According to my exacting calculations, I hunted 269 days in 2012. Okay; I’m slipping. But my excuse is so beautiful it defies reason, as I raged through 79 ferocious celebrations of pure animal sonic bombast with the world’s most energetic and tightest rock-n-roll band on earth. We have the carcass-strewn vapor trail to prove it, and I’m not talking about the hunting part of the year, either.
I hunt every day I can, always have and always will. Hunting defines my pursuit of happiness and I am in constant pursuit. Now, mind you, this includes every imaginable small game, big game, vermin, trash critters like starlings, sparrows, crows, pigeons and the sort, game fish and rough fish and every other legal creature I can chase and kill. It doesn’t matter if it is a goofy red squirrel, a carp or a magnificent whitetail stag, I crave it all, love it all, cherish it all and respect it all. And every encounter yanks my crank like it is the first time every time.
One of the few things Al Capone ever stated that I agree with; “A man has got to have enthusiasms.”
Enthusiasms I got.
The intense challenge of long range rifle marksmanship, the supreme stealth discipline of the mystical flight of the arrow into the vitals of insanely evasive creatures, slamming high speed pork from a helicopter, or just the roustabout fun of .22 handgun bushytail whacking, I truly love it all, more now than ever in my life. And that is really saying something.
With my best sniper rifle, the demanding ballet of sight acquisition, controlled breathing, trajectory compensation calculations and precision trigger squeeze always gets my heart a pumping.
Penetrating the insane close range archery danger zone of deer is one of life’s most enjoyable accomplishments.
But if you are really looking for the highest of highs and the ultimate lessons of nature’s intimate predator/prey working mechanisms, there is no other predator skill set that comes close to the art of trapping.
Fascinated by the legends of Jim Bridger, Daniel Boone, Davy Crocket, Jeremiah Johnson and the original bad boys of the wilderness, I tried my hand at trapping way back in my early youth along the Rouge River running through my birth city of Detroit, Michigan.
As a fulltime Texas resident now for more than ten years, I can confidently state that I believe the Lone Star state may very well be the ultimate trapper’s paradise.
With my rifle, I like to get within a few hundred yards of my quarry. With my bow, I like twenty yards. But with trapping, we must place our trap in such a position knowing exactly where the little booger will actually place his step.
Now that’s challenging.
By no stretch would I call myself a professional, master trapper. But I do some pretty serious fur collecting nonetheless.
When it is all said and done, our beloved outdoor lifestyle is all about fitting in and participating in God’s glorious natural creation as a balancing, conservation asset to the wild. We develop and improve our natural predator touch by studying the ways of animals, learning about their mostly unpredictable habits, but learning over time that intelligent application of accumulated observations will increase our odds of success if we truly pay attention.
The great Fred Bear said that a season of diligent bowhunting will teach a hunter more about deer than many seasons of gun hunting, just because we must maximize our attentiveness and learning curve if we expect to be eating backstraps any time soon.
Well I’m here to tell you that a season of diligent trapping will teach us more about critters than many, many years of any hunting at all, because we have to determine exactly where the animals move.
For starters, one should join the National Trappers Association to get a feel for this new, exciting predator endeavor, then as always, proceed slowly and read and learn all you can from the masters.
I catch red fox, grey fox, coon, possum, skunk, beaver, muskrat, coyote, bobcat, ringtail cat, badger, hogs and other vermin, predators and fur bearers. By doing so, I save the lives of untold fawns, quail, rabbit, songbirds, waterfowl, livestock and pets, while at the same time reducing the danger of rabies, distemper, Mange and other wildlife diseases.
If you are looking to upgrade your outdoor fun, while performing a beneficial service for the environment and wildlife, by all means take up trapping. By doing so in between the regular hunting season, you will acquire critical information and knowledge that will greatly assist you come opening day of deer season, I assure you.
Hunting, fishing and trapping are the ultimate hands-on conservation activities a true environmentalist engages in. Engage already.