Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 18

tions have declined.
For the past 25 years, mink populations
have remained stable or increased slightly,
Hardisky said. They really don't face any
immediate population threats.
Minks and muskrats seem to thrive
in the same places, based upon harvestdensity results. The similarities end there,
though, because minks are usually taken
by 'rat trappers. Next to no one traps them
in places where muskrats are not.
Plenty of minks in the Commonwealth
never come across a trap in their fall and
winter travels, because muskrat trappers
generally don't trap on the freestone
streams minks also run. Those trappers
usually prefer marshes, impoundments
and farm creeks. Consequently, big woods
minks rarely encounter trap sets.
It's kind of hard for any trapper to get
into this expensive and time-consuming
sport when the value of fur is so low.
"Mink pelt values this winter are currently at or near historic lows," Hardisky
said. "Muskrats aren't commanding much
either. Mink averaged $6.16 and muskrats
$3.14 in 2016."
A mink or muskrat trap costs about $6.
Waders, $40. Pack basket, $40. Trapping
gauntlets, $30. Lure, $6 per bottle.
Figure a good trapline for 'rats and/
or minks should contain at least two
dozen sets. Then do the math. Add your
gas expenses and the time it'll take you
to prospect and set and check traps. It's
not cheap.

MANAGING FOR MUSKRATS

On any landscape, habitat is always
changing.
Right now, the populations of minks
and muskrats, noted companion species, are heading in opposite directions,
because muskrats have more-specific
habitat needs and they are less adaptable.
18

Better muskrat habitat could be provided by managing nutrient loads in water
systems, Hardisky noted.
"The lack of nutrient flushing might be
the root cause of the muskrat decline in
Pennsylvania," Hardisky said.
But relaxing efforts to manage nutrient loads from farm country and sewage
systems seems unlikely, as does placing
less emphasis on erosion.
Both help the Chesapeake Bay, an
estuary slowly recovering from a troubled
existence caused primarily by nutrient
loading and pollution.
Curbing erosion in waterways also is
beneficial to trout fishing, because it helps
speed up flow, making waters colder and
better oxygenated.
But that doesn't mean marshes could
not be managed better to combat undesirable emergent vegetation, or that more
wetlands could not be created.
Both are incredibly important to Pennsylvania's biodiversity.
Better than 80 percent of the Commonwealth's wildlife spend some part of
their lives in wetlands.
Game Commission muskrat research
will continue with a focus on survival.
"The more information we can gather
on population change, the better we will
understand the causes of the muskrat
decline," Hardisky said. "Only through
continuing fieldwork can we confirm
our suspicions about habitat loss and
degradation."
It's an unfortunate situation, but one
that can be remedied through specialized
management and other conservation
considerations.
With time and increased commitment
to the cause, hopefully that will happen,
The muskrat's worth it.
Besides, all those minks need something to chase!



Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 46
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 50
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 57
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Cover4
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