Time for trappers is near
(Reprinted from above link)
The current weather conditions are not conducive to outdoor adventure, but the latter part of the week promises cooler temperatures.
Hunters and trappers are already scurrying to complete summertime projects and tasks as the autumn season approaches.
Trappers are busy cleaning and modifying traps in preparation for dying them with a natural tone that conceals and protects their valuable steel investments. Rust can quickly corrode a trap and slow its firing mechanism, and a good coating of dye can help protect them from the elements.
Foothold traps can also be waxed to further protect them in addition to speeding up their firing and reducing issues with freezing. Body grip or conibear traps should never be waxed as it creates a dangerous tool that is more apt to catch the trapper than the target animal.
While the current wild fur market remains dismal thanks to a saturation of ranched mink produced in China, trapping rewards the participant in ways other pursuits cannot. Those who work the majority of daylight hours have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors before or after work with the assistance of artificial light while tending their traps. While one works the day job, the traps continue to work and can provide a natural reward once the time clock is punched out.
The fur produced in our area is of great quality, provided it is allowed ample time to prime up. As daylight decreases and nights grow cold, furbearers’ coats thicken and grow luxurious guard hairs to protect them from the elements. Harvesting these pelts at the perfect time will provide outstanding examples of the species, while harvesting too early or too late will result in dull and flat-looking fur.
There is perhaps no cleaner renewable resource provided for man and since the beginning of time, pelts have been used to keep us warm. In recent years a trend toward avoiding and eliminating synthetic fibers has grown and perhaps society will once again recognize the value of this renewable resource.
For years fur has been associated with fashion, yet on a bitter cold day one will be hard-pressed to find a more functional garment. On the day I burst through the door battling the initial signs of hypothermia, a beaver hat was the first thing I sought out.
Interestingly enough, the December submersion of myself was a result of beaver trapping, but such memories on the trapline last a lifetime. While the price for beaver pelts is extremely low, I self-tan them, and within a few more years should have enough to create a fine blanket.
If you had trapped during the fur boom, I would encourage you to dig out the rusty traps, refresh yourself on current laws and recruit a youngster to set a small trapline this fall. While the fur check will be humble, being present for a trapper’s first coon, fox, mink or skunk should provide priceless memories all concerned.
Hunter-trapper safety courses are still available, although one should schedule soon or risk missing the chance on the opportunity.
Trapping teaches respect, work ethic and an understanding of nature and man’s impact on our ecosystem. In recent years the offering of bobcat, fisher and otter tags has allowed a resurgence in the recruitment of trappers, yet for each new trapper gained, we are losing several of great experience. The same can be said for hunters, and as the trend continues, we must make a special effort to share our knowledge and encourage the next generation to live on the wild side with an understanding of the outdoors and the benefits such a lifestyle can provide.
Being in tune with nature is important to our society, and without anglers on the water, trappers in the marsh and hunters in the mountains, the health and well being of our native species will be largely unknown. Modern-day wildlife conservation was created and funded by anglers, hunters and trappers, and I shudder to think what will happen when the ranks dwindle and the funds that they provide to state and federal agencies dry up.