Why Trap?

When I was younger I commented often that I was born in the wrong day and age.  I still sometimes succumb to the notion that 1850 would have been the time for me.  I quickly come back to reality though and remember my love for those things modern like dill pickle sunflower seeds, angry birds apps and modern day antibiotics.  Seriously though, what would it have been like to trap and trade fur without the concern of animal rights activist and those of similar ilk throwing red paint on people like me.  We need to be very clear here.  I respect the beliefs of all.  I am awed by those who devote their life to throwing stink bombs on Japanese whaling vessels in order to slow their pursuit of whales.  I completely disagree with the basic concept but am still astounded with the veracity by which they pursue their goal.  I can only imagine how many raccoons I could harvest in a year if I had but an inkling of extremist will power.  Unfortunately, it seems that respect for trapping and hunting is a one way street.  I can give freely and recognize I will not receive.

If any of you have read my previous posts you will know where my heart is.  I foremost am a follower of Christ and perhaps love the outdoors the way I do because I see it as His breath and vision and love language for us all rolled into one big, beautiful adventure.  Trapping and the pursuit of game is basic for survival but also summed up in the beginning of scripture. “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.””  Genesis 1:28.

There are days that I feel that I rule over the birds of the air and then there are days, that some of the contributors can account for, that I have little dominion over roosters at point blank range with a full chamber of #4 shot.  Trapping is different though.  Of course there are still days that I feel like I am on the sequel to Caddy Shack and I couldn’t catch a cold in the dead of winter after spending the night at the local E.R. sitting beneath the mistle toe.  These days seem to be the ones that fuel me to learn more about my quarry.  Trapping as many of you know is not about reactions but more about slowing down and taking in the sign and then using what your prey relies on against it.

My sons have become the best trapping partners a man could have.  They are good at finding sign and even better about critiquing what I was sure to be a perfect set.  I learned however early on that my daughter may not be the best trapping companion.  While making several sets on a piece of property adjacent to the Arkansas River I noticed my daughter feverishly rubbing her leg on a dead fall next to my set.  When I asked her what she was doing she responded very matter of fact and said, “I am rubbing my stink on this log so you won’t catch one of those pretty cats.”  I laughed and remembered why she usually stayed home.  It was just a little cool to think though that my 6 year old princess had figured out that scent was a HUGE key to my success in the field.

A good friend once told me that if you take your kids hunting you won’t be hunting for your kids.  I agree, however, we lose a good number of the kids once they grow tired of the sit stills and the be quiets and the shooshing that goes along with traditional hunts.  If you want to spend time with your children in the field and you want to create lasting memories while teaching them valuable skills for any hunt they may eventually attempt, take them trapping.  The process of fur handling can be daunting but it just increases your opportunity to teach and spend even more time with your kids.  Now pardon me as I step down from this soap box and get some more steel in the ground.


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