Mostly Trapping

Outdoorsmen answer nature's beckoning call

(Reprinted from above link)

Yep, it seems like just yesterday it was the latter part of September, then in a flash it is now almost the end of December. Light is low, a slight, cool winter breeze is blowing, and the woodlands are still silent.

I’m making my way to some trapping locations I scouted out preseason. I’m out here attempting to lure a bobcat or a fisher into my setup and give that critter a reason to step on a two-inch square trap pan. To succeed, you have to learn to read the landscape well, and pay attention to details to be successful.

I’m sure everyone has their own reasons for being in the outdoors. Some spend only a few hours there, while others seem to almost live outdoors. But everyone has their primary reason, that one sweet moment we savor, the instant we crave while we’re waiting for some free time to get out there to enjoy it.

For some it’s sort of winding down as winter is now upon us. Many were out during the fall looking to connect on a monster muskie or walleye, waiting on a woodcock or pheasant to take flight in a thunderous eruption of flapping wings, or possibly following the sound of beagles in pursuit of rabbits, etc.

They followed all that action with a few weeks of trapping raccoons, fox and coyote while spending afternoons archery hunting whitetails and black bears. Finally, they immersed themselves totally into nonstop hunting whitetail bucks for two weeks.

But there are those of us who continue on after that with trapping those late season specimens such as bobcat, fisher and finally beaver. It’s a heritage thing to those of us who were brought up as trappers from a young age. Even though it doesn’t pay to trap furbearers nowadays, we as trappers still enjoy going after them. In a way, it’s nostalgia and history we’re trying to keep alive.

I guess you can say it’s our way of extending our time spent in the outdoors. It’s something many of us were taught by other family members, possibly your father. For me it was years spent on the trapline with my older brother.

Yes, trapping is work from the word “go.” First you have to scout the terrain, find out where they’re denning, traveling and feeding. That’s not something you accomplish with ease. You need to look at things from the animal’s eye level and have the right gear because the more you can get into their habitat, the better.

Remember, if you have an hour today to set a trap, you better have an hour every day until you pull that trap as it doesn’t matter if you are tired, the weather is bad or you feel like skipping a day. There’s no excuse as the law dictates that you must check traps every 36 hours, but an ethical trapper is going to check every morning.

It’s not a tradition that’s continued because it’s easy. It’s part of that outdoor rush that had you hooked since those first experiences in the great outdoors.

That rush encapsulates that first large fish, that first whitetail deer and that first animal you trapped on your own providing that thrill of victory for a few brief moments. Those are the reasons you keep coming back, day after day, month after month, season after season, and year after year.

These are the experiences that you repeat over and over again to achieve your rush in our outdoors. So get out there and experience it all again, and find your rush.

David Orlowski is a writer, hunter, fisherman and outdoor enthusiast from Potter County. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association.