Fall/Winter 2020 Union Sportsmen's Journal Fall/Winter 2020 - Page 34
When I was young , I devoted a large portion of my life to becoming a trapper .
My dad did not trap , so I taught myself by reading everything I could find at the library and seeking out local trappers for advice . One of those old trappers sold me a handful of used traps to get me started and gave me lots of encouragement . I spent my paper route money to buy a trapper ’ s basket and other essential tools . At age 13 , I started running a trap line that I could walk to from my house , and I checked it before and after school .
Bob Barteck with his first red fox in 1986
I learned to closely read signs and understand how and why certain animals behaved the way they did . By high school , I was catching lots of muskrats , mink , and beaver , and I began to expand to dry land canine trapping . I fondly reflect on those days as a kid learning everything I could about each animal targeted . When I was successful , it was instant gratification of my hard work . Trapping not only taught me about being an outdoorsman ; it also taught me how my work ethic directly affected my success .
Another lesson we can learn from trappers is a strong adherence to an ethical code . I still remember listening to a highly respected coyote trapper discussing public land canine trapping . “ Just because it is legal , does not mean it is right ,” he explained as he talked about placing foothold traps in areas frequented by bird hunters using dogs . He felt that by exercising some restraint and only trapping areas not popular with the bird hunters helped prevent potential conflict between sportsmen . Trappers may never get credit for having heightened ethics and values , but they know they protect their beloved sport by holding them close .
There is no doubt that trapping made me a better outdoorsman and hunter . Trapping forces a narrow focus on the target animal to anticipate its movements to within only a few inches . In the case of Andrew ’ s pursuit of a wolf , the pan of a MB-650 is only 2-inches wide , so we had to figure out how to precisely anticipate the movements of a large wolf on the 80-acres we had permission to trap in order to get it to step squarely on the trap pan .
The property had an old gravel pit where the wolves had a large den dug into the bank . In the fall , the wolves no longer used the den , but the landowner reported seeing wolves cruise through the area like they were checking on it . We made sets on what we considered likely travel paths around the old pit , but after a week , we still hadn ’ t trapped a wolf . That changed when a wolf passed through the area after a light snow , leaving tracks for us to use .
GET STARTED TRAPPING
Getting into trapping is much easier than people think . Start by taking a Trapper Education course . The online classes are excellent and will cover all the essential elements needed to get started . Another great way to expand your knowledge is to join your state trapper ’ s association , which typically has local chapters that meet regularly as well as an annual trapper ’ s rendezvous . Trappers are very open to sharing their knowledge , skills , and abilities with new trappers to ensure the sport is not lost . Drawing new young trappers is the difficult part . The tumultuous fur market has led fewer trappers to pursue it as an income source . Instead , many trappers get into the sport out of a personal desire to learn the art or to help with varmint management on properties they hunt .
TWO TYPES OF TRAPPING
Trapping is divided into two main categories : water and land . The primary targets of water trapping are muskrat , mink , beaver , racoon , and otter . The key targets of land trapping are wolf , coyote , fox , bobcat , fisher , and martin . The equipment used for water and land trapping have some similarities , but it is typically very specific to land or water . Water trapping uses a combination of foot-hold , body-grip traps , and , in some cases , snares . Land trapping uses almost entirely foot-hold traps , though cablerestraints are used occasionally , depending on state regulations .
If you are new to trapping , start with the basics . Most trappers start by hitting the local marshes , creeks , and ponds to target muskrat , mink , and raccoon . Hip boots , a trap basket , a handful of 1 ½ coil spring traps , and few 110 body-grip traps will be enough to get started . Water trapping is easier because it doesn ’ t require the scent control trap preparation and handling like land traps do . If land trapping is of greater interest to you , get some number 3 or larger coil-spring traps that are boiled , dyed , and kept clean .
16 UNION SPORTSMEN ’ S JOURNAL
To help you get started or advance to the next level, I gathered intel from three outdoor
videographers, who have filmed on a professional level and are experienced sportsmen.
BEHIND THE LENS:
Professional Advice on
Filming Your Hunt
BY K ATE NATION
I have been involved in the USA’s Brotherhood Outdoors TV series since it premiered in 2011 as well as its
predecessor Escape to the Wild. I have reviewed countless episodes and can quickly point out what I like and dislike,
but I have no filming skills of my own. So, I am very interested in how hours of footage from various cameras and
angles comes together in a compelling 22-minute TV episode.
I suspect I am not the only one. Maybe you have thought about filming your own hunting and fishing adventures
or those of your family members or friends. Maybe you have already tried filming and want to figure out how to
capture the experience to make it look more like your favorite shows on outdoor TV.
While pursuing a biology degree,
Tyler Breen developed an interest in
documenting the wildlife he witnessed
in the field. Driven by his passion
to capture what he loved about
the outdoors in the most vivid and
interesting way possible, he bought
an entry level DSLR camera and began
photographing and filming any wildlife
he could. Without formal training, he
learned through extensive practice,
trial and error, online videos, and
advice from professionals in the field.
Breen has filmed episodes of the USA’s
Brotherhood Outdoors TV series.
Jamieson Crast, producer of the
USA’s Brotherhood Outdoors TV series,
harvested a lot of turkeys when he was
young, so he was content to call them
in for his younger brothers. Since he
wasn’t the one pulling the trigger, he
purchased a Handycam and tried to
capture his brothers’ hunts on camera.
Filming turkey hunts progressed to
waterfowl, and then he filmed his
college roommate hunting whitetail.
He taught himself the trade through
YouTube videos and by studying
movies and how the camera angle can
evoke different emotions.
USA Events Coordinator Eric Bakken
had a strong interest in photography
and film as a youth. Serving in the Army
and meeting combat cameramen and
war documentarists furthered his
desire to tell people’s stories through
film, so he pursued a four-year degree
in film after getting out. He then
filmed veteran hunts for four years—
winning awards at several amateur
film festivals—and filmed two seasons
of a hunting show that aired on Pursuit
Channel. Bakken continues to utilize
his filming and editing skills to support
UNION SPORTSMEN’S JOURNAL