When Trapping Becomes a Job

So at what point should I start feeling guilty for charging to do something I love.  Hmmmmm.  Well I don’t know when that will be but if it ever happens I will let you know.
I became a licensed nuisance wildlife control operator several years ago in order to meet the minimum requirements our State deems necessary to trap animals both in and out of season for pay.  The pest control business, Advance Termite and Pest Control, that my parents started in 1985 provided mole and gopher removal services and the license became a necessity.  Shortly after acquiring the permit and listing our services with the State the phone started to ring for calls that we hadn’t had much experience with.  Several VHS tapes later my career as Bill Murray’s stunt double in some b rated remake of Caddy Shack began.  I would say along the way their have been mishap a plenty as this picture documents.

Imagine the look the doctor gave me when he asked  why I had so much dirt in the tear on my finger tip and I smiled and told him that it was not dirt but possum poop and then pondered aloud if that was gonna cost me extra.

Then there was the time when I injected my thumb with a needle that I had used to euthanize around 50 skunks and the CDC told me that rabies shots were recommended, workers comp informed us that required was a better term then recommended. Here is a question to think about “what kind of pain is associated with injecting 1 cc of fluid into an already soar thumb?”  Answer:  YOWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! Funny, this was the same response my father had when the initial bill came back from the hospital to the tune of $9875.00.  I told him politely that they had given me the option to have liquid gold injected into my veins or rabies serum and I had elected for the good stuff.  To add insult to injury Doc asked me if I thought I should be concerned with hepatitis from the stick.  Thank goodness I knew first hand that the skunks I had put down with this needle were not IV drug users and had all practiced safe sex prior to their injections.  This is a good time to point out the ER physicians do not take kindly to sarcasm and the first seven shots to my buttocks were probably jabbed in just a little harder than normal.

So when I receive the calls to trap beaver for the city park or remove and euthanize a skunk from a homeowners back yard I recall some of these events when pricing.  Fellow trappers often remark how beaver just aren’t worth what they used to be but I beg to differ.  Sure, I may only get $8 dollars for my green skinned beavers but hey I was paid $150 to remove it.  This cost may seem high to the average reader but I wonder how much does it cost to spike in a 25 year old maple?

After the tree eating river rat is gone and the park goers are happy, provided they didn’t witness the flat tail floating, what comes next?  Well of course we skin the beaver and sell the pelt but what about the meat?  I get many strange looks and the all too expected off the cuff comments when I say “what you have never eaten beaver????”  Yes, beaver is fantastic!  I have found however that the most appropriate place to serve it is at the church game feed.  This keeps a lot of the double entendre from passing from the same mouths that are consuming the delicacy.  I know that at this point all seven of you that read my posts are thinking man I wish he would post his Barbecue Bacon Beaver Balls recipe.  Well here ya go:

1st grind 2 and 3/4 pounds of boneless beaver trim with 1 package of bacon.  Grind several times in order to mix bacon and beaver well.

1 large can of evaporated milk   /      2 tsp. salt

2 cups oatmeal                                /        1/2 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. chili powder                        /         2 eggs

1/2 cup onion                               /         1 tsp. garlic powder

3 lbs beaver and bacon ground together

Mix all together and form into walnut-size balls.  Put on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.   Place meatballs in baking dish and cover with the following sauce and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.  Uncover and serve with your choice of carbohydrates and enjoy.


2 cups ketchup              /         1 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp. liquid smoke   /        1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 cup vinegar

Make sure to stir a couple of times while your cooking in order to keep any beaver from sticking to the bottom of the dish.

I could go on and on with the mishaps that have occurred whether it be the number of new cell phones due to dropping in the drink while making water sets or unfortunate events with the business end of a skunk.

I love my job when I am chasing nuisance fur!!!
Writing these thoughts really do make me stop and count my blessings.  When was the last time you fishermen heard someone say, “man there are way too many walleye in this lake I would pay you to get rid of them.”?  Or how about you pheasant hunters hearing “Those dang ditch parrots are tearing up my lawn how much will you charge me to kill them all?”  Yes I may be one of the luckiest guys alive, now if I could just figure out how to get my garage to stop smelling like skunk.


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