With the recent rise in the popularity of hunting, there is no reason you shouldn’t start trapping this year as well.
Maybe no outdoor pastime in America is more misunderstood than trapping. This might cause some people to hesitate if they think about starting.
Somehow this central aspect of American heritage has become villainized, and trappers have to fight for their ability to carry on their traditions more than any other outdoorsman in the country. It has been tagged as brutal, unethical, non-sporting, and countless other negative labels from folks who literally have never set a trap in their lives.
Now, I’m a relatively new trapper and don’t claim to know everything there is to know about the subject. However, one thing I’m dead certain on is the honest nature of trappers and trapping. Trapping offers so many benefits to people it is hard to overstate. I’m convinced it is an upstanding and admirable element of American identity and should be promoted throughout our nation.
The greatest way to truly get a feel for the truth about trapping about is to simply start doing it. I guarantee after the hard work you will put in, knowledge you will gain, and things you will experience, you will realize how noble a pastime it can be.
Trapping is an art, not a science, and master trappers have honed skills over their lives to become consistently successful. Don’t listen to all the jargon from people who have never lived the entire experience, listen to the good men and women of your local community who have lived it.
If you have never trapped before, here are 15 reasons why you should start trapping.
The fur business isn’t at a high right now, but trapping is one of the few outdoor sports that has a legitimate possibility to make money. As fur prices rise and fall each year, there tend to be a few species that do well regardless. Learn to target them and you might add a few dollars to your pocket.
2. Knowledge of Nature
I can tell you from experience you will never look at the land the same way after you have started trapping. Men and women who are consistently successful in this endeavor have an uncanny ability to see the land as an animal would see it. They also know the woods, prairie, and mountains better than anyone else.
Adept trappers can show up to a location they have never been before and instantly set traps that start catching the first night. They can do this because they know the land.
3. Knowledge of Animals
Not only can successful trappers read the land better than anyone out there, their knowledge of the animals they pursue must be comprehensive. One of the most challenging parts of trapping is to adjust animals behaviors without seeing them. Furbearers move mostly at night and trapping happens when people aren’t around. Trappers have to anticipate the thoughts and movements of animals if they want to catch something. If you want to learn more about wild animals than you ever knew you didn’t know, start trapping.
4. Experience the Outdoors
One aspect of trapping I personally enjoy the most is the everyday checks. In most states you will have to check foothold traps everyday, which gets you outside every 24 hours. Even a short check before work is better than only spending time outdoors walking to and from your car.
Nothing beats witnessing the sun break the horizon on a cold winter’s morning as the last of the stars hang in the sky above. No matter what happens later at work, you have had a good day.
5. Close Encounters
Maybe you have never been really close to a wild animal. Getting up close and personal with raccoon, coyotes, bobcats, and other critters is a great experience, and can teach you a lot about the personalities of the animals you pursue. Close encounters also really get your motor running as well and are incredible experiences.
6. Learn Your History
Legendary Lakota warrior Crazy Horse is credited with saying “a people without a history is like wind on the buffalo grass.” One interpretation of this is that if you don’t know your history you are bound to wander aimlessly like the prairie wind.
Trapping is part of American history, it played a pivotal role in shaping America as a nation, and it has been a mainstay in American society since the beginning. Additionally, prior to the formation of America, people have been trapping animals since the beginning of time. Set yourself a trap and you are keeping a flame of the past alive.
7. Less Competition than Hunting
Getting access is to trap is much easier than getting access to hunting rights in most places. A place that might cost you a month’s wages or more to deer hunt can typically be trapped for free. In most cases, you are doing the landowner a favor, and hunters as well.
8. Balance Your Local Ecosystem
It is a fact most of top predators have been removed from the American landscape. Wolves, grizzly bear, and mountain lions were all at one time roaming the entirety of our lands. With these animals removed lesser predators and other furbearers have really proliferated.
Coyotes, for example, were once kept in population check by wolves. Wolves would kill coyotes without thinking twice and did their part to keep the coyote population down. With wolves gone coyotes have exploded in population and now not only run throughout our rural lands, but also run our city streets as well. Trappers are a major benefit to their local areas as they keep these species, and others, in check, which benefits all species of the area.
9. Gain Humility
Humility is an admirable trait and nothing teaches humility like getting outsmarted again and again by a cagey animal. Start trapping and you are sure to be humbled sooner or later.
10. Help People
You can say what you want, but it is a fact trappers help people. They help ranchers protect their livestock, they help landowners keep their trees alive, and the help folks in town get rid of pests. In addition to the direct help, trappers also help keep animal populations controlled and decrease the likelihood of a disease like rabies that could potentially impact people.
11. Make a Living
As I noted earlier trapping has the potential to make money, and some people have chosen to make a career out of it. Whether working animal damage control in urban settings, removing pest animals for the government, or working on scientific research teams trapping can earn a legitimate living. Start trapping and you may wind up in a respected and much needed career someday.
12. Meet Great People
I’ve been lucky enough to meet some great people in my life, and many of them have been hunters and trappers. Most of these men and women are hard working, honest, and fun loving folks whose passion for life and nature is infectious.
Trappers are generally pretty forthcoming with tips and tricks and willing to help someone who wants to start trapping learn the ropes. Sit down with an experienced trapper and you are likely to get an education it would take years to get on your own.
13. Solo or Group Affair
Trapping is a great sport for both the solitary figure, and the family man or woman. What could beat a late fall day tramping around beneath the golden leaves of cottonwoods in quite thought studying a potential trapping area? How much fun is it to take your kids out and teach them about nature?
Start trapping and you can enjoy both. Not only are both a blast but both solitude and family time fill the soul with much needed peace and fulfillment. I’ve spent much time alone in the outdoors, and I appreciate being able take my young family with me and spend time together in the place I feel most at home.
14. Help Preserve the Heritage
Trapping needs people if it will continue to exist as an acceptable pastime. People fear things they do not understand, and trapping is misunderstood. What a pity it would be to look back on history and say we lost the cultural traditions families held so dearly.
It strikes me as odd the same people who demonize trapping typically support protecting people like the untouched tribes of the Amazon so they can retain their culture. Not only should we afford the people in the Amazon rainforest the opportunity to retain their culture, but we should do the same for law abiding men and women right here at home.
15. Learn Respect for Animals
Without a doubt trapping has given me a more full appreciation and respect for the animals I trap. People will question “how much can you respect an animal if you trap and kill it?” In my mind I find it a far bigger complement to devote time and energy to learning the intricacies of an animal’s habits and pursuing it in an honorable way than to look at the same animal from a distance and say “aren’t they cool.” By investing themselves to the animals, trappers elevate them in the process.
In conclusion, don’t get your facts about trapping from people who have never tried it. If your take the time to learn about our remarkable animal neighbors I guarantee you will develop a new appreciation for this honorable and noble American pastime. Make this year the year you finally commit and start trapping.