Learning with Dad
Steuben, Maine, Age 10
Last April my pet duck, Ling-Ling, disappeared from our barnyard. My dad and I suspected one of the foxes we had been seeing in our area was the culprit. My grandfather suggested we trap for foxes when trapping season opened in the fall.
I was excited when Dad agreed to take the trapper education course and get his trapping license. He told me I could be his trapping partner, although we both had a lot to learn.
We studied all we could find on trapping and trapping equipment. Then, my grandfather gave me one of his old #2 coilspring traps. He had used it on his trapline many years ago.
He also asked if we would trap the colony of beavers that had built a lodge on the river bank in front of his house. The beavers were a problem because they were chewing up his large maple trees along the river.
Dad ordered a few more traps and some snares for the beavers. He showed me how to clean and dye the traps.
When trapping season opened, we set our traps for foxes, coyotes and bobcats. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch any. About the time the critters began coming around our sets, we had a problem with our traps getting frozen to the ground.
When the river froze over, we set our beaver snares. We also had a #330 bodygrip trap that my grandfather let my dad borrow. But I was not allowed to handle it. Dad said the bodygrip trap was too powerful and dangerous for me to use.
The first day we checked our traps, we found a beaver in the bodygrip trap. There was also a huge beaver in my snare! It weighed 44 pounds!
We kept checking the trap and snares, and we caught more beavers and some muskrats.
My dad and mom took me and my first beaver to a taxidermist to have it tanned with the feet and tail attached. The taxidermist also gave us some really good tips for trapping foxes.
My dad was excited to try the tricks out and has arranged for another trapper friend to help us get our trapline started off right when trapping season opens next fall.
I had a lot of fun learning to trap. I have also learned that it is necessary as a means of managing healthy wildlife populations.
We also got to see otters, eagles, deer, weasels and grouse while checking traps. My grandfather is happy that we caught the beavers, and I’m happy to have that big beaver skin on my wall.
I can hardly wait until next fall. I’m really looking forward to catching some foxes.
Win Traps and a Membership for Writing:
Young readers who share their stories in The Trapper & Predator Caller can win six traps, a trapper education video and an NTA handbook. A membership to their state’s trappers association or a membership to the Wisconsin Trappers Association for nonparticipating states is also included.
To be considered, send a 300- to 500-word story and a clearly focused original 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.
The best stories capture the excitement and joys of trapping and predator calling experiences.