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Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Threshold Moment



My four year old grandson had been watching a possum steal the family cat's food for the last few weeks. I told him I'd bring over a live trap and show him how to set it. We would capture "Mr. Possum". At first my grandson was set on shooting, skinning, and making the critter into a hat. I talked him out of that and switched him into "re-locating" the animal. Anyhow, "Mr. Possum" has been "kotched" and my grandson is basking in the glory of bagging his first "wild animal" (even if was a Possum baited with cat food).





9 comments:

  1. Hey, when I was 14ish, I got a live trap, and the only things I caught were Blue Jays and skunks. I didn't think being a trapper for a living was all that a good idea.

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    1. Trapping skunks: not so difficult.
      UN-trapping skunks: a challenge I'd rather not face....

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  2. My uncle took me on to help him trap. "help" was me pulling the dead muskrat from ice water and resetting the trap while he smoked in the warm truck. He did teach me how to see where animals moved and how to make the best sets. I wouldn't take anything for my backwoods upbringing. Used to piss my first wife off when we would be on our way home from a party and I'd slide to a stop and jump out to get a road kill coon and chuck it in the back. Told her I couldn't leave a $20 bill lying in the road for some other asshole to pick up. I know its a different world now but every kid should understand how the world really works, meat don't grow on Styrofoam in the store.

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    1. @blind - I used to live near a "meat processing" facility. Small. Family owned/operated for 5 generations. Their retail space had a big picture window into the cutting room. I made damned certain My Progeny knew that meat came from animals, and that the side of beef they were observing was walking around the barn yard a couple days ago. It can still be done. More difficult in the urban/suburban regions, but it CAN be done.

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  3. That is great. Jeff. I bought my first truck by running a trap line. I hope he might do the same some day.

    Leigh
    Whitehall, NY

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  4. Live traps are great. It allows you to catch a nuisance animal, and release it in an area where the hawks congregate during the winter.

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  5. I was fortunate too have had "backwoods upbringing". My family's property borders National Forest Service land. In 1977 an old trapper came to my daddy and asked permission to trap on our property and access the NFS lands. My daddy told he could, but he had to take me. The old man would get to our house before daylight and we'd be checking traps at first light. It was a very productive season. We caught 17 fox (9 and 8 red), 22 coons, a "lot" of possums and one bobcat. The one morning I did not go with the old man he caught the cat. It brought $165. The trapper split the money with me. I learned things that have remain with me today. I coon hunted from the time I was twelve until I married and then some. In those years coons would bring $20-35 per hide and possums would fetch $6 to $10. I remember once it snowed and school was cancelled. My friend found a mink dead in the road (that is one of two I have ever seen in Alabama). It didn't have a mark on it. We skinned it and took it to the hide buyer and got $22. I know what you mean Blindshooter when you say it seems like a different world now, but it really isn't. I hope my grandson enjoys the woods a mere fraction of what I have.

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  6. "Raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is grown, he will not depart from it."

    "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree"

    Deplorable B Woodman

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  7. I worked for a couple years in a trailer park, doing maintenance. I spent a lot of time fixing plumbing that had frozen, and replacing floors from leaky plumbing. I also kept the grounds up. I had several of the people who lived there with animal problems. I got 5 or 6 baby possums and one adult, from under one trailer. Seems like they got underneath, and climbed up besides the bath tub. I also got a few muskrats, and some feral cats. In the old days, I would have just killed them, but the way things are now, someone would see me, and I would get arrested for animal cruelty. So I would drive them away from town a bit, and let them go. I also assume that some other animal ate them, at some point.
    Here in Michigan we now have a growing population of cougars. I have never seen one, but my son got within 10 yards of one, a few years back. The black bear numbers are also up, from when I was a kid.

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