One of my earliest ventures in the outdoors when I was a youth was spent learning how to trap. The activity challenged me. Heck, trapping even inspired other outdoors-related pursuits. Yet, most of all trapping has always been a sport that has humbled me. It seems just when you begin thinking you’ve got things figured out…consistently empty traps will prove you still have lots to learn about how nature works.
This morning I hooked up with my neighbor riding along checking his short line of predator traps. For Todd, the activity of trapping is much like it is for me. If either of us has enough time in the fall to set out a half dozen or so traps you consider yourself lucky. And so it goes.
For those not familiar with the sport of trapping there is basically two types. There’s land trapping for coyotes, fox, coon and similar animals. Then, of course, there’s water trapping for creatures more commonly associated with life around streams, ponds and lakes — animals such as mink, muskrat, beaver, raccoon, etc. I’d say about 95% of my time trapping has been spent in or near water. And while I consider my skills as a trapper pretty near the novice level compared to some folks I know, nevertheless it still can be a rewarding experience filled with excited anticipation as you approach each of your “sets.”
Today, I was lucky to be with Todd, my neighbor, when he scored on the trapline. A nice Grey Fox greeted us at his third set.
After quickly dispatching the animal, we both took pause to admire the raw beauty of the animal. Man, it had been several years since either of us had seen a gray fox since this area has started to get overrun by coyotes. Coyotes have a tendency to push fox populations out as they just don’t seem to be very compatible within the same territory.
After a few photos of the successful trapper and his nice catch, he quickly freshened up the area and re-set his trap with hopes of experiencing additional happy mornings like this one.
“Running a trapline” is perhaps one of the most challenging activities a sportsman can undertake. Anyone can do it, and call themselves a “trapper.” But until you become accomplished at perfecting your technique you rarely get to experience the sweet taste of success. Much like trying to waylay an old trophy buck, it takes persistence, practice and a confident attitude in order to succeed.
Oh, and when you think you have everything going your way it doesn’t hurt to have the right alignment of the stars on your side, too, for just a little luck.
2008 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.