School Days: First Year Down

School Days 1

Abby Jo Stull, New Alexandria, Pa.

Girl has successful rookie trapping season

My first trapping season was a success! I knew that if I wanted to become a good trapper, I would have to learn from my dad.

In Pennsylvania, if you want to use cable restraints, you have to take a four-hour class and pass the test. The class was held two hours away. When we got there, I was the only girl. The class was fun. For a part of the class, we went outside where a few cable restraints had been set, and they asked us if the cable was set correctly or if it was missing the swivel, etc. Twice I was picked to tell them if anything was wrong or if it was set fine.

Finally, it got down to the test. With all of the time I had spent trapping with my dad and the four hours I spent in the class, I felt confident. In the end, I passed the test and got my license. I was so excited.

When the season started, we set three places. The first place we went was my dad’s friend’s farm. We went to the back field, and I noticed a low dip in the field corner that led to a patch of woods along a creek. There were two trails. I decided to set a cable on the left trail next to the fence row. I made sure the loop was 7 inches in diameter and 7 inches off the ground. On the second day, I caught my first red fox right there.

As the season went on, I got faster at setting the cables and better at picking locations. Eventually, I caught two more reds and a gray.

The cable restraint season came to an end, but I still wanted to trap. My dad mentioned trapping beavers. While squirrel hunting one day, we saw some beaver sign, so after school on a Friday, we set a few #330s along the Loyalhanna Creek. We found a small run entering the main creek. My dad said to make a mud pie and put a little beaver castor on top. I found some sticks to narrow the stream so the beavers would have to swim through the conibear.

On Saturday, we checked it and nothing was disturbed. On Sunday, while checking our traps, I caught a glimpse of something in the trap and started running. We caught a beaver! That was a perfect end to my first trapping season.

“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 photo 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; or email the story and photo to

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