Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Mid America Buckskinners Info Page
Stories

Trapping


Missouri Iowa Nebraska Kansas
**********************************************

No, it's not skinning bucks............ Developed and maintained by JP Finn




Back to the Story index

Back to the Main Page


******************************************************


Trapping

Trapping has been a part of my life forever, it seems. I started the first trap line that I can remember in the front yard. It wasn't much of a trap line, but it gave me great pleasure. Perhaps that explains why I am the way I am today.
Somewhere I had heard of Burmese Tiger traps. A pit was dug, and the top covered so the Tiger, not noticing anything amiss, strolled across, only to fall in. Knowing, even at that tender age, there were no Tigers in my woods, I made smaller pits, hoping for a dog or cat. Preferably a cat. Instead I caught my little Brother. My Mother made me fill in the holes. That was when I decided that the average dog or cat must be smarter than my Brother. And front yards were a bad place for traplines.
By the advanced age of nine, I was running a line of box traps for rabbits and snares for squirrels. Because that was generally the families' main meat supply, I don't recall getting in trouble over that trap line.
When I was 11, we moved into the mountains. There wasn't much small game, but I discovered that allowances were handed out on Fridays. I had caught a couple chipmunks in the old box traps, and everyone wanted one for a pet. I ran the trapline on Wed. and Thurs. to get my supply up, ready for the Friday sale. Everyone seemed to get a quarter for their allowance, so that set the price. The chipmunks escaped by Monday, so I even had repeat sales. After a while it was possible to identify the individual chipmunks, and I was forced to start charging a 15 cent capture fee instead of the quarter for a new one. This cut my income to an unbearable level.
I had managed to get my hands on a couple "real" traps. The trapline became directed for Raccoon and Opossum. Much more money in 'coon and 'possum hides. I still think we moved to North Idaho because of that trapline. You couldn't leave the drying hides outside; the dogs would drag them around and chew on them. I didn't think they smelled all that bad , anyway. And they were under the bed, out of the way. We never did find that dead critter under the house, by the way.
By the time I was 13, I had discovered girls. That was a major turning point in my life. This meant I had to go for the big time. Thus the Wolf and Mountain Lion Trapline was born.
The #1-1/2 long spring traps that I had been using for 'coon and 'possum were cleaned, oiled, dyed and smoked. New chains were installed and areas were scouted for Wolf and Mountain Lion sign. Found no sign. Asked everyone that I could find that would talk to me where they might be. My Mother decided that I couldn't move to Alaska, and she sure wasn't. I figured that I didn't have all that great of a desire to move farther out into the sticks than I was, anyway. All the girls were in town.
The plans for the spending of the fortune to be made from the Wolf and Mountain Lion Trapline were made. Very good plans, too, I might add. The traps were set with great care. I had reviewed everything I could read on the subject and had talked to anyone that couldn't run faster than I could. I even talked to a couple people that could run faster, but not longer.
It didn't take long to check traps on a three trap line. I tried not to check them more than three or four times a day. The plan for spending the coming fortune got more detailed as I waited for the coming flood of hides.
After the second dozen civet cats were fleshed, stretched and dried, I was not allowed into the stores in town. After the fourth or fifth, the school called my Mother to see what could be done about the new perfume that I had begun to wear. That didn't bother me near as much as the fact that the girls had started avoiding me.
The Wolf and Mountain Lion Trapline was shut down by higher authority. The local Game Warden stopped by. I sure didn't know that there were unprinted limits on "bycatch" that only applied to Wolf and Mountain Lion traplines. The plans for the fortune to be made evaporated. I did get to sleep in the house again, though.
Now that I had discovered that Wolf and Mountain Lion trapping had some minor drawbacks, I drifted into the field of "nuisance trapping". I caught squirrels that had taken up residence in attics, and feral cats that hung out at bird feeders. The pay was a little lean, but the girls didn't avoid me like they had before. I discovered that when the Mother liked me, the Daughter did too.
Now I limit my trapping to the fall. The nights start getting cool, downright cold at times. Won't be long till the first frost. All the critters are busy setting that winter fur, and looking for a warm place to set out the cold months. I have cleaned the traps and checked out the areas that look like the best places to set them. The fall ritual has begun. Each year it is the same....The Wife calls me into the kitchen, opens a cabinet, hands me a jar of peanut butter and points. "Is that MOUSE droppings?"

***************************************


Back to the top of the Page

Back to the Story index

Back to the Main Page



If you want to plaver, do so. Hey, jp!