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Looking Forward to Fall
It's that time of year when Summer is winding down and Fall is on it's way, and my thoughts are turning more and more to the trapping season. This blog has kept me thinking about trapping throughout the off season, but I'm now getting antsy to get my boots on the ground and lay some steel.
To me, trapping is the ultimate escape. There is nothing more relaxing, more liberating, than hiking the hills and trails of my trapline on a chilly morning, anticipating the sight of my first catch in the early morning light. The rest of the world seems a million miles away, and I'm thinking of nothing else but trapping. When my efforts are rewarded with a nice fox or a fat ringtail I feel like I've accomplished something real as a sportsman. It's not something that many other people would consider noteworthy, but it doesn't matter. I'm out there for no one else's sake but mine, and only because I enjoy the chase and I enjoy the challenge.
Even when I don't catch a blessed thing, and I've had such days, there's no sense of disappointment. Sometimes trapping and catching are two different things, but as long as I'm trapping I'm content. I do many other things outdoors, but I never enjoy nature so much as when I'm in the role of trapper. Maybe it's the Fall weather, maybe it's the anticipation of the next catch, maybe it's the time spent with my kids, but I take no greater pleasure in God's creation than when my pack basket is on my back.
I never fail to think of the Mountain Men when I'm out running traps, and what it must have been like for them to explore the West, roam as free men, and trap the untouched wilderness. Even though I'm a 21st century part-time short-liner, I like to think of the history of what I'm doing, and to think that I have at least some kind of distant connection with those intrepid men of history and their taste for adventure.
About this time of year I begin to putz around my fur shed looking for things to do and equipment to prepare. Everywhere I drive I'm looking all around as much as at the road, always on the lookout for new places to scout and add to my trapline itinerary. I've got trapping on the brain, and the anticipation will only build until that November morning when my first traps go in the ground. I already know it will be a good season, not because I have an arsenal of new gimmicks and techniques to try, but because every season is a good season. There are no bad trapping seasons, at least that's how I see it. I never spent a day trapping that I regret, so I know I have a lot of fun, fulfilling days ahead of me.
Maybe to some I'm a little too nostalgic about this whole thing. I know there are some who see trapping as a simple equation: catching + skinning = fur check. For me it's a much more complicated equation, but a much more fulfilling experience. It's a mindset as much as a sport. It's a way of life packed into 3 or 4 months of the year. When the leaves start to turn, as they will any day, it will be hard to think about much else.
Labels: Thoughts on Trapping