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Dick Ellis Blog:
10/9/2019
Fall brings with it something for everyone in the field from the angler to the hunter.  Just a few recent sessions of shooting the bull tell me that autumn is for the youngest of outdoorsman just learning the games to those of us more seasoned with our eyes focused dead ahead on for example, the whitetail rut. James Wallace captured this great buck on trail camera during summer scouting. James Wallace, my nephew-in-law (is there such a ...
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Trapping Raccoon's

There is a certain shorter someone in my house who passed trappers certification this summer and now considers himself a bit of a mountain man - never mind that he doesn’t even have the beginnings of a beard. But he is a bona fide trapper now, gosh darn it.

Personally, I have not taken trappers certification classes, nor will I ever. I won’t. I know even less about trapping than I do about fishing and traditional hunting – if that’s possible – and I’d rather not be involved. I do have a beard, though.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not averse to trapping itself. I respect the talents and skills that real trappers bring to the table; I just don’t have any of those skills myself. I understand the need and the worth of trapping; sometimes a few critters need to be culled for the sake of all critters. I get that.

I just don’t think that any man with the limited dexterity and the slow reflexes that I possess should be fiddling around with cold, steel metal traps, spring-loaded to clamp down vice-like on fat fleshy fingers, never letting go. But that’s just me.

However, imagine my own surprise as I found myself accompanying the previously mentioned younger guy, who looks a lot like me, out in the woods – checking traps – in the dark – with flashlights. Did I mention it’s raining? Have I said how much of a pansy I am? This was not to be a high-water mark for my outdoor pursuits. I was not having the time of my life. I am not going to pen a poem about my love of trapping. But if I did, it might start like this.

Metal trap upon the wall….
Catching animals in the fall…
Furry hides that I must skin…
Nine fingers have I, where once were ten…..

Typically when I make a trek through the woods it’s a series of falls and stumbles and swears; and that’s in good weather. Now take away the sun, throw in some dense fog, and include some throaty night sounds similar to what a sasquatch might make, and I’m pretty much careening through and colliding with every pine tree in the tri-county area; in the hopes of trapping – what – a raccoon? Really? A raccoon? I’m doing this for a raccoon?

The roads in northern Wisconsin are littered with raccoons; there’s probably 20 raccoons on the highway between here and Superior on any given day, and I’m out after dark, a gazillion miles from nowhere, creeping along a little stream in hopes of finding what amounts to a trapped giant-rat-devil, which may or may not bite me before it goes to meet its maker. I’m not sure about other mountain men, but I’m almost certain I’m allergic to raccoon bites. I can feel pain, it doesn’t have to be proven again.

I’m told that you can get up to around $50 for a raccoon hide. Minus the gasoline and vehicle repairs to get to these remote raccoon habitats; factoring in the cost of bandages; plus the price of replacing ripped clothes, the cost of the search-and-rescue team; rabies shots; lost items and a few other odds and ends – we’ll lose about $150 for each raccoon we catch; which is actually a little less than I lose doing most of my other activities. Perhaps trapping is something I should be doing.

At the time of this writing we’ve yet to trap anything. I know this is going to go against the trapping effort we’re involved in, but I’m glad we haven’t caught anything. Do the math – less trapped raccoons means less raccoon bites.

But I’ll go; it’s part of my job as Dad. And it is better that an old, would-be mountain men accompany a young, future mountain man into the woods - because of the possibility of those previously discussed bites.

Plus, those after-dark sounds might actually be from a sasquatch.

Darrell Pendergrass lives in Grand View.