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A New Addiction Returns

In my college days I tagged along with a couple of good friends, Scot & Deven, as they worked their trap lines and worked nuisance animal control jobs.  Not only was this a chance to be outdoors with my buddies, it gave me an appreciation for the time and effort they put into the process.  They truly loved the challenge of out-thinking the critters they were after.  It definitely was not the money that kept them interested.  At the time raccoons were selling for $1.50…$0.50 for the fur & $1 for the meat.

Fast forward to Christmas 2014.  Santa brought my son and me a pair of raccoon traps. This was likely because of my comments from the deer stand about an increase in sightings of the masked bandits.   There were hunts I saw more raccoon than I did squirrels…which any archery hunter will tell you is a significant statement.  But it could have, also, been our conversations about having an 11-year old in the house and the personality traits we hope to instill in him as the dreaded “teenage-years” arrive.

A Set...A Hope
A Set…A Hope

When done right there are few things that can teach discipline and a sense of responsibility quite like trapping.  These are traits I saw in Deven & Scot and hope to see in our son as he grows.

So with a warm-up the third weekend of the new year, and a 2015 Fur Harvest Permit in hand, we hit a nearby creek bottom.  We set our entire string of traps on an area I had seen lots of raccoon sign during deer season. Yep, every single trap we owned was set…all three of them.  Being our first go, and with so few traps, I wasn’t expecting much. Logan on the other hand assumed great things were about to happen.

Curious what might be around, and if anything would even give our sets a once-over, we placed a trail camera overlooking the well worn trail that two of our sets were near.  Just to see what was around.  Now we just had to wait.

I was not the first one up the next morning, or the most excited. We couldn’t leave the house fast enough for a certain 11-year old.  The drive to the farm was too long, too. Excitement was tempered a bit when our first two sets showed no activity.  The watchful trail cam only held pictures of our comings and goings.

A Good-sized Boar
A Good-sized Boar

Our final set was a short distance away and we discussed the possibility that the raccoons may have moved from the area as we made the walk.  The discussion ended abruptly when we realized something was different at our third spot.  Success changes things.  The critters hadn’t abandoned the premises. We simply needed to move a bit closer to the trails they were now using.

The next morning’s check proved our new strategy could work.  Each of our 3 sets was visited. However, one got lucky by stealing the bait but not tripping the trap, another was saved when we forgot to release the safeties on the trap.  But once again the final set proved to be our successful one.  Our relocated trail camera held even greater treasures with picture after picture of ring-tailed passers-by.

As I type this Logan and I are chomping at the bit to get re-deployed for this weekends opportunities.  In fact, we are doubling the pressure on the area’s raccoon…we now have six traps!


About Aaron Hershberger

Aaron "hershy" Hershberger is an Outdoor Education Specialist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He loves being outdoors. When not outdoors he is day-dreaming about being outdoors and/or whining that he is not outdoors. Hershy has been a Hunter Education Instructor, in two states, for nearly three decades & a Bowhunter Education Instructor for over 20 years.

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