The Perfect Ending

About seven years ago, I started going trapping with my dad. He mostly fox trapped and did a little beaver trapping. Then, as I got older, my uncle would take me on his all-day line for mink and ’coon on the weekends. Because of these two people, I really started to learn about trapping and began to set a few of my own sets for fox, raccoon and mink.

Then came this year. I had just recovered from a knee surgery in the spring and had attended the trappers’ convention. I was excited and confident after purchasing a few new items for fox trapping. I was really looking forward to trapping that fall. Foxes were about the only thing I could trap that were worth some decent money. Then, in September, I hurt my other knee and had to have surgery so I was on crutches again and fox trapping was totally out of the question. I tried to set a few #220s for ’coon and blind sets in the water for mink. I could only trap from the shore with my crutches. That really limited what I could do. I caught one mink and one ’coon that way, but it just wasn’t the same.

With the weather staying nice, the water didn’t freeze right away so as the knee got stronger, I was able to trap a little more. I was still on crutches though so I was limited to what I could do.

I didn’t do too well this year, only catching four mink, one muskrat and one ’coon. Then when fisher season opened, my uncle, my dad and I went out to set a small line with about 12 cubby sets. We had some high hopes. We wanted to catch some fishers and bobcats. I was able to set one fairly close to home, where there aren’t normally many fishers, but got lucky and caught my first fisher. It was a  big male. After checking the sets for the two weeks of the season, we had only caught one more fisher.

Then came pulling day. I had just got off crutches so I was able to walk and check the traps with them. We were at our second stop and I had just got done pulling a set when I heard a loud shout for joy. I looked down the hill and saw my uncle holding something up. I couldn’t tell what it was so I walked as fast as I could down to them. As I approached them, I could tell it was a nice-sized bobcat. We couldn’t stop talking about the bobcat for the rest of the day, but on our last stop, we caught a nice female fisher. Thanks to our last days’ catch, we ended the season with three fishers and one bobcat.

“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 a 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.

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