is an area that has an underwater entrance to offer protection from terrestrial predators. Yes, they will walk across dry land to get to another BOW, but prefer to swim. They swim to escape from predators and that is hard to do on dry land. Watch that the grate doesn't plug during a high water event and cause the pond to overflow.


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Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525688 09/09/20 05:53 AM
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If the water flows out of your pond into the marsh through the culvert (and its size is small enough), you could install a rat guard (swings out of the way during heavy flow). I have them and also have muskrats. They do travel over dry land.

Last edited by RAH; 09/09/20 07:04 AM. Reason: typo
Re: Getting Rid of Muskrats?
Fyfer123 #525689 09/09/20 07:08 AM
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If you believe the culvert is an entryway, that would be the first place to put a trap.
They just don't come back from that big pond in the sky.

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