Austin Meinerts, 16, South Dakota
In his first season, a South Dakota boy catches
a raccoon that weighs nearly 30 pounds
My name is Austin Meinerts. I am 16 years old, and this was my first year actually trapping.
I got the traps I used from a guy named Bob in Minnesota who had a classified ad. I bought 10 #220s from him and five #1.75 coilsprings.
I caught a raccoon on a trail just behind my house a little bit. The trail leads to a pond where I have seen a ton of raccoon sign. I set every #220 that I had in trails around the water in some tall grass, but I only had a opossum my first week.
After checking my traps every day hoping that I could finally catch a raccoon, it didn’t seem like it was going to happen. I kept thinking the traps were in good trails and I should’ve had a raccoon.
I started my second week trapping with only an opossum and a skunk to show for it.
One day, as I was checking my trail sets as usual, I looked through a little hole in the trail where I could see my trap and I saw what looked to be the fur of a really nice raccoon.
I was so excited to have finally caught a raccoon. And what was really cool was the fact that this raccoon weighed almost 30 pounds. As I approached the raccoon, I marveled at it’s nice, prime November pelt.
After that, I just carried the raccoon back to my house still in the trap. I just pulled a non-productive trap and placed it in the trail. I set my #220 on a Stakealizer stake a few inches off of the ground, blended it in, flipped off the safety hooks and left it for the next night to hopefully catch another ’coon.
“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 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.