On Jack’s Line
Cody, Wyoming, Age 15
I have always loved the outdoors and every aspect of hunting and fishing. I am also involved in trap shooting leagues. One day, while drinking coffee with the shooters, I struck a conversation with my new buddy, Jack Potter.
He told me how he trapped many years ago, but had hung up his gear for other interests. However, we decided right then that we would dust off the old traps and start a new adventure. Jack would be my trapping mentor.
While my school buddies were all asleep on the weekends, Jack and I would head into the mountains in his little red pickup. Most mornings, we would stop at a cafe. Jack would have biscuits and gravy, while I would order the left side of the menu. After filling our bellies, we would head to our trapping area and the adventure would begin.
Jack taught me how to find good locations and how to set traps and snares. We talked about which species live in what habitat, and how and where to set up traps.
Jack is very safety-conscious, so we carried two-way radios to keep in touch. I sometimes walked the traplines alone, talking to Jack on the radio. After all, Jack is 77 years “young.”
I will never forget the first bobcat we trapped. It almost scared me right out of my long underwear. It was hunkered back in the brush and quite angry.
That moment was one of the most exciting times I have ever experienced. I was so proud to show my parents my catch. They thought we were just drinking coffee and swapping stories.
One trapping experience will always stick with me. I was hiking up a trail, while Jack waited in the truck. Suddenly, a man confronted me. He was yelling at me that his dog could have stepped in one of my traps. He told me I was a terrible kid for trapping.
Even though I am over 6 feet tall, I was scared.
I turned my back on him and continued up the trail. I was glad he did not follow me.
I had a fox in the very next trap.
Later, I told Jack, then my parents, about the incident. They assured me I had done the right thing by walking away.
The day we pulled our traps was a very sad one. I knew my early morning excursions were over. I would no longer get to eat sardines in Jack’s little red truck or stop at the cafe for breakfast.
Then, I realized that next year, when the frost comes and the leaves fall, Jack and I will dust off the old traps, hop in the red truck and head up to the mountains for a new adventure.
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