California Trappers Association August 2009 Report

President — John Clark, 907 Holmes Flat Rd., Redcrest, CA 95569; phone: 707-722-4259

Vice President — James C. Schmerker Jr., P.O. Box 1166, Bethel Island, CA 94511; phone: 925-684-3855; e-mail:

Membership Secretary — Rita Clark, 907 Holmes Flat Rd. Redcrest, CA 95569; phone: 707-722-4259

Secretary — Leona Hencratt Treasurer — Walter Hawering, 900 Hillgate Rd., Arbuckle, CA 95912

Membership Options:
• Family membership including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $20
• Junior membership with subscription — $15
• Lifetime membership — $300
• Subscription cost for life members — $10

Complete membership application on first page of association section and send dues to:
CTA, Membership Secretary
Rita Clark
907 Holmes Flat Rd. Redcrest, CA 95569


I am afraid to live where I do now and want to move. That said, if any of you have similar stories, please let me know.

I am renting a double-wide 16 feet below sea level. Everything that I own is at risk of flooding, and I had a part in protecting it, doing depredation trapping for our island. There are no lodges near us, as all the beavers are bank denners and all our banks are levees.

I know how to eliminate a beaver colony. First, I catch males, then a matriarch female, then yearlings; when the line goes dead, I’m done. At least that’s how it would work if only we had a few colonies.

Our situation is different. Maybe one in 40 beavers that I catch is a female; the rest are all bit up, wounds oozing, chunks missing, fighting males. The population pressure on these animals is nothing short of amazing; they are fighting for space, with no space left, except for our island. My catch over the years has dropped to a third of what it was when I started, and I am proud of it, bailing a sinking boat and all.

The Department of Fish and Game has seen fit not to renew our open permit. Apparently I was catching more than the surrounding islands, so we should stop depredation trapping completely. I am at a loss to understand this; we live behind a 100-plus-year-old sand bank with some new riprap. Whup! I doubt that the surrounding islands trap at all, or I wouldn’t have had such a crushing number of animals to remove.

I might not be a biologist, but I know population dynamics and beaver behavior quite well. Now I am scared and want to move.

— James Schmerker

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