09/17/07 — Pikeville resident asks about muskrat trapping

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Pikeville resident asks about muskrat trapping

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on September 17, 2007 1:45 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Ethelene Durham has a common problem.

But the muskrats inhabiting a ditch beside her home scare the 81-year-old Parks Drive resident.

"Oh, they're as big as my cat," Mrs. Durham said. "You know, they're frightful-looking. I'm just concerned that they're so close to me."

Mrs. Durham's concerns were relayed to Pikeville Town Council by way of Town Clerk Kathie Fields.

Mrs. Fields said she knew a trapper, but he didn't think it was muskrat season.

Turns out, however, that muskrats are classified as nuisance animals and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission can send agents out to trap the furry rodents.

In Wayne County, people who have questions about muskrats can call Wildlife Enforcement Officer Chris Holmes directly, at 1-252-566-3414, he said.

Because some hunting seasons are currently in session, the enforcement officer also wanted to distribute the violation hotline, a toll free number, 1-800-662-7137.

"It's hunting season, and it's time for people to have some reports," he said.

In the meantime, Mrs. Durham said she would have to deal with the large, semi-aquatic rodents.

The average length of an adult muskrat is 18 to 24 inches, information provided U.S. Department of Agriculture Extension Service shows.

"There have probably been more traps sold for catching muskrats than for catching any other furbearing species," Extension Service officials say.

Mrs. Durham says the rodents -- which also have a musky smell -- are unpredictable in their habits.

"They come out sometimes early in the morning, sometimes the middle of the day, sometimes late in the afternoon," she said. "They get their mouthful of grass and go back in the ditch."