Pennsylvania trapper is looking forward to
getting back out on the trapline with his dad
My name is Isaac Kocher. I am 13 years old. I live in Pennsylvania where there are lots of beautiful woods and farms.
My dad and I love hunting, fishing and trapping together every time trapping season starts. We mostly do everything together in the woods. We started trapping when I was 9 years old. When I saw my very first opossum behind our house, we decided we wanted to try to trap it. We then went to our local fur buyer and he then got us started.
We got our first raccoon, which was really awesome, so then we decided to keep on trapping. After many opossums in our traps and then a lot of raccoons, we still did not get our first fox. We certainly thought that would be a great first. So, last year, my dad, his buddy and I went to a cable restraint class. We all passed. We purchased some cables to trap with. We set a few cables and we would check them every morning.
We woke up on the very first day of the New Year. Another first. It was a beautiful morning that God had created. Before we left, my dad and I said that this might be the day we get our first fox. So we got in the truck and went to go check the trapline. Sure enough, we got our very first fox!
My dad and I were so happy and excited. We dispatched the fox and then took a lot of pictures. We even sent a picture to my mom and sisters, who were at home. We could not believe it. It was a very beautiful red fox. That is probably one of my most memorable moments so far on our trapline.
After that, the trapping season continued and we had some other firsts that were awesome. We got our first muskrat in a neighbor’s pond and our first skunk in a farm close to us. We actually think it was the same skunk that sprayed our dog.
I think trapping is all about making memories and following traditions. It’s also about seeing the birds and animals that God created and just being out in the woods having a great time together. The thing that I like about trapping is you get to see a lot of things that you can’t do or see inside the house. Seeing the animals, learning their behaviors and how they act is so interesting and fun.
There are a lot of things you need to learn if you are going to trap. It is really fun, and my dad and I both love it. We are going to keep on trapping and learning all we can from other trappers and also from our catches and mistakes.
Another first for my dad and I is we started to skin and put up our own fur. That was really fun just sitting in the trapping shed watching my dad. I mostly helped my dad skin and put fur on the stretching boards while he did the fleshing. I want to learn how to do that too.
Another first is that sometimes my sisters went on the trapline with us. That is a great way to teach youth. It is a really fun sport. There are a lot of things you get out of it. It might sound like a lot to do, but it is worth it and really rewarding as well.
One more first is we sold our fur at the Pennsylvania District 11 fur sale. My dad and I came out with lots of laughter and more tips to help us on our trapline. The thing that makes it all worthwhile is just having fun with your family and friends.
I also learned from our state trappers motto — our image is our future. It helps me remember what we do now needs to be done the right way. I want to thank my dad for teaching me and taking the time to show me everything he does.
Thank you to everybody that has helped us along our journey. Trapping is awesome, especially when you have a lot of firsts.
“School Days” is sponsored by Duke Traps and the Wisconsin Trappers Association. Winners receive six traps, a Wisconsin Cooperative Trapper Education video, an NTA handbook and a membership to their state’s trappers association. To be considered, send a 300- to 500-word story and high-quality photo of the trapper to School Days, Trapper & Predator Caller, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990; or email the story and photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure to include the trapper’s name, age and address.
This column appeared in the September 2014 Trapper & Predator Caller issue.