Gage Schlager, 7, Laramie, Wyo.
Boy enjoys spending time outdoors with his father
My name is Gage Schlager. I am 7 years old. I live in Wyoming, where I trap, fish and hunt with my mom and dad.
Last year, my neighbor gave me some muskrat traps and stretchers. He lets me and my dad trap on his ranch that is four miles from my house.
My dad helped me build muskrat floats, and I caught two muskrats. He helped me skin, flesh and stretch the muskrats. Then we took my furs to the fur buyer and sold them for $5 each. My dad also gave me money from his beaver hides because I helped him stretch them and handed him nails to nail the hides to a board so they could dry.
I helped my dad put up flags and build cubbies to trap bobcats. We also hauled skinned beavers and other animals to brushy areas. Later on, we set snares and traps. We caught two bobcats. One was normal sized and the other was really big. All together, my dad and I had exactly 100 furs to sell. We kept some of our furs and got them tanned. Now I have a normal red fox and a silver-tip fox hanging in my bedroom.
This summer, my dad and I caught crayfish and shiners to use as bait. We froze some of them and put the rest in a bucket inside a shed. When you open the bucket, it smells horrible. We also got ready to trap this year by boiling and waxing traps. I like watching the wax melt. I helped my dad build a new fur shed. My mom is happy because we won’t be stinking up the garage anymore and we won’t have to hang furs close to her truck anymore.
This year, my dad and I have gone coyote hunting but haven’t had any luck yet. It’s hard to sit still and be quiet waiting for coyotes to come to a call. We also have two dogs. Pixie is a mountain cur and Tug is a pitbull. We are training them to be decoy dogs and hunt raccoons. I have helped train Pixie by a pulling a coyote hide drag to make a trail. Pixie finds it every time.
I hope I catch more muskrats and maybe even a raccoon this year. I like hunting and trapping with my dad.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.