Expanding Trapline

My dad got me started trapping when I was 7 years old. That first year, I had a broken foot when trapping season opened, but my dad would let me ride in the truck when we went to check the traps.

I probably wasn’t much help, but I learned a lot.

The next year, we expanded our trapline to include a second creek. I used some of the money from our first year’s fur sales and got my own set of hip boots. It was a lot more fun getting in the creek and helping pick out the set locations and retrieving the fur we harvested that second year.

Every year, I take some of the money from our fur sales and try to expand my supplies and trapline for the following season. My dad took me to the Iowa Trappers Association convention when it was held in Humboldt a few years ago. I found some great deals on new and used traps and supplies and learned a lot about making dirthole sets from some of the presenters.
Last year was my best year so far. I caught 15 raccoons, 18 muskrats, three mink, one red fox and 11 opossums.

We do mostly water sets in a couple of creeks near my house. Last year, we got permission to trap an old barn on one of the farms we deer hunt on.

I took 10 ’coons out of that one barn using #220 bodygrip traps.

This year, we tried a few dirthole sets earlier in the season.

The best part about trapping is all the help I get from other trappers. They all seem to want to help a young kid getting started on trapping and are more than willing to show me different techniques and give me advice. Having an uncle that is a state trapper doesn’t hurt either.

The next best part of trapping is taking the furs to the fur buyer truck when he comes through town.

We usually take them to the Groenwald buyer. They are great about telling me how to take care of my pelts and what they are looking for in regards to size and color.

Some of this year’s profits went to purchasing a half dozen #3 Montana dogless coilsprings. My goal for next year is to hit the dirthole sets a little harder and bag a coyote.

I would also like to encourage all generations of trappers to take the time to take a kid along on the trapline. That is how I got started and I hope to keep it up.

“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.

Discover new techniques for finding and trapping more fur, how to make the most of your catch with harvest trends and prices, skinning techniques that can increase the value of your furs and more all in Trapper & Predator Caller. Subscribe Now

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