Trapping is very much like farming
[Reprinted from original]
Fish Tales column - Torstar file photo
It was sure nice to see a short discussion about trapping making it into the local paper.
Also very good that it was kept civil and informative. Most of the time, trappers try and keep their heads down. Because usually there is a backlash from people who just like to cause trouble for the fur industry. It never seems to matter how you try and explain things to them, they are against it and that is that, end of story. Telling someone that you treat and run your trap line like a farm gets lost in all the background noise.
The last thing a farmer wants to do is kill off all of his animals. The same goes for a trap line. Trappers have a list of property that they can trap. Some are just family property, some are a list of private property that you have permission, from the owners to trap. Then you get trap zones that you get from the natural resources ministry. These can be several thousand acres in size and are crown land. I trapped mostly private land because the owners would get angry at the beavers that they shared the land with. Mostly they wanted them gone. But very few times did we actually go to that stage.
Usually it was a numbers game. Turn 12 beavers into 4 or 5 and you hardly knew they were there. I would ask if I could leave a few maintenance beavers behind so they could keep the dam in working order and also keep the brush down along the shore of the lake. If you could do that, everyone was happier and I had a place to come back to when things got out of hand. But if beavers flooded the road or washed out a road, the owners of the property could be charged for the repair of the road. These were the times that the beavers never fared so well.
Mostly I caught what I set a trap for. But it is much harder when trapping fox or coyotes on dry land. It seems that a lot of people let their pets run free at night. Not knowing that their animal travelled more than a mile from home and back before being let back into the house in the morning. My solution was a catch pole. Just a 3 foot section of one inch steel water pipe with an adjustable snare loop on the end. The same sort of thing that a dogcatcher uses. If you catch a fox that you do not want you can let it go. Same goes for dogs, cats and other assorted things.
The only things that are super hard to let go are skunks and the mighty fisher. We all know why skunks are a problem. But fisher take getting caught as personal and get really mad about it. They are the only thing that has turned on me when letting them go. Mostly things just run off, but fisher just want to get even. One ran me right back to the truck. It clawed and bit at my boots and then when I ran. It clawed up my legs and tried to get on my back. That thing was fast, it was right at my heels so could not stop and open the door of the truck. I dove over the side and into the box. It went under the truck and into the woods.
That was the day I went home and made a catch pole.