my first big catch
I started trapping a few years ago.
I had always been interested but never had the knowledge until a
new friend invited me to go with him one day.
He took me along as we checked his under-ice beaver line in
northern Wisconsin. Even
though it was –20 degrees that day I was hooked from the start.
As an avid hunter and fisherman, I was looking for an extra excuse
(as if I needed one) to get out of the house after hunting seasons were
over. The next year, after
mandatory Wisconsin trapper’s education class I purchased a few 330
conibears and headed out to try my luck.
I set one of the conibears as my friend had shown me, using long
sticks to position the trap correctly in the run coming out of a beaver
lodge in about four feet of water. I also set a few snares, cutting fresh popple sticks to use
as a lure. The next day I
set out eagerly to see what I had caught.
First I checked the snares.
Nothing. As I went
to where my conibear was set I was expecting the same result but was
pleasantly elated when I pulled out a young beaver.
Re-setting the traps, I headed home to show my wife and children
the results of this newfound hobby of mine.
The trapping continued through the week and I caught another
young one. I was beginning
to wonder if there were any bigger beavers around.
On the fifth day I arrived and went through the motions
that had by now become routine to me.
As I started pulling the conibear out of the water, it seemed a lot harder
to lift than it normally was, and when I could see the trap I caught a
glimpse of the
biggest beaver head I’d ever seen.
With much effort I hefted it up onto the ice and proceeded to dry
it off with snow. What a
beauty! I pulled my traps from that area so I would be able to come
back next year and hopefully have the same kind of luck.
After getting the monster (now christened “Beavzilla”) home I put it on the scale. Fifty-seven pounds! This blanket beaver is now in our den and is enjoyed by all who come into contact with it. And although I’ve trapped quite a few more big ones over the years, that first one will always be a wonderful memory for me to look back upon.