Otters Provide Thrills
By Arthur Kreis
I love to trap. I read everything about trapping I can get my hands on.
I really got into trapping last summer when I went to the Green Mountain Conservation Camp. A lot of pelts were passed around, such as a lynx and a raccoon. The lynx was the softest thing I had ever felt.
In fall, I went to the Vermont Trappers Association rendezvous and got my trapping license. I passed my test with flying colors.
My mom’s boyfriend, who is a trapper, gave me some traps when I passed my test. During Thanksgiving
week, I went to work on a farm that had a beaver problem. I trapped three muskrats, and learned a little about muskrats, beavers and otters.
One day, I overheard my friend talking about nuisance otters in his family’s pond.
I told my friend that I had a trapping license and would trap the otters. His dad was very happy to hear about me, and wanted me to come and trap the otters.
We talked, then I headed to his house to set otter traps.
I was told otters can almost swim all of the way through #330 bodygrip traps before the trap hit them, so I used a #220.
My friend’s dad, Bryan, showed me around the pond and told me there were no outside cats or dogs, so I could set a trap anywhere legal. I set a #220 right in the otter’s path that leads from the pond.
The next day, my grandma took me snowboarding, so I checked the traps on my way home.
Lo and behold, there was a huge otter in my trap. It weighed 25 pounds and was 46 inches long. I pulled it out and reset the trap.
We took a lot of pictures, and everyone was happy. We called the game warden. When he came to tag the otter, my dad made arrangements with him so I could get the otter mounted.
The rest of the week, I checked my traps every day, hoping to catch another otter.
A week later, I got an urgent call. It was Bryan. He said my #220 was missing.
We hurried to his house. I went down to where my #220 was set, and discovered it was truly missing. My dad decided to see if he could pull a board off the little bridge where we suspected my trap and whatever took it had gone.
I am very happy because I caught two otters and three muskrats in my first year of trapping.
This year, I hope to catch some raccoons, and maybe even some fishers and bobcats.
You could win!
“School Days” is sponsored by Duke Traps and the Wisconsin Trappers Association. Winners receive six traps, a Wisconsin Cooperative Trapper Education video, a NTA?handbook and a membership to their state’s trappers association or a membership to the WTA for nonparticipating states. To be considered, send a 300- to 500-word story and a clearly focused, print-quality 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.