School Days: Education Specialist is a Trapping Teacher

Education Specialist is a Trapping Teacher

James Howe
Oley, Pennsylvania, Age 14

Why would a 14-year-old high-school freshman want to get up an hour early for school? To check traps, of course!

This season was my first trapping experience. Since I really enjoy hunting, fishing and being outdoors, I thought trapping would be another good activity for me.

Dan Lynch, an education specialist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, taught me how to trap.

At the beginning of the season, he took me on his trapline, showed me the basics and even loaned me three traps and some starter equipment. That afternoon, I set all three traps.

Shortly after sunset, I anxiously checked the trap nearest my house.

It had connected!

As I approached the set, I found my first furbearer — a big opossum.

After that, I was up early the next morning, eager to check my traps.

I found more success — another opossum in the same trap!

The other traps were undisturbed, but I was happy because I had caught my first critters.
As the season continued, I quickly learned that trapping wasn’t about finding a catch in your traps every day.

About two weeks later, on a rainy evening, I decided I would quickly set a trap in a new location on the corner of a harvested cornfield. The next morning when I went to check traps, I didn’t think I would have anything.

After two weeks of checking empty traps, I approached the trap I had set the previous evening.

First, I heard a rustling sound. Then, I discovered I had caught my first fox! I couldn’t wait to get to school to tell my friends.

That evening, with the help of my dad and Mr. Lynch, I skinned the fox and put it on a stretcher. It was a great experience.

My first raccoon was caught in a dirthole set. Mr. Lynch showed me how to dig the hole and bed the trap. I filled the dirthole with leftover stir-fry.

It was a cold morning, and the raccoon was sleeping when I approached the trap. It woke up when I called my dad on the two-way radio. Again, Mr. Lynch helped me flesh the raccoon with his two-handled fleshing knife.

At the end of the Pennsylvania trapping season, I had caught at least a dozen opossums, two red foxes, a skunk and a large raccoon.

This year, I am going to try using cable restraints to catch foxes. I learned a lot about trapping from Mr. Lynch, and I can’t wait to try for more fur!.

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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