Greatest Month for Memories
By Tate McPherson

October, ah yes October you made it, finally. This is in my opinion the greatest month in Northern Maine. The leaves are bright with colors in the early days of this month, the mornings frosty and the annual partridge season opens.

Whether you are a rider or a walker the experiences this season can bring will keep you warm through the long winter months ahead.

This season is where my brother and I would first learn the basics of shooting. An old 410 shotgun with a tiny silver bead would find its mark on many occasions in our youth. A tradition I have begun passing down to my son with the same lessons I was taught more than 35 years ago.

My October usually begins with the final steps of prepping my traps for a compact but typically productive early fox and coyote trapping season.

I like to boil them in water and degreaser for at least 20 mins. I choose to add a small amount maple log bark to the water, then die with log wood dye (I prefer black) and hang them out to dry.

In the past I have used wax to coat boiled/dyed traps which certainly is the old school tactic. In recent years I have found a new product which I believes works as well and is easier to handle than wax, it is called Full Metal Jacket. This is clear scent free coating that I now used on all my traps it is a straight dip. After a 30 hour cure time, you are ready to roll scent free

After traps are ready scent free, I now scout out my set areas for a final check. I usually have these preplanned in a loop (due to footholds needing a once a day check). I like to keep my traps in a circle I can cover in about 2 hours, 15 to 20 traps is usually my limit for early footholds.

I have learned in my relatively young trapping career quality of sets is much more important than quantity so don’t get hung up on a number more isn’t always better.

The set sight must look natural, no trash or foreign material (even a flipped over rock can be a deal breaker). I like to weed wack the area my trap is going to be set in at minimum 2 weeks before the season opens, and ideally before a rain to wash away any sent.

I employ earth anchors instead of stakes, which I install prior the season opening and dig my trap bed for my traps, this greatly speeds setting time opening morning.

I use a mix of fine shale and anthill dirt to cover and bed my traps (50/50 mix works very well), this will allow water to sift through your set resulting in more catches, less frozen sets and easier bedding of your traps even in cold weather.

Lastly, I install my scent pole, the small branch where my call scent (many call scents work well but my favorite are in the Cronk’s family) will be placed. I have used many things over the years for a scent pole but have found a cattail works very well, it absorbs the scent and if the scent is placed in the middle of the cattail where I cut a little notch for it, the cattail will shed off water in the event of rain (Cattails are easily found in many ditches and swales in our region).

I can write for hours about ideas, thoughts and adventures from this month. These I have been able to enjoy because I had a family who appreciated the outdoors and made sure at a young age I did as well. To you guys, Dad, Uncle David, Grampy, Uncle Johnny and Torey all I can say is thank you.

In central Aroostook County the adventures are here, you just have to get out there to experience them. Hunting, hiking, trapping, or just exploring our region will not ever disappoint you. I hope to see you on a backroad somewhere soon. Make sure you bring someone to share in your adventure, they will be forever greatful.

Tate McPherson is a lifelong County resident and outdoorsman who enjoys all outdoor activities. He can be reached at when he isn’t chasing some sort of outdoor adventure.

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