We work together--so I set the trap and hand it to her with trapper's fork in place. These precautions are beginners tools: fork, cap, and setting tongs; but it makes the job easier, faster and most importantly, we can work a little bit more confidently that our fingers won't be part of the catch.
She drives the stakes in, and I silently wish that we could skip the noise. At least a dozen cross country skiers pass on the trail below, and although I enjoy talking with people about coyotes, I don't like to be bothered when setting traps.
Two hours earlier, I go through painstaking effort to descent myself. Using special soap in the shower, I wash my hair and body with a liquid that is supposed to make you nearly invisible in the scent world. Coyote's sense of smell is 40x ours, so this step is important.
Because it's so cold out, I blow dry my hair. This is something I never do otherwise, but keeping warm when it's in the 20s is important. I pull on layers of clothing that were descented in the washing machine with a special soap. All this descenting leaves my skin dry and cracking in places. I can't wait to reverse the process.
Carrie finishes staking the trap, and I hand her cotton balls, the trappers cap, and wax paper. She packs the trap as best as she can with sand mixed with trap antifreeze, and sifts more over the wax paper that sits on top of the entire set. Setting in sand has lots of problems, so using wax paper on top prevents sand from working its way down underneath the pan--which would render the entire set useless. Finally, the finishing touches. She makes a mouse-sized hole and shoves a cotton ball soaked with gland lure to the bottom. A squirt bottle with coyote urine marks the backer and in front of the set. Call lure is placed high in an overhead branch. A stick as decoration in front of the set and we're done. Off to the next set. We drag the sled and start again.
Carrie and I have lots to talk about, and before we know it two hours have gone by and we've only set four traps. We had intended to set more in another area of the park, but it's getting dark.
As we make our way back to the road, we hear the coyotes howl. They're in the area, not far at all. We plan to set again as soon as we can.