School Days: It’s a Family Affair


 Jacob King, Dadeville, Mo.

 Missouri boy traps with his father and brother

When I was 8 years old and my brother was 4 years old, my dad got us into trapping. I learned that trapping is a good way to control how many furbearers there are.

My dad’s friend Kyle came over one day before Thanksgiving and showed us how to make muskrat and raccoon sets by a big pond. When we got there, Kyle said that there was supposed to be a small, muddy spot in the water just out from the bank. A muddy spot is a place in the water where you can see the entrance a muskrat’s den.

We looked in the water. There were three muddy spots in the pond. On the first night we trapped, we caught two muskrats in #110s.

Two nights later, we caught our first ’coon. A few days later, we took my cousin Abby trapping and caught skunk. She had fun, and we caught a lot of fur that day.

One afternoon, my dad, brother and I went raccoon trapping. My dad and I had set eight dog-proof ’coon traps and also a live trap. We set the live trap at an old house. We put two dog-proof traps at a pond and set three each in two culverts.

When my dad went down to set a culvert, he said there were a lot of tracks there. When we went to the other culvert set, I saw a raccoon trail and told my dad that ’coons would run that.

The next morning, Dad saw an opossum in one trap. Then he said we got two raccoons. One was small and the other was a XXXL. It was a monster. The XXXL had a big spot on his back so we couldn’t skin it. Its hide was only worth $1, so we let it loose.

At the next stop, we saw two raccoons in our traps. There was one in my set too. It was a XXL. That means it was pretty big. We caught another small one to release. Dad went down there and tried to get the ’coon out of the trap. The raccoon growled at him, so Dad had to hold it down with his foot so he could get the ’coon out of the trap without hurting it. The raccoon swam away and went into its home in a log. When we got to the old house, the live trap was empty.

We had a good trapping year. We got 21 raccoons, 12 opossums and three muskrats. My dad gave me $20 for my help. Our tanned hides will be done in June, and we will have more coming from the sales of the hides.

Trapping is so much fun. I can’t wait until next season. We are going to try for some predators next season, and that will be great.

“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

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