School Days: An Excited Youngster

 

An Excited Youngster

Jackson Baumgart
Florence, Wisconsin, Age 12

Last year, I became completely obsessed with trapping. I gobbled up every fact I could find in The Trapper & Predator Caller magazines like a pig in a trough.

Dad and I were new to trapping, but were ready to learn.

In the agonizing wait for trapping season, we ordered supplies. I set and reset my traps so many times it’s amazing they didn’t wear out.

We hit a muskrat marsh on opening day. It was a cold morning, and the marsh was frozen over. But that didn’t stop us. We broke through the ice with a canoe to set traps in the cold water.

When we finished, I was cold and wet, but totally happy.

When I got home, I quickly grabbed some traps, bait and stakes, then hopped on my bike. I rushed to make four raccoon sets before it got dark. That night, I fell asleep wondering how any day could be better.

After dreaming of a truck loaded with muskrats and raccoons, I finally woke up. I checked the traps around the house.

Mom had made it very clear I had better not catch our cats. So, I had set the traps in the water and used marshmallows for bait. The marshmallow sets had paid off.

An unhappy raccoon was in one, and the other held a muskrat. I was surprised a muskrat would search down a marshmallow. However, I will probably encounter more odd things in years to come.

After Dad dispatched the ’coon, I quickly biked to check the other two sets. My lucky streak and high morale were suddenly broken. While I was rushing to make the sets, I had not wired the trap to a good drag. The wire had slipped off and the animal was gone.

The lost critter was a low point, but my favorite experience of the season was catching a skunk.

That stinker did a lot of damage. First, it made us late for dinner at a friend’s house and it stunk up the car. But I skinned it and got it into the freezer. We thought that was the end, but it wasn’t done yet. The skunk stunk up the freezer, and Mom got mad. She made us buy another freezer and move the stinky one to the fur shed we had built that summer.

After all of that work, we only sold the skunk pelt for $5.

By the middle of November, we were done trapping. We caught 26 muskrats, eight raccoons, the skunk and a beaver. I also shot a few squirrels. Dad had two fisher tags, but we didn’t catch one.

I had a great time trapping with Dad. We started from scratch and it turned out fine. We are both planning ahead for next year’s trapping adventures.


Win Traps and a Membership for Writing:

Young readers who share their stories in  The Trapper & Predator Caller can win six traps, a trapper education video and an NTA handbook. A membership to their state’s trappers association or a membership to the Wisconsin Trappers Association for nonparticipating states is also included.

To be considered, send a 300- to 500-word story and a clearly focused original photograph of the trapper or hunter with a catch, kill, fur or trap to: School Days, The Trapper & Predator Caller, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990.

The best stories capture the excitement and joys of trapping and predator calling experiences.

School Days is sponsored by Duke Traps and the Wisconsin Trappers Association.

 

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